If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis: Exploring the Ideas of C.S. Lewis on the Meaning of Life  -     By: Alister McGrath
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If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis: Exploring the Ideas of C.S. Lewis on the Meaning of Life

Tyndale House / 2014 / Hardcover

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Product Description

What if you could ask C. S. Lewis his thoughts on some of the most difficult questions of life? If you could, the result would be Dr. Alister McGrath's provocative and perceptive book, If I Had Lunch with C. S. Lewis. Best-selling author, prominent academic, and sought-after speaker, Dr. McGrath sees C. S. Lewis as the perfect conversation companion for the persistent meaning-of-life questions everyone asks.

What makes Lewis a good dialogue partner is that his mind traveled through a wide and varied terrain: from atheism of his early life to his conversion later in life; from his rational skepticism to his appreciation of value of human desires and imagination; from his role as a Christian apologist during World War II to his growth as a celebrated author of classic children's literature. The questions Lewis pondered persist today: Does life have meaning? Does God exist? Can reason and imagination be reconciled? Why does God allow suffering?

Let McGrath be your insightful guide to an intriguing conversation with Lewis about the ultimate questions.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 241
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2014
ISBN: 1414383789
ISBN-13: 9781414383781
Availability: In Stock

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Editorial Reviews

McGrath (A Life of John Calvin; The Dawkins Delusion) is a busy and prolific writer on Christianity and a number of important Christian thinkers, including scholar and Narnia author C. S. Lewis (1898–1963). McGrath’s most notable claim to public attention has perhaps come from his unashamed confrontation with the champions of the “New Atheism,” particularly Richard Dawkins. This unassuming book is a very straight¬forward introduction to the Christian thought of the perennially popular Lewis. The author’s rich familiarity with Lewis’s work is beyond question; his expositions are most effective where Lewis’s arguments are weak or inconsistent. ¬VERDICT: Lewis is such an effective writer that it is a challenge to come in his wake, but ¬McGrath’s affectionate treatment helps to set his subject in a contemporary context and should appeal to both reading groups and individuals going beyond the Narnia novels and into Lewis’s apologetics.

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Displaying items 1-5 of 10
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  1. Maine
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    interesting and informative
    March 9, 2015
    Cassandra
    Maine
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    I liked reading this book. It was entertaining and informative at the same time.
  2. Muscatine, IA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Good book, but not what the title suggests
    July 9, 2014
    Pauline
    Muscatine, IA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 3
    I liked the idea of imagined lunches with C. S. Lewis. I have read a number of his books, both fiction and non-fiction, and Alister McGrath's biography of Lewis. The thought of being able to hear Lewis talk about what is important in life, in an informal setting, was appealing. What would his manner be like? Forceful? Reflective? Chatty?

    I wondered just how McGrath would manage it. I figured there would be excerpts from Lewis's various writings, drawn together with some explanation by McGrath. I wondered if McGrath would paraphrase lengthier passages, and how he would give the impression of a casual talk rather than a formal lecture. No doubt some of Lewis's letters would give that informal feel, I thought. There certainly is plenty of material to draw from.

    But in fact there is rather little of Lewis's own words in these imagined lunches. McGrath explains in the preface that it would not be fair, either to Lewis or this book's readers, to invent imaginary dialogue, so instead he provides "accurate summaries of Lewis's ideas, spiced up with some of his better phrases and quotes."

    So mostly the voice is that of McGrath rather than Lewis. He tells about Lewis's life as it relates to his ideas and writings, naturally in much more abbreviated form than the biography. And the order of chapters is not chronological, though it does start with Lewis's conversion and end with his death.

    Perhaps this could more accurately be described as lunches with Lewis's biographer. It is still interesting, and a good introduction to C. S. Lewis for someone who has not already read the biography and a number of Lewis's books. It would also be a good book for someone who has no particular interest in Lewis, but who has questions about the big questions of life or about the Christian faith.

    But it's really not lunch with Lewis, so I couldn't help feeling somewhat disappointed.
  3. High Desert West
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Awesome
    July 8, 2014
    eb7bibliophile
    High Desert West
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This is one of those insightful books which will draw me to read it again. McGrath offers well-documented quotes by C.S. Lewis and references to other works to illustrate how Lewis hypothetically would have answered several questions. Excellent points are touched on, with lists of materials to read to follow up and round out the concepts. It is balanced, upbeat, nicely laid out, well-written, and thought-provoking. It definitely inspires me to read several of Lewis's books, and to re-read several others.
  4. Pennsylvania
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Interesting Read
    June 27, 2014
    bookworm
    Pennsylvania
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis is an interesting twist on the story of C.S. Lewis's life. The author uses several lunch dates to explain life from the perspective of C.S. Lewis himself. What I liked about this book was that it was not just a light read. The author wrote of C.S. Lewis's hardest struggles as well as how he went from an atheist to a Christian. The whole book was also very deep and thought-provoking and gave me a better understanding of the man behind the Narnia series. Before reading this book, I did not realize how much C.S. Lewis questioned the culture of his day and his culture's worldviews making him seem not much different from anyone else. In some ways, this book reminds me of Solomon and the book of Ecclesiastes because like Solomon, C.S. Lewis really pondered the meaning of life and in the end, he found like Solomon that serving Jesus was the meaning of life.
  5. Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Fans will enjoy
    April 29, 2014
    ACS Book Finder
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Meets Expectations: 3
    "If I had lunch with C.S. Lewis" is an interesting book. It is not a light read, but is also not "over your head." It is better read in bits and pieces and the format of the book makes this easy to do. Each chapter could easily be pulled out and set in a separate article. The author poses eight questions that one might ask if he or she had an opportunity to have lunch with C.S. Lewis_the meaning of life, friendship, education, the problem of pain and ending with hope and heaven.

    If you are a fan of C.S. Lewis, then you most definitely will enjoy this book. Given the wealth of information that one can find to read about Mr. Lewis's life, Dr. McGrath's book is just a snapshot that can pique your interest in either reading more of C.S. Lewis or going back to visit a favorite Lewis writing.

    The final "lunch" or question that Dr. McGrath has chosen to include in his book is Lewis on Hope and Heaven. The last two-three paragraphs, McGrath writes about how in his research he came across photographs of Lewis "in small groups of people; others in larger gatherings. It was easy to identify Lewis himself and some of those who played an important role in his life. But time after time, I could not identify some of the other people in the photographs. Nor could any of those I consulted who had expert knowledge of Lewis' family history." (pg 206). McGrath goes on to state how these people were important to Lewis even though they were forgotten, but that C.S. Lewis himself would remind us that we are remembered by God and that's what really matters. He states, "Human history may forget about us, as it has forgotten so many. But our names are engraved on God's hands, and written in the Book of Life - a fitting, even inspiring, thought with which to end our series of lunches with Lewis." (pg 207)

    The author, in my opinion, missed a huge opportunity that perhaps Lewis himself would have pointed out. The only way your name is "written in the Book of Life" is that you've accepted the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary and asked him to save your soul.

    For one who is promoted as one of the world's leading Christian theologians (back jacket cover), it seems an irresponsible ending to an otherwise good book. (rev. P.Howard)

    DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of this book was provided in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.
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