Monday, November 29, 2010

Our December Meeting

The next meeting of our Society will be Friday, 17 December, at 7:00 P.M. We will meet again in the workshop room of the Camphouse, 1427 Williams Street, near Broad and Main on the Southside. We will view the hour-long documentary made on Michael Ward's amazing book, Planet Narnia. It's called The Narnia Code, and you don't want to miss it. The film aired on the BBC in England and has just been released in the States.

By the way, Michael will be in our neck of the woods (Sewanee) in March; more news to follow about that.

Do come and join us. Feel free to bring some kind of party treat; we'll be celebrating the Christmas season at our meeting as well. The Camphouse Windfarm coffee house will also be open. We hope you can join us for the fun!

Dr Debbie Higgins, Warden of The Kilns

Just got this photo of our friend Debbie Higgins, who is now the hostess of the Kilns. The photo is by Will Vaus, who was just over there. You can see more of Will's photos from his trip by going here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The next meeting of our Society will be next week, Friday, 19 Nov., 7:00 P.M. at the Camp House, 1427 Williams Street, near S. Broad and Main, on the Southside. Our topic will be Lewis' book The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Come ready to talk about your favourite parts. We'll also discuss the meaning of the book and the various unique features of it. With the movie coming out in a few weeks, it will be a great time to refresh your memory on one of the favourite Narnia books. Hope to see you there!

Image source:

Narnia Invaded

An interesting article on the movies.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Barnes & Noble Bookfair - Sat. 6 Nov.

In celebration of Lewis' birthday, we have scheduled a book fair with the Hamilton Place Barnes & Noble, for 6 Nov. You can find it on their website here. More details to follow directly.

Update: Here's the schedule we are working on:

9:00 A.M. – Book Fair celebrating the birthday of C. S. Lewis begins. Free bookmarks to all who visit the store. Sign onto the C. S. Lewis Society of Chattanooga e-mail list for a chance to win a free book by Lewis. Pick up a voucher at the greeting table so that a part of your purchase this week, in the store or on-line, may benefit the Society.
10:00 A.M. – Adult/teen discussion: “Why the Excitement Over Planet Narnia?” Michael Ward’s book, published in 2008, is hailed as the most important book ever written on The Chronicles of Narnia. In this half-hour informal presentation, we will learn what the excitement is all about.
11:00 A.M. – 15 minute dramatic reading of a passage from The Chronicles of Narnia in the children’s section of the store.
2:00 P.M. – 15 minute dramatic reading of a passage from The Chronicles of Narnia in the children’s section of the store.
3:00 P.M. – Adult/teen forum: Bring one of your favourite passages from Lewis’ writings and we will read and discuss them together.
7:00 P.M. – Adult/teen session: Rev. David Beckmann will present a paper entitled “Fairy Tales: Worlds of Imagination in the Writings of J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis”.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Our October Meeting: "Through Joy and Beyond"

This just off to our e-mail list friends, about our meeting this coming Friday, the 15th of October:

We had Dr. Peters scheduled to speak at our October meeting this year, but we will have to schedule him for another time. Instead, we are going to view the 1979 documentary on the life of Lewis entitled "Through Joy and Beyond." This is probably the most important documentary made on Lewis' life, because there were so many more people alive in those days who remembered Lewis. It was produced by Bob O'Donnell, known for his radio show "Unshackled." He was able to get the famous actor Peter Ustinov to do the voice of Lewis. The narrator is Walter Hooper, Lewis' personal secretary. Many of the scenes in the film were much like they were in Lewis' time. Dr. Havard, Lewis' physician and co-Inking, was interviewed in the Eagle and Child pub. It's a great film and will take 60 minutes to watch.

It would be a good idea, if you have the time, to listen to the interview with Bob O'Donnell and his son Marty (of Halo fame) on the Kindling's Muse website. You may listen to the podcast by going here.
This will give you a better appreciation for the movie.

There was also a book published to go along with the documentary. I happen to have a copy (it's very rare) and I'll bring it so you can see it. Will Vaus says it has pictures you'll not see anywhere else.

