‘Chronicles of Narnia’ offers lasting lessons
Doug Heacock, contemporary worship leader and director of media and communications, Lawrence Free Methodist Church, 3001 Lawrence Ave:
Some 20 years ago, when my oldest daughter was 3 or 4 years old, I began reading “The Chronicles of Narnia” to her. With only a few pauses here and there to explain some of C.S. Lewis’ British English usage, she was captivated and completely drawn into the world of Narnia — just as I was captivated when I first picked up “Out of the Silent Planet,” the first book in Lewis’ lesser-known, but no less wonderful “space trilogy.”
I imagine that God has millions of favorite fictional books, just as I love every story, poem or essay ever written by each of my three children; but if he had a favorite, I would hope that he would share my love for the first book of the Chronicles, “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.”
For those (like me) who grew up thinking of Jesus as mostly passive, serene and frankly, not terribly interesting, Lewis’ Aslan, the fierce and beautiful lion of Narnia, is a refreshing, illuminating metaphor for the Savior. Susan, one of the four children in the book, apprehensive about meeting the lion face-to-face, asks Mr. Beaver if Aslan is “safe” — the beaver replies, “’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.” Later in the book, Lewis writes of the lion, “People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time.” The more I know of Jesus, the more I get what Lewis meant when he created Aslan’s character.
As I read this book to my young daughter, there were moments when I had to pause to wipe away the tears that clouded my vision as old truth suddenly became clearer to me.
I think God likes that sort of thing.
— Send e-mail to Doug Heacock at email@example.com
‘War of the Worlds’ reflects on humanity
Gary Teske, pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1245 N.H.:
This is an intriguing and challenging question. WWJR, “What Would Jesus Read?”
In all honesty, I suspect that God delights in all kinds literature, marveling at the creativity, imagination and artistic touch of the people who God called into existence.
However, the question isn’t, “Does God love books?” but “Which books?” My first thought is, “War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells. This story of the invasion of the earth by invincible, bloodthirsty armies from another planet ends with these monsters being defeated, not by human ingenuity, courage or resourcefulness, but by tiny germs against which these aliens have no immunity. How ironic! How biblical! Little old David slew big old Goliath, and the smallest seeds grow into huge trees in the Kingdom of God.
Another work of fiction that God may have found entertaining is, “Left Behind,” by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Some of my readers might bristle at me calling this book “fiction,” but all efforts during the past two millennia to predict the end of the world on the basis of the symbolism of Revelation has produced nothing but fiction. I think God must get a good chuckle out of the scenarios set forth by those who think they have cracked the code and now understand just when, where and how God is working out God’s plan for the universe. I can hear God wondering to God’s self about when people will give up trying to outsmart God and just trust God.
Oh, and one more thing. I think God enjoys reading the comic strips, especially Garfield and Peanuts.
— Send e-mail to Gary Teske at firstname.lastname@example.org