We had our introductory class with Tom Williams last night, about the book
href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0849904889/ref=pd_ecc_rvi_1/102-2986034-7535343?%5Fencoding=UTF8">"The Heart of the Chronicles of Narnia" that I wrote about a few days ago. I've got my own copy of the book now as well as a little companion book called href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0849904943/ref=pd_ecc_rvi_2/102-2986034-7535343?%5Fencoding=UTF8">"Knowing Aslan". Tom was eager (but asked Faye's permission, so cute!) to tell Tdub and I after class that the little companion book is the #2 seller on a Christian Book List of some sort this week. It's being purchased in bulk by churches who are giving it away as a way to introduce non-believers to God.
Tonight's class was basically an overview of what the class will be about. It's not specific to "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" but will cover all things Narnia. Our particular faith tradition has been guilty of over-looking the story, romance, and beauty contained in the Bible and carried out through God's relationship with us. Tom told us that C.S. Lewis said that while reason and logic are required to convey truth, imagination must be involved to convey meaning. Tom wholeheartedly agrees and explained quite eloquently why the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies. They tell a story that conveys a meaning we relate to because they mirror God's truth. However, it was important to C.S. Lewis that the books be read for pleasure. He wrote the books first and foremost as stories to be enjoyed, but his Christianity naturally pushed itself into them because being Christian was vital to his identity. Lewis believed that we should all use our gifts and talents as God gave them to us, and because we are Christian, God will turn whatever we do into a sort of ministry. We don't have to overtly go about trying to do separate "Christian" things. For me, as a teacher, that says that even though I don't (in public school) teach Christianity, the students I come in contact with each day should have had a "Christian" experience just from being in my presence.
Here's a Lewis quote from the preface:
"I never wrote down to anyone; . . . it certainly is my opinion that a book worth reading only in childhood is not worth reading even then. The inhibitions which I hoped my stories would overcome in a child's mind may exist in a grown-up's mind too, and may perhaps be overcome by the same means."