Saturday, November 12, 2005

Williams on Narnia: Let the Story Speak

Craig Williams pleads with Christians and churches to simply let C.S. Lewis' story in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe "talk" to people. His plea has broader application than to just this wonderful story, about to be seen in movie theaters starting on December 9. We need not micromanage people's reactions.

This is hard, the human impulse, particularly the human religious impulse is to force-feed our notions on others in the mistaken idea that our particular versions of belief are right and that other ideas are dangerous. It seems every Christian tradition has its rather constricted notions on what Christians are supposed to look, talk, and smell like. (Steve Taylor wonderfully lampooned this penchant in his song, I Want to Be a Clone.)

But life in the Spirit, life with God, has many unanswered questions and open ends. Jesus is the narrow way and salvation only comes through Him. But once through that portal, life is meant to be a bit like what happened when people went through the stable door in The Last Battle, the final volume of the Narnian Chronicles: The sky is the limit. (I love the passage in that book in which one character said that the stable must be simply enormous, one containing a reality bigger than the world in which they had formerly stood. One of the children comments, I'm paraphrasing, "We had a stable like that once in our world.")

We follow a wild and untamed God. Remember Mr. Beaver's words to the Pevensie children when they first arrive in Narnia and he is explaining who Aslan is: "Safe? Of course, he isn't safe. But he's good." The Chronicles of Narnia can do more to glorify our unsafe and good God if we let people experience them without our interpreting everything first. Craig is right, that would be taking all the wonder, beauty, discovery, and mystery from them!

Christians aren't called to tame God, people, or ideas. To even make the attempt is to pretend to be gods ourselves...and that is a fool's errand.

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