The Lion, the Witch and What Might-Have-Been
Do you remember who died on November 22, 1963, six days following the founding of Chapel Hill Church? Yes, JFK. But early in that same day, C.S. Lewis collapsed and died in the bedroom of his home, “The Kilns” in Oxford, England. At that moment, President Kennedy’s motorcade was just leaving the Dallas Love Field airport en route to his tragic demise. By this tragic turn of fate, the death of one of the most influential of modern Christian writers went almost unnoticed as the world reeled in grief at the assassination of the American president.
In time for this, the 50th anniversary of Lewis’ death, Alister McGrath has produced a monumental new biography, “C.S. Lewis: A Life.” I consumed it in a few days. This historian in me found it fascinating, particularly McGrath’s discovery that the presumed date of Lewis’ conversion to Christianity has been wrong all these years. (I know… only a historian would find that fascinating. But I did.)
Here’s another discovery I found fascinating. Lewis, who is best known as a member of the Oxford faculty, in fact never made a professor. Apparently, his Oxford colleagues resented Lewis on several counts, chiefly because he was writing popular Christian literature which we know as the Chronicles of Narnia. After several heartbreaking rejections for various Oxford chairs, Lewis was ultimately wooed to that great Oxford rival, Cambridge, where he finally received the position of professor he had long hoped for and deserved.
Clearly, though, the fact that his beloved Oxford broke his heart… the death of his vision of holding a chair at that hallowed institution was a source of sadness and regret to the end of his life.
This Sunday, as I continue with our “Encounters” series, I am going to talk about broken dreams and the death of a vision. Failure and disappointment is a hard reality of life, isn’t it? Jesus has something to say about that, too. Please come.
P.S.. Don’t forget, we are launching a two-week all-church survey (April 25-May13). We need every single person to share their opinion with us. I hope you will.