Thursday, December 27, 2007

George MacDonald on Poetic Knowledge

A quote from MacDonald as further grist for our January meeting mill (some of this makes a good case for the Anglican liturgy, by the way!):

"The best thing you can do for your fellow, next to rousing his conscience, is--not to give him things to think about, but to wake things up that are in him; or say, to make him think things for himself. The best Nature does for us is to work in us such moods in which thoughts of high import arise. Does any aspect of Nature wake but one thought? Does she ever suggest only one definite thing? Does she make any two men in the same place at the same moment think the same thing? Is she therefore a failure, because she is not definite? Is it nothing that she rouses the something deeper than the understanding- -the power that underlies thoughts? Does she not set feeling, and so thinking at work? Would it be better that she did this after one fashion and not after many fashions? Nature is mood-engendering, thought-provoking: such ought the sonata, such ought the fairytale to be."

From his essay, "The Fantastic Imagination"

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Was Lewis Reformed?

The next to last chapter in Newsom's book, which will be part of our discussion in January, refers to an article by the Presbyterian Douglas Wilson entitled "Was C. S. Lewis Reformed?" The issue at hand is what he thought of predestination (beware - lots of people have different ideas of what is meant by that word). If you are interested in what one Christian writer has to say about Lewis' belief on this subject, you may read the article here . Afterwards, you may wish to browse the other articles in that issue.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Order your book NOW for the January discussion

At our January meeting, Art Crouch and I are going to discuss the book written by William Chad Newsom entitled Talking of Dragons. ISBN: 1845501063. We'll probably get off on related topics as well. It's especially written for parents with young children but of interest to all fans of Tolkien and Lewis fantasy. It's only 193 pages long; an easy read in time for our meeting. Come ready to ask questions and talk about it (come whether you read it or not!).

NarniaWeb has a podcast

NarniaWeb, the place to keep up with Narnia movie news, has a podcast. Go here to listen or to subscribe with I-Tunes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Michael Ward to visit 11 April, '08

Our Society is privileged to host Dr. Michael Ward in the Chattanooga area for book-signings and as guest lecturer at our April meeting. As you will have learned from previous posts, Michael is the author of a very important book on Lewis' Narnia series, to be released by Oxford Univ. Press next year. Our April meeting with Michael will be Friday, 11 April, 7:00 P.M. at Rock Point Books. As other events are finalised, they will be posted here.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Lewis Talk Newscast, 15 Dec.

Listen to the newscast for a very important announcement for our Society. Scroll down to the player on the right and select the 15 Dec. newscast. Otherwise, go here:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Kindlings on Lewis' Letters

Dick Staub has posted audio of a recent discussion of Lewis's letters. See the Kindlings link or simply go here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

More on Michael Ward & His Narnia Book

I just heard from Michael Ward and he has sent a link to a website he has set up pertaining to his book on Narnia: . Be sure to look through the site - the FAQ section is really great.


Michael Ward Article About Narnia On-line

If you are a Narnia fan, you will love reading this article! Michael Ward, of Peterhouse, Cambridge, was working on his doctoral dissertation about C. S. Lewis when he made a fascinating discovery: the Narnian chronicles are structured according to the Medieval view of the universe. He had to re-write his dissertation! However, he was glad to do so because this is such a fascinating topic. Oxford Press is going to release his work in a book next year. Touchstone magazine has an article on Michael's work in the current issue and, lo and behold, it is available on-line. Go here for the Touchstone article, "Narnia's Secret". Go here for a description of his book at Oxford Publishing.

Image: From: Peter Apian, Cosmographia (1539). Reprinted in Alexandre Koyre, From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe (Baltimore; Johns Jopkins, 1957).

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Prince Caspian Trailer!

