Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A "thinking worshiper"

On November 22, 1963 C.S. Lewis died, the news of his death entirely overshadowed by the assassination of President Kennedy that same day. Jared Wilson writes today about "Three Things I've Learned from Lewis." Two of the three:
1. Wonder. My first introduction to Lewis was not the Chronicles of Narnia, actually, but as a child, Out of the Silent Planet. It was completely weird and wonderful. When I got to Narnia shortly thereafter -- I was about 8 or so, probably -- I consumed each book one after another lustily, like a compendium of Turkish delight. ....


2. Reason. Even Lewis's fiction is chock-full of logic. "Don't they teach that in schools any more?" the Professor says to the Pevensies when they don't believe Lucy's fantastic story. Lewis's faith was full of wonder but was, also, entirely reasonable, and in the 80's when the apologetic industry was dominated by Josh McDowell and burgeoning creation science (Lee Strobel hadn't hit the scene just yet), I was ingesting The Abolition of Man and Mere Christianity. And probably the most influential non-fiction work of his for me is his collection of essays named after "God in the Dock." The article "Myth Became Fact" is one of my all-time favorite short pieces, fiction or non, and offered a complementary weight to one of my favorite lines in Perelandra, which I quote probably way too much in all the stuff I write. (Ransom understood that myth is "gleams of celestial beauty and strength falling on a jungle of filth and imbecility.") Lewis helped me make sense of this polytheistic, pluralistic world. His classic trilemma in Mere Christianity just made sense. His own logic and reason is not airtight of course, but he approached Christianity not just as a worshiper but as a thinking worshiper, and he therefore becomes an invaluable asset for relentlessly scrutinizing young men and women who are sorting out their faith. ....