The C.S. Lewis Retreat 2012

by Steve Laube

C.S. Lewis wrote “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” And later he wrote “Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” (from The World’s Last Night: And Other Essays).

I just returned from a weekend teaching at the C.S. Lewis Foundation Retreat near Houston. It is a marvelous time of spiritual and intellectual stimulation. To hear presentations by acclaimed Lewis scholars like Joseph Pearce and Diana Glyer is both a delight and a privilege.

This year’s theme was The Great Divorce which is a book by Lewis that you must read if you haven’t already. With all of the recent bestsellers discussing heaven and what it will look like or whether or not it is real, this weekend was quite invigorating. Having lost my dad a couple months ago I was struck by the poignancy of some of the conversations. Consider these quotes from The Great Divorce:

Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly. For all that can be shaken will be shaken and only the unshakable remains.”

“That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, ‘No future bliss can make up for it’ not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.”

“No natural feelings are high or low, holy or unholy, in themselves. They are all holy when God’s hand is on the rein. They all go bad when they set up on their own and make themselves into false gods.”

“Good beats upon the damned incessantly as sound waves beat on the ears of the deaf, but they cannot receive it. Their fists are clenched, their teeth are clenched, their eyes fast shut. First they will not, in the end they cannot, open their hands for gifts, or their mouth for food, or their eyes to see.”

On Saturday there was an evening of wonderful music and also a presentation of worship thru dance performed by the Ad Deum Dance Company.

Even though I went as faculty I came away blessed by the people there and am refreshed and ready to face the week of exploring new ideas and new writers. Consider taking advantage of one or more of the events put on by the C.S. Lewis Foundation throughout the year. (Click here for an overview.)



8 Responses to The C.S. Lewis Retreat 2012

  1. Avatar
    Judith Robl November 12, 2012 at 5:49 am #

    Sounds like a wonderful time. Had no idea that it was so close. Glad you were blessed.

  2. Avatar
    Diana Harkness November 12, 2012 at 6:07 am #

    Thank you for posting this. I don’t have the funds to travel often. I appreciate it when others post conference impressions so I can have a taste of it!

  3. Avatar
    Jeanne November 12, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    Steve, I’m so sorry to hear about your father. Life sure changes when parents pass on.

    I’d never heard of the C.S. Lewis Foundation. It sounds like their conferences are pretty amazing. As I’ve read the Chronicles of Narnia to my kids, I’ve loved getting a fresh, adult-glimpse into the stories and the truths they impart.

    Thanks for sharing about this conference.

  4. Avatar
    Peter DeHaan November 12, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    I read “The Great Divorce” when I was too young and too impatient. I think it’s time to revisit it.

  5. Avatar
    Rebekah Choat November 13, 2012 at 5:30 am #

    Amen and amen. I believe it to be absolutely true that all of us who were there working in some capacity came away every bit as rejuvenated as the conference attendees. Glad to have been there with you and all the other wonderful friends that come together in this community.

  6. Avatar
    Steven Elmore November 28, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    Thank you, Steve, for being part of the event this year. It was a particularly amazing year for fellowship and community and we, as always, were grateful for your part in it! And though I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to you this time (running around managing the event behind the scenes, of course), I still do fondly remember that amazing night a few years ago with Noel Paul Stookey, Malcolm Guite, Andrew Lazo, Stephen Whaley, and others. Cheers!

  7. Avatar
    Nan Rinella November 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    Steve, what a lovely compliment. May I return the favor by expressing how honored we continue to be by your participation. This was your 4th year on the faculty of the Writers Workshop. You’ve been instrumental in the vision and growth of this Lewis-centric workshop and retreat for writers. What is so special is how generous and available you were to everyone. You drew groups to you—the conversations were Lewisian and Tolkienesk.

    What great fun it was to perform my How-to-and-not-to pitch to an agent or editor with you “playing” the part of the agent. My best partner yet, as all can imagine. But you sure threw me a couple curves though.

    Many thanks and blessings.


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