Narniaweb has the Prince Caspian trailer. Go here!, or scroll down to the special widget on the right hand side of our site and watch it.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Lewis and Evolution

We have had several occasions to discuss Lewis and his ideas about Darwinian theory at our meetings. I just found this article on the site, published 1996, which I found helpful. The article concludes:
It is doubtful that Lewis would have felt comfortable espousing the views of present-day creationists. He always carefully indicated that he opposed evolutionism as a philosophy, not evolution as a biological theory. At the same time his correspondence with Bernard Acworth suggests that he had come in his later years to entertain more doubts about the claims made for organic evolution than his published works indicate.
As for the first line, I think it may need qualification in the year 2007.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

December Meeting - 14 December

OK, folks. According to our poll, we will move the date for our White-Witch-Defying Christmas Party from the 21st of December to the 14th. We have contacted folks on our e-mail list about what to bring. More information will be posted here soon. As our menu develops, it will be listed on this page - scroll down on the right hand side of the page. Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

January '08 Meeting News

As we look forward to our December Christmas party, we are also thinking about what to do for 2008. In an attempt to encourage more people to come to our meetings, we will hold our January, '08, meeting at Rock Point Books, in downtown Chattanooga, at Broad and 4th. If any of you have attended their other events, especially readings and discussions, you know it's a great place. Plus, they have good coffee and eats for sale, along with their thoughtful selection of books to browse. It should be a great venue.

The meeting will be the third Friday of January, the 18th. As for future meetings, we would like to meet at Rock Point for the first quarter of the year, but we may have to move away from third-Fridays, especially since the third Friday of March, 2008, will be Good Friday. We'll post more information here later.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Touchstone link

I added a link to Touchstone magazine today. Lot's of good stuff there for Lewis fans.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Rosen WSJ Article

The link for this WSJ Opinion article was just sent to me by one of our members. What do you think about it?

Your Thoughts on Miracles

We have now finished our study of Lewis' book Miracles. For those who attended last night, please use the comment link below to tell us what impressed you or interested you most from our meeting. For you others who were not able to attend last night, but have attended previously, feel free to add your own words about the book as well. Thank you!

Image: The Annunciation, by Henry Ossawa Tanner.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

2008 UTC Lecture

The annual UTC C. S. Lewis Lecture for 2008 will be held on 31 March. The speaker will be Timothy George. We'll post more information on the lecture as soon as it is available.

RTS Lectures on Mere Christianity

The following was sent to me by one of our Society members. It provides information on a series of lectures from Reformed Theological Seminary on Lewis' Mere Christianity.

Last night, I discovered that various lectures from Reformed Theological Seminary have been added to "iTunes U" (in the iTunes program) in the form of podcasts. If any of you were not aware of this, I wanted to bring it to your attention. This is an amazing source of lectures on theology, Christian Apologetics, church history, contemporary culture, etc. I highly recommend subscribing to these podcasts. Furthermore, I found lectures on C.S. Lewis here as well. I felt that this might be appropriate to mention since we are reading "Mere Christianity." Currently there are 26 lectures posted as part of this podcast with topics on Lewis' biography, theology, and views on various issues. I am going to provide direct links to these podcasts at the end of my message. You will need to have iTunes installed on your computer to subscribe and listen to these podcasts....

To go directly to the RTS lectures on C.S. Lewis, click this link:

To go to the directory of all the RTS Podcasts, click this link:

NOTE: If you go to this latter link, the Lewis lectures are listed under "Practical Theology."

November, 2007, E-mail Post

In this e-mail:

News on this Friday’s meeting
Lyle Dorsett lectures CD

Meeting this Friday

We will have our final discussion of Lewis’ book Miracles, this Friday, 7:00-9:00 P.M. at the Vicarage. Do let us know if you plan to attend. The discussion will be on the chapters 15-17 and the Appendices.

Dorsett on CD

The C. S. Lewis Institute has a series of lectures by Lyle Dorsett similar in content to those he gave at our conference last year. The topics are:

“Lewis in the School of Prayer"
“Study and Application of Scripture”
"Anglican Spirituality and the Church”
"Reluctant Spiritual Guide”

You may find them here for purchase on CD:

Our October, 2007, E-mail List Post

• Meeting this month & chapter 14
• J. I. Packer on Lewis and Rowling

Our October meeting is this Friday, the 19th, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Vicarage in St. Elmo. We will be discussing chapters 11-14 of Miracles. As usual, if you’ve not been keeping up, don’t let that hinder you from coming. Let me know you are coming, if you please.
Having already provided you, via e-mail, with summaries of 11-13, I think we will be able to simply talk about what interests us in those chapters. Chapter 14 is easier going, but it is a long chapter. I’ll have an outline of it for us on Friday, but I will not take a lot of time summarizing it.
As you read chapter 14, remember that the object of the chapter is to ask whether or not the miracle of the incarnation is something that our sense of “fitness” can accept; does it make sense as a part of our world? If so, how and why? If it does make sense, if it seems to have a place, then we are able to consider it “probable” and free to look at history to see whether it really happened or not.
There are some powerful passages here! I look forward to our talking about them.

