Julie Clawson became familiar with C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia at age three and continued her love of the series as a member of the “Wheaton Children’s Literary Interpretation Society,” a Junto-like group formed during her days at Wheaton College. Needless to say, despite some bad reviews, she is excited to see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and wants to remind us that The Chronicles are not just for evangelicals.
Here is a taste:
Evangelicals tend to claim Lewis as their own, often forgetting that he was an Anglican. Many progressive Christians are uncomfortable with him because he’s been appropriated by the evangelicals. Yet as I return to his works, I am discovering complexities to his theology and deeper mysteries that he hints at–layers I never knew existed. I’m beginning to share Marcus Borg’s view that progressive Christians need to take another look at Lewis.
For instance, my favorite scene in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the undragoning of Eustace. A most unpleasant boy, Eustace has been turned into a dragon because of his selfishness and greed. Aslan, the savior figure, redeems Eustace’s humanity by ripping away the layers of dragon skin and washing him until he is a boy again.
It is a poignant image of redemption, but when I read this through my old evangelical lens, I saw only the individual story.
Now I see that Eustace isn’t the only one saved in this act. His friends and cousins find their relationships with him healed. Those on the ship the Dawn Treader are able to continue on their journey without the dragon holding them back. When Eustace sheds his dragonish ways, the community becomes whole again.
I’m happy to return to these stories. Their deep truth has a way of connecting with us regardless of how–or when–we come to it.
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