W.P. | Installment 2 |”Great Minds”

Alright, my writing prompt for this week came from these folks.

19. Great Minds: Write  about someone you admire and you thought to have had a beautiful mind.

 


 

It was December 2005. I was a Senior in college and had been a Christian for just over a year. I knew there was plenty wrong with the Church. Being so young and fired up in the faith, I was ready to denounce this nonsense too! This movie coming out was the talk throughout Christendom; well not me! I was visiting my brother’s church. This church was rather large and had a bookstore and sure enough the movie poster was all over! My sister-in-law began to tell me about the story behind the movie. I didn’t know about the Lion or the Wardrobe, but I wasn’t messing with that Witch! She assured me it wasn’t like that. A few weeks later, I went and watched the movie. … I was utterly captivated! This began the journey, of how C.S. Lewis has become the single greatest influence on my life from a historical figure and my choice for a great/beautiful mind. 

 

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)

From IMDb

 

Now, there is plenty of information about Mr. Lewis out there that can give you more information about his past and his impact on culture. However, for this post, I will be keeping it more personal for me and why he’s my choice. So, here are my five reasons. Let’s go!

 

C.S. Lewis at bookshelf (circa 1960). Image used by permission of The Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL Note to editors: ***This photo is to only be used for this article, and the digital file of the image should be deleted after it is used, as stated in the signed user agreement submitted by Sally Morrow. It is not to be made available to subscribers.

This picture came from this site.

 

  • Breadth
    One of the things that impresses me with Mr. Lewis’s writings is how many people it has impacted! From the highest heights of great scholars and intellectuals down to children running barefoot through streets. He has written great works on theology, allegory, philosophy, poetry, and put Children’s Literature on the map. Yet, we do not just see the breadth of his works in the various genres he has written in, but in the works themselves. One example of this, Mere Christianity, is, to me, a must read for all Christians, those opposed to Christianity and those who just want to know more about it. I first read this book when I became a Christian and it had a deep impact on me. However, I just reread it a year ago and got even more out of it. This book shapes the seasoned and the babe, the lofty and the lowly; the seeker and the faithful. Or, the skilled bishops in Britain down to a new and growing believer born in the 1980s Midwest America and shaped by the philosophies of 1990s Hip Hop music. The span of his impact is remarkable.

 

C.S. Lewis & the Untamed Lion

Painting by Jake Weidmann

  • Accessibility 
    Part of what made Mr. Lewis’s influential breadth so impactful was his accessibility as a writer. He was able to connect with so many people, which I touched on in the previous point. He was a self-proclaimed dinosaur; just a layman who was trying to do his part. He certainly did that! Again, he could put a string of words together that would put a crack – at times a crag! – in the greatest intellectual foundations, yet a student could embrace his work and grapple with it. A child can devour his Chronicles of Narnia while at the same time a grown up could gain much spiritual development from it while missing the greater genius and inspiration behind Narnia (which is missed by most and has been for decades, more on this later).

 

CSL reading in chair

Taken from a The Gospel Coalition article.

 

  • Logical
    Mr. Lewis was a master of logic! To me, when reading through his works, you’re really left with no where else to go from his logical points. The only defense he leaves is for you to argue by departing from the realm of logic and critic thought. He was gifted at taking a thought or philosophy and working it out to it’s logical conclusions. Then, come back from that working out and express it’s immensity in a few lines! At least from the thinkers that I have been exposed to, he would certainly be one of the greatest intellectual arm-wrestlers in history.

 

This picture from here.

 

  • Refreshing 
    I just finished The Great Divorce and this is what I put on Twitter after reading it. “Just finished this. As always from Mr. Lewis, I am left without words. I am filled to the brim, yet left hungry for more …” This is how I feel almost without exception when reading his works. I am challenged, left wanting more and yet filled! Especially walking through the quagmire of social media with all of the illogical campaigns, unintelligent arguments, ridiculous comments and behavior; the reign of foolishness. When I emerge from one of Mr. Lewis’s books, I feel … refreshed!

 

Picture from here.

