Slowly, stealthily, I've been sneaking away from my sparsely furnished, rigidly efficient study into the forbidden world of fiction and fantasy; like a scared little boy peering out from under his bed, hardly daring to believe that the monsters are really gone. It is a delicate transition and one that is properly made cautiously.
I started with The Great Divorce, C. S. Lewis's classic treatment of heaven and hell, which I heartily recommend. Now, even the Narnia Chronicles are beckoning, a work which three years ago I would never have entertained reading.
My most recent Lewis read, Till We Have Faces, is the latest continuation of this emancipation. (Or entanglement, as it may be.) In this novel, which is subtitled, "A Myth Retold," Lewis examines the classical story of Cupid and Psyche, weaving into it Christian themes about the nature and profundity of existence.
A friend pointed me to a very useful lecture on the book by the Christian philosopher Peter Kreeft (website) who appears to be an accomplished student of Lewis. Kreeft does a fine job of laying out the deep questions of the book.
How does one reconcile Faith and Reason? Why is there such tension between Religion and Philosophy Why must holy places be dark places? Why would something - someone - that is good, choose to hide his face?
(Some of this hearkens back to a Greg Boyd lecture I mentioned some time ago: "The Temptation To Practical Goodness." If you haven't listened to this one, please do; everyone should hear this message.)
Till We Have Faces develops themes also explored in The Four Loves and The Great Divorce. It is not one of my favorites from Lewis; my main impression was that the book could be a good bit shorter and still accomplish the same things. It is, however, a very subtle work, and deserves to be reread and pondered.
I'm not going to spill the punch line. To figure out the title, you'll need to read it.
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