When I was perched on a curb between meandering boyhood and self-involved adolescence, I sat bored in between Sunday School and Morning Worship at my dad's protestant evangelical church way back in the late 60's. Christianity was something of a default backdrop to me, an "of course" sort of identity. It was a subject of the heart, an internal environment that had very little application to the world, except through a constricted range of associations and relationships.
My sense of wonder had no place in the church or faith. It was taken up, rather, by the likes of Tom Swift and the messiah-like promises of technology, and especially rarefied in the bracing tales of science fiction. That was real story and myth to me, and really -- as it seems to me now -- the main attractor of my hopes ... and maybe faith.
But there on a Sunday, in the most unlikely venue, my take-home Sunday School paper (called Bible-in-Life Pix by David C. Cook) ran -- unbelievably -- an abridgement of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I began to read, and was transported into another world of wonder.
And this world, for once, was Christian. Deeply Christian. "Christian" in a way I had never heard of before -- a Christian narrative that embraced the cosmos, and spilled over into eternity. It wasn't a cheap matter of fantastic magic replacing clinical science. It was a matter of my induction into the wider, clearer, more terrible but far more greatly beautiful realm of Christian truth.
I entered truth that day, and -- I think now -- on that day my faith could not remain subjectivistic. I think I started a journey that led me finally to the place that embraces that greater realm.
What frisson of wonder, and peals of recognition resonated through my unkempt mind as I stepped through the wardrobe. What relief that the cosmos witnessed to beauty and truth, and was not the cramped spaces I had feared it to be, as I imagined the face of Aslan and heard the tremors of his roar.
I had thought that such frisson was a thing lost to boyhood ...
... until tonight, when with my family we plunged into Narnia again. The movie, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe shone with that same noble gladness. Thank God, I thought, that I have lived to see played out so magnificently the visions I had cherished. Let the philosphers and the alchemists rage against the Church. Such rhetoric of such a story is insurmountable. Beauty stands alone, unimpeached.
For Narnia and Aslan! as Peter shouted to signal the charge. Indeed.