The Last Battle – Part Two: Endings and Beginnings

The Last BattleThis is the second of two podcasts on The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis.  This book is the last in the Chronicles of Narnia and tells of the end of Narnia and the discovery of the real Narnia in Aslan’s country, Heaven.  From a theological point of view we cover the Last Judgment, Salvation, and Heaven as described by Lewis in this book.   The tale contains some of his most beautiful writing as well as some of his best insights about human nature and God.  Ultimately it is a message of renewal and hope.  Nevertheless, we have to concede that it is unflinching in its insistence that all countries except God’s own must come to an end someday, and that everyone must undergo the experience of death.

The show looks at the forebodings of the end, the examples of treachery and betrayal in the tale, how beings are chosen to enter Heaven, and  the salvation of a noble, God-seeking heathen who does not know Aslan.


The Last Battle – Part One

The Last Battle This is the first of a two-part series covering the final book in the Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Battle.

In this book Lewis brings the story of Narnia to a fitting end.  It is both a story of treachery, bravery, and battle, and a book that deals with the themes of good, evil, the meaning of language, and the final judgment and afterlife.  Lewis answers the questions of what a Narnian heaven will be like and how Narnians and persons from our world enter that  heaven.

All of the main characters from the previous books appear, except for one person.  We also meet the last King of Narnia, a talking Ape, a talking Donkey and a band of renegade dwarfs.

This podcast focuses on the relationship between Good and God as well as looking at four different paths that lead to evil



The World’s Last Night

The Worlds Last Night ImageToday’s book is The World’s Last Night and Other Essays. It is a collection of seven essays from later in C S Lewis’ life, after he was 50 years of age.  They were written during a of some significant changes in his life.  For one thing, he switched universities, going from Oxford to Cambridge.  For another, Lewis met and married his wife, Joy Davidman Gresham.  (You might remember this story from the excellent move Shadowlands). These essays give us a good picture of Jack’s thoughts and beliefs at this time and provide us with some good material for our own reflection and learning.

We cover three of the essays in this podcast and leave the rest for your reading pleasure.

The first piece we cover is entitled “The Efficacy of Prayer” and reviews what it means to ask “Does prayer work”.

The second essay in the podcast is “Screwtape Proposes a Toast” and is a biting commentary on the modern educational system and its unfortunate results in society.  It is presented as a speech a senior devil in Hell gives to graduates of Hell’s Tempters College and is well worth reading.

The final selection is “The World’s Last Night” and it addresses the idea of the Second Return of Christ, the sudden end of the world when God steps onto the stage.  It is considered one of Jack’s best essays and needs careful reading and refelction.



The Magician’s Nephew

The book for today’s show is The Magician’s Nephew, a personal favorite of mine.  It tells of the creation of Narnia and how evil TheMagiciansNephewcame into that good land, and technically is the last Chronicle that Lewis wrote.

He wrote The Last Battle and The Magician’s Nephew at the same time, but finished The Last Battle (the book that tells of the end of Narnia) first.  Since the completion of the two books was only 6 months apart, The Magician’s Nephew (hereafter abbreviated The MN) was published first in May of 1955.

The MN is set in the time of Victoria n England, the England of Sherlock Holmes.  It introduces a new hero (Digory) and heroine (Pol ly) and tells how the comings and going between Narnia started, among other things.   Digory’s uncle Andrew provides Digory and Polly with a way (magic rings) to travel between worlds.  They go exploring and enter the dying world of Charn, awaken the last Queen of Charn, who is a witch, and unfortunately bring her back to London with them.  They then take her (and several other folk) out of England and into Narnia (using the rings) and they are present at the Creation of that world.  However, their  act allows evil to enter Aslan’s Good Creation in the form of the witch.  Aslan arranges for a Tree of Protection to be planted to keep the witch out of Narnia proper as long as it lives.  To do this, he asks Digory to bring him a magic apple from a special garden without tasting of it or eating another apple.  Digory is tempted by the witch Jadis to take the apple back home and give it to his mother who is dying of cancer.  He overcomes this temptation and brings the apple back to Narnia.  As to what happens to Digory, Polly, Uncle Andrew and the Witch – you’ll have to read the book

Lewis wants to communicate to us what evil and good look like, and what the results of our moral choices may be.  He does this by showing a dying word ruled (and destroyed) by an evil witch and a new world, freshly created, sung into existence by Aslan.  Jack shows us the continuity between an evil man in this world (an evil magican named Andrew who is Digory’s uncle) and the last Queen of Narnia, Jadis.  Jadis represents what Uncle Andrew will become – they are both walking the same wrong path and Jadis is further along than Andrew.  Jack also shows us what our response should be to the beauties of Nature, and explores the difficulty of making the right moral choices in this story.

If you haven’t done so, please complete a short, anonymous survey to provide me some feedback about these podcasts.  The survey is linked below.  I always welcome comments and suggestions via email, and I respond to every one I receive.



Reading C S Lewis With Your Heart

heart02In this show we are going to take a look at two books “about” C. S. Lewis, rather than by C. S. Lewis.  First, though, we cover a bit of news about Fox replacing Disney as a partner with Walden Media in the Chronicles of Narnia movie franchise.

The first book we’ll cover is “Yours, Jack“, edited by Paul Ford. This book helps us get to know Jack (C S Lewis) better by using some of his personal letters to give us an insight into his personality, wit, and spirituality. Mr. Ford has done an excellent job in selecting letters that give us an insight into Lewis over the years that can, in a real sense,  provide us spiritual advice from Jack .

