Then, in 5th grade, I was introduced to Mr. Lewis. C.S. Lewis, that is, and the Chronicles of Narnia.
And I’d lie in my bed at night. Elbow bent. Head resting in my hand. And I’d read. And then I’d read and read and read some more. Losing myself in a land of kings and queens and talking animals.
And when I got around to book three—The Horse and His Boy … Well, that was pure magic. (When Disney gets around to making this film, I will most certainly lead the charge of middle-schoolers into our local movie theater.)
It was sometime later that I realized Lewis was also a “Christian author.” My dad would sometimes mention him in his sermons. Like the time he talked about The Great Divorce and how condemned people took a bus ride to heaven where they found things quite uncomfortable.
Everyone one I knew at church or school loved C.S. Lewis, and a few of us were completely devoted to him. How long did the map of Narnia hang on my bedroom door?
Mr. Lewis, an Anglican of all things, was welcome in the Church of Christ.
Not everyone, though, was treated so kindly.
Like Billy Graham for example.
I heard people talking about Graham, and they were frustrated.
“Billy Graham NEVER talks about baptism in his sermons. Why not? It’s right there in the Bible as plain as day.”
“Did you know his wife wasn’t even baptized until later in life?”
“I know a man who wrote Billy Graham a letter, asking him if baptism was essential for salvation. Well, that man is still waiting for his answer.”
The message, as I understood it, was that Graham was a bad Christian, or not even a Christian, but that Lewis was a very good man.
C.S. Lewis got a pass.
And, at the end of the day … I’m glad he did.
Right now, I’m reading What Good is God? by Philip Yancey. It has a couple of excellent chapters about C.S. Lewis, if you’d like to check it out.