Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2009

The Nativity

Among the oxen (like an ox I'm slow) I see a glory in the stable grow Which, with the ox's dullness might at length Give me an ox's strength.

Among the asses (stubborn I as they) I see my Saviour where I looked for hay; So may my beastlike folly learn at least The patience of a beast.

Among the sheep (I like a sheep have strayed) I watch the manger where my Lord is laid; Oh that my baa-ing nature would win thence Some woolly innocence!

C. S. Lewis, Poems, p. 122.

Fourth Sunday in Advent

"We had our first frost last night--this morning the lawns are all grey, with a pale, bright sunshine on them: wonderfully beautiful. And somehow exciting. The first beginning of the winter always excites me; it makes me want adventures."

C. S. Lewis, Letters to Children, 16 October 1955.

Screwtape Illustrated

My review of The Illustrated Screwtape Letters has been posted on the C. S. Lewis Blog here:



http://booksbycslewis.blogspot.com/2009/12/illustrated-screwtape.html

Third Sunday in Advent

The Nativity by Gerard van Honthorst (1590-1656)

"Yes," said Queen Lucy. "In our world too, a Stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world."

C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle, chapter 13.

Second Sunday in Advent

Two thousand years go by while on the Cross
Our Lord is suffering still--there is no end

Of pain: the spear pierces, nails rend--

And we below with Mary weep our loss.



The chilling edge of night crawls round the earth;
At every second of the centuries
The dark comes somewhere down, with dreadful ease
Slaying the sun, denying light's rebirth.

But if the agony and death go on,
Our Lady's tears, Our Lord's most mortal cry,
So, too, the timeless lovely birth again--
And the forsaken tomb. Today: the dawn
That never ended and can never die
In breaking glory ushers in the slain.

Advent by Sheldon Vanauken
from A Severe Mercy, Davy's Edition, p. 122.

First Sunday in Advent

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

John 1:14 (NIV)
"The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say that God became Man. Every other miracle prepares for this or exhibits this, or results from this. Just as every natural event is the manifestation at a particular place and moment of Nature's total character, so every particular Christian miracle manifests at a particular place and moment the character and significance of the Incarnation. There is no question in Christianity of arbitrary interferences just scattered about. It relates not a series of disconnected raids on Nature but the various steps of a strategically coherent invasion--an invasion which intends complete conquest and 'occupation'. The fitness, and therefore credibility, of the particular miracles depends on their relation to the Grand Miracle;…

The Hidden Story of Narnia

My newest book, The Hidden Story of Narnia: A Book-by-Book Guide to C. S. Lewis' Spiritual Themes, will be published by Zossima Press in the new year! More information coming soon. Stay tuned. . . .

Service in Memory of Sheldon Vanauken

I had a wonderful time last week in Indianapolis speaking to the Central Indiana C. S. Lewis Society about the life and work of Sheldon Vanauken, author of A Severe Mercy.

Fans and friends of Vanauken may be interested to know there will be a service in memory of Van at his beloved St. Stephen's Church in Forest, Virginia on Saturday, October 24. For details contact Fr. Christopher Heying at St. Stephen's http://www.ststephensforest.org/.

I will be speaking at this event and sharing my powerpoint presentation with many photos of the places from Van's life depicted in A Severe Mercy. For those in Lynchburg who have already seen my presentation you will be happy to know that it has been updated with many new photographs and some new information gleaned from my recent research.

For more information about Sheldon Vanauken you may visit my web site: http://willvaus.com/sheldon_vanauken.

Sheldon Vanauken in Indianapolis

I will be in Indianapolis on Wednesday, August 26, speaking to the Central Indiana C. S. Lewis Society about Sheldon Vanauken, author of A Severe Mercy. The meeting will be at 7 pm at Tabernacle Presbyterian Church, located at 34th and Central in Indianapolis. My powerpoint presentation will focus, in part, on Vanauken's Indiana roots. The presentation is open to the public. For more information on Sheldon Vanauken you may visit my web site: http://www.willvaus.com/sheldon_vanauken.