 

  • Genius
    I say the man was a genius! I think there are many things in his work that can point to this, but I am going to focus on one example. The Chronicles of Narnia is one of Mr. Lewis’s most popular works. Indeed, it revamped the entire Children Lit. genre. All you Harry Potter fans out there, yep, thank this guy! However, the Narnia serious has also got a lot of criticism since it was published about being a little … sloppy. There are colors, characters, styles, etc. that seem some what random. I somewhat thought this too, but still very much enjoyed the series – first reading them as an adult. However, I was listening to a podcast one day that referenced a book that dealt with this. I am not going to give anything away here. However, if you are a fan of Lewis and specifically of Narnia, you must read the book Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis by Michael Ward. Game changer! In fact, all of the randomness in the Narnia series was completely designed by Mr. Lewis and he never he defended it. He left it for someone to search it out! Genius! [If you do read Planet Narnia, make sure to then reread the Narnia series in the original publication order.]

 


 

Alright, that’s why C.S. Lewis is my pick. Who would your pick be? Let me know in the comments!

 


 


 

Bonus Material
Another reason I like Mr. Lewis is how he was able to relate to and feed people with his words. He is a true inspiration of why I write. I want to reach people in a similar fashion as he did. When I read his books, at the end, I am not at all thinking about him, but rather just drawn into the presence of God in a state of thoughtful worship. How I hope I can write that way one day!

 

lewis

Picture taken from here.

Books that I have read (many more to go still!):

  1. Mere Christianity 
  2. The Chronicles of Narnia (all seven – several times)
  3. The Abolition of Man (with reading “Men Without Chests” in this book several times; influence of my very first, poorly written, post!)
  4. The Screwtape Letters
  5. The Great Divorce
  6. Surprised by Joy
  7. A Grief Observed
  8. Reflections of the Psalms
  9. The Weight of Glory
  10. Out of the Silent Planet
  11. Perelandra
  12. God in the Dock – I just started this one
Published in: on 7 PMpWed, 29 May 2019 13:31:07 -040031Wednesday 2016 at 1:31 pm  Comments (8)  
Tags: , ,

Expectations

man wearing polo shirt holding left chest

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

Expectations! This is a broad topic for sure. I want to focus, briefly, on some societal expectations – or lack thereof – in light of one of my all time favorite quotes.

I have spent many years working with youth in various capacities. It’s no surprise for me to say that they are hurting! Our world is hurting and in need of some major repair. One area we really must improve is our language. This is where the war is being waged today! I wrote a post recently about the fight over definitions. It’s more that just that however. It’s also in our expectations of the language we are using. We often speak death to our situations before life has even had the chance to come forth (I am really preaching to myself now!). We are doing the same with our youth. How often are our youth taught – and taught to speak – as if they have no virtues, as if they have no purpose, as if they are … subhuman.

Thus, what do they do? What most humans in that situation do. They intentionally take on the broken language to try in make it positive amongst themselves. And so, we hear the language reverberating throughout our culture, e.g., “What’s up killa?” Now, same sentence, but substitute “killa” with, “play-boy”, “fool”, “pimp”, “savage”. Or, how about this phrase? “Beast mode!”

We are more concerned with becoming a savage or going beast mode than we are becoming men and women. Let us stop lowering our expectations. Instead, let us raise our expectations and demand something better. I feel, although probably initially met with the usual push-back, in time our youth with respond. They need to know, they must be told, they are not beasts or savages. They are humans, created to receive and give love and to live life to their highest capacity.

The problem with humanity is…we are not human enough!

C.S. Lewis spoke of the educational setting in 1940s England and how they were the worse off because they had, to a large degree, stopped teaching morals in their schools. My how we left this rebuke unheeded! We are exceptionally worse off then they were at that time. So, here finally is the quote!

And all the time — such is the tragi-comedy of our situation — we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more ‘drive’, or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or ‘creativity’. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful. – C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, “Men Without Chests”, pg. 12 [you can read an online pdf of this book as well]

Let us rethink and reevaluate our expectations as a society and let us be careful how we perceive – and what we say – about ourselves. I know I need to do this on a personal level! What are your thoughts? 

Published in: on 7 PMpWed, 10 Apr 2019 21:03:17 -040003Wednesday 2016 at 9:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,
%d bloggers like this: