A Busy Lewis Week … and Life

I’ve often commented that the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College is nearly a second home for me. Surrounded by all things C. S. Lewis (his writings, his personal library, books and dissertations about him), I have found the Wade to be an invaluable resource for my research and writing.

It was at the Wade in 2014 where my research confirmed that a niche in Lewis scholarship could be found for a historian who focuses on American history. Thus, America Discovers C. S. Lewis: His Profound Impact was birthed. Research at the Wade over the past couple of years provided a wealth of information for my new book, which you can see on the left: Many Times & Many Places: C. S. Lewis & the Value of History.

In 2018, I was invited to speak at the Wade about my first book. A couple of weeks ago, I returned to speak about this new one. Jamin Metcalf, my co-author, joined me as we explained precisely why it is right to call Lewis a historian. Afterward, we sat down with David and Crystal Downing, the Wade’s co-directors, and recorded a podcast about the book. The questions were direct, our answers (I trust) were incisive, and a lot of humor filled the room as we held an informal and fascinating conversation. That podcast was recorded; you can find it here at the Wade’s YouTube channel.

I came home to Lakeland, Florida, and continued my class at All Saints’ Episcopal on Monday evening. Subject? Many Times & Many Places, which is an 8-week journey through the book, one chapter at a time. Then, later in the week, I traveled to the Orlando area to speak at the Mere Christians Conference at the Church of the Messiah.

Designed to be a conference to introduce people to the basics of C. S. Lewis, the plenary sessions were focused on arguably his three most well-known writings: Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, and The Chronicles of Narnia.

My task was to make Screwtape come alive in the hearts and minds of the participants. I can say without qualification that the message did get through. Well, how can it fail to get through when the source is so excellent? Lewis’s wit and insights are invaluable. That’s why this book was the first one to capture the attention of Americans back in 1943. Fascinating, isn’t it, that something written eighty years ago continues to speak to us as if it had been written last week.

I’m back home again, this time preparing for a discussion group on Friday on Lewis’s The Abolition of Man. In my spare time, I’m in the process of developing a course on his The Four Loves, which I will teach next year. The Lord has surely blessed me, I recognize the blessing, and I never want to take for granted the opportunities He has placed before me.