Why I Love C.S. Lewis

An Essay By Raine // 7/2/2007

C.S. Lewis is my favorite author...and I've been wondering for some time. Why do I love him so much?

First, lets talk a little bit about the great author himself. Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland. As a child, he asked to be called "Jack" or "Jacksie" and stubbornly refused to answer to anything else. In his youth, Jack read voraciously, a habit that continued throughout his entire life. He spent many happy days with his brother, Warren. Together, they wrote stories and created the imaginary world of "Boxen." These early childhood days were relatively happy and carefree. But this all came to an end when his mother died of cancer. The two boys were sent away to boarding school in England.

Jack was sent to Cherbourg, a prep school in the town of Malvern. Here, he discovered Norse and Celtic mythology, and began to view Christianity as an inferior myth of world history.
He also grew to love nature—the beauty of nature reminded him of the stories of the North, and the stories of the North reminded him of the beauties of nature. The Norse myths brought out a deep longing in Lewis for something beyond. He came to call this longing joy, and described it as calling to him "Look! Look! What do I remind you of?" In 1914, Jack went to study with William T. Kirkpatrick(known as 'The Great Knock'), where he engaged in extensive literary and philosophical studies...Latin, Greek, French, German and Italian.

'The Great Knock' helped to train Lewis's mind and hone his powers of logic, precision, reason and persuasion. With his teaching, Jack mastered languages and texts, while cultivating his imaginative, poetic side. He learned philosophy, politics and english.

Jack soon went on to enter University College, Oxford, but after one term went off to France to fight in World War I. He was wounded and returned to Oxford after recovering. I believe, that after the war, Lewis determined to concern himself only with scientific, rational thought. He said that 'an arrogance takes over. If I cannot explain it, it does not exist.'

During the summer, Mrs. Moore(the mother of his deceased friend Paddy Moore) moved to Oxford with her daughter, and they lived with Jack in a rented home in Headington Quarry. In 1925 Jack was elected a Fellow of Magdalen College, where he served as tutor in English Language and Literature for 29 years.

In 1929, Jack became a theist..."In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed..."

Jack's conversion to Christianity took place in 1931. One evening in September, Lewis had a long talk on Christianity with J.R.R. Tolkien (a devout Roman Catholic) and Hugo Dyson. That evening's discussion was important in bringing about the following day's event that Lewis recorded in Surprised by Joy: "When we [Warnie and Jack] set out [by motorcycle to the Whipsnade Zoo] I did not believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo I did."

Jack had wonderful friends who influenced him greatly. He was part of a group, the "Inklings" that met weekly to talk about life and to read and discuss one another's work. It included his brother Warren, Tolkien, Hugo Dyson, the novelist Charles Williams, the philosopher Owen Barfield and many others. In their company, Jack refined ideas which later came out in print. Their opinions of each others work never affected their friendship.

In 1956, Jack married an American woman named Joy Davidman Gresham. When she died of cancer a short four years later, an immense gap was left in his world, from which he never seemed to have recovered.

Three years later, Jack passed away on the same day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. He left behind a collection of brilliant writing that continues to inspire people the world over.

Jack relished old Irish tales and fairy tales. In his opinion, stories caused us to think with other minds and see with other eyes. They arouse in us a deep longing for something beyond our reach.

Lewis was a tremendously gifted individual. But what could he do with those gifts? Until he came back to Christianity, he was like the Faun at Christmas time, packages tucked under his arm, yet no one to give them to.

For Lewis, the most deadly evil is that evil which pretends to be good.

Eventually Lewis discovered that logic has its end. He realized that reason will not get us everywhere. He found that Christ fulfilled his longing. He learned that we have to search for things. To arrive where we should be, we must search for for things. Jack discovered that at the deepest center of each soul is a desire which cannot be satisfied or described. It guides all our searching, wandering and wanting. This desire is more valuable than the friends we choose and the work we do. To lose it is to lose all.

Lewis knew that fairy stories could give us meaning and awaken the desire and longing. Which is evident in The Chronicles of Narnia.

Jack loved all the aspects of love. Friendship, charity...he wrote, "To love is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung." But isn't the greatest thing about Aslan's love that he is willing to suffer for those he loves? One friend commented, saying that Jack was the best listener he ever knew.

Jack found beauty in many things...nature...food...animals. He found glimpses of glory all throughout life, in beautiful conversations, sunrises, trees. Through these glimpses we realize just for a second that there is something greater than ourselves.

Lewis believe that this world, this earth, is only a Shadowland. A shadow of what greatness and beauty the next world offers. We to abandon even Narnia to find the real hope and truth. We have to pass from this world to find the real truth.

Lewis has had incalculable impact on thousands of people. We have seven chronicles of Narnia because one man was being true to his thoughts, his feelings and his mission.

He was simply an Anglican churchman, literary critic, professor, novelist and theologian. A very great man.

So...why do I love C.S. Lewis?

I love his intellectual scholarly way of writing.

I love his use of logic and reason. C.S. Lewis used his logic and reason to put spiritual matters into a form that logical people could understand. He used this reason to direct people 'further up and further in'. His logic carries us to a certain point, then leaves us to ponder and continue upward on our own.

I love how he uses sources other than scripture to back up some of his arguments. He shows that there are little gleams of truth elsewhere, that can be used to strengthen our own faith.

C.S. Lewis inspires me to look upward...through almost all of his works, he inspires me to think more about my religion and my God.

I love his thoughts on education...he was such a brilliant man!

I love how his writing makes me feel like I am banging my head against a brick wall for hours....and then how it all suddenly makes perfect sense.

I love The Chronicles of Narnia, and the simple way they give such a deep message. Narnia has become a part of who I am.

I love the man that he became, and what he has taught me about life, Christianity, nature, beauty and many other things.

Comments

My favorite

Tamerah

My favorite author happens to be J.R.R. Tolkien, that man was so amazing!

Tamerah | Tue, 07/03/2007

Both

Tolkien and Lewis created two equally amazing but different worlds.
---
The Word is alive/and it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of life to the hopeless/and afraid...

~"The Word is Alive' by Casting Crowns

May my words be a light that guides others to the True Light and Word.

Julie | Sun, 05/31/2009

Formerly Kestrel