The Practical Theology of C. S. Lewis - SM 94
Welcome to the course, The Practical Theology of C. S. Lewis! Although I cannot give you a personal welcome, as I might do in my on-campus course, I do want you to know that I am very glad to have the chance to work with you. I look forward to getting to know you as you work your way through this class and begin to respond with your written work. But let me further encourage you to contact me through any of the means listed in the Heading of the course syllabus on the next page. I always welcome the opportunity to discuss questions, comments, or insights that this course might raise for you. Also, let me invite you to visit my web page located at: http://www.erskine.edu/seminary/glick/glick.htm This will give you some idea of what this guy looks like who keeps talking at you, and a bit about who I am and what I do at the Seminary and in life.
I want this course to be a significant and vital part of both your seminary education and your Christian life in general. I hope you will catch some of the excitement I always feel when reading and talking about C. S. Lewis. He has changed my life in profound ways and continues to be one of my greatest heroes. You may have noticed that there are not that many lecture tapes compared to some other EDEN courses. You will, no doubt, notice later that most of the lectures are not as lengthy as most seminary lectures, either. On the other hand, there will be more reading in this course than in most courses. The ten assigned books total about 1,500 pages of reading. This is intentional. I think it is much more important for you to be taught by Mr. Lewis than by someone else trying to tell you what he said. Class time, when I teach this course on-campus, is largely spent in small group projects, class discussions, and viewing various multi-media presentations. I hope you will find ways to avail yourself of the video tapes and that you will take advantage of every opportunity to engage in discussion about your reading and projects. That is why I have invited you to contact me as frequently as you wish. E-mail is best, but I will respond to other forms of communication, though a bit more slowly.
I pray that we will indeed have a rich time of study and encouragement together.- Prof. Robert Glick
Erskine Distance Education Network
Professor Robert Glick - O: 379-8719; H. 379-2078; E-Mail: email@example.com
Seminary Information: fax #864-379-2171 Web Page: www.erskine.edu/seminary/
This course is a broad-based study of the life, writings, and basic theology of C. S. Lewis, exploring representative books from all categories of his religious writings. The course further seeks creative and varied ways to incorporate Lewis’ writings and thought into one’s ministry.
This course addresses a number of the goals stated in Erskine Seminary’s Mission Statement. In particular, it is designed to help students “think, write, and speak well” (goal #3), and “to reflect meaningfully on experience, human relationships, the signs of the times, and the contemporary contexts in which ministry takes place” (goal #4). By it’s very nature as a part of the Distance Education Network, it requires students to be “self-directed in the use of their time, energies and resources” (#5).
The course has the following additional goals:
1. To become familiar with the works of a great 20th Century Christian writer.
2. To observe the ways both right and left lobes of the brain can be fully engaged in the learning process.
3. To develop one’s own teaching and preaching skills, using Lewis as the model.
TEXTBOOKS: (all written by C. S. Lewis)
Due to Lewis’ continued popularity, these books are available from a
number of publishers. They may be easily found at most bookstores or over the internet from or 1. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
2. The Last Battle
4. The Great Divorce
5. A Grief Observed
6. Surprised By Joy
7. The Four Loves
8. Reflections on the Psalms
9. Mere Christianity
10. The Business of Heaven
The seminary encourages all students to make use of language, in reference to human beings, that is inclusive rather than needlessly exclusive. It is the mark of a good communicator to build bridges rather than barriers; therefore, such language should be used in all written work and oral presentations. The Seminary Catalogue stands as an example of recommended usage. Unfortunately, C. S. Lewis is often not a good model inclusiveness. The instructor has not attempted to edit out all the cases of Lewis’ exclusive language. He is a product of his own time and place and must be accepted as such.
1. BOOK OUTLINES (30% of final grade)
An outline of each book is to be prepared and sent in at the assigned times. Each outline is to include a summary in one or two sentences of the contents of that chapter. A second section is included for each chapter in which one may note insights and/or observations for that chapter – quotes well worth remembering, insights, disagreements, etc. The student does not necessarily have to write comments on EACH chapter, though one should find something of special note in many chapters.
