This is the jumping off point for Dr. L and his initiative to define Christian religious terms with a new foundation, and a worthy pursuit! Though it seems to me that Mary is an odd place to begin. I was reminded of the Coronation of Mary at the gallery, and the discussion about her as a human, necessary to Jesus’s humanity. The sanctification of the saints and veneration of same are not an emphasized practice in my denomination, and so I have always given it wide berth as Lewis apparently did, but I would give my opinion if asked in person or by email. Therein is my chief horror and objection. Is it moral for us to be parading Lewis’s private letters and making them the subject of scholarship when he never intended those letters to be published!? I really don’t think it’s appropriate at all!
Dr. Ward’s lecture on surprised by joy did not help me to resolve the issue. Like fuel to the fire, it was a very good argument that Lewis’s personal testimony work is not harmed by the mere two pages of personal description regarding his conversion, but rather strengthened by the need to enjoy the work rather than contemplate it. In sharing Lewis’s conversion, we can certainly apply and overlay our own experience, and join with Lewis, but it doesn’t change the fact that there is a gap in the story. While I am comfortable with this very English interpretation of the very reserved work of the English gentleman Lewis, I am also reminded that he was a private man, reserved in many ways, including a secret marriage to Joy Davidson, and a hatred of travel – and cannot bring myself to abide the publication of his private letters for research, especially to find “blind spots” in his work. Ultimately, though a great man, he is just a man, creation, sinful, and flawed, and we should respect the wishes of the dead – especially those in living memory – or else risk destroying the reputation that made him great in the first place.