Saturday, December 10, 2005

One more Narnia thing...

Well, rather, an article in the Christian Science Monitor on C.S. Lewis.

It quotes a friend from our neighborhood, David Tiede Hottinger (who's the Director of the St. Mary's Center for Evangelical Catholicism in Greenville):
David Tiede Hottinger of Greenville, S.C., for instance, renounced the conservative evangelicalism of his youth and became in his words a "liberal Protestant with a social-worker view of Jesus" before encountering Lewis's writings as a graduate student at Harvard Divinity School. Rather than lead him back to evangelicalism, however, Lewis inspired him to leave Protestantism altogether.

"I became a Catholic in no small part due to the writings of C.S. Lewis," Mr. Hottinger says. Hearing Lewis reflect reverently on the church's sacraments, Hottinger says, made him rethink and recommit: "I guess it was a reconversion I had by reading Lewis in those years."

The point of the article is to try and show the different claims being made on Lewis. I do think he is above all of this, though. He is, and will be, the quintessential "Mere Christian."

David sent the following out in an email, which I reproduce here (with his permission):
The only issue I would take with this story is that the writer says that I ‘renounced’ the conservative evangelical Christianity of my childhood. I did no such thing. While I left the fold of conservative evangelicalism for other pastures of Christ’s Church, I did so (even in my more angry years!) with a profound sense of gratitude for what my parents and the Mt. Vernon Avenue Church of Christ in Marion, Ohio had given me – in particular, a deep love for Jesus Christ, an intense appreciation for the Scriptures, and a hunger for authentic and radical Christian community and witness.

1 comment:

assiniboine said...

There are several ironies here. C.S. Lewis's stepson Douglas Gresham is behind this movie version of "Narnia" and -- born again Christian though he is (WHAT would poor old Jack say?!) -- refuses to acknowledge any Christian agenda at all. One is entitled to a certain measure of scepticism. I have to confess that when I made several attempts to read Narnia to my own children we all gave it up entirely. We had to agree with JRR Tolkien, though that wasn't expressly my wee bairns' thought on the subject.

It is truly weird that C.S. Lewis's effects are enshrined at Billy Graham's Wheaton College in Illinois. They really do seem to think that he was one of them. Of course by the same token, small-C catholic though he was, he certainly would have found it odd that he had brought anyone to large-C catholicism: when all was said and done, he never quite shook off his Northern Irish roots and DID, after all, continue to refer in his academic writings to Roman Catholics as "papists"!