2. JOURNALING PROJECT (20% of final grade)
The book, The Business of Heaven, is a collection of Lewis quotes, one assigned for every day of the year. The collection is to be read throughout the semester as devotional material. The 374 quotes, spread over the 85 days of the semester, average out to 4.4 readings a day. Record your reactions (in a journal/diary sort of format) to those Lewis quotes you find thought-provoking. You are not expected to be “deeply moved” and have something to say about EVERY day’s quote. Your writings in this journal are to be handed in at the end of the semester. Confidentiality will, of course, be strictly observed.
3. LECTURE PROJECTS (20% of final grade)
Small projects related to the various books are assigned throughout the
course. The instructor will indicate during the taped lectures when and how each project is to be done. You may also consult the Lecture Project Schedule below to get information about these mini-projects.
4. FINAL PROJECT (30% of final grade)
While there is no final exam in this course, a final project is required, due by the last day of finals, at the latest. Projects submitted after this time will receive a lower grade. This assignment may take a number of formats and you may do any one of the following:
a. A detailed lesson plan for teaching a four-lesson series on C. S. Lewis to a particular group (children, youth, adult, etc.). Your lesson plan should be in a format that clearly indicates:
i. Whatever equipment and materials that are needed for the class.
ii. What the goals for the class are.
iii.How many minutes each portion of the lesson will take.
While you do not need to write out a manuscript for the learnings or lecture portions of the lesson, you should include a complete outline indicating all the pertinent facts you will be teaching.
b. A research paper (minimum: 10 page body, double spaced) on some aspect of Lewis and his work (Apologetics, Joy, Myth, the supernatural, Eschatology). Footnotes and full bibliography must be included.
c. Some other project of your own choosing, as approved by professor.
You should not begin this project without first consulting with the instructor.
Successful completion of this distance learning course will require that you set your own schedule and discipline yourself to stay on schedule. Please pay especially close attention to the “Suggested Steps to Course Completion” at the end of this syllabus. This maps out the procedure to follow in order to complete this course in a timely manner and with a minimum of confusion and frustration.
Students always need to know what is expected of them in order to achieve a particular grade. This is especially true in a distance learning course. Grading in a course such as this is an especially subjective matter, but the following chart will give you some idea of the sort of qualities needed to truly succeed.
A = -Outline observations are not necessarily lengthy, but show intensive engagement with the material.
-Journal Project shows thoughtful, honest reactions to numerous quotes from throughout the year.
-Lecture Projects respond thoroughly, accurately, and thoughtfully to all aspects of the directions.
-Final Project shows special creativity, accuracy, thoughtfulness.
-All work is returned to professor on time and according to directions.
B = -Outline observations are not necessarily lengthy, but show considerable engagement with the material.
-Journal Project shows thoughtful, honest reactions to at least half quotes from throughout the year.
-Lecture Projects respond thoroughly, accurately, and thoughtfully to all aspects of the directions.
-Final Project shows creativity, accuracy, thoughtfulness.
-All work is returned to professor on time and according to directions.
C = -Outline observations are rather sparse, and/or show somewhat shallow engagement with the material.
-Journal Project indicates some lack of thoughtful, honest reactions to the book.
-Lecture Projects are minimally thorough, accurate, and thoughtful
-Final Project lacks significant creativity, accuracy, thoughtfulness.
-Work is returned to professor partially late or not according to directions.
D = -Outline observations are quite sparse, and/or show only minimal engagement with the material.
-Journal Project indicates significant lack of thoughtful, honest reactions to the book.
-Lecture Projects are not thorough, accurate, and/or thoughtful
-Final Project lacks in creativity, accuracy, thoughtfulness.
-Work is returned to professor significantly late or not according to directions.
The grades of assignments handed in late will normally be reduced by a letter grade per week. “Incompletes” will not be granted unless a very substantial portion of the class work has already been satisfactorily completed.
