Friday, September 4, 2015

Day 5 - C.S. Lewis Day

Rebecca and I are both big fans of C.S. Lewis.  I read many of his books years ago, when I didn't quite want to admit that I didn't understand all of them.  But like all classics, they are better with a second reading (maybe because we benefit from reading them with more maturity).  I always appreciate how C.S. Lewis came to faith through the path of skepticism.  His writing has helped me deal with my own doubts and bring me to deeper faith.

Rebecca grew up a huge fan of Narnia.  She even had a little room built off her bedroom that had a door painted to look like a wardrobe.  In the little room, she painted murals of Narnia and decorated a pipe that ran through it to look like a lamp post.  In college, she took a whole semester on the writings of C.S. Lewis.

So it was with this background that we approached Oxford.  It was like a pilgrimage of sorts for us.  We first went to a guided tour of the Kilns, where Lewis lived and met with his friends.  We heard lots of lively anecdotes from our guide. People still live in the house (students at Oxford who are in the C.S. Lewis Society), so there were even dishes in the sink and meat thawing on the stove.  We were told over and over that Lewis was a lousy housekeeper, so I'm sure the place looked better than when he lived there.

After that we visited Lewis's church which was close by.  We had to hunt out back for his tombstone. He is buried with his brother, Warnie.

Then we traveled by bus to the center of Oxford and took a C.S. Lewis walking tour that I had printed out before we left the states.  It pretty much involved three things - pubs, churches, and academic buildings (note how I made use of the "Oxford comma" in that sentence).  I really enjoyed finding all the sites ourselves.  It was like a scavenger hunt.  The guide gave quotes from Lewis or his friends to read along the way, and we really took our time with it.  Magdalen College was beautiful.

This is the church on campus where Lewis preached his famous "Weight of Glory":

And these are some of the views of Oxford I saw when I climbed to the top of the church tower:

We finished off with a trip to the Eagle and the Child pub, where Lewis met with the Inklings every Tuesday morning in the "Rabbit Room."