Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

10 December 2010

"Magic" as defined by CS Lewis's Stepson

Brant Hansen is an award winning, engaging, and genuinely entertaining Christian DJ out of south Florida. His "Mornings with Brant" is syndicated around the US.

This morning Brant had CS Lewis's stepson Douglas Gresham on the air talking about the release of the Voyage of the Dawn Treader film. You can hear the whole interview here. Brant began to ask about Christians and their issues with the "invocation of magic" Gresham interupted knowing where it was all going and replied brilliantly:

"There has been a lot of stupidity in people's minds about magic. The difference between magic and science is that magic is what we freely confess we do not understand. Science is what we pretend we do understand. The primary difference between God and man is that God knows what He's doing and we don't"

He went on to define magic in Lewis's (and our) world:

"There are 3 kinds of magic in our world. The peddling little magician magic like Uncle Andrew in 'The Magicians Newphew' where people mess around with things they don't understand. It's movie magic. Then there is the magic of the evil side of things. The demonic forces. And that's not really magic... it's corruption of what really exists. And then finally there is the magic of the Holy Spirit of God which is the creation and maintenence of the universe. We don't understand it... and we haven't the faintest idea how He does it. But it's real. That's the deep magic."

I've been reading my son The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and we're both very excited about the movie. We both laugh out loud when they refer to the deck of the boat as "the poop" and I laugh inside at the number of times I'm reading my son stories of seamen drinking rum. It's such a wonderful story that our Kids Pastor at Freedom House has even written and published curriculum based on the book (linked here)

Like all stories, there is the pact of "willing suspension of disbelief" between the writer and reader that's required whether you're a kid or adult engaging in a tale that includes sea monsters and invisible creatures that obsessively agree with their leader. But because the protagonists are on a "magical" journey, in Narnia, it somehow becomes even easier to find yourself feeling each scene more deeply. They DO encounter all three kinds of "magic" (or spiritual) activity. Basically ignorant dufuses... then good and evil. Just like we are in the real world. The characters are challenged to discern the unexplained, and react largely by faith to the forward draw of the "deep magic" to freedom and liberty for themselves and others.

To me, it's a glorious to thing to engage my son's imagination, spiritual awareness and inner male chivalrous warier. It's tragic that adults have their belief in the unseen forced out of them with age and responsibility as if mystery was moisture and they were a piece of lean jerky. At 35, to be under the great illusion of thinking that one has entirely figured out the workings of the a known universe that (at what we can CURRENTLY observe) has a width of 156 billion light years that is created and controlled by an infinite all knowing God... is ludicrous. Mystery and magic IS a part of our lives.

But we CAN understand more today than yesterday. Yes God is big but He didn't want to stay far away. He wanted us to engage in the action. Just as Aslan keeps appearing to comfort, encourage, discipline and lead... God is there to show us "the way".

"He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food."
Job 36:16


Teapot Sue said...

Thanks for the encouragement! And I was struck by those very same quotes in the interview.

One tweak: Gresham is actually Lewis's stepson, not step-grandson. He's the daughter of Joy Gresham, whom Lewis married (and whose marriage was chronicled in "Shadowlands".)

Looking forward to seeing the movie, too...

Teapot Sue said...

Sorry, "Teapot Sue" is me, Brant.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. (Somehow, my daughter's handle shows up on this thing...)

You have to be tough to be a boy named Teapot Sue.

Dave Carrol said...


And Teapot Sue is a stunning nickname for a middleaged male. Nothin' to hide from there fella...

haha. Thanks for popping over to the blog Brant. I miss the Krusy blog BTW.

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