This is the second podcast on “The Screwtape Letters”, one of the most popular books and most unusual books that C S Lewis wrote. To review, it is a set of letters from one senior devil (Screwtape) to a junior devil (Wormwood). Wormwood has just graduated from Hell’s Tempters College and posted to tempt a man on earth. Screwtape, a successful tempter, advises Wormwood on how to proceed. Since the book is written from a devil’s point of view, it is a work of inversion or reversal in that what is black to us is white to them, and what is bad is good.
In this podcast we take a look at three of the major subjects that Lewis covers, temptation, church, and prayer. More show notes for this podcast can be found by clicking here.
In this podcast we cover “The Screwtape Letters“, one of the most popular books that C S Lewis ever wrote. It is a set of letters from one senior devil (Screwtape) to a junior devil (Wormwood). Wormwood has just graduated from Hell’s Tempters College, and is on his first post. He is assigned to tempt a man on earth, and Screwtape, being an experienced senior devil, advises him on how to proceed. Since it’s written from a devil’s point of view, it is a work of inversion or reversal in that what is black to us is white to them, and what is bad is good. A reference to “Our Father’s house below” is a reference to Hell, and “the Enemy” refers to God. This reversal helps you see things in a new and different way, and is one of the attractions of the book.
This book was written during WW II. There are 31 letters in all, and they were originally published one a week in an Anglican magazine. They were so popular that they were re-published as a book in 1942, and have remained popular ever since. The letters are short, direct, and written in the same informal style as “Mere Christianity” . Jack covers the man’s conversion, the temptations that Wormwood uses, why Hell wants humans, the devil’s view of war and suffering, and the man’s falling in love (among other things). No matter how often you re-read the letters, you’ll learn something new.
Currently there is a play based on “The Screwtape Letters” touring the country after a successfu l off-Broadway run. It’s a one-an play, basically, starring Max MacClean, and has r eceived excellent reviews wherever it has run. You can find out more informati on by following the link below.
This podcast covers one of C S Lewis’ most import books, “Miracles“. Today many people who have been brought up in our rational culture have trouble believing in anything miraculous, for the claims that Christ walked on water or was born of a virgin or raised the dead seem to go against everything that science teaches us. If you are one of these people, then you may find Jack’s book quite helpful.
His book is sub-titled “A Preliminary Study” and is intended to help the reader objectively evaluate whether or not miracles, especially those recorded in the Bible, did or did not occur. It covers some of the same issues and makes some of the same arguments as found in “Mere Christianity” but this book is a more academic and philosophical work both in tone and approach.
Lewis points out that we must settle some basic philosophical questions about miracles in general before we review the evidence for any particular miracle. If we don’t we will always conclude that the miracle did not happen, for that will be our belief going into the review.
Therefore, most of the book answers the three most common objections to miracles.
They are impossible
They are improbable
They are improper for a divine Being
Having addressed these questions in detail, Lewis then looks at some of the miracles recorded in the New Testament as to what we can learn from them about our world and about God’s nature.
This podcast is intended as an introduction to the book, not as a thorough study and I hope it leads you to read “Miracles” for yourself. This book has been an important element in my faith journey and perhaps it will also assist you.
In this podcast we look at The Narnia Code, a very interesting book and companion DVD that describes the overall plan or logic that C. S. Lewis may have used when he wrote “The Chronicles of Narnia“. I used the word “may” because not all Lewis scholars are in agreement with the findings of this book. However, it’s theory seems to solve at least two literary problems in the Chronicles and has considerable evidence to back it up. In addition, studying the book and applying its principles to the stories in the Chronicles will significantly increase your enjoyment and understanding of the depth of Jack’s work.
Briefly stated, Michael Ward, the author of The Narnia Code (and also the larger volume Planet Narnia) believes that he has found the plan to Chronicles, a plan that was deliberately hidden by Jack as a prank or practical joke. Lewis was a medieval scholar for all of his life, and he knew and appreciated the medieval view of the cosmos. In this view, there are seven heavenly bodies that circle around the earth, and each body has certain characteristics or spirits that influence life on earth. Each of the books in the Chronicles were written to illustrate the influences or spirits of one of the medieval heavenly bodies. They are as follows:
Jupiter, the King of the planets – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Mars, the bringer of war – Prince Caspian
The Sun, the source of light – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Venus – The Magician’s Nephew
Mercury, the messenger – The Horse and His Boy
The Moon – The Silver Chair
Saturn – The Last Battle
More information can be found at the Narnia Code website
This is the secondand final podcast on the book The Four Loves by C S Lewis. Lewis organized his book around the four types of human love, using the Greek words for them. They are
Storge – affection
Philia – Friendship
Eros – the love of other, which is distinct from sexuality
Agape – Charity,the love of God.
