CS Lewis is, I think, my favorite writer. The man is brilliant, whether he writes essays, or long thoughtful works, or fiction. I would have loved to have met him, although I imagine conversing with him would be disconcerting. I might say "good morning," and he would snap, "define good, and what you mean by a 'good' morning, and why you are wishing me a 'good morning' when you don't know if I have spent an uncomfortable night on a lumpy mattress." I'm sure I would be tongue-tied and nervous, although I would sit quietly and hope he might not shine the spotlight too focused on me.
As a child I read The Chronicles of Narnia too many times to count, and I wonder if they didn't help me accept ten or fifteen years later the need to consider the possibility of God's existence and miracles as I investigated the events surrounding the death of Yeshua. If you haven't read the Chronicles, please do; they are richly allegorical for adults and wonderfully exciting for children. The movies, while superbly made, are different, and the books are magical.
I wanted today to quote a small passage from The Last Battle, the last book of the series and my favorite. The situation seems strangely contemporary and disquieting.
In the story, an Ape has seized power of Narnia through trickery by claiming to represent Aslan, The Lion, the religious God-King figure who watches over the country although he has not appeared in the country for generations. Here is an excerpt from the Ape's speech to the citizens of Narnia (talking animals, dwarves, and a few humans):
"And now here's another thing," the Ape went on, fitting a fresh nut into its cheek. "I hear some of the horses are saying, Let's hurry up and get this job of carting timber over as quickly as we can, and then we'll be free again. Well, you can get that idea out of your heads at once. And not only the Horses either. Everybody who can work is going to be made to work in future. Aslan has it all settled with the King of Calormen -- The Tisroc, as our dark faced friends the Calormenes call him. All you Horses and Bulls and Donkeys are to be sent down into Calormen to work for your living -- pulling and carrying the way horses and such-like do in other countries. And all you digging animals like Moles and Rabbits and Dwarfs are going down to work in the Tisroc's mines. And --"
"No, no, no," howled the Beasts. "It can't be true. Aslan would never sell us into slavery to the King of Calormen."
"None of that! Hold your noise!" said the Ape with a snarl. "Who said anything about slavery? You won't be slaves. You'll be paid -- very good wages too. That is to say, your pay will be paid into Aslan's treasure and he will use it all for everybody's good" Then he glanced, and almost winked, at the chief Calormene. The Calormene bowed and replied, in the pompous Calormene way:
"Most sapient Mouthpiece of Aslan, The Tisroc (may-he-live-forever) is wholly of one mind with your lordship in this judicious plan."
"There! You see!" said the Ape. "It's all arranged. And all for your own good. We'll be able, with the money you earn, to make Narnia a country worth living in. There'll be oranges and bananas pouring in -- and roads and big cities and schools and offices and whips and muzzles and saddles and cages and kennels and prisons -- oh, everything."
"But we don't want all those things," said an old Bear. "We want to be free..."
Freedom is priceless. Our country was formed by brave men, not cowards, and bought and retained its freedom through the blood of many patriots over generations. As Ronald Reagan said (quoting Scripture), the USA is a shining city on a hill, offering hope and regeneration to many. It is not perfect, of course, but it is still remarkable. Our generation is now the steward of this freedom to pass to the next generation, and I just pray we don't lose it.