Category: Book Reviews

Screwtape’s Agony Is Our Reward

My students finished reading C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters this week. The final letter includes one of the most profound insights Lewis has ever offered as to what happens when a Christian dies. Even though it is described through the eyes of a demon (or perhaps because it is described in that way), one can get a glimpse of the glory that awaits those who have found the narrow path and remained faithful. Wormwood’s “patient” has died in a… Read more »

Narnia: Layers of Meaning

All summer I worked on developing courses on C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. In one sense, it was labor, but some labors provide spiritual satisfaction. This was one of those labors. I’m now presenting the fruit of that labor to a room of seventy people at my church who seem eager to learn what Lewis has given us in these presumably “children’s” tales. What they are discovering, I trust, is that they are just as meaningful to adults. I’m… Read more »

“I Was the Lion”

In my ongoing preparation for teaching C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia at my church, I’ve now completed five of the seven books, the latest being The Horse and His Boy. This book is unique as being the only one where no one from our world enters Narnia; rather, it focuses on two young people, Shasta and Aravis. The former is a slave seeking the freedom he heard exists in the land of Narnia; the second is a girl fleeing… Read more »

Depth in The Silver Chair

I wrote in a earlier post that I’m preparing to teach C. S. Lewis’s entire Narnia series (in the published order) on Wednesday evenings at my church—the first three in the fall quarter and the last four in the winter (although here in Florida the word “winter” is more like “far less humid and much more comfortable”). My goal is to finish this preparation during the summer, as I will be quite busy when the new semester begins at my… Read more »

Teaching Narnia

I’m now a member of a church that has a strong education program. On Wednesday evenings, for an hour and a half each week, I’ve had the joy of teaching C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity (along with my book, America Discovers C. S. Lewis). I’ve now been asked—and have readily agreed—to teach The Chronicles of Narnia. I won’t try to cram them all into one semester; instead, I’ll divide them into a two-semester format, covering the… Read more »

Lewis & Sayers Wordsmithing: The Mind of the Maker (Part 3)

Dorothy Sayers’s The Mind of the Maker, as I’ve pointed out in two previous posts, has a lot in common with how C. S. Lewis thought. Here are two more examples of why Lewis liked what Sayers had to say. Sayers focused on the power of words to move men. Lewis was a dedicated wordsmith who knew that the right words used at the right time in just the right way, could spark the imagination and jumpstart the mind. Sayers… Read more »

A Witness, Not a Testimony

The most fascinating autobiography of the 20th century was Whittaker Chambers’s Witness. I’ve re-read it numerous times, particularly in tandem with the course I teach on him and his writings. Why did Chambers decide to call his book Witness? His testimony before HUAC was an accounting of what he knew about the underground—but that is all a testimony is. It tells what happened; it provides facts. Chambers saw what he was doing as something more, something deeper. A witness is… Read more »