Friday, November 22, 2013

JFK and CSL Made Their Marks

I remember that my parents did not vote for him. When I heard he had been shot I was only 9 years old and unsure how to respond. The general tone of my school was one of sadness and reflection. I didn't know how to feel. It was sad that a man had been shot. It was sad that so many people I knew were sad. But my parents really thought JFK was not good for America. So was it good he was gone? I didn't know.
I also don't remember knowing he was a Catholic. Maybe I did. I don't remember knowing what any of our president's denomination was until JC, Jimmy Carter came along. He was a Baptist. That was nice I guess.
But on this 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK people are remembering its the 50th for other men as well. One writer looks at the proximity in death of Kennedy, Lewis and Huxley here: Ed Stetzer writes of the greater impact of Lewis here:

     I remember browsing through a tiny bookstore at a Catholic Monastery near Pecos, NM. It was just a few miles down the road from Glorieta Baptist Encampment. I was close to my 19th birthday when I discovered these books. These Chronicles of Narnia. And the Perelandra trilogy. I hadn't seen these at the much larger Baptist Bookstore at the Camp, so I wondered... are these Catholic? Are they contraband? To be fair, I hand't been looking for these books, but I stumbled across them at a Benedictine Monastery of all things.
Later I found out this was one of the least "Catholic" monasteries around.
     It was 1973 and I couldn't read them fast enough. CSL, Clive Staples Lewis, had been dead some 10 years now. He died the day JFK did. I was sad there would be no more tales like Narnia. That Summer I tried to wrap my brain around The Problem of Pain and the Great Divorce etc. They were hard, and profound, and I wanted to 'get' what he was saying. I had only been a Christian a year at this time, though raised with the Bible stories and the gospel being preached. I didn't 'get it' till I was almost 18 and now I was trying real hard to 'keep it.' It would be sometime before I understood He was "Keeping" me!
     Can I say, my life has been much more influenced by CSL than JFK? The stories of Narnia were life like in my mind and as I read them a few years later to my little girls. The concept Lewis dealt with in His other works caused me to think more deeply about things than I ever had.
     JFK was a smart man, a proud veteran, and a fairly centrist democrat. I think he would have been re-elected and become one of those presidents who goes on to be a statesman. But I don't know that he would ever have had the long term effect on folks that Lewis did. Because Lewis' effect's touch the eternal. And he taught us that Aslan is no tame Lion.

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