“No, Digory. Men like me, who possess hidden wisdom, are freed from common rules just as we are cut off from common pleasures. Ours, my boy, is a high and lonely destiny.”
-C.S. Lewis, The Magicians Nephew
It was almost as if Lewis was talking about himself.
Who is a hero of yours? Heroes do not have to be men in spandex, soldiers fighting wars, or plumbers saving princesses, a hero can be someone, who in their humanity is fundamentally ordinary, yet in their action they do the extraordinary.
One of my heroes, standing in a long line of people I find to be inspirational, who has impacted, a baller and a scholar, a modern hero of the faith, is Clive Staples Lewis, or as you probably know him as, C.S. Lewis. Whether you see him as a believer or not, I do, and if you do not, I am glad you think you have the ability of God to know his spiritual standing. Regardless of his his salvation status, it cannot be denied, C.S. Lewis has had impact on a great multitude of believers worldwide. His words and works are top notch, remaining timeless still in the present day. Today marks the fifty first anniversary of his death, fifty one years since he departed this life, finished the fight, completed the race, and made his way home. While Lewis is not an orthodox example of one in ministry, without a doubt, Lewis ministered to people not just in life, but still today, years after his death. An apologist, artist, author, philosopher, professor, speaker, and wannabe theologian, Lewis lived a life of ministry, not in a formal sense, but in his being, as He allowed Christ to work through his everyday existence. There really is not much I can write that has not been written about this man, nor is my intention to deliver detailed exposition of his life, but to simply share why C.S. Lewis is a hero to me. First I value him as a Christian artist. Very rarely do Christians succeed as artists the way Lewis did. Francis Schaeffer wrote in his essay Art and the Bible “I am afraid that as evangelicals, we think that a work of art only has value if we reduce it to a tract.” Schaeffer then went on to say in the same essay “A Christian should use these arts to the glory of God, not just as tracts, mind you, but as things of beauty to the praise of God. An art work can be a doxology in itself.” Lewis created, he wrote, not to produce Gospel tracts in ever work, but as the Gospel being the driving force and underlying foundation to his work. C.S. Lewis proved it can be done, and he reached a whole world, both believers and unbelievers because of it. He used the arts to the glory of God. In a world that sees Christian art as lame films like God’s Not Dead and boring literature such as Left Behind, Lewis remains a breath of fresh air, among the volatile fumes of Christian art. Not only that, and more importantly, I look up to Lewis, not just for the things he wrote, but for the life he lived. A man who was not afraid to ask questions, to challenge traditions, to share ideas, who wrote not just from theory, from philosophy, but from practice. Whether it was his journey from becoming an atheist to a Christian, of which can be paralleled in Mere Christianity, or his thoughts on pain, as well as his actual experience with it in The Problem of Pain and A Grief Observed, the lessons Lewis taught, were lessons he himself learned. In the end the best teachers, are their selves students right? While I do not look at the writings of Lewis as theology, I do not even think he himself did, there are so many truths can be learned from them all the same. When I think of great men, it is not those of image, of perfect public perception I look up to, but those, who both flaws and strengths, put not just their talents, but also their passions to work, inspiring, as well as, impacting people, along the way. In more ways than I want to go into detail, Christ has used Lewis to impact and even inspire me, as I live, learn and write, he remains one many influences as I continue to strive to achieve. It shall be a pleasure to meet him in glory.
If you have not read C.S. Lewis do so, although maybe not Chronicles of Narnia, that series is a bit rubbish…except for The Silver Chair, so maybe just read The Silver Chair, but in all seriousness Lewis is worth the time to read so give him a go. To give you a taste of his writing, below are some of my favorite quotes of his. Maybe you will see, what I see in him.
Quotable Quotes of Lewis
“Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.”
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
“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.”
“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
“Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.”
“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”
“What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.”
“God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.”
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
“God can’t give us peace and happiness apart from Himself because there is no such thing.”
“I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”
“He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, He would have done no less.”
“It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.”
“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.”