Clive Staples Lewis was a celebrated Anglo-Irish novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, lay theologian and Christian apologist whose impact and influence lives on.

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Past Watchful Dragons: Lewis in Nashville

November 5th, 2005 | Skip to comments

Past Watchful Dragons has been going on the past week here in Nashville, with a number of impressive presentations and reflective discussions. The two outstanding moments were Greg Wright’s “Sometimes a Film Says Best What Needs to be Said,” a clever allusion to an essay Lewis once wrote on fairy tales, whose thesis focuses not on the necessity of slavish, potential fidelity of the Narnian film to Lewis’s original work, but on the aesthetic choices of the director in achieving his cinematic vision. Greg’s ideas are countercultural to a majority of those expressed thus far in many of the Narnia-promotion events, and here in Nashville, but worthy of reflection and you will want to visit the website, Hollywood Jesus again and again. I am sure Greg will express and revisit his thoughts on the movie over the next several months.

The other solid presentation was a tour de force by Andrew Lazo of Rice University, who is pursuing the novel/nouveau (and somewhat counterintuitive) thesis in his dissertation at Rice that Tolkien and Lewis were, despite appearances, actual legitimate “Modernists,” traversing the same wastelands themes as their better-pigeonholed counterparts like Eliot, Joyce, and Woolf, only through a Christian mythic lens.

Events like these both encourage and depress me, personally, speaking as one of three featured speakers at the event (my presentation was on the provenance of The Problem of Pain and its relationship to the rest of Lewis’s work, including Narnia.)

  • Encourage, why? Because there is continuing evidence that Lewis’s “mere Christianity” works in drawing together disparate people from all over the theological landscape and temperament and vocation. I met folks who were Baptists, Church of Christ/Christian Church, Anglicans, Methodists, Catholics, lawyers, doctors, quilters, horse trainers, students, ex-students, perpetual students, pastors, teachers, evangelists–a bonafide Ephesians 4-he-gave-us-gifts-from-heaven experience.
  • Depress, how? I also got to witness, again, the fact that church at large continues to squeeze out the arts and the imagination from their “normal” discourse-from the day to day practice of worship, discipleship, service. By which I mean-people come to these kinds of Lewis events thirsty and hungry and desperate for the kind of “Inklings-type” fellowship (iron sharpens iron) and richly layered talk that ought to be characteristic of the local church, in and out of worship and preaching, nurturing the expression of such talent and expression—all the while providing a rigor and an accountability for maintaining the mere Christian’s adherence to the major doctrines of the faith. (Come on people, now, Everybody get together, Try to love one another, right now! – The Youngbloods)

Media Update

Since the last time I blogged about it, I have been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including print outlets like the Columbus Dispatch, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Toledo Blade, Bowling Green Daily Sentinel-Tribune, Denver Post, Colorado Springs Gazette, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; radio interviews with the NPR affiliate in Cleveland and a talk radio program in Fresno, CA; and tv studio and site interviews with WTOL, Toledo; WKYC (NBC) and WEWS (ABC), Cleveland; KFSN (ABC) and KMPH (FOX), Fresno; for a sample of my interviews, here is a 1.7mb QuickTime capsule. If you are from one of these regions and see a story emanating from these interviews, please let me know.


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