C. S. Lewis Sat Here

I have a new blog posted at http://cslewis.com/. Click on the link to read it: http://booksbycslewis.blogspot.com/2009/08/cs-lewis-sat-here.html

Sister Penelope

The paper I delivered at the recent Perelandra Colloquium in Oxford was entitled: Some Ladies at Wantage: C. S. Lewis, Sister Penelope & The Community of St Mary the Virgin. Lewis dedicated Perelandra to "Some ladies at Wantage", the nuns of CSMV. Lewis's correspondence with Sister Penelope of CSMV began when Penelope wrote to Lewis about Out of the Silent Planet. Their correspondence continued for the next 24 years, right to the end of Lewis's life.
One of the many blessings of my recent visit to Oxford was that I had the opportunity to visit Wantage thanks to the help of a nun from another religious community, Sister Catherine CSC, who drove me out to see the Community of St Mary the Virgin.
Here are some photos from that visit. . . .

Entrance
Gatehouse where C. S. Lewis stayed
when he visited and spoke to the Junior Sisters of CSMV in the early 1940's
CSMV Cemetery

Sister Penelope's Memorial Marker

The Church of St. Cross, Holywell

During my recent trip to Oxford I visited a number of graves. One of the church yards I visited was that of the Church of St. Cross, Holywell, pictured above. Walter Hooper writes of this church in C. S. Lewis: Companion & Guide, p. 781,
Many of Lewis's friends and acquaintances lie in the cemetery adjacent to this ancient church in St Cross Road, Oxford. The earliest parts of the church date from the late 11th or early 12th century, but most of what is seen was added during the 14th-16th centuries. Charles Williams went to services here during his years in Oxford, and Dorothy L. Sayers chose it for the 'marriage' of Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane in Busman's Honeymoon. The cemetery contains the graves of many notable people, among whom are : Stella Aldwinckle; Sir Maurice Bowra (1898-1971), Warden of Wadham College; H.V.D. 'Hugo' Dyson; Austin Farrer; Katherine Farrer; Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932), author of The Wind in the Willows; Lord Redcliffe-Maud …

Joy Davidman

In celebration of the Fourth of July I am reading the letters of C. S. Lewis's American wife, Joy Davidman (edited by my friend Don King). These letters, along with King's brief and incisive commentary along the way, are a real treat.

While I was in Oxford last week I got to see the former Register Office (42 St Giles) where Lewis and Davidman were married in a civil ceremony on April 23, 1956:



I also walked by Joy's former home at 10 Old High Street, Headington:





And here is an old photo of mine showing Joy's memorial at the Oxford Crematorium with poem by C. S. Lewis:

And Douglas Gresham viewing his mother's memorial plaque in 1997:

Sheldon Vanauken in Oxford

Here are some photos from my recent visit to some sites mentioned by Sheldon Vanauken in A Severe Mercy. . . .

The Perch in Binsey
Interior of The Perch The church yard of St. Margaret's, Binsey,
where Van & Davy's ashes were scattered.
Interior of St. Margaret's


The organ played by Davy St. Margaret's Well which also figures in the Alice stories by Lewis Carroll


Street sign above and approximate location of The Studio (now demolished) below:

"Ah Studio! We'll meet again. It won't be gaslight in the lane, But just as gentle, only brighter. And Jack on Aslan's back. We'll sing His glory Around those two: One Love-truth. Old world will give one final 'crack!' Our hearts could not be lighter." Dom Julian, O.S.B. (Upon reading the Oxford chapters of A Severe Mercy in manuscript.)

St. Stephen's House

It is Friday morning at St. Stephen's House, Oxford, in between the summer apologetics conference and the beginning of the Perelandra Colloquium. I thought I might take this opportunity to comment on the setting for these two events.

