Beyond Narnia: Dramatic Glimpses Into C.S. Lewis' World
- Thursday, March 30, 2006
But God is not content to leave Lewis in unbelief. The film illuminates the role that other writers, colleagues, and friends have on Lewis. He discovers that the only books he likes are written by Christians. His most engaging friends, such as J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams, are committed Christians. Lewis is a scholar; he cannot avoid the evidence. He speaks of being tracked down by God until he hears God's slow, steady steps coming for him. He admits that on the night he receives Christ as his Savior, he is England's most reluctant convert. As long as we are open, God is persistent. Lewis' story is a living parable of the Good Shepherd and the Lost Sheep.
We Are Aliens in the Land
Key to Lewis' longings is the knowledge that they will slip away. The ultimate happiness Lewis experiences while looking at Warnie's garden eventually evaporates. Lewis is constantly telling viewers that his childhood prior to his mother's death was "Perfect" and so, of course, "it couldn't last."
All permanent happiness eludes Lewis. The peace of his studies gives way to war. His love of Joy Davidman, which led to his marriage and the greatest human happiness of his life, ends with her death. Even his faith, lauded throughout the West as Lewis became one of the most prominent Christian apologists of the 20th century, gave way – for a time – to doubt after the death of his wife. "Beyond Narnia" is not merely a jaunty look at an author of children's books, it is a perceptive exploration of Lewis' understanding of his own impermanence.
Human happiness has no fixed place in a fallen world. We are aliens – visitors, stewards of this planet, but citizens of a heavenly kingdom. Even our imperfect creations, Lewis explains, remind us that we are creatures ourselves, indebted to our Creator. Glimpses of joy appear fleetingly here to remind us of what can await. We are in transit, but each of us is on our way to an eternal destination.
Faith Is a Journey With a Clear Destination
"Beyond Narnia" tells the journey of Lewis' life. In the experiential culture of the early 21st century, we are often admonished that "the journey is the thing." But Lewis would counter that a journey without a clear sense of where one is headed is indistinguishable from being lost. Every episode demonstrates that Lewis lived his life on purpose. And, in retrospect, all his major trials presented clear choices designed to move him closer to heaven, or closer to hell.
The destination is the important part of the journey. It colors every choice. Since the Lewis depicted in "Beyond Narnia" is in his last part of his life, he joyously anticipates what is to come. Referring back to the final book of the "Chronicles", "The Last Battle," Lewis reminds the viewers that a day is coming when we will start on a new story, the Greatest Story, in which every chapter is better than the one before, and the story never ends. He says he "can't wait" and, catching his enthusiasm, neither can we.
Lewis once noted that "It is impossible to write one's best if nobody else ever has a look at the results." What is true of writing may also be said to be true of living. "Beyond Narnia" gives us a glimpse at Lewis, and "the results" speak for themselves.
Marc T. Newman, PhD (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the president of MovieMinistry.com, an organization that provides sermon and teaching illustrations from popular film, and helps the Church use movies to reach out to others and connect with people.
© 2006 AgapePress. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
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