Tuesday, June 23, 2009


A friend pointed this out today. Worth sharing, I thought.
‘Sentimentality is subtle. C.S. Lewis once told a young writer: “Instead of telling us a thing is ‘terrible’, describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was a ‘delight’, make us say ‘delightful’ when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (‘horrifying’, ‘wonderful’, ‘hideous’, exquisite’) are only saying to your readers, ‘Please will you do my job for me.”’. Lewis complains that authors of gushy and sentimental words are tyrannical because they tell the readers how they must feel rather than letting the subject work on them in the same way it did the author. Sentimental worship leading works in exactly the same way that Lewis describes. With typical comments – “Isn’t he just wonderful?” “Isn’t it such a blessing?” – the leader tells people how they ought to feel about God instead of telling them about God.
Tim Keller in ‘Worship By The Book’ edited by Don Carson (p209-10). CS Lewis quote comes from Letters of CS Lewis ed. WH Lewis (New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1966), 271.


  1. putting the bar high...

    I don't know if I can do it, but I think it's put words to something that I'd noticed.