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In the REAL PRESENCE, Leanne Payne explains the spirituality of C.S.Lewis as revealed in his fiction and nonfiction writings. Payne is in part an interpreter of C.S. Lewis; in part a Christian apologist to the philosophical community; in part a spiritual director (telling us how to 'grow our own spiritual life'). She is also a minister in her own right - she has an international ministry of spiritual (emotional) healing. She has a somewhat arcane writing style which takes just a little bit to decipher. But her understanding of Lewis is great. His spirituality was foundational to the development of her own, and she articulates it very well. She explains it in light of classic, historic Christian doctrine, especially that of the early church. This book is very helpful in understanding her own subsequent books, all of which I highly reccommend, esp HEALING PRESENCE, RESTORING THE CHRISTIAN SOUL and LISTENING PRAYER. She has a tremendous understanding of (as she terms it) 'Incarnational Reality', the essential Christian assertion that, through the Holy Spirit, God comes to live right inside the believer. It is in listening to and collaborating with the Holy Spirit, who indwells us, that we are healed and caused to grow. Lewis wrote much about this concept (in large part symbolically, in his fiction); and it is from him that much of Payne's own understanding comes. It is to this concept that she refers in the title of this book - THE REAL PRESENCE. The book is a tremendous help in understanding the complexity of Lewis' writing, especially his fiction. Without understanding his underlying spirituality, it is hard to appreciate any but the most superficial aspects of meaning in the imagery and characterizations in his fiction; it also informs much of his nonfiction.Read more ›
"Real Presence" is my favorite introduction to C. S. Lewis; Leanne Payne's insights into Lewis' writings are virtually an exact match to my own experience of reading his books. She follows the main threads of Lewis' thought through a comprehensive cross-section of his work, and, from where I sit, she gets it exactly right. I kept finding myself nodding vigorously as she described some key aspect of Lewis that I had noticed but couldn't quite put to words.
"Incarnational Reality" is Payne's key insight (hence the subtitle) - that, just as God in Christ took on human flesh, so in our day, Christ, by His Holy Spirit, lives in Christian believers. This leads in some very fruitful directions as she develops how God "breaks in" to our universe and sanctifies ordinary life - her thought is very "sacramental" (dare I say "catholic"?)
Lewis once said that he discerned in George MacDonald's writing an elusive quality which he later realized was holiness; Leanne Payne here returns the favor to Lewis. After I finished "Real Presence", I realized that what I loved about Lewis was exactly holiness. Thanks to Leanne Payne for showing it to me.
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Reepicheep, the Head Mouse....knew how to get beyond the Last Sea only by the Real Presence of Jesus....I love C. S. Lewis and Mrs. Payne (a scholar specializing in his writings) has hit a home run.....Thank you Leanne Payne.
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Leanne Payne is the founder of Pastoral Care Ministries, which promotes the ministry of healing prayer. She earned her masters degrees from Wheaton College and the University of Arkansas and is the author of seven books.