Yes, you hit it on the nail. Comparing Lua to C is not a fair comparison. C a strongly typed language while Lua is not.
But my primary goal is to put enough of the top level game logic into a simple scripting form where anyone can make changes with a text editor.
Lua is a simple enough language for most users and is today's version of a once popular and horrible language -- BASIC. Definitely has quirks, but most languages do.
I think the real key is to make sure the Lua is more about adding standard features first, specialized features later. For example, if a user wants a different layout of the banner at the bottom, he can go into the banner script, change some numbers, hide a few features, and viola, a new layout. He doesn't have to recompile anything, it just works. 'Of course, if he wants to make a new widget that's not in the UI toolbox, he'll still have to go and modify the underlying C code. But for 99% of people, this will be plenty good.
FWIW, when I first worked with Lua, I did not like it either. But when I stopped fighting it and used it like it was designed, the code just started popping out. It now feels like a really good language for what I want to see in A&A -- which is top level logic control.
Thanks for the LuaJIT link. I've seen it in the past, but not lately. It is nice to know that if performance becomes an issue, we can pull that out.