Yesterday marked an important 50-year anniversary in Earth’s history.
I’m referring not to the assassination of JFK or the first broadcast episode of Doctor Who, or even what was supposed to be the first preview screening of Dr Strangelove (release was delayed until January 1964 due to the aforementioned JFK incident). No, I’m talking about an event given much less attention than these things in our collective diaries. 11/ 22/ 63 was the day C.S. Lewis died.
He was a man who has been held up as the backbone of Christian apologetics and logical reasoning. Who gave the world one of its great fantasy stories in the seven-book Chronicles of Narnia series. Who continues to influence future generations of writers, Christian leaders and academics. His influence on me over the past year and a half (easily spotted by those who’ve kept up with my theological posts) cannot be overstated.
So I thought I’d use these 350 words to pay my own small tribute to C.S. Lewis. Remember him as you raise your glasses to America’s most charismatic president (something admittedly few people in Britain will be doing at this moment) and as you weep over Matt Smith’s impending departure after the ‘Day of the Doctor’ (they’ll be too busy doing this instead).
I’d also encourage you to read some of his work if you have never previously done so. Narnia speaks for itself; Mere Christianity and Miracles are invaluable tools for new and mature Christians alike. Some of his other classics, such as The Screwtape Letters (detailing personal interactions between a pair of demons aiming to corrupt the soul of an everyday man) and The Great Divorce (illustrating the experience of a group of ‘tourists’ who travel to Heaven and Hell) can be enjoyed by those with no more than a passing interest in what they consider to be the Christian ‘myth’.
Another little fact I like to throw out there is that he was born not far from where I myself was born, in East Belfast, Northern Ireland. There is a statue of him outside what used to be my local library. And maybe this is just me, but when I read his well-argued points and metaphorical storytelling, I can almost see the influence of that Northern Irish upbringing. Here’s to a man who never forgot his roots, despite earning multiple degrees at Oxford University.
Also, for anyone who perhaps turned up expecting this post to be a review of the recent Stephen King novel of the same name, I have read the book and thought it was very good. A solid 9 / 10, with only a few flaws in its overall plotting, and an ending different from the one I would have chosen. Which, when you think of it in relation to this blog entry, is quite ironic indeed.