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Saturday, June 13, 2015

If I Had Lunch With C. S. Lewis

If I Had Lunch with C. S. Lewis: Exploring the Ideas of C. S. Lewis on the Meaning of Life

Review of If I Had Lunch With C. S. Lewis by Alister McGrath

Overview from What if you could ask C. S. Lewis his thoughts on some of the most difficult questions of life? If you could, the result would be Dr. Alister McGrath’s provocative and perceptive book, If I Had Lunch with C. S. Lewis. Best-selling author, prominent academic, and sought-after speaker, Dr. McGrath sees C. S. Lewis as the perfect conversation companion for the persistent meaning-of-life questions everyone asks.
What makes Lewis a good dialogue partner is that his mind traveled through a wide and varied terrain: from atheism of his early life to his conversion later in life; from his rational skepticism to his appreciation of value of human desires and imagination; from his role as a Christian apologist during World War II to his growth as a celebrated author of classic children’s literature. The questions Lewis pondered persist today: Does life have meaning? Does God exist? Can reason and imagination be reconciled? Why does God allow suffering?

My Review:

I must be changing the way I think since this is the second time in 30 day period that I have chosen to review nonfiction. This book centers on one of my favorite writers, C. S. Lewis.

The author presented the reader with a hypothetical situation. What would we talk about if we were to have lunch with C. S. Lewis? What would he say about the subjects that matter most to us?

McGrath reminds us that besides his famous series “The Chronicles of Narnia,” Lewis is known first and foremost for his work as a Christian apologist. What would he say about these subjects that he hasn’t already said in his books or better yet how can it be worded so that we could understand him better?

I don’t think that I am stupid. In fact, some would say the opposite. But I have often times struggled to understand exactly what he means in some of his books. I think Mr. McGrath cleared a lot of that confusion up for me. I understand much better than before and it makes more sense to me. This, for me, was the best part of the book. I gained a better understanding of Lewis’ main points as an apologist.

This is not to say that there wasn’t discussion of the Narnia series. I actually understood better how the events in Narnia helped illustrate Lewis’ main points about God even if they fit neatly into his theology—he did have a point.

Of course I have always liked how Lewis chose the name of the lands of Narnia based on an old map of a place dear to my heart—Narni, Italy. But I also like the stories themselves as well. In Narnia, there are giants of both size and strength like Aslan, as well as giants of courage in small packages like the mouse Reepicheep.

I couldn’t really see much of a down side to this book at all. I think it could helpful to people who might have read Lewis’ works and/or McGrath’s biography of Lewis and just didn’t get it all. If that is you, give it a try. After all, it is less than 200 pages.

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