Two Score and Ten Years Ago #50Years
November 22, 2013
Today the web is abuzz with articles about a man who died fifty years ago today. His life had a tremendous impact on society and, personally, it has touched me in a number of ways. In fact, my first published article, in the early 1990s, was in my hometown newspaper and in it I quoted one of this man’s most famous sayings:
“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
Excerpt From: C. S. Lewis. “Mere Christianity.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/REUFv.l
Yes, Clive Staples Lewis. My story with his writings is long and varied. In brief, when I first came to faith I avoided the Chronicles of Narnia because it was that dreaded “fantasy writing” I associated with my earlier “heathen years.” Thankfully, after coming to faith, I attended a good undergraduate school and found out, wonder of wonders, that Lewis is a Christian and, in fact, the same Lewis who had written Mere Christianity. (My daughter reminds me to use the present tense since I’ve often told her our God is a God of the living, not the dead. So, I try to refer to those gone on before us in the present tense.) For some reason, I had not made the real connect between the CS Lewis who wrote the Chronicles of Narnia and the CS Lewis who wrote Mere Christianity. Weird, eh?
Since those days, I have come back to reading fantasy of all stripes and have enjoy it immensely. The writers don’t have to be Christian and, in fact, I read many who are not people of faith at all. I realize many of these writers are speaking about the journey of faith even when they don’t realize it. (Though I suspect more realize it than are willing to admit it.)
Of course, I attribute this return to reading fantasy to CS Lewis and even though some find his Narnia books a bit childish this is what I enjoy about them the most! It’s a time where I can return to the beauty of childhood where animals talk, there is mystery in the world which cannot always be answered, Father Christmas is roaming about, and there is a Great Lion who will protect, teach, and guide us as we journey with Him through strange and interesting lands.
So, on this day, I am remembering a great writer and a great man. Someone who has, in my opinion, had a greater impact on people of faith in the 20th century than most any other writer. Most of all, though, I am reminded of the above quote which stuck in the heart of a young wannabe preacher over twenty years ago and still speaks to me today.
God’s Best Always and in All Ways,
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