By Steve Woodward
Following Nazi Germany’s relentless bombing campaign in 1940 and 1941, Londoners would face many more years of hardship until World War II ended in 1945. There was fear of occupation. There was rationing. And, everywhere, there was destruction.
Through it all, Brits had come to depend on the reassuring counsel of C.S. Lewis, arguably among the most famous writers of the era, first as a novelist and by the 1940s owed to his writings on Christianity. The Irish-born, former atheist was an accidental celebrity to say the least. The Village Chapel’s Pastor John Jacobs, a Lewis expert, says he seemed to appeal to readers across the spectrum of religious allegiances because he wrote about his newfound faith as a lay person, not as a theologian.
In 1941 the British Broadcasting Corporation, through its director of religious broadcasting, asked Lewis if he would agree to deliver brief radio commentaries to its listening audience. He accepted. In the years to follow, the 15 minutes Londoners spent with Lewis on Sunday nights were viewed as sacred; an appointment not to be missed.
The gift Lewis gave to his war-weary citizens was quite the opposite of the inspiring, rhetorical flourishes delivered by Winston Churchill. Lewis made common sense out of Christianity and made it relevant to the vulnerable.
“What’s the sense of saying the enemy is in the wrong,” Lewis said, “unless right is a real thing?”
Here in 2021, do we not repeatedly ask this question, knowing that it is the central question? But I would ask another question first. Do we have a yet undiscovered C.S. Lewis in our midst in the 21st Century in America?
We have Anthony Fauci, a Swamp creature annoyed by all of us because we want to live as free citizens. We have Rush Limbaugh. We as conservatives are blessed to have Rush as our ideological voice but the other side was thrilled by Limbaugh’s lung cancer diagnosis a year ago. We have Franklin Graham, who honors his father’s legacy by delivering God’s love tangibly to the world’s suffering. We have Tucker Carlson, to whom we owe our gratitude for crushing hypocrites and exposing deception at every turn.
But what America desperately needs today is a C.S. Lewis, a scholar who dreaded the scholarly, an author who wrote not for peers but for real people, and who stepped forward as a servant of God at a moment in history when no else could have served as well. Imagine, today, fringe talk show host Bill Maher, a witty, far Left atheist, converting to Christianity. That would be a wake up call.
First, it must be said that Great Britain, in 1941, identified entirely as a Christian nation. In 2021, the U.S. is a Judeo-Christian nation teetering on the brink of becoming a Socialist nation in which religion has long been marginalized and is increasingly persecuted, even despised.
If we have in our midst a C.S. Lewis he will not be invited by the establishment media to come forward to console us. He will emerge at a considerable risk to his livelihood, his security and his reputation.
Perhaps we delude ourselves thinking there is one such person in this social media age. Perhaps the answer to our dilemma is not found in a person but in a chorus.
3 thoughts on “Channeling C.S. Lewis”
Great food for thought. Good job, Steve.
Tim Keller in New York (former Redeemer Church) comes immediately to mind. Unfortunately he is not in good health, fighting for his life literally.
Steve, I disagree with your assessment of Dr Fauci but agree on Franklin Graham and Tucker Carlson, and certainly on CS Lewis, who, after Billy Graham has been responsible for helping save more souls than anyone
Our basic problem is that we’re joining pagan Europe in walking away from our Christian foundation and into the clutches of Satan. The only hope for our country is to return to God.
The following last words of Lewis’ famous sermon “The
Weight of Glory” has had a great influence on how I see people, especially my patients:
“ It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most un- interesting person you can talk with today may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now you would be strongly tempted to worship or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if it all, only in a nightmare. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them that we should conduct all our dealings with each other – all loves, all play, all work, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we work with, ,joke with, marry, snub, and exploit – Immortal horrors, or everlasting splendors,