C.S. Lewis’ writings are, for most Christians, the most significant influence in their spiritual lives (second only to the Bible). His intellect, his wit, and his imagination have captivated both readers and thinkers, atheists and Christians, college grads and high school drop outs since their entrance into the literary world. There is no stereotypical reader of Lewis– there are only people, large and small, book smart and street smart, here and there.
Take Me to Narnia
I think what attracts people initially is The Chronicles of Narnia, where Lewis’ imagination spills out onto the pages of a collection of children’s storybooks. My parents first read them aloud to me when I was eight years old, and I have reread them sporadically ever since. I was enchanted by his depictions of Narnia, wise and generous Aslan, sweet Mr. Tumnus, feisty Reepicheep, and the exquisitely human Pevensies (even Eustace held a soft spot in my heart).
Narnia is a place so wonderfully crafted that instantly readers are home, somehow. I found myself deeply in love with Aslan and his love for Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, and I see so much of my love for Christ in that first love for Aslan. So much of my understanding of grace and Jesus’ sacrifice was first found in the image of Aslan on the stone table. So much of who I am, I owe to Lewis who taught me in those quiet moments what Jesus looked like for the first time between the pages of a storybook.
Made to Create
I think imagination drives us, as humans and as writers, to strange and wonder-filled places. I think we are created with a longing to create, a longing to build something out of nothing. It is why writers write, preachers preach, and inventors invent. Even our nature supports this longing, in the miraculous process of pregnancy and birth. The very way we grow our population is creating new life, something out of nothing. We are destined to create, and each of our creations will be unique and beautiful and significant if we are following God’s course for our creation.
As a child imitates his parents, we imitate our own Father. We long to create, because He created [and continues to create]. As He used His own imagination to create mountains and laughter, we use our imagination to paint landscapes, to speak about faith, to wax eloquent about the beauty of air and breath and life as it moves through our lungs. We are using our imagination to recreate His stories, His pictures, the lives He created. When we create, when we write, when we preach, we are joyfully praising Him for all He has done and will continue to do.
Callie Hyde is an honors student at Baylor University. She writes for a blog called Sincerely, Callie (www.sincerelycallie.com) and is part of Baylor Spiritual Life’s Freshman Retreat, a small group leader at Highland Baptist Church, a Green’s Scholar, and co-creator of Open Book, a group for Baylor freshmen that encourages fellowship and faith with other Christians seeking mentorship and friendship.