In a letter to a young correspondent, written on December 29, 1962, C. S. Lewis said, "Time? Wait till you reach my age and you will find that time doesn't go 'fast' but at space speed!... With all hopes for your success, and best wishes for 1963."
BRRR HAPPY NEW YEAR (aka BRR-R BRITAIN ON ICE)<p>&amp;lt;p&amp;gt;Your browser does not support iframes.&amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;</p> This is a fascinating little blast from the past! Video of life in Britain as the year turned from 1961 to 1962, one of the last winters C. S. Lewis experienced in his adopted country.
Lewis' brother Warren wrote this about the weather to a correspondent on 4 January 1962:
"We haven't any central heating here, but for the moment have plenty of coal fires, and a thermostat in the bathroom; but unless the freeze breaks we shall soon be short of coal. Already fresh vegetables have doubled in price, and the shops warn us that very soon we shall have no veg. except out of tins or packets. Which is a gloomy prospect, for we are normally large consumers of vegetables.
"The only person who is enjoying the weather is young Doug. We have a pretty large pond in our garden, frozen solid of course, …
I was impressed by the Queen's expression of personal faith in Jesus Christ at the end of this video.
The 1662 Book of Common Prayer invites us to pray for the Queen in the following manner:
O Lord our heavenly Father, high and mighty, King of kings, Lord of lords, the only Ruler of princes, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth: Most heartily we beseech thee with thy favour to behold our most gracious Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth; and so replenish her with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that she may alway incline to thy will, and walk in thy way: Endue her plenteously with heavenly gifts; grant her in health and wealth long to live; strengthen her that she may vanquish and overcome all her enemies, and finally after this life she may attain everlasting joy and felicity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
And here is an appropriate prayer for the royal family, especially in consideration of Prince Philip's current health condition:
My family and I went to see this
movie yesterday. We found it to be a film of incredible beauty and pathos. It
shows, in a unique way, the suffering that millions endured during WWI,
including, not least, the infantrymen who fought in the trenches of France,
like C. S. Lewis. The story is based upon a
children’s book, later turned into a stage-play, written by British author,
Michael Morpurgo. According to Wikipedia, “After meeting a World War I veteran
who drank in his local pub Iddesleigh and who had been in the Devon Yeomanry working
with horses, Morpurgo began to think of telling the story of the universal
suffering of the Great War through a horse’s viewpoint, but was unsure that he
could do it. He also met another villager, Captain Budgett, who had been in the
Cavalry in the Great War, and a third villager who remembered the army coming
to the village to buy horses. Morpurgo thanks the three men in the dedication
of the book, naming them as Albert Weeks, Wilfred Ellis and Captain…
"I keep thinking about the Christmas scene that Anthony
arranged under the altar. This probably is the most meaningful "crib"
I have ever seen. Three small woodcarved figures made in India: a poor woman, a
poor man, and a small child between them. The carving is simple, nearly
primitive. No eyes, no ears, no mouths, just the contours of the faces. The
figures are smaller than a human hand - nearly too small to attract attention
at all. "But then - a beam of light shines on the three figures
and projects large shadows on the wall of the sanctuary. That says it all. The
light thrown on the smallness of Mary, Joseph, and the Child projects them as
large, hopeful shadows against the walls of our life and our world. "While looking at the intimate scene we already see the
first outlines of the majesty and glory they represent. While witnessing the
most human of human events, I see the majesty of God appearing on the horizon
of my existence. While being moved by the ge…
Here is a video of the choir of King's College Chapel Cambridge singing "Once in Royal David's City"--the first hymn of "The Nine Lessons and Carols" performed by the choir every Christmas Eve. C. S. Lewis called King's College Chapel "beautiful beyond belief". I think the same could be said of the service of Nine Lessons & Carols. I hope to visit Cambridge some Christmas in my lifetime to be there for this service....
Many C. S. Lewis enthusiasts become collectors of first editions of his work. Perhaps the foremost private collector of Lewis' work in the world is my friend, Dr. Ed Brown. Ed's book, In Pursuit of C. S. Lewis, is a fascinating compendium of his unique experiences in collecting Lewis' works and his amazing interactions with many who knew Lewis personally.
Along with the book, Ed has for some time made available a full color insert with 80 mini photos of the dust covers of practically all the Lewis first editions.
