Saturday, January 09, 2010

Blogging through Narnia

Last weekend, my good friend Spidey announced in another place (and, for UK readers, I don't mean the House of Lords!) that she was planning to start the year by reading through the C.S.Lewis Narnia books, one per week - and invited others to join her. I do seem to read most of them at least annually, but haven't done so as a project, and feeling full of new year cheer I signed up. You all know the books backwards, but I'm thinking I'll blog as I go, anyway, even if I've nothing original to say.

Of course, the first decision to be made was in what order to read written or in their correct chronology. Chronology won, which suits me beautifully, so this week I've been reading The Magician's Nephew.
As an only child, I was specially fond of the book, because I could identify so much with the children. Like Polly, I spent long afternoons reading in the den in our boxroom, like Diggory I had an invalid mother, and like every child since the world began I dreamed of adventures in another world. I always loved that the book opens by referring to some other good friends of mine, E.Nesbit's Bastable children, using their adventures to set the time frame for Polly and Diggory's adventures.
"When Mr. Sherlock Holmes was still living in Baker Street and the Bastables were looking for treasure in the Lewisham Road"
was for my child-self every bit as much of a root in reality as 
"When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King..."

So much of my theology was shaped by Narnia, and as I grew older I loved picking up and recognising the origins of some of the Narnian loveliness.Reading this time I was specially delighted by the way in which Lewis rewrote Genesis so that it is Diggory who yields to temptation and rings the bell that wakens the evil in Charn and, instead of handing on the blame in whatever direction presents itself, dares both to admit his own responsibilty and to make it clear the Polly did all she could to prevent him.
It's not often that Lewis allows womankind a positive role - his writing is very uncomfortable once you read it through an adult feminist lens - so this made me cheer!
Favourite moment - Aslan singing the world into being and the creatures of Narnia bursting from the earth....LIVING creation, rather than the image of moulded clay that I carry from Genesis.

Now on to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - while the snow lasts!


William Dunigan said...

Greetings to one and all: In that most precious name. That name which is above every name, the name: "Jesus"

There's tremendous power in that name. I'd suppose we'll never fully realize all that can truly be accomplished, by us simply calling out that name in true faith.

There's an old, old, gospel song that goes like this: Faith in the Father, faith in the Son, faith in the Holy Spirit, great victories are won. Demons will tremble and sinners will awake, faith in Jehovah will anything shake.

For you who have never come into this realization, if you're reading this, just give him a welcome into your heart and life. You will both feel and see an awesome difference. You will have also purchased the ticket to heaven (by accepting, therefore making him welcome to come into your life. You will also sup from His cup that contains living water. (As did the woman at the well of Bethesda.) John 4:10

Much love,

Your brother in Christ Jesus, who is both our Lord, and Savior.

Mary Beth said...

I love this post. As a little American girl, with utterly no experience of boxrooms and as yet unacquainted with Mr. Holmes, the Bastables, or the Lewisham Road (though this led me to look them up!!), I agree that somehow Lewis' world is as much a part of my theology as is a tesseract.

Off to find my copy...

Kathryn said...

You know something, Mary Beth, I really do rather LOVE you :-)
And I am having a wonderful time discovering the L'engle beyond "Wrinkle" atm

Tony said...

I re-read all the Narnia books last year and it was great. But what I've just enjoyed even more was listening to the audiobook of Out of the Silent Planet. Beautifully read, and even more theologically nourishing.

Michael Stevens said...

Hi from a wandering CS Lewis fan :)

Jennifer said...

What a lovely idea. I'm in!
(And thanks for dropping by my blog!)

Juniper said...

im in too.

love that you've talked about this tension - that you can love the books that formed you as a child and still able to read them as a feminist, too. :)