In this podcast we cover the last 3 types, friendship, eros, and the love of God. Here we must note two things to avoid misunderstandings. First, Eros does not mean mere sensuality or sexuality, a part of our nature that we share with the animal kingdom. Eros is the intense, almost jealous love for another person. Second the love of God can be interpreted in two ways; the giving love of God which flows to us, and our devotion for God that God’s love calls forth in response. Lewis discusses both variations and we cover them in the podcast.
Again, as before, Lewis describes each type of love and suggests how they mirror some aspect of the divine love, and how the unaided human love can go wrong.
This is the first podcast on The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis.In this short but thoughtful work Jack analyzes the four types of love that can exist between persons. He identifies them by their Greek names as follows:
Storge – affection
Philia – Friendship
Eros – the love for a particular other (distinct from sexuality)
Agape – the love of God
In addition, he includes a description of both our needs and pleasures, and discussions of the love of nature and the love of country.
In general, his approach is to identify what is good about our loves as well as what can go bad. No one love is better than another, and all of them need to be controlled by the Love of God to assume their proper in our hearts.
This podcast covers the material on our needs and pleasures, the loves of nature and of our country, and a review of the first type of love, Storge (affection).
This show covers God in the Dock, a collection of essays and letters by C.. S. Lewis. The title (God in the Dock) is taken from one of the essays and refers to the place where the defendant stands in the English court system. The essays cover a wide range of topics and show the scope of Jack’s work.
There are essays on theological topics, such as miracles, essays on ethics and essays on what the editor calls “semi-theological topics”. For example, the essay God in the Dock describes the difficulties that Lewis had (and the we still have) in presenting the Good News of the Christian religion to an audience of unbelievers. There are also interviews as well as some letters that Lewis wrote in response to questions and criticisms of his writings. All of them are very good, and you are sure to find several essays that appeal especially to you.
Since there is no theme or development in the book, we cover three of the essays in order to give you a sample of what they are like and what subjects they cover. We cover “God in the Dock”, as well as “Miracles” and “Work and Prayer”. You are sure to find others that appeal to you as you read the book.
This is the first podcast in a series of three on Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. This book is probably Jack’s most popular non-fiction work and it has been an important milestone in many people’s lives, including my own. It developed from a series of short talks that Jack gave on the BBC during WW II and is orientated towards a popular rather than academic audience. In it he describes the essence of Christian belief and why Jack thinks that Christianity is true.
The book is divided into four sections as follows
(1) Right and Wrong as a clue to the meaning on the universe
(2) What Christians Believe
(3) Christian Behavior
(4) Beyond Personality
We will cover the first two sections in this podcast. As always, I recommend reading the book to get the full force of Jack’s arguments.
” ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all” (Tennyson)
Jack and Joy at the Kilns in Oxford
Today’s show tells the lovely (and tragic story) of C S Lewis’ marriage to Joy Gresham. Jack did not marry until he was 58 years old and after three years of happiness he lost his wife to cancer. His wife was named Helen Joy Davidman at birth but went by Joy all her life. She was of Jewish background, a poet and a writer with a razor-sharp wit and a love for books. Early in her life she became a Communist and wrote articles and edited the poetry column for one of their publications. She married a fellow communist, Bill Gresham, who was handsome, charming and a writer, but who was rootless and a philosophical drifter. They had two sons, David and Douglas, early in their marriage.
Joy Davidman in 1951
Although they both made a journey from Communism to Christianity, Bill soon retrogressed. His repeated unfaithfulness caused the marriage to break up. Joy corresponded with C S Lewis about some of the problems she was having with her faith and a real friendship developed. She traveled to England so that she could speak to Lewis in person. When a divorce was inevitable, she moved to England with her two sons and began to see more of Lewis. She fell in love with him, and he with her, partly because of her courage in battling cancer. They were married at her bedside in the hospital and she experience a remarkable remission of the cancer. They were able to have 3 happy years together before the cancer returned and Joy died.
Inscription For Joy's marker
This story is told in a very appealing visual manner in the movie “Shadowlands”, with Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. The material we cover in this podcast comes from three books.
In this podcast we attempt an almost impossible task – listing the “essential” books that you should read to get a comprehensive view of C S Lewis and his writings. This list is – of course – my opinion only, and others are welcome to put forth their own. When you have an author who has written over 60 books plus hundreds of essays and letters, there is such a wide field for disagreement.
I decided to restrict myself to three books of fiction, three of non-fiction, and three about C S Lewis or his writings, making a total of nine entries. I have tried to give a short description of each book and why I think it belongs in the list, as well as comments on other books that other C S Lewis fans may think should replace my choices. Emails and comments are always welcome, of course.
Here is my recommended essential C S Lewis reading list