As usual, our meeting will be held at the CAMP House, 1427 Williams Street, near Broad and Main. Come a little early (the place will be open) and have a cup of coffee at the Windfarm Coffee Bar. Hope you can come. We'll look forward to seeing you there.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Our September Meeting

Some of the main points of the discussion, lead by Rev. Beckmann, were:
1) The book, Surprised by Joy, is not an autobiography, properly speaking, but a treatise on what Lewis calls "joy" using autobiographical elements. He calls his work "the history of joy" at the beginning of chapter 11.
2) The technical term used in literary studies for what Lewis calls "joy" is Sehnsucht. Lewis mentions it in the first chapter of the book. Corbin Carnell's definition of Sehnsucht is that it is an attitude, the essence of which is a sense of separation from what is desired, a ceaseless longing which always points beyond. (Carnell, Corbin Scott, Bright Shadow of Reality - Spiritual Longing in C. S. Lewis, Eerdmans, 1974, ISBN: 0802846270, p. 23.)
3) We noted the way "joy" is described by other authors, especially Wordsworth, in his poem "Surprised by joy - impatient as the wind."
4) Simone Weil, in Waiting on God, p. 165 (1951), "When we possess a beautiful thing, we still desire something. We do not in the least know what it is. We want to get behind the beauty, but it ... like a mirror sends back our own desire for goodness. It is a ... mystery that is painfully tantalizing."
5) We looked at how Lewis uses the theme of joy in his various writings, reading his poem "The Landing" and from The Pilgrim's Regress and Perelandra.
6) The idea of the land of fairie is a powerful catalyst for Sehnsucht, but Lewis does not try to write fairie stories like MacDonald or Tolkien. See Tolkien's Smyth of Wooton Major.
7) Lewis' argument that "joy" establishes the fact of the reality of what is desired is critical for Christian apologetic.
8) Short audio of my comments at the end of the meeting, relating the experience of "joy" with Christian living.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fall, 2010 Schedule

This just posted to all those on our e-mail list:

Friday, 17 September: "The Joy of Surprised by Joy"
Surprised by Joy is one of Lewis' most beloved books. In it, we learn of how he lost his Christian faith and then later regained it. We also encounter one of Lewis' favourite themes: "joy", that delightful, stabbing pain that points one to the true source of lasting happiness. In this meeting, we will study the nature of this joy, its ubiquity throughout literature, and how it relates, both to Lewis' conversion, and to the colour of his Christian life. As we look into some of his other works, such as Till We Have Faces, Letters to Malcolm, and some of Lewis' poetry, we will find that this theme of joy permeates his writings. Yes, I suspect we'll have more to talk about than we will have time.

Friday 15 October: Our speaker for this month is not going to be able to come. We are in the process of deciding what to do about this meeting.

Friday, 19 November: The Voyage of the Dawntreader
As we anticipate the release of the newest Narnia movie in December, we will spend time talking about this wonderful, beautiful book. We'll enjoy the story together again, while considering the lessons it teaches about the nature of both the world of Narnia and our own. Some time will also be spent reviewing what various authors teach us about the book, such as Michael Ward, Will Vaus, and Jonathan Rogers.

Friday, 17 December: Voyage of the Dawntreader movie debrief
This will be simply a fun meeting to talk about the movie, which will have come out by this time. [It will be] A great way to spend time with fellow Lewis fans as we anticipate the joy of Christmas.

All meetings will start at 7:00 P.M. at the CAMP House, 1427 Williams Street on the Southside.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Looking forward to Autumn

Autumn was Lewis' favourite time of the year and we like it because we will then resume our monthly meetings. November and December will be dedicated to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. In November, we will review the book, and in December we will meet after the movie comes out to review the movie and generally celebrate its release. Sept. and Oct. are still on the burner.

Our friend, Dr. Debbie Higgins, taking leave from Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, is moving to the Kilns August 1st. You will recall that the Kilns was the Lewis home in Oxford. She is going to be the new manager there. If you would like to contribute to her financial support, contact the C. S. Lewis Foundation. We look forward to her reports about her ministry in Oxford.

Here's some more information on the Kilns. Be sure to check out the gallery.

1 August update: The local paper has done an article on Debbie's work at the Kilns. You can read the article and hear her talk about it by clicking here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Gresham and McLean Interview

Watch a terrific interview with Lewis's son-in-law, Douglas Gresham, and Max McLean, performer of the play Screwtape. Thanks to The Christian Post for the code. Go to their link and you can see the wider version of the interview.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Planet Narnia in Paperback

Michael Ward's Planet Narnia is now available in paperback. According to Michael: "Much cheaper than the hardback and containing a new preface and a number of corrections and improvements" - it's available from Amazon.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Our May Meeting with Dr. Don King - Debrief

Pictured are, from the left, Chris Sorenson, pastor and administrator of the Camp House with his wife, Angie, Dr. Don King, Sheila and David Beckmann, Moderator of the Society.

