The grow­ing ap­peal

The Church of England - - ENGLAND ON SUNDAY -

dear friend Tolkien felt wounded and aban­doned by Lewis – although Lewis tended to blame Tolkien for the split.

“He chose friends very care­fully, peo­ple who were bril­liant, who he could re­late to and who gave him some­thing. But he al­ways kept his dis­tance from them. He didn’t tell them ev­ery­thing about him­self, he kept se­crets. He didn’t even tell his clos­est friend Tolkien that he had mar­ried Joy David­man.”

But, I ask, how would McGrath have got on with Lewis – would they have been friends? “I don’t think we would have got on very well. We wouldn’t have had that much in com­mon. I tend to see Lewis as a tro­phy of grace. God could even use this strange and awk­ward man. Lewis had a lot of rough edges.”

And on those rough edges hang quite a tale. If you’ll ex­cuse the use of words, McGrath’s book lays bare Lewis’ odd sex­ual and fam­ily life. And th­ese rough edges are rather re­fresh­ing.

To­day’s evan­gel­i­cal leader has to be squeaky clean – pretty wife who shares the min­istry, but not the good stuff, three kids, nice teeth and never touch­ing a drop of the hard stuff. God for­bid if an evan­gel­i­cal leader smoked!

Step for­ward CS Lewis – pipe smoker, heavy drinker, morn­ing tip­pler, lover of his dead best friend’s mother and a se­cre­tive man who was rather eco­nom­i­cal with the truth.

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