Daily Archives: November 22, 2010

Lewis the story guy

C.S. Lewis booksForty-seven years ago today, C.S. Lewis died. I didn’t know him then. I was five at the time, and the death of President Kennedy is the death on that date that is in my memory.

I discovered Lewis in the mid-seventies. I’m not sure how, though it probably was from reading Tolkien and learning of their friendship. The first book I read of Lewis’ was not one of his theology works. It was the first book in his fiction space trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet (affiliate link).

It captivated me, as did the other two books.  In story form, he reflects on the idea of this being a bent world, in contrast to other worlds that might exist without sin. When I read the Garden of Eden story as it might happen on another planet, with someone from earth trying to help the fruit not be eaten, I was so engaged that I had to stop reading in the middle and walk away for a bit. (In all my reading, this has seldom happened.) I’m not even sure how to describe “That Hideous Strength”, the final book in the trilogy. The mixture of Merlin and intellectualism and higher education and Truth has shaped me in ways I can’t quite identify.

I’ve read much of Lewis’ other work. I’ve taught some of it. I’ve recommended some of it. It’s significant. It’s thought-provoking. But these three books worked their way into my heart, into my imagination. I never stopped to think about why until today.

It’s the story.

If you want to win assent, make arguments. If you want to change lives, tell stories.