We were so pleased to have Dr. Don King of Montreat College. speak to us at our May meeting. Dr. King is an expert on C. S. Lewis' poetry and has just finished a book on the letters of Lewis' wife, Joy Davidman Lewis.

The seminar with Dr. King was held at The Camp House, 1427 Williams Street, on the Southside of Chattanooga on Saturday, 22 May. The agenda was as follows:

9:00 a.m. - Introduction and brief reading from Lewis' poetry
9:15 - Dr. King will speak on “C. S. Lewis, Poet: The Legacy of His Poetic Impulse”
10:15 to 10:30 - question and answer.
10:30 - Break, Coffee, etc.
10:50 or so - Reading from Lewis' poetry
11:00 - Dr. King speaks “Out of My Bone: The Letters of Joy Davidman”
11:45 - Question and answer time
12:00 noon, we adjourn

Reflections by the Moderator:

Dr. King expanded our appreciation of Lewis by getting us into his poetry, which is something hardly any of us had ever done. The result for the attendees was, I think I can safely say, that we are all fans of Lewis' poetry now.

Lewis' early poetry adds the emotional element to his younger years that is missing in Surprised by Joy. You can feel the intensity of his pain and resentment toward God.

His later poetry is a door into the same or similar worlds we love in Narnia and his other fiction. They give you a chance to experience the same wonder of the books in a different context, a different setting.

His poetry is also a way to study Lewis' personal life. King gave us a helpful chronology (with bibliography) of Lewis' poetry. I saved a few copies, so if you want one, let me know.

Dr. King also pointed out a lesson of Christian discipleship from Lewis' dream of being a successful poet. He had to die to that dream so that the Lord might use his imaginative poetic powers for his kingdom; that Lewis might write monumental prose of poetic beauty.

After having Dr. King with us, I think we will regularly refer to Lewis' poetry in our future meetings as a way of becoming more familiar with him, and of enjoying in bite-size fashion his wonderful imagination.

Many thanks to Aaron for the coffee, to Adam & Dr. Higgins for the delicious goodies, and to the rest of the Camp House crew for reserving their facility for us this past Saturday morning. By the way, their new coffee bar is great and we look forward to having it available to us for the Friday night meetings we will resume in September.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

We Revisit Narnia in April

Will Vaus has done it again! Another great book for Lewis fans, and this time he leads us on an exploration of Narnia. The book, The Hidden Story of Narnia, is "hot off the press," and Will is going to revisit our Society and tell us all about it. The meeting will be at The Camp House, 1427 Williams Street, in the Southside of Chattanooga, Friday 23 April, at 7:00 P.M.

By the way, in a recent e-mail to those on our list, I attributed the following quote about Will's book to Dr. Bruce Edwards:
"What a delightful--and helpful--book! Readers of Lewis' Narnia books will enjoy splashing back into the stories and thinking about the enduring truths so freshly evoked by Lewis and highlighted by Will Vaus. Though rooted in solid scholarship and theology, The Hidden Story of Narnia is accessible to those new to both. It will take you back to The Chronicles of Narnia for another look--at the books, at yourself."

However, now that I look at the page on Will's website again, I think I've got the reviewers mixed up. The above quote seems to be from Wayne Martindale, Professor of English, Wheaton College. Bruce's quote is as follows:

"As with his previous work on C. S. Lewis, Will Vaus provides clarity and informed perspective, taking us behind the scenes of the origins and meaning of Narnia. The teacher as well as the student of Narnia will find this a very useful volume."

Oh well - we get the point: great book!

Hope to see you in April and be sure to tell everyone that the meeting is not at Rock Point Books, as it has been in the past, but at The Camp House. Thank you!

Our new venue at the Camp House worked out really well. Will was able to put his powerpoint on their screens, plenty of room for everybody, sound was good, and - and! - parking was great! Will introduced his new book, spending most of the time on Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Quite enjoyable and we look forward to having Will with us again.

A New Venue for our Society

After several great years at Rock Point Books, we are going to have to move our meetings to another venue. Changes have taken place at Rock Point that have been good for their business, but, sadly, they are not working for us.

