Sunday, October 11, 2009

Masters of the Craft: C.S. Lewis

Readers of non-fiction appreciate Lewis for his amazing defense of the Christian faith. How a human was able to boil difficult spiritual concepts into understandable, applicable bites without divine inspiration is a mystery to me.

His fiction is the same way. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a very tiny book. Hold it next to any of the Harry Potter series and you will see what I mean. In fact, all seven of the Narnia books don't add up page-wise to anything JK Rowling did after her first book.

For such a tiny book, though, Lewis packs a real punch. He explores issues of truth, evil, ambition, selfishness, sacrifice and redemption, and he does it all writing to an audience of children. Those books are intended for children to read.

What's more important to me is that his conclusions are Biblical. Selfishness is destructive. Forgiveness is better than resentment. The right sacrifice can make all the difference to the world. Such difficult concepts, yet written in a simple, interesting way that a child can absorb.

To me, the most amazing part is his treatment of Aslan. I don't know if you've tried to write dialogue for God, but it isn't easy. I don't know why God does what He does most of the time. How presumptuous do I have to be to put words in His mouth in my stories? Yet I do not argue with Aslan. Everything he says and does seems very much like what Jesus would say or do if He were there.

Lewis claims he never intended for Aslan to be the picture of Jesus that he has become to his readers. If that is the case, Lewis is an even more amazing writer.

Such simple stories, simply told, yet read and cherished generations after publication. Honest, respectful stories by a man whose heart and mind were given completely to God that continue to inspire.

It is a goal, perhaps an unattainable goal, but what use is a goal too easy to reach?

Have you read a fiction book by C.S. Lewis? What lesson did you learn? What character did you love best and why?

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