I recently went through our church library and got rid of most of the books. The reason was that the vast majority were terribly outdated. And yet I kept all of the C.S, Lewis books, even though they were older than many of the other books that I considered out of date.
I see C.S. Lewis as being incredibly relevant today and I don’t expect his popularity to die out any time soon. It is not just because he was really smart. There are plenty of smart people that we don’t read anymore.
So why is C.S. Lewis still popular today?
I see two main reasons for C.S. Lewis to continue as an important voice for the Christian church:
C.S. Lewis Speaks to the Whole Person
There are authors who are extremely intelligent and authors who are talented writers who know how to entertain. Rarely are those two types found in the same person. C.S. Lewis is one of those rare authors.
Lewis wrote some incredibly thoughtful books, such as Mere Christianity and Miracles, that will give us much to chew on for decades to come. But Lewis also wrote stories like the Chronicles of Narnia and the Space Trilogy that, while having a strong message, are stories that speak to another part of our being. Sometimes he blurs the lines, as he did with the Screwtape Letters.
I don’t think we are meant to be compartmentalized and that people are looking for a more wholistic presentation of the faith. Lewis was able to make that happen and that still speaks to people today.
C.S. Lewis and Authenticity
One of the qualities that people admire today is authenticity. We don’t want our teachers and mentors to be on a pedestal, we want them to be real. Well, Lewis was authentic before it was cool.
I encourage you to read C.S. Lewis’s letters. They are amazing, not just in his thoughtful reflections, but in his confession of personal struggles. When Lewis didn’t have the answers, he admitted it. When he struggled with faithfulness, he admitted it. One of my favourite books by Lewis is his Grief Observed. This book is not a detached treatise on suffering but a window to Lewis’s own suffering, in all of its messiness.
That authenticity will continue to impact readers and hopefully inspire future Christian leaders.
What about you? What do you appreciate most about C.S. Lewis?