A Breath of Narnian Air

Narnia

Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.
CS Lewis

I’ve always wanted to attend the annual Desiring God conference in Minneapolis. Year after year I wistfully hear about how awesome it is. I watch my friends – and even family – attend while I stay home with babies and toddlers. And this is good. It has been God’s appointment.

This year was different. When I heard that the theme was The Romantic Rationalist: God, Life, and Imagination in the Heart of C.S. Lewis, I knew my destiny. I would go.

“There are a great many mysteries in trying to unravel how reading shapes the self…Mimesis or imitation is one of the fundamental realities in the formation of the self. Children learn language, manners, gestures, parenting(!) and a host of other habits and passions from their parents, without either parents or children putting much conscious effort into it. And the dance of mimesis does not end with childhood: Disciples become like their masters, soldiers are molded by their commander, and college basketball players (and many flabby former players) aspire to ‘be like Mike.’ It is absurd to suggest that fictional characters, whom most readers know more intimately than they know their own parents, do not have a similar effect. Earlier critics took it for granted that literature, an imitation of life, presents models for imitation to the reader.”

Peter Leithart, “Authors, Authority, and the Humble Reader” in The Christian Imagination, ed. Leland Ryken (New York, NY: Shaw Books, 2002), 217.

With my youngest already 18 months old, I was able to leave my little kids with my 13 year old daughter and my mom – and I went to the conference with my husband and two oldest sons.

It was glorious. You could smell the Narnian air down the block as we drove around looking for our parking spot. Once we sat down – all we had to do was let the wonders of Narnia wash over our spirits as we drank in the clear thinking.

The idea was to bring back some of that magic into our home, and they left us with many wonderful resources to do just that. Would you like a breath of fresh air for your anemic, Narnia-starved soul? Let me get you started.

1. Read the Chronicles of Narnia out loud to your children.

If you do one thing for them—one good thing that will change their lives forever—it would be this. (And please don’t tell me I’m promoting fantasy over the Bible, because that’s silly.)

2. Watch the messages.

They are FREE (and amazing!) Just go HERE to listen/download or read them. If you only have time for one – check out Joe Rigney’s Live Like a Narnian: Christian Discipleship in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles OR, if you want a fabulous overview of C.S. Lewis’s life and what made his writing ministry so powerful, listen to John Piper’s C.S. Lewis, Romantic Rationalist: How His Paths to Christ Shaped His Life and Ministry

3. Check out these excellent resources:

  1. Live Like a Narnian: Christian Discipleship in Lewis’s Chronicles by Joe Rigney
  2. What I Learned in Narnia by Douglas Wilson
  3. Planet Narnia by Michael  Ward (Doug Wilson said this was one of the best books he has ever read. And he reads a lot.)
  4. A Family Guide to Narnia by Christin Ditchfield

4. Read other C.S. Lewis books.

Some of my favorites:

  • The Screwtape Letters
  • Mere Christianity
  • The Great Divorce
  • The Four Loves
  • The Space Trilogy

5. Incorporate Narnia into your home school.

If you are familiar with the Institute for Excellence in Writing, they have a supplementary writing curriculum for Narnia fans. You could spend a year or two just focusing on discipleship in Narnia – and use the writing as a tool to help.

Are you a Narnian? Tell us how Narnia has shaped the way you live!

If you leave a comment, you’ll be entered to win a book set from the conference including:

  • A Family Guide to Narnia by Christin Ditchfield
  • Beyond the Shadowlands: C.S. Lewis on Heaven and Hell by Wayne Martindale
  • Christ Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus by several writers and I’m too lazy to list them all.
  • Not by Sight by Jon Bloom

UPDATE: The winner of the giveaway is Brittany!

 

Natalie Klejwa is a Wemmick, loved by the Woodcarver, wife of 22 years to Joe, and mother to 9 Wemmicks ages 2-20. She is a business owner (Apple Valley Natural Soap), founder and administrator of the Visionary Womanhood blog, publisher and contributing author of Three Decades of Fertility, You Can Do it Too! 25 Families Share Their Stories, and The Heart of Simplicity: Foundations for Christian Homemaking.

You can hear her being interviewed on Kevin Swanson's Generations with Vision radio program.

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7 thoughts on “A Breath of Narnian Air

  1. Thank you for this post! I had hoped to go to the Desiring God conference this year, especially because of the theme, but it did not work out. I will definitely be checking out these resources!

  2. Loved this post! I grew up hearing/reading these amazing books. I truly believe that they have shaped me into the women that I am today. Through C.S. Lewis’ books there was this deep growth of imagination, adventurer and explorer that won’t ever go away – and for that I am SO very glad! There are days when I still think I can find Narnia and meet up with Lucy, Peter, Susan and Edmund to help them defeat the White Witch. ;-)

  3. Let’s try that again! I meant Narnia not Marina! Silly auto correct. I think this is the last time ill comment from my phone! Sorry Nancy about the multiple entries!

  4. Thank you for sharing , I have spent the week listening while washing dishes , and folding laundry . My favorite was Doug Wilson’s talk. All have new excellent , but Doug’s has been my fav.