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Showing posts from 2013

The C. S. Lewis Bible in a Year

I do not often make New Year's resolutions, but I just thought today of something I want to try in 2014. I plan to try to read through the entire "C. S. Lewis Bible" in a year, starting on January 1. For those of you who are not familiar with the C. S. Lewis Bible, it is, as pictured above, a New Revised Standard Version of the Bible with appropriate excerpts from Lewis' writings throughout. Not only do I plan to read through the CSL Bible in 2014, I also hope to blog about it here. My goal will be to read three to four chapters per day and blog about what I am reading every day. Check back on January 1 to see if I get started. Then check in every day to see if I keep up the pace. I would love to hear from you if you would be interested in joining me for this journey, either in reading through the CSL Bible or a Bible of your choice....

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree

I thought this was one of the most beautiful carols today in the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King's College Chapel, Cambridge, England. In this video it is followed by the better known "In the Bleak Midwinter" by Christina Rossetti. Here are the words to Jesus Christ the Apple Tree.... The  tree of life my soul hath seen, Laden with fruit and always green: The trees of Nature fruitless be Compared with Christ, the apple tree. His beauty doth all things excel: By faith I know, but ne’er can tell The glory which I now can see In Jesus Christ, the apple tree. For happiness I long have sought, And pleasure dearly I have bought; I missed of all, but now I see, ’Tis found in Christ, the apple tree. I’m weary with my former toil, Here I will sit and rest awhile: Under the shadow I will be Of Jesus Christ, the apple tree. This fruit doth make my soul to thrive, It keeps my dying faith alive; Which makes my soul in h

Love Came Down at Christmas

"The Adoration of the Shepherds" Gerard van Honthorst 1622 With so many negative stories in the news (and when are there not such stories in the spin cycle?) it is easy to have that negativity infect us. Especially in times of great cultural shifts, some of us, particularly as Christians, understandably feel a need to take a stand. Often we find ourselves stating, even with a certain shrillness, what we are against. Perhaps that is necessary at times. However, often it is easy to forget that the Christian faith is overwhelmingly about a great and positive good: the good news of God's love for all human beings expressed through Jesus Christ, who was born at Bethlehem, lived every day of his life to demonstrate God's love for all, gave up his life on Calvary because of that love, and rose again from the dead because the power of God's love and God's life can never truly be defeated. To me, this is all so well expressed in the poem written by C

Narnia's Lost Poet

While I may not agree with all that A. N. Wilson has to say about C. S. Lewis, I find this BBC program to be very good overall. And I make a brief cameo appearance, with no lines, at 57:43.

Tea at The Kilns

Our visit to London and Oxford was capped off yesterday with tea at the Kilns, C. S. Lewis' former home, now owned and operated as a study centre by the C. S. Lewis Foundation. In the photo above, my son Josh and I are sitting in the common room with Lewis' step-son, Douglas Gresham. It was a pleasure to see Doug again, as well as other friends from around the world, and to spend time with Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, a leader of the Orthodox Church in England, and Aidan Mackey, the world renowned G. K. Chesterton scholar. Thanks to Debbie Higgens for the invitation to partake of her delicious tea and to our friend Chris Jenkins for driving us from Watford to Oxford and back.

C. S. Lewis in Poet's Corner

There is really only one word to describe the experience of being present in Westminster Abbey for the memorial service honouring C. S. Lewis yesterday; that word is: joy. To sit, as we did, on the ancient stone marking the grave of Geoffrey Chaucer, a few feet away from the newly carved stone in memory of C. S. Lewis, was truly amazing. The service itself was stirring from beginning to end, with music from Shadowlands  for an introit, a recorded reading by C. S. Lewis from one of his BBC talks, to a reading from The Last Battle by Doug Gresham, to the laying of a wreath by Walter Hooper, and sermon by former Archbishop of Canterbury, the most reverend Rowan Williams. "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." C. S. Lewis, Is Theology Poetry?

London Days 2 & 3

We have enjoyed three fabulous days in London so far. On Day 2 we watched the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace in a hail storm. Then we were off to Watford where I spoke to a men's outreach dinner gathering. On Day 3 we toured the Tower of London, followed by attendance at the C. S. Lewis Symposium at Westminster Abbey. We listened to great lectures from Alister McGrath and Malcolm Guite as well as a splendid panel discussion led by Michael Ward. All of this was topped off last night by a delightful dinner with friends old and new.

London Day 1

We arrived in London yesterday morning and hit the ground running. Our friend, Cole Mattson, met us at our hotel and from there we walked to the British Museum. There we enjoyed lunch in the Grand Court. We only had time to see a few things (Elgin Marbles & the Rosetta Stone) before our friend Cole had to leave us. But then last night we saw one of the best musicals I have ever seen.

Off to London!

I am leaving home for London today with my youngest son, Josh, who is fourteen. We will be spending a week in this, arguably the greatest city in the world. Our primary purpose will be to attend the memorial service in Westminster Abbey honoring the 50th anniversary of the death of C. S. Lewis and see the unveiling of the plaque that will be dedicated to his honor in Poets' Corner. Of course, we will be doing a number of other things along the way and we shall try to chronicle our trip here. So stay tuned....

