#remove_padding { padding: 0!important }

Below is a thot-ful post from Randy Newman in celebration of C.S. Lewis’ birthday.

Dear Thoughtful Friends,

Today, November 29th, is C.S. Lewis’ birthday. I hope this news brings you
as much joy as it does to me.

Lewis continues to inspire me through his writing and motivates me to
encourage those who love the life of the mind.

Here are three observations I have about my own experiences of reading
Lewis. I hope you’ll want to join me in the lifelong goal of reading
everything the man wrote.

First, to read C.S. Lewis is to experience verbal delight. He writes so well
that one engages both with the content conveyed and the words employed. I
can’t help but smile at sentences which are crafted by such a skilled

Consider this line from the introduction of The Screwtape Letters. After
stating that we could make two mistakes regarding demons – one to disbelieve
and the other to show too much interest – he adds, “They themselves are
equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the
same delight.”

He grieved over our culture’s declining use of language and saw it as far
more serious than stylistic evolution. In “The Death of Words” he
demonstrated how certain words stopped meaning what they originally meant
and eventually ended up meaning nothing at all. The word “gentleman” once
meant someone who owned land. Later it took on a qualitative sense of
someone who was polite. Eventually it simply meant someone who wasn’t a
woman. The problem is that we already have a word for “man.” “Gentleman” no
longer means anything different from someone of the masculine gender.

The case is far more serious with the word “Christian.” That word once had a
precise theologically restricted use. Later it came to mean something like
“nice.” Now it means nothing. Lewis presses the point to establish the
reason this should bother us so much: “Men do not long continue to think
what they have forgotten how to say” he warned. His words have proven

Second, to read Lewis is to be constantly reminded that we are meant for
another world. He used to love to talk of “joy” or “longing” or “Sehnsucht.”
It may have been his most frequently expressed theme. He defined it as “an
unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other
satisfaction.” In perhaps his fullest treatment of the idea, the essay “The
Weight of Glory,” he says:

“Apparently, then, our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with
something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the
inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere
neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at
last summoned inside would be both glory and honour beyond all our merits
and also the healing of that old ache.”

Finally, to read Lewis is to be pointed to the cross and to feel a sense of
awe at the goodness of God displayed at Calvary. We spend so much energy
defending our faith – arguing, proving, reasoning, declaring – that it is
TRUE, that we sometimes lose sight of the fact that it is also GOOD. I
sometimes find myself saying, “Oh, yes. That’s right. The gospel is so very
good!” when reading Lewis. He turns many internal dialogues from reason to
appreciation, from agreement to adoration.

In one of his “Letters to Malcolm,” he wrote, “Gratitude exclaims, very
properly, “How good of God to give me this.” Adoration says, “What must be
the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations are like
this!” One’s mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun.”

(Did you stumble on the word “coruscations?” It means “a flash of light.” He
could have said it more simply. But, perhaps, he wanted to rescue a word
from the brink of death…or maybe he wanted to add some delight to his
readers’ experience! For whatever reason, the quote makes me smile and
praise our God.)

I hope you’ll find some time to celebrate this day. Pick a short essay of
Lewis’ and read it. See if you don’t smile along the way.

For Integrity’s Sake,

Randy Newman
Faculty Commons
The Faculty Ministry of Campus Crusade