OK, so Clive Staples was not an actual Episcopalian, but as a member of ‘The Mother Church (of England)’ nonetheless and a cousin in the Anglican expression that brought him to Christ and to a place where his amazing gifts of imagination and creativity might never have gone, we can be most glad.
An Irishman by birth, this medievalist, Ox-Bridge scholar, author and lay theologian, he is one of the best-known Christian apologists of the last one hundred years (Christianity Today voted his epic ‘Mere Christianity’ as the best book of the twentieth century). Though baptized in the Church of Ireland, he renounced his faith at age 15, embraced atheism and was particularly interested in mythology and the occult. It would take 17 years, and the influence of Christians like J.R.R. Tolkein (author of The Hobbit, etc.) for Lewis to once again embrace the faith of his childhood.
His imagination unleashed, yet bridled by his new found Champion, Lewis would bring us the epic seven-story, ‘Chronicles of Narnia,’ the first being well-known ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.’ ‘The Great Divorce,’ ‘The Screwtape Letters,’ ‘Surprised by Joy,’ and ‘A Grief Observed’ are also some of his most popular books.
Lewis never sought ordination in the Church of England but considered himself a lay theologian of the Church. He was fed by the Word, nurtured by the Sacraments and sent out by the Holy Spirit to use his tremendous talents to change the world. In this New Year, a time of pulse-taking, reality checks, and goal-setting you and I do well to reacquaint ourselves with the gifts God has given us. And we ask ourselves, how, like Lewis, might we use the unique talents we’ve been given to change our world?