Billy Graham on his 95th Birthday

Today is Billy Graham's 95th birthday. 64 years ago yesterday, my father's life was dramatically changed by a message preached by Mr. Graham in a tent meeting at the corner of Washington and Hill in Los Angeles. Were it not for that message, and the transformation it brought about in my father's life, I never would have been born.  Now Mr. Graham has a new message, that I believe is worthy of watching and sharing. You can see it below....    

Binsey Poplars

For one reason and another, I have been thinking much this week about one of my favorite places in the world: Binsey, Oxfordshire. The photo above was taken on a misty autumn morning three years ago along the road from the village of Binsey to St. Margaret's Church. As you can see in the photo, there are no poplars. Gerard Manley Hopkins tells us why.... Binsey Poplars felled 1879   My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,   Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,   All felled, felled, are all felled;     Of a fresh and following folded rank             Not spared, not one             That dandled a sandalled         Shadow that swam or sank On meadow and river and wind-wandering weed-winding bank.   O if we but knew what we do         When we delve or hew—     Hack and rack the growing green!         Since country is so tender     To touch, her being só slender,     That, like this sleek and seeing ball     But a prick will make no eye

Dawn Treader Interview

This is a scan of a pinch pot I made in fifth or sixth grade. I tried to make it look like "The Dawn Treader" from C. S. Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader . This reveals how much I was enamored with the book forty years ago. And I still love it, as this interview reveals.... Dawn Treader Interview

Visit to Frederick Maryland

On Tuesday, September 24, I will be visiting the C. S. Lewis Society of Frederick, Maryland, to talk about and sign copies of my book , Sheldon Vanauken: The Man Who Received "A Severe Mercy". For more information click here:  Frederick C. S. Lewis Society  There was an interview about the book in The Frederick News Post today. To read the interview click here:  Frederick News Post

Lecture on Sheldon Vanauken

Here is the link to the lecture I gave on Sheldon Vanauken: The Man Who Received A Severe Mercy  at the Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, on September 12, 2013: Vanauken Lecture

Lecture at The Wade Center

I am once again enjoying delving into the riches of the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois. For those who don't know, the Wade is devoted to the study of seven authors and has copious archives related to each one: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Owen Barfield, G. K. Chesterton, George MacDonald, Dorothy Sayers, and Charles Williams. I will be giving a free lecture here, open to the public, on Thursday, September 12. For more information, click here:  Wade Center Lecture on Sheldon Vanauken .

Grow Old Along With Me

My wife Becky and I have a favorite poetic line from Robert Browning: "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be." Little did I know that this verse was inscribed on a sun dial in our garden that was placed there long before we moved into our current home. I just noticed this the other day and it made me look up the rest of the poem.... Rabbi Ben Ezra BY  ROBERT BROWNING Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, The last of life, for which the first was made: Our times are in His hand Who saith "A whole I planned, Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!'' Not that, amassing flowers, Youth sighed "Which rose make ours, Which lily leave and then as best recall?" Not that, admiring stars, It yearned "Nor Jove, nor Mars; Mine be some figured flame which blends, transcends them all!" Not for such hopes and fears Annulling youth's brief years, Do I remonstrate: folly wide t

C. S. Lewis & Homosexuality Revisited

In seven years of blogging, my most popular post has been  C. S. Lewis on Homosexuality . It has had approximately 4000 readers to date. Since this topic has garnered a great deal of attention in the blogosphere recently (for example see:  The National Catholic Register ), I thought I would revisit the subject. What many people writing on the topic of "C. S. Lewis and Homosexuality" fail to point out is that Lewis' lifelong friend, Arthur Greeves (pictured above) was a homosexual. In fact, when Greeves "came out" to Lewis in May 1918, Lewis wrote back saying: Congratulations old man, I am delighted that you have had the moral courage to form your own opinions independently, in defiance of the old taboos. I am not sure that I agree with you: but, as you hint in your letter, this penchant is a sort of mystery only to be fully understood by those who are made that way—and my views on it can be at best but emotion. [1] At the time that

Professor of Narnia on Kindle

The Professor of Narnia: The C. S. Lewis Story  is now available on Kindle, a great summer read for all ages. To learn more, click below.... Professor of Narnia Kindle Edition

Gangster Squad

Recently, I watched the movie Gangster Squad while riding on a plane from London to Washington, D. C. As far as I could see, like most movies based upon historical characters, the film contained a blend of fact and fiction. How do I know? My father, Jim Vaus, worked for Mickey Cohen, the lead character in the movie and one-time boss of organized crime in Southern California. Was Mickey a violent gangster who ruthlessly killed people? Yes. Even Cohen himself admitted as much. Did Cohen run a widespread gambling and prostitution ring in Los Angeles in the late 1940s? Yes again. Was Cohen a womanizer and drug dealer? So far as my father was aware, the answer was “no” on both counts. My father told me more than once that Cohen refused to deal in drugs and Cohen was faithful to his wife, Lavonne. Apparently, even gangsters have a conscience. So what did my father do for Cohen? Though my father was not portrayed by name in the movie, some of his activities for Mickey were de