My connection with the New York C. S. Lewis Society goes back to 1996. At that time I was living in South Carolina and I was interested in starting my own C. S. Lewis Society. I wrote to Clara Sarrocco, Secretary of the New York Society, seeking information about their meetings--how they were structured, where they met, etc. Clara was very helpful and sent me a huge packet of information which helped immensely in starting my own group in Columbia, South Carolina. So far as I know, the Columbia C. S. Lewis Society is still going strong.
In 1997 I was invited by the Anglican Society of South Carolina to present a Lenten lecture on C. S. Lewis. I chose as my topic: God's Sovereignty and Human Free Will in the Thought of C. S. Lewis. Subsequently I submitted that paper to the Bulletin of the New York C. S. Lewis Society for publication and then editor, James Como, very graciously accepted it.
That same year I moved from Columbia, South Carolina to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where I later started another C. S. Lewis Society (which is also continuing to this day without my help!). While living in Pittsburgh I submitted yet another paper for publication in the NYCSLS Bulletin. This time the topic was: C. S. Lewis on Scripture.
By this time I was thinking: wouldn't it be interesting to write a book on Lewis's theology, tackling other topics in brief compass, just as I had done in these two articles for the Bulletin of the NYCSLS? And so I commenced what became an all-consuming project for a number of years. The end result was, Mere Theology: A Guide to the Thought of C. S. Lewis, published by InterVarsity Press in April 2004.
After writing The Professor of Narnia: The C. S. Lewis Story last year I began searching around for people to offer endorsements. That search led me back to Clara Sarrocco who had been so helpful to me years before. Clara wrote a delightful endorsement of the book, part of which appears on the back cover. At the same time I was invited to address the New York Society as part of my Professor of Narnia Book Tour.
Thus it was that I made my trek in the dead of winter from Virginia to New York City last Friday, January 9. The trip was not in vain. I was well fed and entertained at dinner by some of the most venerable members of the Society: Bill McClain, Bob Trexler and the Wendlings. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all those who attended Friday night's meeting. And by all accounts they seemed to appreciate my presentation entitled Suffering in the Shadowlands: C. S. Lewis & The Problem of Pain. However, I must admit that addressing the oldest C. S. Lewis Society, one which has been in operation since 1969, was quite a daunting task. I felt like I was bringing coals to Newcastle. What could I possibly add to their knowledge of C. S. Lewis? But some folks graciously told me afterwards that they had learned some new things about CSL and his works. Will wonders never cease?
To learn more about the New York C. S. Lewis Society you may visit their web site by clicking here: http://www.nycslsociety.com/index.html.