Most people who have known me for long know that I am a CS Lewis junkie. I don't really do the Catholic "patron saint" thing, but CS Lewis would probably be my patron saint if I did. I have almost everything he has ever published except for the really expensive three volume set of his collected letters (only have volume 1... Christmas presents anyone?). For me, his books are just below Scripture, and he is one of very few people who write books that I will read more than once. So, just below the Holy Trinity is CS Lewis... Father, Son, Spirit... and "Jack".

Just kiddin' on that last sentence... But everything else is pretty much true.

So, it both enthuses me and pains me to hear the media blitz for his movie "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" (hereafter LWW). It is pasted all over TV, radio, and print... as well as being attached to kitschy promotional materials that you can find at your local grocery store. Heck, I think that there is a fast food joint that has a LWW kid's meal.

So, on one hand I am really happy that the whole world is hearing at least some of what "Jack" (as CS Lewis was known to his friends) is saying, because Jack has a lot of great things to say. And, furthermore, I think his Christian worldview possesses the strengths and avoids the weaknesses of so many other Christian theologies on the "left" and on the "right"... and LWW is as good an introduction to that worldview as anything is (except, of course, for Mere Christianity... but that book would make a really bad movie!).

But LWW kid's meals? LWW merchandise in the Wal-Mart toy section? What's next, "Aslan underwear" (it brings out the Lion in you!)????

It's all enough to make me ask a serious question:

What would CS Lewis do?

Hey, that's pretty catchy! What would CS Lewis do? Hmmmm.... I could put that on a T-shirt. Or maybe a hat. Or maybe a mug. Oh wait- here's a good one- we could make fashionable bracelets and necklaces with the phrase on it! The possibilities are endless!

But, wait, that phrase is too long. We could use acronyms. We could make it into "WWCSLD?". No, that's too long to.


Wait! I know! Our phrase could be "What would Jack do?" WWJD? That's catchy. Marketable. And I bet no one has thought of that before!

WWJD? Soon to sweep the nation...


Bret Wells said...


Was that a cleverly disguised polemic against our culture's tendency to commercialize absolutely everything??? Were you commenting on the way our locust-like market driven society will overconsume until the once coveted item becomes bitter in our stomaches???

Or was this just a nice little story about an entrepreneur and his dreams?...

I feel the same way about spiritual formation. Sure its not a fastfood chain market tool, but certain groups such as the wonderful company that ryhmes with Tooth Shmeshalties have certainly brought a bit of commercialization to the table.

Anonymous said...

Y'know, I absolutely believe that you are right when you say that the "locust-like market driven society will overconsume until the once coveted item becomes bitter in our stomaches". Wow! How succinct is that!

Immediately when you say that I think of last week when Rick "Purpose Driven" Warren was on Larry King Live. For all of the bitterness I feel about the "Purpose Driven Life" and its Wal-Martization of the McChurch, I gotta hand it to the guy: He seemed REAL. He spoke some prophetic words to both secular society and the Church about AIDS, charity, compassion, social justice, and how we are identified as followers of Jesus.

A small aside: Is there actually any difference between the secular world and the Church? Or is the Church merely the secular world when it dresses up nice and abstains from cussing?

But, back to Rick: Rick did Jesus proud on Larry King. I could not have been prouder to be an "Evangelical" when he was up there representing "us". In many ways, I think that Rick has inadvertently started a media empire that can run itself for the next millennia without any actual new material being added by Rick himself. For instance, Purpose Driven life appears to be nothing more than a condensation and compendium of the best of Rick's Sermons made into a book by some editor out there in the purpose driven media machine. I am not sure that Rick had a whole lot to do with it, other than the week-in, week-out sermon prep he does. In other words, Rick has a good thing- a Jesus glorifying thing- a vision and calling from God to serve Christ in a "purpose driven" way. And the media machine has marketed his good thing straight into the ground, until folks like me want to puke when we hear "purpose driven". I have always preached and taught that God made us "on purpose", but now so that I do not turn off people who have read any of the "purpose products", I deliberately try and use different words other than "purpose" to say the same thing.

Other words and people that are in danger of being (or have been) marketed to death:
Spiritual formation (like you said)
Brian McLaren (God bless him cause I think he's great)
Leonard Sweet
CS Lewis (sob, sob, weep)

If we ever start a "movement", I say we either identify it as something totally mundane and non-catchy (i.e. Christians, Jesus-followers, the Church) or by something so hideously long that people will not want to quote it, and cannot turn it into an acronym. Also, completely out must be anything using alliteration or rhyming.

This is a bunch of stuff to make us think hard about our incredible love affair with the God of the universe, our astounding infidelities against him, and his incredible grace to heal and restore us through Christ. Everything on this site is copyright © 1996-2015 by Nathan L. Bostian so if you use it, cite me... otherwise you break the 8th commandment, and make God unhappy. You can contact the author by posting a comment.