C.S. Lewis Fans, Take Note!

I came across this two-part interview with Douglas Gresham via Overstreet’s blog, and it’s a doozy. For those of you who don’t know, Gresham is C.S. Lewis’ stepson, and has basically been in charge of the Lewis estate. Which means he’s been quite busy this year, what with the upcoming Narnia movie and all.

The first part of the interview focused primarily on Gresham’s relationship with Lewis, which Gresham has chronicled in his upcoming book, Jack’s Life. The interview offers some intriguing insights into Lewis’ life, and offers up some pointed commentary on modern day evangelicalism:

Americans have latched on to C. S. Lewis, and yet here’s a guy who was a chain smoker, who liked his pints, who told ribald jokes, and in general, wouldn’t fit what we think of as the “typical evangelical.” And yet we’ve all wrapped our arms around him. Why is that?

Gresham: One of the reasons is that through theif you can excuse the expressionthe bulls — — that has come to be taken so seriously in American Christianity, through all of that, they can still see the essential truth that Jack represented. The problem with evangelical Christianity in America today, a large majority of you have sacrificed the essential for the sake of the trivial. You concentrate on the trivialitiesnot smoking, not drinking, not using bad language, not dressing inappropriately in church, and so on. Jesus doesn’t give two hoots for that sort of bulls — -. If you go out and DO Christianity, you can smoke if you want, you can drink if you wantthough not to excess, in either case.

The second part of the interview focuses on the upcoming Narnia movie, Gresham’s role in it, and what Lewis might have thought of his beloved novels being turned into movies. And once again, there’s some good stuff:

Gresham: Jack’s problem with cinema was that he could see this wonderful technology emerging and developing, and he was worried about the uses to which it was being put. Until recently, cinema has been used almost exclusively to corrupt man rather than to develop man. Some of the great movies have been terrific, but by and large most movies are just to titillate, to excitestuff to entertain. Basically, I think the Enemy has been running the cinema. It’s time we took it back from him.

Personally, I come away from the interview with a whole new appreciation for C.S. Lewis, not just his writing, but the way he lived and approached his faith. And obviously, the thought of C.S. Lewis telling bawdy jokes to a pub full of patrons just fills me with delight.