In the new issue of Image, editor Greg Wolfe writes about the problem of Christian veneration of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.
…it has often been noted that the two Oxford dons at the center of the famous literary group known as the Inklings — C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien — would be appalled by the virtual canonization that has been conferred on them by adoring fans.
What concerns me, however, is not so much the tendency of many Christians to treat these two writers as saints, as dubious as that may be. Rather, I find worrisome the fact that for many believers today, the Inklings seem to provide the sole literary diet. As we near the half-century mark since their deaths, this clinging to Lewis and Tolkien seems less a matter of homage and more an act of quiet desperation.
The problem is not the Inklings, but Inklingism.
As much as I love the Inklings, I gotta admit, Wolfe’s right. It’s a shame that these two are the only writers celebrated so enthusiastically in Christendom, and it’s an ever greater shame that the very culture honoring these men fails to understand or encourage the virtues that made them… and so many other great Christian artists… able to achieve literary greatness in the first place.
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