A Conversation with C.S Lewis
Let us always use wisdom and discernment in such matters.
A few months ago, I ran across a rare audio message by C.S. Lewis. I decided to convert the message into a video, which I posted on YouTube. I’m not a whiz at video production, and the project took most of the day. During that time, my mind became obsessed with the message of this beloved saint whose writings have inspired so many believers. Although I’ve only read a few of his books (The Chronicles of Narnia are still on my list of books to read), Lewis has inspired me more than anyone else with the exception of Jesus himself. The reason he inspires me so is his gift of writing.
Being a writer, I gravitate toward gifted writers. I draw inspiration from them and pick up tips and learn from their examples as I hone my own writing skills. It’s hard to think of anyone who so eloquently and so intelligently wrote about the issues that believers wrestle with. We all need role models and over the years, I’ve adopted Clive (known to his friends as Jack) as the main person by which I gauge my own writing and at times, my own thinking. While writing I often wonder to myself, how would Lewis have addressed this issue? How would he build this argument?
I never had a chance to meet Lewis. He became a member of the great cloud of witnesses in 1963. The day I created the video, I spent an unusually long period of time wondering about him and reflecting on how his life has affected mine. Time itself seemed to stand still that afternoon, and then I went to sleep.
I had a dream that night where Lewis paid me a visit. The purpose of our meeting was so that he could teach me a few things about writing. I did not see him in the way you might typically see someone in a dream. It’s not as though we were sitting at a table talking. I simply knew I was in his presence, the way you know with certainty facts in dreams. I also did not hear him speak the way you typically hear someone speak in a dream. I did not hear that distinctive accent. He spoke to me spirit-to-spirit through the transmission of thoughts.
So there I was in a dream, being tutored by the spirit of one of my favorite men. And what he shared was surprisingly practical.
Mike Parsons has met with a number of people from the cloud of witnesses. According to him, when these saints minister to us, they tend to help people who are engaged in endeavors similar to their own calling. They usually share practical advice on how to avoid certain problems they ran into when they were on earth and involved in their own body of work. They tend to give suggestions about how to accomplish things with expediency and efficiency, to shorten the learning curve for us, so to speak. And that’s exactly what Lewis did.
He told me about how the proper selection of words was critical to being a successful writer and illustrated his point with several stories about the problems he ran into by not choosing the right words. He noted that our choice of words creates either a favorable or an unfavorable experience in the mind of the reader and that the selection of one word or another can make a huge difference in how our writing is perceived. He gave several examples of how the choice of this word or that one created a completely different set of circumstances and told me to choose my words with care. That’s a brief summary of the dream.
Some would argue that this was nothing more than the result of eating too much pizza. Some would say my mind was working out the issue I was focused on that day. Others would say it was an evil spirit masquerading as Lewis. It’s possible that this was the Holy Spirit or Jesus, teaching me through a persona that I was familiar with. And some would say it was Lewis himself who was granted access to me that night so that he might assist me in advancing God’s plans for my life.
I’ll leave it up to you to decide for yourself. But if you believe that the saints are still alive and engaged in the work of advancing God’s kingdom, you might consider asking the Lord if He would send you a helper, the way He sent me one.