St. Stephen's House was formerly the mission house for the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE). This Anglican order is also known as the Cowley Fathers due to the location of the original mission house in Cowley, a suburb of Oxford. The photo above is of the cloister with the Church of St. John the Evangelist beyond. Below is a photo of the mission house itself.
It was to this location that C. S. Lewis came to make confession to Father Walter Adams, one of the Cowley Fathers. Lewis began the practice of confession to a priest during the first week of November 1940, as noted in his letters to Sister Ruth Penelope Lawson. Lewis continued on with Father Adams until Adams' death in 1952. After Adams' death Lewis continued the practice o…

Oxford

Today is my third day in Oxford. Alas, I haven't posted anything about this visit yet on this blog because I have been too busy. But here we go. . . .
I have come to Oxford in order to attend two events: The Summer Apologetics Course at St. Stephen's House and
The Perelandra Colloquium. But of course my real reason for coming to Oxford is just because I love the place. My first day here was spent walking about a good bit taking lots of photos. Even though I have been to Oxford several times before, the beauty of the architecture and setting has simply overwhelmed me once again. Though I have taken many photos of Oxford in the past, this opportunity has been unique for now I have a digital camera. Yea!
Last night, as the sun was just setting around 9 pm, was the best photo op yet. I hope you will agree. . . .

Magdalen College Tower


The spire of the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin


The Radcliffe Camera

The Sheldonian Theatre

Professor of Narnia Visits Highland Elementary

Today I visited my youngest son's school, Highland Elementary in Monterey, Virginia. I spoke to grades three through five about "My Journey with C. S. Lewis" and signed copies of my book "The Professor of Narnia". With K-2 I read from the Narnia pop-up and picture books. There was much enthusiasm expressed for Narnia and many intelligent questions asked by the students about C. S. Lewis, Narnia and the writing process.

If you would like "The Professor of Narnia" to visit your school in the coming year e-mail me today at will@willvaus.com.

Planet Narnia

For many readers of C. S. Lewis this blog will be old news. Furthermore, this is a blog I never before planned to write. That is not because I lack an opinion about the book pictured above, Planet Narnia, but simply because I saw no point in adding my voice to the many others in the world who have already commented far more intelligently than I could about this book.

So why am I writing this blog? First of all, as I travel around and speak about Lewis and his work in various places around the United States I have started to have people ask me my opinion about Planet Narnia. Secondly, I read a blog about Planet Narnia today, written by C. S. Lewis scholar Dr. Devin Brown, that got me thinking about writing my own blog. (You can read that other blog here: http://booksbycslewis.blogspot.com/2009/05/planet-narnia-spin-spun.html.) At first I was just going to comment about Dr. Brown's blog post, but then I realized my comments were too long to be contained in a blog comment. Actu…

100 Huntley Street

I will be a guest on 100 Huntley Street, Canada's longest running daily TV talk show, on Thursday morning, May 21. Hopefully all of you, my readers in Canada, and those who receive 100 Huntley via satellite TV in the USA, will tune in to watch the interview. For more information click here: http://crossroadstv.ca/television/huntley/upcoming-guests

The Perelandra Colloquium

June 26-27 I will be in Oxford, England for the second premiere of "Perelandra the Opera" based upon the C. S. Lewis book by the same name. I will be presenting a paper at the Perelandra Colloquium in connection with the new premiere of the opera. My paper will be about the dedicatees of Lewis's original book, namely "Some Ladies at Wantage". For more information about Perelandra the Opera and the two day international colloquium click here: www.perelandraproject.org.

Mere Theology in Korea

Mere Theology: A Guide to the Thought of C. S. Lewis has now been published in Korean by Knowledge and Love Press, an imprint of Revival and Reformation Press.

Strange it is to look at the cover of a book I know I wrote and not even be able to discern my own name in print!

The Second Coming of A. N. Wilson

In case you missed the news: A. N. Wilson has come back to faith in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. That's right. The same A. N. Wilson who wrote a biography of C. S. Lewis (much deplored for its factual errors and Freudian twist on Lewis's life) is now a Christian, for the second time.

You can read the full story, in his own words, here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1169145/Religion-hatred-Why-longer-cowed-secular-zealots.html or here http://www.newstatesman.com/religion/2009/04/conversion-experience-atheism.

I think Wilson's articles show that no one is beyond the grace of God, the God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, the God who never stops reaching out, in love, in order to bring us back to himself.

C. S. Lewis Talk

My talk on C. S. Lewis: The Professor of Narnia, from my visit to Christ Church at Grove Farm, has now been uploaded and posted on my web site. You can listen to it here: http://willvaus.com/c__s__lewis_talk.