This is a very interesting and productive time in my life. Normally, that isn’t the case for someone who has passed the 70 mark, but I don’t know when I’ve felt more in tune with what the Lord has me doing. And a lot of that centers around C. S. Lewis.
At the university where I taught full-time for thirteen years and now serve as an adjunct professor, I’m teaching my Lewis course to twenty-one students. Most of these students, even though they definitely have an interest in Lewis, have read few of his works. A few have read Narnia, but not necessarily all seven books. Even fewer have read Mere Christianity or Screwtape Letters, but that’s about the extent of their Lewis knowledge.
Due to that basic lack of knowledge of the man, I begin the course with his autobiography, Surprised by Joy. They finished reading it last week. The comments I’ve received in their reading reports and a reflective essay on the book indicate that they were pleasantly surprised (some by joy) with this insight into the thoughts of a man who traveled a spiritual road from nominal Christianity to atheism and then to the real thing.
We are now discussing Mere Christianity and the same thing is occurring. I’m getting feedback that they didn’t realize not only the depth of Lewis’s thinking (not your typical gospel presentation) but also how well he illustrates his points. The rest of the semester will include Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, Abolition of Man, That Hideous Strength, A Grief Observed, and “The Weight of Glory” sermon/essay.
Oh, yes, they also will be reading a book titled America Discovers C. S. Lewis: His Profound Impact. How could I not give them the research I did on his connections with Americans?
Then there’s the Lewis class I’m offering through my church that delves into his Ransom Trilogy.
I have loved this trilogy even since I first read it during my undergraduate years, which was obviously some time ago. I’ve never had the opportunity to teach about all three of these books until now, and I want to make the most of it. I advertised it on a number of Lewis Facebook pages; the response was both overwhelming and humbling. Overall, approximately 120 people registered for this free course. The beautiful thing about modern technology is that they don’t have to be present in person in the classroom with me, but can Zoom each session live or watch it later at a time more convenient for them after it is uploaded. What a blessing it is to know this will go anywhere in the world. I’ve already heard from people in Sweden, Germany, Poland, and Japan who have watched the initial session.
A third blessing is a video series I did through the church on Worldviews. They are wonderfully produced to ensure I’m not just a talking head; they are fairly short, rarely more than twenty minutes each; and they are being made available on YouTube. Five of the fourteen sessions are already uploaded; a new one appears each week. If you haven’t yet seen them, here’s the first one for you to evaluate.
In addition to all of this, I’m busy working on another Lewis book—eventually—that will examine his views on history, the historical profession, and how Christians should use—and not abuse—history. I’m trusting the Lord that there will be a publisher somewhere willing to take it on.
In summary: I thank the Lord for the opportunities He has given me, and I want to make sure that He is the one I will point to in every endeavor. This is not a personal quest for glory; I owe everything to Him. Therefore, in all I do, I want to lead people to Him, His truth, and His redeeming love.