Now, signed copies of this intriguing book, as well as the keepsake color insert are made available for purchase more easily than ever before. Just click on the link below for more information:
I am often asked if I read any authors other than C. S. Lewis. The answer is "yes". One of those authors is Henri Nouwen. I receive daily devotional emails from Henri Nouwen.org. I thought today's devotional thought for the Second Sunday of Advent was outstanding, so I just had to pass it on....
Something Hardly Noticeable Second Sunday of Advent—December 4 "A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him . . ." (Isa.11:1-2).
These words from last night's liturgy have stayed with me during the day. Our salvation comes from something small, tender, and vulnerable, something hardly noticeable. God, who is the Creator of the Universe, comes to us in smallness, weakness, and hiddenness.
I find this a hopeful message. Somehow, I keep expecting loud and impressive events to convince me and others of God's saving power; but over and over again I am reminded that spectacles, power play…
The photo above is from an assembly I did a couple of weeks ago at American Martyrs Catholic School in Manhattan Beach, California. I spoke to 4th-8th graders about "My Journey with C. S. Lewis". Before I got started, one of the younger students asked me if I was C. S. Lewis! I had the sad duty of telling her that Lewis died the year I was born. However, she and a few hundred other students seemed to enjoy my presentation anyway and many bought my books and asked for my autograph afterwards....
Out of all the groups, young and old, I have spoken to about C. S. Lewis in the past few years, this group had the most questions, and all of their questions were very interesting. In fact, I didn't have enough time to answer them all!
During my visit to the Los Angeles area I also spoke to Dr. Diana Glyer's C. S. Lewis class at Azusa Pacific University. My topic there was all about the spiritual themes in "The Last Battle". In addition, I spoke to the Southern Califor…
I will be in the Los Angeles area this week speaking about C. S. Lewis in three different locations and signing copies of my newest book, Speaking of Jack: A C. S. Lewis Discussion Guide.
On Tuesday afternoon, November 15, I will be speaking to one of Dr. Diana Glyer's English classes at Azusa Pacific University about spiritual themes in The Last Battle. Then, on the morning of Wednesday, November 16, I will be speaking to fourth through eighth graders at American Martyrs School in Manhattan Beach about "My Journey with C. S. Lewis". And in the evening I will be speaking to The Southern California C. S. Lewis Society, meeting at Azusa Pacific University, about "C. S. Lewis, Father Walter Adams & Spiritual Direction".
For more information about The Southern California C. S. Lewis Society you may visit their web site here: So. Cal. CSL Society.
While I've been perusing C. S. Lewis' personal library at the Wade Center this week, I've also come across some of Lewis' favorite quotes from G. K. Chesterton. Here are just a few, underlined in Lewis' copy of Chesterton's Orthodoxy:
"You can make a story out of a hero among dragons; but not out of a dragon among dragons. The fairy tale discusses what a sane man will do in a mad world. The sober realistic novel of to-day discusses what an essential lunatic will do in a dull world."
"Nietzsche started a nonsensical idea that men had once sought as good what we now call evil; if it were so we could not talk of surpassing or even falling short of them. How can you overtake Jones if you walk in the other direction?"
"But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, 'Do it again' to the sun.... It may be that he has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and …
This week I have been at the Marion E. Wade Center in Wheaton, Illinois doing research for a new book I am writing on the top ten authors and books that influenced C. S. Lewis' vocational attitude and philosophy of life. #1 on that Top Ten list is George MacDonald (pictured above) and his book, Phantastes.
As part of my research I have been perusing all the MacDonald books from Lewis' library now part of the collection at the Wade. Here are some of my favorite MacDonald quotes, also favorites of Lewis, that I have come across in my research:
From The Miracles of Our Lord:
"God's greatest work has never been done in crowds, but in closets; and when it works out from thence, it is not upon crowds but upon individuals. A crowd is not a divine thing. It is not a body. Its atoms are not members one of another."
"The man who prays, in proportion to the purity of his prayer, becomes a spiritual power, a nerve from the divine brain, yea, perhaps a ganglion as we call it…
On Sunday I head to the midwest for two "Speaking of Jack" book-signings. The first one will be in Indianapolis on Monday, October 24, 7-9 p.m. at Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N. Meridian Street, Room 112. This meeting will be with the Central Indiana C. S. Lewis Society. I will be talking about C. S. Lewis' experience of spiritual direction with Father Walter Adams.
