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What I Learned in Narnia
Canon Press / 2010 / Paperback
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One rainy day, years ago, a little girl named Lucy discovered that the back of a wardrobe isn't always just the back of a wardrobe. Sometimes, it's a door into another world.
In Lucy's case, that other world was called Narnia, and though she was among the first to enter it, she was by no means the last. Millions of children (young and old) have followed her there and met its strange but wonderful inhabitants-Mr. Tumnus, Reepicheep, and Puddleglum, among others.
But the lessons of Narnia don't just belong to the world of fiction and fantasy. We may never meet fawns, talking mice, or marshwiggles in our ordinary lives, but the lessons they teach in The Chronicles of Narnia are the very lessons we need to fight the battles we face in our everyday lives.
Douglas Wilson begins this series of meditations on C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia with the observation, "This is not intended to be an introduction to Narnia at all, but is rather more like a conversation between good friends about some other good friends, talking about what a good time we all had and why." Wilson highlights the practical themes of mature, Christian living that emerge from these classic tales-nobility, confession, complete grace-a joyful contrast to the thinness of modern life. A must for any Narnia fan, young or old.
"But it ll be a long story," said the Dwarf.
"All the better," said Lucy. "We love stories. "
Douglas Wilson begins this series of meditations on C.S. Lewis The Chronicles of Narnia with the observation, "This is not intended to be an introduction to Narnia at all, but is rather more like a conversation between good friends about some other good friends, talking about what a good time we all had and why." Wilson highlights the practical themes of mature, Christian living that emerge from these classic tales nobility, confession, complete grace a joyful contrast to the thinness of modern life. A must for any Narnia fan, young or old.
For those who enjoy the stories of the Chronicles of Narnia and want to learn a little more about the morals behind them, What I Learned in Narnia by Douglas Wilson is a good choice. Wilson discusses the series and its moral implications while not over-analyzing C.S. Lewis' work. Wilson discusses seven topics pertaining to the relationships between the actions of moral and immoral characters in the books and the implications of modeling such behaviors in real life.
Wilson does not believe that the Chronicles of Narnia series is an exact allegory; rather, the characters realistically have strengths and faults. He does believe that the character of Aslan parallels the character of Jesus, especially in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Wilson strongly supports reading the Chronicles as stories, rather than as veiled theological points. The book is structured into seven chapters with topics, such as authority, confession of sins, nobility, and the love of stories. Wilson's style is simple and straightforward, using examples from the Narnia books and confirming theories by using quotes from the Bible.
One of Wilson's points is to show how people with integrity behave. He does this by comparing the actions of the noble people in Narnia and similar folks in the Bible. He concludes that they trust in God, willingly admit when they are wrong, and submit to authority. To Wilson, true nobility is evident in the self-sacrificing Aslan. Wilson also notes how Paul says, "whatever is lovely, whatever is noble, whatever is of good report meditate on those things" (Philippians 4:8). This nobility is not the nobility we typically think of -- that of self-centered aristocrats -- but the nobility found in a servant heart.
This book is a straightforward account of the lessons and stories of Narnia. I recommend this book to those who want to better understand the ethics within them. Some topics are not developed as deeply as they could have been, but the book is a valuable introductory study of the Chronicles of Narnia. Jody Ford, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
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