Peeling Off Our Conceit

“When I first became a Christian, about fourteen years ago, I thought that I
could do it on my own, by retiring to my rooms and reading theology, and
wouldn’t go to the churches and Gospel Halls; . . . I disliked very much
their hymns, which I considered to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate
music. But as I went on I saw the merit of it. I came up against different
people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then
gradually my conceit just began peeling off. I realized that the hymns (which
were just sixth-rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and
benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then
you realize that you aren’t fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your
solitary conceit.”

–C.S. Lewis, “Answers to Questions on Christianity” in God in the Dock:
Essays on Theology and Ethics
, 61-62

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