The second book we cover is “Reading With the Heart; The Way Into Narnia” by Peter Schakel. Mr. Schakel is a Professor of English at Hope College and an acknowledged expert on C S Lewis.  He provides some helpful guidance from a literary perspective to reading,  understanding, and appreciating the Chronicles of Narnia.  Professor Schakel discusses the techniques that Jack used and  the archetypes or basic patterns that apply to the Chronicles.  He shows how these both “set the ground rules” for the way the stories are written and assure that stories will appeal to us.

More information about each book is found in the show notes, linked at the tope of this page.

Also, if you wish, you can join the Facebook  group “All About C. S. Lewis”.  We’d love to have you join us and post there.

Finally, I would really appreciate it if you could complete a short, anonymous survey to provide me some feedback about these podcasts.  The survey is linked below.  I always welcome comments and suggestions via email, and I respond to every one I receive.

 

The Horse and His Boy

The Horse and His BoyToday we look at the fifth book in the Chronicles of Narnia, the Horse and His Boy.  But first, let’s say Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all our listeners, especially those from outside the USA.

We begin with a brief look at Narnia geography in order to help the listeners understand the story and then say a few words about how Lewis found God revealed in both Nature and Reason.

This story is not a quest tale like The Silver Chair or a “journey” tale, like The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  Rather, it is the story of a race and a rescue.  Briefly told, Narnia is in danger of being invaded and conquered by a surprise attack from one of the lands to the south.  Aslan chooses an unlikely rescue party of two Narnian talking horses, Bree and Hwin, and a young boy (Shasta) and Calormene girl (Aravis).  They must race the invaders across a desert to deliver their warning in time.

The main themes that drive the story are the search for identity by the 4 heroes and the idea of Providence, that is, the idea that God controls the events in the world to achieve God’s own purposes.  Or, as it is said in the story, Aslan is at the back of all the stories that happen.

The Silver Chair

Welcome Friends

The Silver Chair

This post covers The Silver Chair, the fourth book (using the order that they were originally published)in the Chronicles of Narnia.  At the start we cover some news about an exhibition on the Chronicles of Narnia that may be coming to a city near you soon.  In addition, we take a look at what was going on in Jack’s life while he wrote these tales and what he thought about some modern educational trends.

The Silver Chair features Eustace from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader as one hero and introduces us to two new ones, Jill Pole (Eustace’s fellow student at Experiment House) and Puddleglum the Marshwriggle, one of the most liked Narnia characters created by Lewis.

The tale is a “quest” narrative in that Eustace and Jill are given a task by Aslan and must travel to many strange lands to accomplish it.  Puddleglum acts as their guide.  Aslan gives Jill four signs to guide them in their mission, and the book’s question is “Will the heroes follow the signs or not?”.  The book also raises questions about devotion and obedience to God and whether God and Heaven are just fantasies, just the wish-fulfillment of dreams, or are they something that really exist.

The Great Divorce

Welcome

The Great Divorce Book Cover

 

 

Have you ever wondered about questions like these?

– Is there a real Heaven and a real Hell?

– If so, what are they like?

– If they exist why would a loving God send people to Hell?

If so, then this podcast will be especially interesting to you.

Today’s show covers The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis.  This is a relatively small book and can be read in 3 or 4 hours, but is well worth your time.

It deals with the ideas of Heaven and Hell and why people end up in Hell.  It does this through a fictional story of a bus ride from Hell to Heaven.  According to this book, anyone in Hell can take this bus ride to Heaven any time they want.  Once in Heaven, they can stay there IF they will give up what put them in Hell in the first place.

Heaven is a more more substantial, much more “real” place then Hell, and the people from Hell appear as shadows or ghosts.  They are met by Angels who try to persuade them to stay in Heaven, and most of the book consists of a record of the conversations that occur between individual ghosts and the Angels that meet them.

This podcast looks at three of the conversations, the ones that deal with lust, mother love, and intellectual pride, and explains how these can keep someone in Hell.

I hope you enjoy the show.

 

Your comments, questions and suggestions are always welcome.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Welcome Friends

Map of the Voyage

Today’s post is about the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third book that C S Lewis wrote in the Chronicles of Narnia.

We start with some news about the Prince Caspian film and the progress Disney is making on filming The Voyage of the Dawn TreaderThen we look at the importance Jack (Lewis’ nickname was Jack) places upon dreams and imagination vs. reasons and facts.

The story features two of our old friends, Lucy and Edmund, who are in Narnia for their last time, as well as Caspian and Reepicheep from the Prince Caspian tale.  The Voyage introduces new character Eustace who is important in the Dawn Treader’s story as well as another one of the Chronicles of Narnia, and  we spend some time looking at some of the ways Lewis highlights the use of imagination in this story.

Book Cover for the Voyage of the Dawn Treader










Prince Caspian

Caspian and the four children

Welcome friends

In honor of July 4th, this show starts with a review of C. S. Lewis’ service in the British Army, including combat in the trenches in France in WW I.  It covers some of the consequences of that experience, both good and bad, and how they affected his life.  Next, we take a look at Prince Caspian, the second book in the Chronicles of Narnia. We’ll review how the themes of Desire and Faith play out in this book by looking at some of the important characters that we meet.