If you will go here: you will find a link where you can download (for $5 Canadian) a half-hour talk by Dr. J. I. Packer on Lewis and Narnia. It is before an informal group and it is mostly about Lewis’ life and the Narnia books. Packer makes a fun personal observation about Lewis, having heard him while studying at Oxford. During a question and answer section, Packer gives his opinion of the Harry Potter series. It is positive. He compares it to the British schoolboy genre of stories, started by Thomas Hughes with his Tom Brown’s Schooldays in the 1800’s. He has a very good answer for those Americans (and it seems to be just Americans) who think the Potter books encourage the practice of witchcraft.
If you are not familiar with Dr. Packer, go here:
We look forward to seeing you Friday evening.

Our September 2007 E-mail List Post

Dear Friends of C. S. Lewis:

Yes! It’s already here! Our next meeting of the C. S. Lewis Society of Chattanooga – this Friday, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Vicarage. We will continue our discussion of the book Miracles. Last time, we just got through chapter 3, so we are a little behind. We’ll see if we can get through chapters 4 to 10. As usual, if you aren’t able to get the reading done ahead of time, come anyway; there’s always lots to discuss and learn.

If you are coming, let me know, and if you want to bring something to munch on, let me know that as well so we can plan.

Neuhaus Aricle

In 1998, Richard John Neuhaus wrote an article which touches our discussion of Miracles. It was entitled “C. S. Lewis in the Public Square,” and you can read it here: .. Neuhaus speculates how C. S. Lewis would write and speak for the Christian faith were he to be living in the twenty-first century. Some things have changed since the mid-twentieth. Lewis could foresee that modern thinking would continue to wreak havoc in our society, but, in his day, he could still count on having a good deal of common ground with unbelievers. He could argue with them rationally – which he does in Miracles. He could also tell stories with meanings people would appreciate and do so with a measure of confidence that such things would echo as “true” in the minds of the public. Neuhaus spends time explaining how such a situation no longer exists in the thinking public square. People today feel the irrational is the place to look for meaning. Yes, I know that sounds crazy, but there it is. Multiculturalism has also deteriorated a common recognition of who we are as a people, based on the stories we tell about ourselves and the stories we have inherited from the past. This being the case, the public square is on a different footing from that which Lewis addressed and so we naturally wonder what he would do today.

Neuhaus’ conclusion is that Lewis would probably go on doing what he did anyway, with needful adjustments. Neuhaus says this because he recognises that the approach Lewis took in the past is still needed, in spite of its obstacles, and that Lewis would realise the same. Lewis would still argue with people about what they find as true in daily life. He would continue to speak to individuals as one human to another, trying to help them recognise what is true and real in the world in which they live; he would still appeal to common human experience. Also, Lewis would continue to tell stories; stories which reveal the truth in our universe. Though the stories of our world are being emptied, theoretically, of their worth, nevertheless the realities of our world are still there and stories still do their job in communicating them to people. People are still people.

Neuhaus also adds his own opinion of the great necessity of the witness of the Church to continue in life and liturgy (meaning, those liturgies that, in their drama, tell the story of Creation and Redemption, such as are found in the Orthodox, the Roman, and the Anglican Churches). While we seek to engage people with argument and story in the public square, we need the Church’s witness to point to as the living representative in our culture of the presence and reality of the kingdom of God; the historical presence of the Real Story of our world. I think he’s right.

You may want to keep a dictionary beside you as you read his article, but it is worth it. As for how it affects our study, we must recognise that the arguments Lewis makes in Miracles seem convincing enough to ourselves, who have a more absolutist and supernatural understanding of our world, but they may not be convincing to others. As a result, we must be creative in how we communicate the same things we learn in Miracles to the people around us.