Christian author and college chancellor John Piper has released an E-book celebrating the impact the famous novelist C.S. Lewis had on his life and commemorating the 50th anniversary since his death.
In his introduction to the book, Alive to Wonder: Celebrating the Influence of C.S. Lewis, Piper writes: "I put Lewis in the top three writers who have influenced how I read and respond to the world. Yes, the world is a book to be read. And few people could read like Lewis."
Piper, who is the chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary, and founder of desiringGod.org, uses a mixture of painterly, poetic, and at times scholarly prose in writing about the influence of the Christian apologist and lay theologian.
- (Photo: Screen Grab via Alive to Wonder
He explains how his tribute to Lewis can be found all through his writings and sermons while expressing a special appreciation for Lewis' humility.
"One way to appreciate C.S. Lewis is to see how his Christian humility shaped his life and work. Owen Barfield, one of Lewis's closest friends, said that the 'new voice' with which he spoke after his conversion had an 'unmistakable note of magisterial humility,'" writes Piper.
"In diminishing his own preoccupation with himself, Lewis's humility enabled him to see what was really valuable, even when it was not his own literary vocation. How many prominent literary men are willing to speak the truth that Lewis spoke so plainly?" asked Piper.
In a simple yet profound and fluid appreciation for Lewis' approach to writing, Piper also explains how Lewis' humility allowed him to find meaning outside himself and identify the intent of other writers.
"Lewis's humility disinclined him from making his understanding of a writing the definition of its meaning. Rather he was inclined to seek the author's intention. This is a particular application of his belief that there is reality outside himself and that he is not the measure of all things," writes Piper.
"Humility inclined Lewis not just to learn 'from' another mind, but 'with' another mind. What I am thinking of here is his experience of, and writing about, friendship. Friendship is two or more people engaging in a kind of corporate self-forgetfulness. Their focus is on something outside the group," notes Piper.
To illustrate his point, Piper quotes from Lewis writings:
In some ways nothing is less like a friendship than a love affair. Lovers are always talking to one another about
their love; friends hardly ever about their friendship. Lovers are normally face-to-face, absorbed in each other;
friends, side-by-side, absorbed in some common interest… In this kind of love, as Emerson said, "Do you love me?" means "Do you see the same truth?"—Or at least, "Do you care about the same truth?" The man who agrees with us that some question, little regarded by others, is of great importance, can be our friend. He need not agree with us about the answer.
"This has affected my view of friendship ever since I read it. I love the camaraderie of common passions focused on some great object outside ourselves," writes Piper.
"In this fiftieth year since he died, I offer this little book as a celebration of the influence of C.S. Lewis in my life. I hope I do so in humility. I know I do so with profound thankfulness," he adds.