I’m reading through George Sayer’s Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis at the moment. Very slowly as I dedicate most of my free time to finishing my current novel. I’ve always been a huge fan of The Chronicles of Narnia. A few weeks ago, I watched Shadowlands and afterward took an interest in learning Lewis’s real life story. It’s very interesting, this great man’s journey to faith. But so far, I’ve resonated most with his role as a children’s author. (Hmmmm…wonder why.)
I stumbled upon the following section of text in which Sayer summarizes Lewis’s thoughts on being a Christian author of mainstream literature, to which I’ve subscribed wholeheartedly without even realizing I was in agreement with him. Remember, Lewis was writing literature in the 1930’s-50’s.
“[Lewis] pointed out that the difficulties of the Christian writer or lecturer arose from the fact that the culture was not at all Christian. This meant that the influence of a Christian lecture or article would be undermined very quickly by the influence of films, newspapers, and novels in which an opposing point of view was taken for granted. This made it impossible for the Christian writer to achieve widespread success. What was wanted was not more ‘little books about Chritianity,’ but more books by Christians on the subjects in which the Christianity was latent.
“…Jack wanted the moral and spiritual significance of his works of fiction to be assimilated subliminally, if at all… Over and over in talking bout his fiction, he would say, ‘But it’s there for the story.'”
That’s it! That’s what I try to do when I write. I strive to create a story of excellence that will entertain yet rest on, to use Sayer’s word, a latent Christian worldview.
Another quote, a direct quote of Lewis’s that I found sadly humorous was in reference to the ignorant reception his sci-fi thriller Out of the Silent Planet received: “I think this great ignorance might be a help to the evangelisation of England; any amount of theology can now be smuggled into people’s minds under cover of romance without their knowing it.”
That does seem to be the case today, as well. I plan to continue taking advantage of it.