Thursday, January 15, 2009
Thursday, 15 January: Comfortable chats with CS Lewis
What do I do for 'last minute 'nite time reading' when I am feeling a little overwhelmed by my responsiblities as I have during the past week? I trot over to the booklined guest room and take down a slim volume or two of CS Lewis. It may be Mere Christianity (which is not mere at all to Lewis or to me) or The Problem of Pain. It may be to journey with Clive Stapleton along the path of beauty and joy to finally find God on top of a London bus in Surprised by Joy. It may be to chuckle and squirm a little while reading The Screwtape Letters (am I really as mean and small-minded as that?) or to shed a silent tear reading once again, A grief observed.
Now I admire many great authors - their powers of imagination, dialogue, description and plot - but they don't make me feel like settling in a comfy wingback chair and saying, 'Oh, Sir, do you know I just feel the same as you!" Or "Could you explain the Trinity or predestination again to me, just using easy, everyday words?" Or " Won't you tell me once again what happened when Aslan sang creation into being or when the wardrobe door opened that very first time?"
Most of you, I am sure, have seen the bittersweet movie, Shadowlands, with Anthony Hopkins playing the slightly awkward English bachelor and Oxbridge don transformed by unexpected love. Or Debra Winger playing the ascerbic Joy Davidman, the doomed heroine. I have seen it twice, wept and decided that the love of that unlikely pair far surpasses that of Iseault and Tristran, Romeo and Juliet, Heathcliff and Catherine. But I sometimes wonder what CS would have said about the saccharine subtitle on this movie poster and his great love reduced to a blockbuster celluloid? Probably he would have chuckled, sucked on his pipe and made a dry and witty comment.
The scene in which Aslan is put to death, offering himself up of his own accord, bound and tied down in his majesty by the screeching denizens of the White Witch never fails to move me. And of course, his wonderful resurrection and great leap of triumph. And all this without irreverance or trivialising biblical truths!
Did you know that it was the character of Aslan, the imaginative type of the Lion of Judah (Rev 5:),that persuaded Joy Davidman, a self-declared atheistic communist of Jewish extraction, to become a Christian? Joy wrote: "God had been stalking me for a very long time...All my defences...went down. And God came in. When it was over, I found myself on my knees, praying. I think I must have been the world's most astonished atheist."
Now, if you will excuse me, I had a really hectic day. So I am going to settle down with CS and "The Four Loves" and just dip in here and there...