[The Scene: Pastor Ed Kang‘s office hours at Golden Bear Cafe. The year: let’s just say it’s around the turn of the century. I know you’re surprised I was in college at the time, but you have to remember I started college when I was 8*. ]
Mind you, this was a gazillion years ago, so I’ve used creative license liberally in the following screenplay. But I do remember this encounter, and how I wanted to show Pastor Ed I was interested in conversing about things like books and literature — so above the fray of the typical college student. Ha!
HEK: Pastor Ed, I love to read. What Christian books do you recommend I read? (hopeful this opens up the way to talk shop about books we have in common.)
EHK: Have you read C.S. Lewis?
HEK: (smiling, because The Chronicles of Narnia was a childhood favorite). Yes, I just love Lewis’ ability to explore spiritual truths through what seems to be an innocent children’s story. I do love me some Narnia.
EHK: (smiling graciously) Ah yes, Narnia is splendiferous, to be sure. Now, have you read Mere Christianity?
HEK: (puzzled because it seems kind of strange to call Christianity mere…) …um…
EHK: (fatherly chuckle, if Yoda chuckled) Much to learn, you still have, young padawan.
HEK: (Yes! I know this one!) Haha, Star Wars! I just love Star Wars…
EHK: (leaning forward, voice hushed as though preparing to reveal the secret to life) Here are the five must reads by C.S. Lewis. After you read them, then we can talk about other Christian books.
HEK: (takes out actual notebook and pen, because smartphones with notepad apps didn’t exist yet.) I’m ready!
EHK: Mere Christianity, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, The Screwtape Letters, and The Abolition of Man. In that order.
Golly gee willikers, thanks a bunch. This is nifty! (Sorry, 1990’s, not 1950’s). Awesome! (that word has been used as a filler to express a wide range of emotion for a long time.)
So there you have it. Did you miss it? Pastor Ed’s short list is what I’ve since then thought of as “The C.S. Lewis Five”. I’ve passed that list on to many a padawan at Gracepoint Berkeley church myself.
- Mere Christianity
- The Problem of Pain**
- The Screwtape Letters***
- The Abolition of Man
I was too excited I had this list to be embarrassed. Only in retrospect do I shake my head. Proof that once a teacher’s pet always a teacher’s pet! And how happy was I (mixed with embarrassed) when I went home to my parents’ house and saw this exact set of books sitting right alongside my Narnia set. (It was actually Six by Lewis, because The Great Divorce was thrown in as a bonus, I guess.)
How about you? Have you read “The C.S. Lewis Five”? Which one is your favorite?
**My personal favorite.
***Or maybe this one is.