Not a Tame Writer

Worship wars, church shopping, God and politics, and "readable" books on religion. C. S. Lewis wrote about all these things. Here's one writer's take on what we can learn from Lewis, a writer we adore and then ignore.

Midway through The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, three of the Pevensie children—Lucy, Susan, and Peter—are taken by Mr. and Mrs. Beaver to see Aslan, the great lion of Narnia. The closer they get, the more nervous the children become. Finally, Susan asks Mr. Beaver if Aslan is “safe,” adding that, “I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“Safe?” Mr. Beaver replies. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”

The same could be said for Aslan’s creator, C.S. Lewis. Lewis, whose books have sold more than 100 million copies, has become a kind of favorite uncle to millions of children and adults alike.

But Lewis, like his most famous creation, is not safe. Never one to suffer fools when he was alive, Lewis remains a potent critic of Christian practices. His Screwtape Letters, a fictional series of epistles from a senior devil, Screwtape, to a younger one on how to tempt human beings, sound remarkably contemporary (despite Lewis’s use of “man” for human). In Screwtape and his essays and nonfiction books, Lewis uses his pen instead of a lion’s claws to expose our weaknesses, tear holes in our pretenses, and point out what God expects of us. He may not be safe, but what Lewis has to say is good for us.

The rest of this piece can be found in the current issue of the Covenant Companion. (When you get there, scroll down to "Not a Tame Writer")


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