If you’ve read C.S. Lewis’ landmark series, The Chronicles of Narnia, the books likely influenced you in no small way. In The Magician’s Nephew from that series, there’s a scene I can’t get out of my mind.
When Aslan the lion speaks to the creatures of Narnia and to the human children who visited there, they heard his voice: good, strong, kind, magical. Yet one character, Uncle Andrew, simply would not feel welcomed or joyful in Narnia’s flourishing, then-peaceful world. Aslan explained:
“I cannot comfort him … he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh, Adam’s sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good!”
When Aslan crowns the first King and Queen of Narnia, just a few pages later, he charges them with this benediction:
“Be just and merciful and brave. The blessing is upon you.”
Far From Narnia
We live in a decidedly un-Narnia-like world. It is full of wars, corruption, abuse and antagonism that parades as “that’s just the way things are.” Yet there are still movements of hope, goodness and flourishing.
The tune of society is largely pessimism and anxiety, crowded by what-ifs and entrenched in the practice of distancing from those who are different. It’s especially perplexing to hear the siren songs of many Christians: defensive, reactionary, insular.
There is a way to disagree with the religious and governmental worldview of some and still treat them like humans.
An example of this is recent rallies against allowing Muslim refugees into American cities. A number of Christians are asking, “How would America and Christianity survive against such threats as Islam and ISIS?” Marginalized are voices that sound like the strong and kind God of the Bible, whose message to His people is, “Be just and merciful and brave. The blessing is upon you.”
Have we cleverly defended ourselves against all that might do us good?
In several conversations with friends and family—and the social media flurry that cites more opinions than facts and faith—I’ve come across more Christians resistant and even vitriolic toward Muslims—whether Muslims of the moderate majority or radically violent minority. It’s troubling, to say the least.
Let’s begin with the facts and then move into the realm of faith…