Sheldon Vanauken on post-conversion letdown

Most people who have been Christian for long have experienced peaks and valleys of excitement. In his memoir A Severe Mercy, which is probably my favorite memoir of all time, Sheldon describes how his wife, Davy, and he were growing apart some time after their conversions:

I spoke on an earlier page of our love as like a fine watch that could be thrown off by a grain of dust. But this was not a grain of dust or even a mustard seed: it was the eternal God. After all, as C. S. Lewis had said, I was not finding the existence of a Master and a Judge ‘simply pleasant’. My intellectual commitment to that Master was perfectly clear, as was Davy’s. And at Oxford it had all been challenging and beautiful and exciting. But now it seemed different. Duller. Davy was simply living up to her commitment, wherever it led. For me, that was the trouble: where it led. I was ready to play in a match, Christians v. Atheists. I was ready to level my lance and charge under the Cross of Gold. I was ready to follow the King into battle. But–Sunday school? Where was the glory? Poring over the Bible–when we could be reading poetry? Where was the army of the King with banners? Where was the cathedral, beautiful and holy?

–Sheldon Vanauken, A Severe Mercy, p. 138


About davestuartjr
Dave Stuart Jr. is a full-time teacher who writes about becoming better, saner teachers at He is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to Crystal, and a father to Hadassah, Laura, and Marlena.

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