The Professor of Narnia Book Tour took me to Fuller Theological Seminary in Phoenix, Arizona on Wednesday, October 22. Pictured above are the leading lights of The Arizona C. S. Lewis Society. From left to right: Del Kehl (emeritus Professor of English at Arizona State University), Bruce Johnson (Senior Pastor of Scottsdale Presbyterian Church and President of the Arizona C. S. Lewis Society), Me, Grayson Carter (Associate Professor of Church History, Fuller Seminary Phoenix) and Jim Helfers (Professor of English and Chair of the Department of humanities at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix). The Arizona C. S. Lewis Society publishes a wonderful C. S. Lewis Journal in cooperation with Fuller Seminary Southwest. The title is Sehnsucht (a German word meaning "desire, yearning for the transcendent; an experience of transcendent joy"). Of course those who are familiar with the writing of C. S. Lewis know that sehnsucht is a very important concept in his thought. You can learn more about the Arizona C. S. Lewis Society, their activities and journal, here: http://www.azcslewissociety.org/.
We enjoyed a very meaningful 90 minute discussion at Fuller as I offered a powerpoint presentation entitled: "Suffering in the Shadow-lands: C. S. Lewis and The Problem of Pain". We discussed at length both Lewis's personal experience of pain and suffering, including the early death of his mother and the late-in-life death of his wife Joy Davidman Gresham from cancer. We also explored what Lewis had to say about the intellectual "problem of pain" from his early book by the same title and the deep emotional probing of the experience of suffering in his much later book: A Grief Observed. I won't give away some of the insights shared because I hope to use this presentation and the things I learned from the folks in Phoenix in upcoming book tour stops.