I’m a fan of C.S. Lewis.
Somehow, in all of the media’s attention on the fiftieth anniversary of JFK’s assassination, many people have overlooked that this is also the fiftieth anniversary of the death of C.S. Lewis, who died on the same day.
My love for Lewis was late-coming. I first picked up one of his books in college. Though my family owned The Chronicles of Narnia while I was a child, I didn’t read the series until I was nearly twenty years old. After Narnia, I picked up the Space Trilogy. Then I discovered his non-fiction works.
Mere Christianity was so simple yet so deep that I literally had to read every paragraph twice. His defense of the Christian faith came at a time when my faith was being broken and rebuilt. His thoughts helped me sort fact from fiction on what it means to be a follower of Christ.
And since his writing played so large a role in my faith, I became guilty of the same sin as the majority of evangelical Americans: proclaiming the saint-hood of C.S. Lewis. After all, what evils could lie within the author of such seminal works as The Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity?
If this recent article about Lewis on CNN’s website is true, there was more to Lewis than met the eye. According to writer, John Blake, C.S. Lewis had rather a seedy past filled with ladies, booze, and self-doubt. He struggled with his role as spokesman for Christianity and suffered financial harm, and personal shame, for his Christian books.
But even if everything in the article is true, from his inappropriate relationship with his mate’s mother to his kinks in the bedroom to his alcoholic tendencies, it doesn’t change the fact that I am a fan of C.S. Lewis. He simply comes down from the pedestal on which I unfairly placed him, and joins me as a sinner working out his faith, albeit one with a higher IQ than I.
To say that Lewis wasn’t a saint isn’t blasphemy for me. It is encouragement that men with such flaws can still be so useful.