Joe Rigney’s new book on C.S. Lewis’s beloved classic tale is aptly titled Live Like a Narnian. It’s not a book for children to appreciate more about the Chronicles of Narnia, nor for their parents to help them do so. Your appreciation for the Chronicles will certainly deepen as a result of reading this book, but the impact on you will be much greater.
Rigney’s invitation is not merely for you to read or think, but to live like a Narnian. And to do that now as a grown-up, finding a new ordering of even greater loves in these stories:
“Growing up doesn’t mean replacing old loves as much as it means adding new ones. Thus, a love of Aslan and Narnia ought not be limited to children, as though it were beneath adults. In fact, adults ought to be able to find more to love in the stories.” (24)
Few people know that C.S. Lewis had on multiple occasions denied outright that The Chronicles of Narnia are allegories where everything in the Chronicles represents something in the real world. The Chronicles were intended by Lewis to be “a supposal”:
“Let us suppose that there were a land like Narnia and that the Son of God, as He became a Man in our world, became a Lion there, and then imagine what would have happened.” (21)
Thus Rigney, from his very introduction, opens our eyes to Lewis’s invitation to dive deeply into this “secondary world” of Narnia. Lewis does this by taking us not to a metaphorical replica of this world but by drawing us out into a completely foreign land, where we can “become something that we weren’t before, something greater and grander, so that, when we return out of the wardrobe, we face our own Giants of Despair differently.” (21)
However, rather than discouraging your participation in the real world, Rigney’s meditations on Narnia “gives it new depths” and awaken new desires in your here and now. This is as true for the Christian who finds hope and strength in the “already” as they cling to the future hope that is “not yet.”
Meditation on the coming Kingdom inspires us to live out the present Kingdom. As Rigney said in an interview, “To live like a Narnian is to faithfully follow Jesus Christ. It’s to be a disciple of the High King above all kings, and to emulate and embody his ways in the world in which we live.”
The implications of living like a Narnian are holistic, which is why Rigney is able to dig up from the Chronicles themes such as ‘Defending the Faith against Modern Fables,’ ‘Enduring Deep Doubt and the Soul’s Dark Night,’ ‘Discipleship,’ ‘The Majesty of Women,’ and many more. I don’t think these insights have ever been compiled so comprehensively in one concise book as they are now in Rigney’s.
This book will make you love Narnia more than you imagined and, as a result, inspire you to live more for the Kingdom of God and for the King.