September 13, 2013
The Chronicles of Narnia have withstood the test of time — first with the series of children's books in the 1950s, and more recently with the success of various film iterations. At the time of their creation, the author, Irish scholar C. S. Lewis, took criticism from his publisher, friends and fellow writer J. R. R. Tolkien for authoring children books. They believed it would hurt Lewis's reputation as a writer of serious works. Lewis didn't listen to any of the critics. After publishing the first, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, he proceeded with six more in the series, including the final one, The Last Battle, published in 1956, just seven years prior to his death in 1963.
Today, nearly 50 years to the day of Lewis's death, the Narnia books have since sold more than 100 million copies and are the most beloved books of classic children's literature.
"I did not say to myself, ‘Let us represent Jesus as he really is in our world by a lion in Narnia," stated Lewis. "I said, ‘Let us suppose that there were a land like Narnia and that the Son of God, as he became a man in our world, became a lion there, and then imagine what would happen.'"
His first major work, The Pilgrim's Regress (1933), was about his own spiritual journey to Christian faith. Later, he won acclaim as a writer of books on religious subjects, but also of academic works and popular novels like his masterpiece, The Allegory of Love (1936), and Out of the Silent Planet (1938). Lewis is one of the most respected Christian writers of all time — revered by adults, children, skeptics and popes. Many see him as an unsurpassed witness to the truth of the Christian gospel — some even venerate him as an unofficial ecumenical saint.
So, what really led Lewis from atheism to Christianity? To know the mastermind behind such a major conversion and his penned works is to listen to and engage in dialogue with Dr. Peter A. Huff, an authority on Lewis. Huff will speak on "Life to the Glory of God: C. S. Lewis and the Joy of Vocation" Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, 7 p.m., in Butler Hall at the Gary Tharaldson School of Business located on the south side of campus (building 20 on the map). The event is free and open to the public and sponsored by the Christian Leadership Center at the University of Mary. Huff, a theologian, historian, and religious scholar, is the T. L. James Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Centenary College of Louisiana and author of The Voice of Vatican II.
Huff's presentation celebrates Lewis the reliable guide to the demands of Christian discipleship. Exploring the seven callings that shaped his unrepeatable life, Huff sheds new light on the sense of vocation that gave Lewis's experience its distinctive confidence and vigor. Pope John Paul II once observed that C. S. Lewis "knew his apostolate—and did it." This tribute to the creator of Narnia and the twentieth century's foremost apologist challenges people to listen for the voice of God—and live to the glory of God.
For more information contact Dr. Leroy Huizenga, director of the Christian Leadership Center at [email protected] or (701) 355-8324.