Tape #1, Side #1 - Lesson 1: Introduction
Tape #1, Side #2 - Lesson 2: Lewis the Apologist
Tape #2, Side #1 - Lesson 3: Major Themes in Lewis’ Works
(Nature of Reality, Human Depravity,
Difficulty in Type-casting Lewis, Joy)
Tape #2, Side #2 - Lesson 4: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Tape #3, Side #1 - Lesson 5: The Fiction of C.S. Lewis
Tape #3, Side #2 - Lesson 6: The Last Battle
Tape #4, Side #1 - Lesson 7: Lewis on the Power of Myth
Tape #4, Side #2 - Lesson 8: Perelandra
Tape #5, Side #1 - Lesson 9: The Great Divorce
Tape #5, Side #2 - Lesson 10: Lewis’ Concept of Joy /Surprised by Joy
Tape #6, Side #1 - Lesson 11: A Grief Observed
Tape #6, Side #2 - Lesson 12: The Four Loves
Tape #7, Side #1 - Lesson 13: Reflections on the Psalms/
Introduction to Mere Christianity
Tape #7, Side #2 - Lesson 14: Mere Christianity
LECTURE PROJECT SCHEDULE
Lesson 2, Project 1
Listen to the essay, “Man or Rabbit” as recorded on the tape. Make a list of any areas where you might disagree with Lewis. List the examples and illustrations Lewis uses to make his points. Are these helpful for you?
Lesson 2, Project 2
Consider the part Apologetics may have played in your life. Perhaps it was the apologetic approach of a friend or speaker which opened the doors of faith in YOUR life. Perhaps you yourself have used this approach in sharing your faith with someone else. Write a page or so about how Lewis has influenced your life or someone you know through his apologetic efforts.
Lesson 4, Project 1
Write a brief paragraph or two about what has affected you the most about your trip to Narnia. Label the paper “Lesson 4” and staple together all your written answers for this tape. Label your answer to this question, “Project 1.”
Lesson 4, Project 2
List as many Narnian characters and events as you can that remind you of Biblical characters or events. Label this Lesson 4, Project #2.
Lesson 4, Project 3
Assemble a lesson plan for a class you might teaching dealing with some aspect of this book. It might be a follow-up experience after having watched one of the video versions, or a lesson given either before or after the book is to be read by a group.
First, decide and indicate what sort of group you would like to work with – youth, children, or adults. Next, decide and indicate what sort of questions or experiences you feel would be of value for this group. Finally, write a lesson plan in outline form, indicating what will happen, what will be taught, discussed, or experienced. THE EVENT SHOULD BE DESIGNED TO FIT A THIRTY MINUTE BLOCK OF TIME. Label this section “Lesson 4, Project 3”.
Lesson 6, Project 1
Consider the ways conditions in Narnia during the Last Battle sound like the world you live in. Take paper and label it Lesson 6 – Project #1. Respond in writing to these two questions:
1. What scripture passages come to mind that address this issue of susceptibility to false teaching?
2. In what ways do these events in Narnia remind you of present day America?
Lesson 6, Project 2
Read the account of Emeth showing up in Aslan’s Country (Ch. 14, 15). Read it slowly. Read it critically. It is obvious that Lewis is suggesting that under some circumstances certain pagans could be accepted into heaven. Your assignment is in three parts; first, what explanations does Aslan offer Emeth as to why he is where he is? Second, think about what scripture verses might lend support to this theological perspective about those who will be in heaven. Indicate what scriptures Lewis might have in mind that led him to write this scene this way. Third, state whether you agree with Lewis or not. Either way, your answer must be justified by scripture references.
Lesson 6, Project 3
Choose some scene, situation, or theological issue this book presents and develop it in the form of a lesson plan you could use to teach a class. First – decide which scene. Situation, or issue you want to focus on. You should try to focus on just one, but at any rate limit yourself to two. Second – decide who the class might be composed of – children youth or adults. Third – create a lesson plan that completely outlines in writing:
1. What you will do to teach this
2. The materials you will need
3. What information you will present (outline lecture material)
4. The lesson plan should take 30 minutes.
Label this exercise, Lesson 6 – Project #3.
Lesson 7, Project 1
This project is located in APPENDIX #1, found below.
