f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Celebrating Some Lesser Known Christian Writers—J.R.R. Tolkein and C. S. Lewis

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Celebrating Some Lesser Known Christian Writers—J.R.R. Tolkein and C. S. Lewis

Salon.com today has a surprising lead story about Tolkien, C. S. Lewis and the effect Lewis’ conversion had on both of their writing. Salon, though it publishes Anne Lamott, isn’t known for their religion essays or any lasting affinity for the Christian faith, so this seems out-of-left-field…except for the obvious link to Tolkien and the upcoming Return of the King movie.

The essay intimates but doesn’t state outright that it was Lewis seeing anew through Christian eyes that provided the spark for the classic writing yet to come. The most interesting part relates a conversation held by the Inklings, their combined group of friends, on the eve of the publication of The Hobbit. Each grumbled in his Oxford don way about the sad state of contemporary fiction.

“Tollers,” Lewis said, “there is too little of what we really like in stories. I am afraid we shall have to try and write some ourselves.”

Where this quote comes from is unmentioned and, while charming, it sounds more than a bit apocryphal to me. However, it’s basically the same thing that’s being said here at this website and by many around the nation and the world. At least in part.

I don’t like most of what’s out there in Christian fiction.

I’ve heard it again and again. Well, now’s the time to write your own. Lewis and Tolkien spurred each other on to fantastic heights. And while it helps that both were extraordinarily well-read geniuses, that should stop none of us. Write and see what comes of it. Let’s at least make the effort.

As the article says in a different context, “In the struggle against evil, there is no shame in defeat—only in not fighting.” We are not fighting against evil, certainly, but we can’t be content with mute resignation.

Write. Write. Write. Alright?