Aloha readers! Most people have heard of the Narnia series by C. S. Lewis. Even the casual movie-goer is likely to have seen at least one of the “Narnia” films. But what many may not know is that C. S. Lewis was a prolific author of mostly non-fiction. In fact, he wrote almost exclusively about Christianity! Who would have guessed that the man who brought us into the realm of outrageous fantasy and copious magic with Narnia was also a devout Christian? Interestingly enough, it turns out Lewis used to be atheist, and it was J.R.R. Tolkien (master writer of the epic “Lord of the Rings” fantasy saga) who converted him to Christianity!
It is evident that this effect that Tolkien had on Lewis was profoundly impactful, as Lewis ended up becoming one of the preeminent modern day Christian writers of the 20th century. “Mere Christianity” is in many ways his magnum opus of Christian non-fiction. To this day, “Mere Christianity” is considered one of the most important books on the Christian faith, and still a bestseller.
“Mere Christianity” is a compilation of three talks that Lewis gave on BBC radio between 1942-1944. The broad topics he covered were “The Case for Christianity,” “Christian Behaviour,” and “Beyond Personality,” originally published afterward as individual pamphlets. Organized into a simple, well-flowing, and articulate read, “Mere Christianity” really provides a considered analysis of what the common values of being a Christian means, regardless of one’s sect. Many in Western society are raised culturally Christian, but Lewis challenges the reader to examine themselves in what being or thinking Christian actually means, and what lifestyle comes from truly living it. Even for non-Christians, Lewis presents a welcoming conversation that can appeal to all mindsets. The more we learn, the better we are!
Ed and Cynthia Justus are owners of The Bookstore in Hanalei.