Book Review

C. S. Lewis and the Paradise Garden (4)

Scenic landscape with waterfall

Where it all points: C. S. Lewis once wrote, “If we find in ourselves a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world” (Mere Christianity). Lewis believed that the things and places in this life that stir our longing for paradise ultimately point us to the place where that longing will one day be fulfilled. (If you missed the previous posts in this series, you can see partRead more

Old School Wisdom

Old fashioned school slate

“Do you never imagine things different from what they really are? asked Anne wide-eyed. “No.” “Oh!” Anne drew a long breath. “Oh, Miss– Marilla, how much you miss!” Anyone familiar with L. M. Montgomery’s beloved Anne of Green Gables will recognize this exchange. Montgomery’s books are charming, insightful, and wholesome (even if modern screen adaptations don’t always capture these qualities). The books paint a compelling picture of a different age, one I never lived in, but which still manages toRead more

C. S. Lewis and the Paradise Garden (3)

Mountain stream

Sacred encounters: In a sense, all of C. S. Lewis’ Narnia is a place of sacred encounter. Each time children from our world spend time there, they encounter Aslan, the great Christ-figure. And each time they participate in the adventures of that world, they get to be a part of something momentous. (If you missed the previous posts in this series, you can see part one here, or part two here).   To those who knock, the door is openedRead more

A Pocketful of Puritans

Illustration from Pilgrim's Progress

A rediscovery underway: Puritans get a bad rap. When someone is casually referred to as a “puritan” these days the insinuation is not meant to be kind. And yet, the actual 16th and 17th century puritans were not pleasure-haters, but rather men and women of sincere faith, with much insight to offer to modern believers. And it seems many of us are waking up to this fact, rediscovering with pleasure writers that have been long out of print.   SeekingRead more

C. S. Lewis and the Paradise Garden (2)

Ship on an island lake

Fast forward in Narnia: C.S. Lewis’ fantasy-world, Narnia, was an eventful place. Much happened between its creation in The Magician’s Nephew, and the events we’re about to look at in Voyage of the Dawn Treader. There were many comings and goings between children from our world and Narnia. Aslan, the great Christ-figure saved Narnia from many of its enemies with the help of those children. And on one important occasion, Aslan died and returned to life, in the place ofRead more

C. S. Lewis and the Paradise Garden (1)

Fertile landscape

Lewis’ Gift: C. S. Lewis had a special gift for explaining the unexplainable. He was able to paint vivid word-pictures to help his readers understand truth. The Narnia Chronicles are a great example of this. They belong to the children’s literature genre, but many of us who grew up with them find that they continue to have a special place in our faith and imagination. Lewis once wrote that “no book is really worth reading at the age of tenRead more

Fairies in the garden, elves on the bookcase

Fairy statue seated on moss

We’ve all been there: Have you ever been through a rough patch and longed to read something that would speak hope into your life? Or have you ever tried to support a hurting friend, wanting to offer some reading material that would serve that same purpose? Perhaps you’ve longed for a way to speak peace and comfort into your friend’s life, but feared seeming presumptuous or saying the wrong thing. Or, if you’re like me, you’ve considered about ten heavyRead more

Beautiful, worthwhile, noble

Monastery hallway

Illumination for today: Some years ago I was visiting an Anglican convent. There were many things to love about it. I loved the old building with its historic architecture and homey touches. I loved the enormous pear tree that grew in the courtyard. And I loved how it felt to walk at twilight down the illuminated corridor that ran from the Guest House to the Chapel. The sisters were a wise and jovial bunch, and they had rather brilliantly madeRead more

Caterpillar / Sparrow

Sparrow

Incompatible worldviews: Ayn Rand, in her famous novel The Fountainhead, wrote that compassion “is what one feels when one looks at a squashed caterpillar.” Compassion, in Rand’s view, was neither virtuous nor commendable. Instead she believed that the squashed caterpillar should inspire contempt and nothing more. Certainly no free rational being ought to feel any obligation to help such a pitiful life form. I confess I read a lot of Ayn Rand at an impressionable age. I admired the clarityRead more