Then on Saturday, October 29, at 11:15 am I will be speaking and signing books at the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College (pictured above). For more information click here:
William O'Flaherty of the "C. S. Lewis Minute" podcast recently interviewed me about my book, Speaking of Jack: A C. S. Lewis Discussion Guide. You can listen to the first part of that interview here: C. S. Lewis Minute
I will be speaking at a retreat hosted by the C. S. Lewis Society of Frederick, Maryland, this Saturday, September 24, from 11 am to 5 pm. The retreat is free and open to all. I will be giving two lectures as well as leading the Evening Prayer Service from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. The topics of the lectures will be Lewis' novel, Till We Have Faces, and C. S. Lewis: A Publishing Phenomenon. I will also be signing copies of my books, including my latest--Speaking of Jack: A C. S. Lewis Discussion Guide.
"If God--such a God as any adult religion believes in--exists, mere movement in space will never bring you any nearer to Him or farther from Him than you are at this very moment. You can neither reach Him nor avoid Him by traveling to Alpha Centauri or even to other galaxies. A fish is no more, and no less, in the sea after it has swum a thousand miles than it was when it first set out.
"How, then, it may be asked, can we either reach or avoid Him?
"The avoiding, in many times and places, has proved so difficult that a very large part of the human race failed to achieve it. But in our own time and place it is extremely easy. Avoid silence, avoid solitude, avoid any train of thought that leads off the beaten track. Concentrate on money, sex, status, health and (above all) on your own grievances. Keep the radio on. Live in the crowd. Use plenty of sedation. If you must read books, select them very carefully. But you'd be safer to stick to the papers. You'll find …
One of the joys of traveling to different places around the world and lecturing about C. S. Lewis and his work is the opportunity to meet other talented lovers of Lewis' books. One of those I met recently was R. A. Douthitt, who was inspired by reading Lewis and Tolkien to write The Dragon Forest. Having made my own attempt to write a fairy tale (as yet unpublished) I appreciate the efforts of anyone seeking to write in the spirit of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings.
The Dragon Forest may be purchased from Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions:
Here is one of my favorite pieces from all of C. S. Lewis' work. It is taken from The Great Divorce.... I saw coming towards us a Ghost who carried something on his shoulder. Like all the Ghosts, he was unsubstantial, but they differed from one another as smokes differ. Some had been whitish; this one was dark and oily. What sat on his shoulder was a little red lizard, and it was twitching its tail like a whip and whispering things in his ear. As we caught sight of him he turned his head to the reptile with a snarl of impatience. “Shut up, I tell you!” he said. It wagged its tail and continued to whisper to him. He ceased snarling, and presently began to smile. Then be turned and started to limp westward, away from the mountains. “Off so soon?” said a voice. The speaker was more or less human in shape but larger than a man, and so bright that I could hardly look at him. His presence smote on my eyes and on my body too (for there was heat coming from him as well as light) like the mo…
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:43-48
"We must try to feel about the enemy as we feel about ourselves--to wish that he were not bad, to hope that he may, in this world or another, be cured: in fact, to wish his good. That is what is meant in the Bible by loving him: wishing his good, not feeling fond of him nor saying he is nice when he is not." C. S. Lewis, "Mere Christianity"
In 1962 C. S. Lewis was asked by The Christian Century, “What books did most to shape your vocational attitude and your philosophy of life?” In response, Lewis listed ten books. #3 on that list was The Aeneid by Virgil (The Christian Century, 6 June 1962). Lewis first encountered the great Roman poet of the first century BC while he was a student at Cherbourg Preparatory School in Great Malvern, England, from 1911 to 1913. Lewis was then in his early teens. His first reading of Virgil contributed, indirectly, to his temporary turn to atheism. He described it this way in chapter IV of Surprised by Joy: This ludicrous burden of false duties in prayer provided, of course, an unconscious motive for wishing to shuffle off the Christian faith; but about the same time, or a little later, conscious causes of doubt arose. One came from reading the classics. Here, especially in Virgil, one was presented with a mass of religious ideas; and all teachers and editors took it for granted from the outs…