Not a Tame Lion–The Spiritual Legacy of C.S. Lewis by Terry Gaspey–Book Review

This biography of C.S. Lewis is the second I’ve read from the Leaders In Action series recommended by Fanning the Flame.  I chose it because Lewis is a writer (and I’m an English major) and I’m familiar with most of his work.  This book is written with the average reader in mind and doesn’t try to give an academic critique of Lewis as an author.

Lewis was a well-known Christian apologist, who believed that intellect is an important element of our faith.  His own conversion was gradual, as he came to accept that Christianity was not “pie in the sky” but was the religion that made the most sense.  Throughout his writing he tried to provide reasonable, logical answers to those questions people faced in becoming or remaining Christian.  He also wrote fictional works that, like the parables of Jesus, put the tenets of the faith into stories that were easily understood and appealed to both children and adults.  He read widely (another reason I like him), wrote clearly and engagingly and had an astonishing grasp of many subjects.

According to the author, the factors behind Lewis’s success in conveying the Christian message are these:

  1. He emphasized the reasonableness of the gospel, showing that it is based on logic and common sense, not wishful thinking
  2. He used his amazingly detailed imagination to represent the truth of the gospel in fresh ways that spoke to contemporary readers
  3. He demonstrated in both his writing and his personal life that following the gospel was indeed possible and that people can live out the gospel daily

I enjoyed the book, and it made me want to check our the work of C.S. Lewis once again, since I read most of his books when I was much younger.  I might have an entirely new perspective now.  Lewis himself believed in reading good books over and over (not a discipline I’ve developed.)  He is certainly a worthy role model for any Christian writer.

Note to Lutherans:  You will find some differences in Lewis’s theology, particularly related to free will and election

Verdict:  5 stars

Fanning the Flame #22 — More on Leadership

This past Saturday the Fanning the Flame gathered to listen the continuation of a talk on leadership given by Harry Reeder.  Here are some of my take-aways:

To take the first steps, a leader must have a mission/vision.  He or she does the basics well, and understands the need for a personal coach.  Great leaders lead with hope.

Skills a leader needs to put into place include:

  1. Modeling (so that others can imitate)
  2. Mentoring (teach)
  3. Managing in a way that equips and implements
  4. Motivating
  5. Ministering (help people by evaluation)

Leaders who multiply leaders are:

  • Insatiable learners
  • Seize their own personal learning moments, i.e. failure and challenges
  • Constantly coach others
  • Use memorable maxims
  • Help those they are teaching to see their own learning moments and give them the freedom to learn and grow from mistakes

And this is very important:  Effective leaders do NOT develop leadership teams, they develop teams of leaders.  They generate leadership factories.

Leadership teams are developed by:

  • Lining up the gifts and passions of members with the goal of the team
  • Character
  • Competency and skills
  • Commitment
  • Maintaining energy through the team leader, believing in the mission/vision, team dynamic and relationships and overcoming obstacles.

To become a better leader you should:

  • Develop your personal spiritual formation
  • Select 3-7 models from scripture and history
  • Have 3-5 mentors that you approach as life coaches
  • Develop an encouragement team
  • Develop an infrastructure that requires/encourages teams

The “Leaders In Action” book series was recommended as a resource.  Note to the ladies:  I checked this series out and have requested a few to read and review;  however, disappointingly there is only one woman included in the set.