Romanticizing theology: Aslan’s effectual call

No one could romanticize Christian theology like C. S. Lewis. The Chronicles of Narnia, for example, touches on a breadth of doctrines so creatively (and succinctly) that the average reader will unknowingly traverse ground that only seminary nerds dare to trod. Best of all they’ll actually enjoy the excursion! 

For all the aesthetic pleasure in the fictional series the work is intentionally subversive. After all, it was subversive fiction, among other things, that was instrumental in Lewis’ own journey from atheism to Christianity:

In reading Chesterton, as in reading MacDonald, I did not know what I was letting myself in for. A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere . . . God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous. [Surprised by Joy]

I noticed early on that my kids quickly zone out when I deliver a theology lecture. Even an  eloquent & paternal homily doesn’t keep their eyes from glazing over. Honestly, what kind of kid prefers Netflix to an impromptu sermon? [but I digress] I still run the risk of boring them–sometimes there’s no way around it–but I’ve come to see the benefits of adopting “unscrupulous” methods in their instruction.

So last night, without planning for it, my kids got a dose of “effectual calling” as we read The Magician’s Nephew:

Aslan threw up his shaggy head, opened his mouth, and uttered a long, single note; not very loud, but full of power. Polly’s heart jumped in her body when she heard it. She felt sure that it was a call, and that anyone who heard that call would want to obey it and (what’s more) would be able to obey it, however many worlds and ages lay between.

They never saw it coming. {insert sinister laugh here}

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Author: Jonathan P. Merritt

Happily married father of six. Associate pastor for education at Edgewood Baptist Church (Columbus, GA). Good-natured contrarian and theological Luddite. A student of one book.

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