Lesson 8, Project 1
As you read over the outline in Appendix #2, and perhaps read this section of Chapter 17 again, write a bit about what Lewis is trying to get us to understand here. What practical value might this material have and how might it affect your life? Label it Lesson 8, Project 1.
Lesson 9, Project 1
Choose one of the encounters or conversations from THE GREAT DIVORCE which has especially caught your attention. Respond in some detail by using the following beginning phrases:
1. This person's major hangup is exemplified by...
2. Lewis' appraisal of the problem and solution strikes me as...
3. This sort of person reminds me of...
4. As I consider all this, the following Bible storys or teachings
come to mind...
Though not a required assignment, this is the best time to view the videocassette, The Life of C. S. Lewis: Through Joy and Beyond, produced by Lord and King Associates, distributed by The Bridgestone Group, ISBN # 1-56371-019-6. Produced in 1991, 1 Hour.
Lesson 11, Project 1
Respond in writing to the following questions.
1. Perhaps you are disappointed that Lewis, who wrote so profoundly on the meaning of pain and the ups and downs of the life of faith, should himself crumble when grief strikes him. Is this an issue for you? Why or why not?
2. Do you think the book would be of more value if read while one is going through grief or more valuable if read as a preparation for griefs to come?
3. Quote a few sections from the book that have special meaning for you.
Label this exercise “Lesson 11, project 1.”
Though not a required assignment, this is the best time to view the videocassette, Shadowlands. Either the one-hour version with Joss Ackland and Clare Bloom or the full-length movie version with Anthony Hopkins might be viewed.
Lesson 12, Project 1
Fill out the questionnaire found in APPENDIX #3.
Lesson 13, Project 1
Please work on the following projects and respond in writing:
1. Choose any three of the six categories below. Find a topic from Reflection on the Psalms for each group that might provide the foundation for a group discussion/Bible Study.
a. Elementary-aged Children
b. Youth (junior high)
c. Youth (high school)
d. Young adults
e. Older adults
f. Senior adults
2. In chapter three (The Cursings) Lewis faults the psalmist for
exhibiting thinking that he feels is clearly wrong. In chapter eleven he writes that he doesn't believe every sentence in the Old Testament is historically or scientifically true. Most theological controversies in modern America seem to be based, finally, on one’s interpretation of Scripture or the view of inspiration one adopts.
-How might Lewis’ views guide one to a better understanding of the nature of the Bible?
-Where and how would you be led to differ with Lewis?
3. Based on chapter seven (Connivance), show how you might guide a class of eighth graders or your own eighth-grade child regarding how to behave in the presence of very bad people.
Lesson 14, Project 1
You are assigned two projects in conjunction with the book, Mere Christianity.
Project One is itself in two parts. First, outline in its entirety Book I, “Right and Wrong As A Clue to the Meaning of the Universe.” This outline should about fill one side of one page, single-spaced. This outline should be complete enough to help a person follow all the major steps of Lewis’ apologetic line of thought. But if the single-spaced outline goes much beyond that first page, you are probably including too many sub-points. Try to be as succinct as possible while still not skipping any essential steps in Lewis argument. This means, for the most part, you will not include Lewis’ illustrations and examples, helpful as they may be. You want to catch the key sentences in their concentrated form. In Part Two of Project One you are asked to give a brief critique of Lewis’ line of argument you have just outlined. Is it convincing? Have you found any flaws or inconsistencies in his line of logic? Are there any questions you would have liked to ask him? There are for me, let’s see what you think.
PROJECT TWO: Complete the Study Guides for Books II, III, and IV, found in APPENDIX 4. I recommend that you write your answers to these questions as you read along. The questions are asked pretty much in the order they come up in each chapter. I would read each question and keep it in mind as you read. Usually you will recognize the place in the book about which that question was asked. Write that answer, read the next question, and go on reading the book till you find its answer, and so forth. Write your answers right on these guides and hand both these projects in with your other projects. YOU DO NOT NEED TO DO THE MINI-OUTLINE AND OBSERVATION SHEETS AS YOU DID ON THE OTHER BOOKS.
SUGGESTED STEPS TO COURSE COMPLETION
Read this VERY carefully; do not assume the next step is exactly like the last!!
