Forty-five years ago today, C. S. Lewis died at the age of 64. 110 years ago next Saturday he was born. So, my posts in the next week will be about C.S.Lewis. If one needs details of his life because you don’t feel you know enough about him, I have, over on my teaching website a couple of accurate collections of information, click here for that. Herein, I wish to think about why he is so important via the consideration of his impact on my own thinking as a follower of Jesus.
Because Lewis’ journey was from adolescent (I refer to his age) atheism. Lewis moved from a pretty pronounced atheism (as his letters of that era clearly demonstrate) into a more agnostic approach. Then through the influence of friends into a theism and then into a full faith in Jesus. This resonates with me as I rarely thought about God as an adolescent, only to reject the very few attempts at including me in church, but as a young adult, I warmed to it and was fascinated by the religions I saw during my four years in Asia while in the Air Force. I enjoyed visiting all kinds of temples and wondered at them in my early twenties. And similarly, as it was his friends who pointed him to Jesus, I made a friend who pointed me to Jesus. As I have read Lewis, it seems that the Gospel just made sense to him and he awoke to it. My own experience was like that, I reasoned through the Gospel being challenged by my friend Dave with the juxtaposition of life offered in Col. 3. I resonate with Lewis, because I see in his life a somewhat similar path of awakening to the reality of Jesus. As his spirituality developed, Lewis sought the higher church experience, he was a frequent confessor – for a good while seeking the regular spiritual direction of his pastor and he sought the solace found in the communion and chapel nearly every morning. Could one say he had mystical tendencies? Looking at the reasoning and logic of Mere Christianity, one might say no, but when one realizes that his heart came through his fiction, the space trilogy and the Chronicles, I would say that the “baptized imagination” that he talked about had some clearly mystical tenants. This resonates with me as well, a baptized imagination with tendencies toward the mystical in the worship of Jesus… in both head and heart.
Happy C. S. Lewis week!