“The Surprising Imagination of C.S. Lewis”
Saturday, October 22, 2016
North Central Michigan College
Library Conference Center
9:30 - 10:30 a.m. Session I: Mark Neal: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: C. S. Lewis and the Nuanced Imagination"
C.S. Lewis understood the imagination as a whole of nuanced parts. He defines more than 32 embodiments of the imagination throughout his works. This talk will examine four of these nuances, two positive and two negative, as identified by Lewis. These are, first, the satisfied imagination which enables us to find pleasure in the mundane and re-enchantment of the familiar. Second, the absorbing imagination enables us to blend multiple viewpoints to widen our own imaginative understanding of reality. Next is the controlled imagination which is highly manipulative: it projects the self to gain ascendency over the world and others. Lastly, there is the generous imagination which attempts to embellish something beyond desert, weakening the self and narrowing the soul.
10:45 - 11:45 a.m. Session II: Jerry Root: "My Own Eyes are Not Enough for Me: I Would See What Others Have Imagined"
In his literary critical book, An Experiment in Criticism, C. S. Lewis concludes that study by saying his own eyes were not enough to discover all the wonders in the world around him. Consequently he read what others had written in order to benefit from what they saw. Even this was not enough, he longed to see what others had imagined and to explore what worlds they created. Even this was not enough; Lewis regretted that the brutes could not write books. He wondered what kinds of things could be written from the viewpoint of a mouse or a bee, or what messages could be discovered by the olfactory sense of a dog! This address is an attempt to more fully develop Lewis’s vision of the imagination as a way of seeing, and understanding.
12:45 - 1:45 p.m. Session III: Phil Jamieson: "Weaving the Spell: C.S. Lewis on Breaking the Enchantment of Worldliness"
In his sermon, “The Weight of Glory,” Lewis says, “Do you think I am trying to weave a spell? Perhaps I am; but remember your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as for inducing them. And you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness which has been laid upon us for nearly a hundred years.” At first glance, there might appear to be little relationship between Lewis’ use of the imagination and the work of a religious foundation which functions as a custodian for endowed monies. But what is more central to the “enchantment of worldliness” than money and the things which it can buy? Thus, the act of giving becomes a principle way for the breaking of this spell. Lewis offers a way of understanding the importance of generosity and the related identity of a steward of things rather than an owner. In this way, longing may find its true goal and we may all come to realize the true value of things and the weight of glory which we possess in our Lord, Jesus Christ.
2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Session IV: Q&A and Panel Discussion
Panel Moderated by Jerry Root.