Wherever you find a little study circle of Christian laity, you can be almost certain that they are studying not St. Luke, or St. Paul, or St. Augustine, or Thomas Aquinas...But I would advise him to read the old....I don't know that I follow C.S. Lewis' advice to the letter, but I do know that the passage above has been helpful in redirecting me back into the deep traditions of Christianity to read spiritual classics, which have earned their place by speaking to generations of readers. Books such as the slim little Practicing the Presence of God of Brother Lawrence, or the anonymous Russian work The Way of a Pilgrim leap to mind. But there are other spiritual classics such as St. Augustine's Confessions and the anonymous The Cloud of Unknowing and many others. Additionally, there are more recent works that can said to have already have stood the test of time including the writings of Thomas Merton as well as those of C.S. Lewis himself.
The only safety is to have a standard of plain, central Christianity ("mere Christianity" as Baxter called it) which puts the controversies of the moment in their proper perspective. Such a standard can be aquired only from old books. It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones.
One way to start broadening your selection is to visit the bookshelf near the coffee pot and coke machine at King of Peace where you can check out some books for free, that have already stood the test of time. You may also want to visit online bookstores listed in an earlier post.
Know that Lewis is right. You will enrich your spiritual journey in seeking out the older books that have already nourished generations of the faithful. The best one close to hand is, of course, the Bible with its 66 books of the Old and New Testaments.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor