Did you think C.S. Lewis was primarily a theologian? Think again. He was a writer, first and foremost–a professor of literature who embarked on writing fiction after he was called to the faith. (Also as a result of that call, he wrote nonfiction radio talks, articles, and books intended to help the average nonbeliever understand the basics of the faith.)
Lewis wanted to write fiction that would teach unbelievers without being too overtly Christian. It was a challenge for him, and it’s a challenge for us, too.
I’m privileged to be sitting in on a class taught by noted lecturer Jerram Barrs on the subject of Lewis and his writing.
Barrs told us this week that Lewis’s prayer for the non-Christians reading his stories was that “they will fall in love with Aslan, and when they later hear of Jesus, they will recognize him.”
Did he succeed? I certainly think so.
It can be hard to fall in love with Jesus in the real world, because he can’t be seen. But in Narnia, Aslan can be seen, at least some of the time. Perhaps this is Lewis’s most enduring legacy: revealing the heart of Jesus through story in such a way that we do fall in love with him, and in such a way that non-believers don’t feel preached at.
How can we writers follow his example?
(photo by Albert Bridge)