Headlines from First Thoughts

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Lions and Monkeys

"Anthropomorphic animals, when taken out of narrative into actual visibility, always turn into buffoonery or nightmare. At least, with photography. Cartoons (if only Disney did not combine so much vulgarity with his genius!) wld. be another matter. A human, pantomime, Aslan wld. be to me blasphemy." So said C.S. Lewis many years ago. Did he realize the very people he critiqued would one day make a fortune off his beloved series, The Chronicles of Narnia?

When I saw this quote in USA Today, I was reminded that Lewis thought that imagination was one of the gifts that Christianity brought to the world. Reducing spiritual matters to concrete images limits the mind's ability to see a new vision of the world. The gift of imagination opens the eyes to see God in all sorts of creative ventures, whether through a talking lion or a magical wardrobe.

Lewis, much like his colleague J. R. R. Tolkein, borrowed from a good tradition of writers who had a biblical imagination. When the prophet Daniel tried to describe a new world coming, he used metaphors from the animal kingdom. Jesus described his followers as lost sheep. Even Revelation describes the victory over evil like the death of a wicked beast.

I am going to see The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe tonight. I can't wait to see how Disney has portrayed the books. I'm also excited that our church has used this as a chance to invite people to join us who do not normally come to our church. These things are wonderful, but we do not need to wait for a Christian book to be portrayed in Hollywood to find a bit of grace and redemption.

I imagine there were will be a spiritual theme or two in next week's adaptation of King Kong. Even a movie about a big ape can remind people of the frailty of humans with just enough imagination. So whether you see God's work in a Lion, a Gorilla, or just a few old fashioned humans, open your mind and look around. God's creativity is alive and well even if you can only see it from your mind's eye.

No comments:

Google Search