Incarnational Writing, or, from an Idea to a Piece of Toast

One of the things that makes C.S. Lewis such a delightful read is that he’s always smacking you upside the head with unexpectedly humble domestic metaphors.

In a stream of thought about lofty ideas like grace, glory, longing, transformation, miracles, or love, he is likely to compare something to toast, or ham, or an old jacket.

What I love about this style of writing (especially when it feels natural to the author, and not affected) is not just the surface level pleasure of surprise and humor. That is, of course, delightful. But there’s something more underneath it. Something that helps our minds grasp one of the most profound truths in the human story.

The incarnation.

The shocking frame of reference shift needed to see the ways in which toast embodies a lofty ideal are exactly what’s needed to understand what it means for God to become man. The highest of high things, the loftiest of ideals, the greatest good, the most transcendent being is also a guy with sweat glands and toenails.

The mystery of the incarnation is too big to absorb head on. It’s something we have to ponder continually and from many angles. The process of demonstrating the lofty through the humble is one way of transforming our minds to know the mystery deeper.

Plus, who doesn’t like the phrase “poached egg” in the middle of a serious discussion?