You should achieve #1-15 by the end of the first month of the semester, so that you can receive feed back from the instructor.
You should achieve #16-25 by the end of the second month of the semester.
All your work must be in the instructor’s hands by the last day of finals.
1. Read the material in this packet with special care, especially the material on pages 1 through 5.
2. Listen to Lesson 1 on Tape 1, “Introduction.”
3. Begin reading “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” Finish this book before you listen to Lesson 4.
4. Listen to Lesson 2 on Tape 1, “Lewis the Apologist,” and do the two Projects.
5. Listen to Lesson 3 on Tape 2, “Major Themes in C. S. Lewis.”
6. Listen to Lesson 4 on Tape 2, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” and do the three Projects.
7. Begin reading “The Last Battle.” Finish this book before you listen to Lesson 6.
8. Listen to Lesson 5 on Tape 3, “The Fiction of C. S. Lewis.”
9. Listen to Lesson 6 on Tape 3, “The Last Battle,” and do the three Projects.
10. Begin reading “Perelandra.” Finish this book before you listen to Lesson 8.
11. Listen to Lesson 7 on Tape 4, “Lewis on the Power of Myth,” and do the Project.
12. Listen to Lesson 8 on Tape 4, “Perelandra,” and do the Project.
13. Read “The Great Divorce.” Finish this book before you listen to Lesson 9.
14. Listen to Lesson 9 on Tape 5, “The Great Divorce,” and do the Project.
15. SEND ALL THE ABOVE PROJECTS AND OUTLINES TO THE INSTRUCTOR NOW.
16. Read “Surprised by Joy.” Finish this book before you listen to Lesson 10.
17. Listen to Lesson 10 on Tape 5, “Lewis’ Concept of Joy/Surprised by Joy.”
18. View the video cassette, “Through Joy and Beyond,” if you wish, and if you can locate it.
19. Begin to consider what you might like to do for a final project, if you have not already done so.
20. Read “A Grief Observed.” Finish this book before you listen to Lesson 11
21. Listen to Lesson 11 on Tape 6, “A Grief Observed,” and do the Project.
22. View the video cassette, “Shadowlands,” if you wish, and if you can locate it.
23. Read “The Four Loves.” Finish this book before you listen to Lesson 12.
24. Listen to Lesson 12 on Tape 6, “The Four Loves,” and do the Project.
25. SEND ALL THE ABOVE PROJECTS AND OUTLINES TO THE INSTRUCTOR NOW.
26. Read “Reflections on the Psalms.” Finish this book before you listen to Lesson 13.
27. Listen to Lesson 13 on Tape 7, “Reflections on the Psalms,” and do the Project.
28. Be sure to follow your instructions at the end of Lesson 13 so that you will know how to proceed with reading “Mere Christianity.”
29. You should contact the instructor with your ideas about a final project if you have not already done so.
30. Read “Mere Christianity,” doing the two projects AS YOU READ the book.
31. Listen to Lesson 14 on Tape 7, “Mere Christianity.”
32. Complete whatever readings remain from “The Business of Heaven.”
33. Do your Final Project.
34. THE INSTRUCTOR MUST HAVE ALL YOUR WORK BY THE LAST DAY OF FINALS.
Read the articles below in the orden given, and then do the project as described at the end:
1. Read the entries for July 24 and December 21 and 22 in THE BUSINESS OF HEAVEN.
2. THE LETTERS OF C. S. LEWIS TO ARTHUR GREEVES (Oct. 31,1931)
[written the year of his conversion]
Now what Dyson and Tolkien showed me was this: that if I met the idea of sacrifice in a pagan story I didn't mind it at all: again, that if I met the idea of a god sacrificing himself to himself (cf. the quotation opposite the title page of Dymer) I liked it very much and was mysteriously moved by it: again, that the idea of the dying and reviving god (Balder, Adonis, Bacchus) similarly moved me provided I met it anywhere except in the Gospels. The reason was that in Pagan stories I was prepared to feel the myth as profound and suggestive of meanings beyond my grasp even tho' I could not say in cold prose 'what it meant.'