Blog 1572 – 01.06.2020
Another Tribute To C.S. Lewis
I saw the picture and quote above and though I have paid homage to the great Christian apologist, Clive Staples Lewis (He preferred C.S. or Jack), I would like to do so again in this new year and new decade.
This week the new Sam Mendez movie, 1917, comes out in movie theaters. The trailer looks amazing. C.S. Lewis served in that war and it changed the rest of his life. A dear friend he met in the war and he both promised to look out after the other’s surviving parent after the war if either one of them did not make it home. His buddy did not and so Jack kept his promise and cared for his friend’s mother till she passed many years later. She was not an “easy woman” if there is indeed such a thing or a man to live with for that matter. We are, I think, all flawed, (wondrous creatures that we are) or as a wise lady that I met briefly on a job over twenty years ago said with a knowing twinkle in her eyes, “We are all sick puppies.”
C.S. Lewis was a professor of English Literature at one of the small colleges at Cambridge University in London. He wrote many books defending the Christian faith that he came back to in his late thirties after years since his childhood of agnosticism or if I read him correctly not that or atheism so much as humanism. Of all the Christian writers that I have ever read Jack or C.S. made, I think, the best case for Christianity.
I remind you that I no longer consider myself a Christian. I thought myself one for much of my life into middle age, my life being sort of a mirror opposite in that regard to Jack’s. We both believed in our Christian heritage as children, as much as children can grasp such a collection of seeming (to me at least) contradictions. For me by middle age the contradictions became too overwhelming, to Lewis they only began to make even more sense or at least he found the thread of truth in them that he followed for the rest of his life.
In addition to all the books that he wrote defending his faith, he wrote a wonderful series of children’s books called, The Chronicles of Narnia, a science-fiction trilogy, and he traveled all over Great Britain and the United States giving talks. One of his more famous Christian Apologies, The Screw Tape Letters, came out of radio broadcasts that he did in the UK on the BBC during the Second World War. And by the way for those who may not know it, a Christian Apologist is not apologizing for Christianity nor for being a Christian but makes a case for why he or she thinks believing in the Christian faith makes sense. As I said I have long thought C.S. Lewis made the best case.
He was as honest about his doubts as he was about his faith thereby canceling out two of the main objections many have with Christians, their arrogance and hypocrisy about thinking themselves “the chosen” and pretending their shit not only does not stink but that it is invisible. One of his many remarks that stuck with me is that he said his faith was never weaker than after giving a long lecture or writing a book defending his faith. I have felt that myself after writing or speaking at length to try to prove any point. Such doubt arises with the thought that truth should be able to stand on it’s own without having to be so ardently defended. That is, I think, why many wiser souls do not feel compelled to “share their faith” but practice it secretly or at least more quietly, not forever trying to “convert” everyone to their way of thinking.
C.S. Lewis, an Anglican, President John F. Kennedy, a Roman Catholic, and Aldous Huxley, a Humanist, all died on my thirteenth birthday, November 22, 1963. Someone wrote about the three meeting in heaven to discuss their different points of view. All three of those roads and all roads if they lead us to look within, lead to heaven in my view. I was not to meet Jack (at least his writings) till over ten years later when an English Literature professor that I had in Bible College would call me an intellectual (that is still a dirty word to some but was highest praise coming from her.) She encouraged me to read someone who would challenge my thinking and help me express my thoughts more clearly. C.S. certainly did and has done that for me. The first five or so books that I read of his (and I since have read everything of his that I could find in print) I had to read with a dictionary nearby so I could look up all the words that were not in my then very limited vocabulary. I learned more under that Brit English Lit Professor than I did my college English Lit professor and all the other teachers and professors that I ever sat under. Thank you sincerely, Professor Lewis.
If any of you only have time to read one Lewis book, I recommend a small one called, The Great Divorce (And, No, like Apologist is not about apologizing, The Great Divorce has nothing to do with marital divorce.) I offer you a warning though that if you read The Great Divorce it may challenge your thinking and you may also awake as from a dream to find that you too are a C.S. Lewis friend and fan.
Your friend and fellow traveler,
Hoping to see where C.S. Lewis lived and worked someday,