We have been graciously invited by Chris Sorenson to meet at The Camp House, located at 1427 William's Street in the Southside of Chattanooga. The building is the main studio of a famous local artist, but most of it has been remodeled into a multi-purpose facility that will - hopefully by the time of our next meeting - include a coffee shop. And the parking will be better! Huzzah!

Please be sure to tell your friends about the change. As stated elsewhere, our next meeting will be Friday, 23 April, with Will Vaus. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March Meeting This Friday

We have reached the conclusion of Lewis' Cosmic Trilogy (I'm liking that label) and it's time to get together and talk about what we are learning from it. We will be privileged to have Dr. Steve Barnes from Shorter College in Rome to lead our discussion. Friday, March 26, the meeting will again be at Rock Point Books, 4th & Broad, 7:00 P.M. and I promise to be sure the sound works better this time. You are invited, so come and join us!

We had our March meeting last night with Dr. Steve Barnes of Shorter College. His presentation on That Hideous Strength was very interesting. If you will recall, the various planets of our solar system are involved in the the story, in that their angels come to Earth to thwart the devil's plot to destroy Logres (the True England, according to Arthurian tradition). These angels are the true gods behind the classical idea of the planets and their divinities. What Steve did was to trace the Western understanding of these gods, especially Venus and Mars, from the Greeks to the Christian tradition. He then wove this understanding into Lewis' story and helped us to see how the later characteristics of Venus and Mars played a role. He convincingly explained that the main organizing theme of the book was Matrimony. The book begins with a matrimony that is unhealthy and troubled and ends with Venus and Mars & Co. straightening all that out. Through it all, Lewis is trying to help us to understand the importance of the physical part of human nature. Fascinating.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Google Review of Don King's Book on Lewis the Poet

If you have not read King's book on Lewis the Poet and do not yet have a copy, you may like perusing the book on Google. You can read the excerpts by going here.
Dr. King will be with us in May.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

28th Annual C. S. Lewis Lecture at UTC This Month

Don't forget that Monday, 22 March, 7:30 P.M., Dr. Timothy George, Dean of Beeson Divinity School, will be speaking on the subject "The Making of the English Bible." The annual UTC C. S. Lewis lectures are sponsored by Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, Covenant College, and UTC. The lecture will be at the Benwood Auditorium, in the Engineering Building, located at Vine and Palmetto. See you there!

Update: Just got back a while ago; great lecture, mostly on Tyndale's work. Some good Q & A afterwards. Thanks for coming, Dr. George!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Our February Meeting

Our February meeting of the Society is this Friday, 7:00 P.M., at Rock Point Books, 4th & Broad St. Our topic will be the second of C. S. Lewis' Space Trilogy books (or Cosmic Trilogy, or Ransom Trilogy, or whatever!), Perelandra. The discussion will be lead by Art Crouch. The public is invited and come whether you've read the book or not. Hope to see you there!

Postpost - Thanks Art for a great discussion!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Living Sacrifices

In case you are interested, I've posted a brief sermon on Solid People which shows something of what C. S. Lewis' book Till We Have Faces and St. Paul's letter to the Romans have in common. The sermon lasts about 17 minutes and you can listen by going here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

C. S. Lewis and Science Fiction

I have posted a brief video summary of my lecture on C. S. Lewis, Science Fiction, and Out of the Silent Planet at our last meeting on the Solid People blog. Go to Solid People to view it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

CCCF Partnership

Good news! Our Society has long been friends with the folks at Chattanooga Christian Community Foundation (CCCF). We have now arranged for you to make tax-deductible contributions to the C. S. Lewis Society of Chattanooga through CCCF. You can simply send your cheque to them with a note that the money is to go to help our Society. For more information on CCCF, you can go here. Their mailing address is:
Chattanooga Christian Community Foundation
736 Market Street
Suite 700
Chattanooga, TN 37402
Our plan is to use the funds to help us meet expenses associated with having special speakers.
Thank you!

Meetings over coming months

We had a good turnout at Rock Point Books for the first of our 3 meetings about Lewis' Space Trilogy (or Ransom Trilogy, if you will). The February meeting will be on Friday, the 19th. The March date is having to be changed. Will Vaus will be with us on 23 April instead of 16 April. Don King is still coming in May. We'll continue to keep you posted on details.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Christian Happiness

I just wrote a brief blog entry at Solid People to comment on David Horner's article in April on C. S. Lewis and his ethical understanding. You may find it helpful.