From Narnia to the Gospel: Turning Conversations about C. S. Lewis to the Topic He Loved Most - page 3


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From the Summer 2017 issue of Knowing & Doing:

From Narnia to the Gospel: Turning Conversations about C. S. Lewis to the Topic He Loved Most

by Randy Newman, M.Div., Ph.D.
Senior Teaching Fellow for Apologetics and Evangelism, C.S. Lewis Institute

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 Third, I sometimes tell people that Lewis helps me see connections between different parts of my life. Eventually I want to tell them about the connections between God and all of life, but I don’t start there. I think many people wonder how the here and now might connect to heaven and forever. But that’s an awkward or alien topic until people first see connections between home and work or entertainment and reality or the mundane and the important. Theologically this is because the same God who made our physical world also gave us souls and minds to grasp unseen things. Our society typically ignores these links, but we should try to encourage our friends to see things differently. Owen Barfield once said about Lewis that “somehow what he thought about everything was secretly present in what he said about anything.”2 Wouldn’t it be great if some of our friends wondered what we thought about everything (especially God) when they heard us talk about anything?  Fourth, Lewis put his finger on something that I find many people feel but can’t articulate—that all of life has some element of disappointment. They wish it didn’t but they can’t seem but to experience letdown on a regular basis. Lewis said this was the major theme of his life. But he turned the theme upside down by calling it “joy.” Consider how I once used this topic to talk to a skeptic. Here’s how part of our conversation went:
 Me: Lewis helped me with my wonderings—whether life had any meaning. He spoke a lot about disappointment. Every experience has a certain amount of disappointment to it. Whether it’s an experience, a relationship, a goal. For me, it was music. I thought I was going to find some piece of music that was going to be the piece that would always satisfy. But I never found it.
 He: I think, for me, it was a relationship that I thought would always satisfy.
 Me: Right. Relationships, experiences, beauty—they all promise more than they can deliver. Lewis said that people tend to respond to that disappointment in one of three ways. They can keep trying to find a new thing that won’t disappoint. Or they can become cynical . . .  He (interrupting me by raising his hand): That’s me— the cynic!
 Me: Well, Lewis says there’s a third way. It’s the way that says, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”3
 He: Interesting.
 Me: The combination of Lewis’s chapter titled “Hope” in Mere Christianity and Matthew’s book in the New Testament made all the difference in the world for me. Matthew convinced me that Jesus was the Messiah, and he opened the way for me to find that other world that Lewis said I was looking for.


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