04 December, 2005

Will Narnia Sneak Past our Dragons?


Read an interesting article in USA Today this morning concerning the religious tension in America over The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe. It asked if the film was to be viewed as fantasy adventure or as religious allegory and answered that we should see it as both.
I wonder with what attitudes we are going to see the film in a weeks time (do you think we need to pre-book?).

One of the quotes is from a professor of Hope College (an evangelical college in the USA) states, "Let story be story. Don't go explaining it, don't ask kids, 'Does this remind you of something? Do you find something deeper here?' Let them discover it on their own, if they ever do."

But some of us might be thinking, "why?" Isn't this a great opportunity to discuss the gospel message of Christ with our kids and neighbors, and Aslan is such an obvious Christ figure... But I think we might do well to listen to the words of C.S. Lewis before we go and slip in the gospel through the backdoor with our friends, kids and family. The USA article quotes Lewis at length here:

"Lewis, who died in 1963, gave the clearest explanation of the books and why he wrote them in an essay titled "Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What's to Be Said."

"I thought I saw how stories of this kind could steal past certain inhibitions which had paralyzed much of my own religion in childhood. Why did one find it so hard to feel as one was told one ought to feel about God or about the sufferings of Christ?

"I thought the chief reason was that one was told one ought to. An obligation to feel can freeze feelings. And reverence itself did harm. The whole subject was associated with lowered voices, almost as if it were something medical.

"But supposing that by casting all these things into an imaginary world, stripping them of their stained-glass and Sunday school associations, one could make them for the first time appear in their real potency? Could one not thus steal past those watchful dragons? I thought one could."

I think Lewis got it right. He always argued that his story was not an allegory but an experiment playing around with the idea of what it might have looked like if Christ had come into a world of furry animals and talking beasts. If we let our kids, family, & neighbors feel the power of the story I think it might just get past their inhibitions, their dragons, and lead to much greater conversations down the road.

Just some thoughts


Link: Is that lion the King of Kings?

1 comment:

The Journey said...

This is interesting. I read a recent interview with Doug Gresham (Lewis's stepson & coproducer of the film) from The London Telegraph, where he basically says the same thing. Let the story create it's own impressions on those who go to see it. It might open people's minds to the possibility of this kind of thing happening in the 'human kingdom'.