Yancey: How C.S. Lewis shaped my faith and writing

Philip Yancey in CT:

Lewis has taught me a style of approach that I try to follow in my own writings. To quote William James, “… in the metaphysical and religious sphere, articulate reasons are cogent for us only when our inarticulate feelings of reality have already been impressed in favor of the same conclusion.” In other words, we rarely accept a logical argument unless it fits an intuitive sense of reality. The writer’s challenge is to nurture that intuitive sense — as Lewis had done for me with his space trilogy before I encountered his apologetics. Lewis himself converted to Christianity only after sensing that it corresponded to his deepest longings, his Sehnsucht.

Lewis’s background of atheism and doubt gave him a lifelong understanding of and compassion for readers who would not accept his words. He had engaged in a gallant tug of war with God, only to find that the God on the other end of the rope was entirely different from what he had imagined. Likewise, I had to overcome an image of God marred by an angry and legalistic church. I fought hard against a cosmic bully only to discover a God of grace and mercy.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.


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