"St. Clive": An Eastern Orthodox Author Looks Back at C.S. Lewis (Best Works) Paperback – May 27, 2019
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Readers might anticipate a dry analytical style typical of too many Lewis analysis and assessments, but Hayward includes a wry sense of observational humor, evident in the first lines of his survey where a reflection on scholarly footnote traditions ventures into comedic cultural inspection: "As it is now solidly established practice to add an a footnote skittishly defending one's own choices regarding "gendered pronouns," I would like to quote a couple of tweets. In response to a fellow user tweeting, "Nobody is safe in today's society, man. It's like walking on eggshells constantly. Someone will be offended, will be out to get you. It's exhausting... and, I think somewhat that social media is to blame," Titania McGrath coolly answered, "The phrase 'walking on eggshells' is a microaggression against vegans. Reported and blocked. [Emoji depicting a white woman tending to her nails.]"
This said, Lewis was a huge influence on Hayward's Evangelical upbringing and religious perspectives and the starting point to his "pilgrimage from Narnia" (as one of his poems is titled) into Orthodoxy. St. Clive is not to be considered another scholarly inspection rehashing familiar spiritual pathways, but a unique compilation of Lewis-like reflections steeped in Orthodox beliefs and inspections for everyday readers. It produces a compilation of pieces that attempt to sound like Lewis himself, but which are original works meant to directly address these reflections and beliefs. This book is exciting, almost as if a hitherto unknown book of original works by C.S. Lewis had suddenly come to light.
The writings are presented in four sections that hold distinctly different tones and objectives. The first "...quotes him, builds on him, and challenges him to draw conclusions he may not have liked." The second focuses more on Hayward's writings and style, but with a nod to Lewis' influence. The third section addresses Lewis' affection for the book The Consolation of Philosophy and offers perspectives from Hayward on how its ideas and Lewis's expand different aspects of spiritual reflection; while the fourth section offers bibliographic keys to further pieces in the Lewis/Hayward tradition for newcomers who may be piqued by this collection's lively inspections, and who want more insights from other sources.
By now it should be evident that this is a delightful compendium of reflections that represent something new. It's not a scholarly work per se, but its language will appeal to many in the scholarly community. It's also not an attempt to channel Lewis' approach and tone, though these reflective pieces are certainly reminiscent of C.S. Lewis. And it's not a singular examination of spiritual perspectives, but offers a wider-ranging series of discussions that defy pat categorization.
Indeed, this is one of the unique aspects of "St. Clive." What other treatise holds the ability to reach lay and scholarly audiences alike, creates a wider-ranging series of connections between his works and similar writings, and expands upon many concepts with an astute hand to spiritual, philosophical, and social reflection?
None: and this not only sets "St. Clive:" An Eastern Orthodox Author Looks Back at C.S. Lewis apart from any other considerations, but makes it accessible to a lay audience that might have only a minimal familiarity with Lewis or the Orthodox Way.
About the Author
- Paperback : 448 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1794669957
- ISBN-13 : 978-1794669956
- Item Weight : 1.44 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.12 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Independently published (May 27, 2019)
- Language: : English
Best Sellers Rank:
#6,038,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #1,064,044 in Religion & Spirituality (Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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In Mere Christianity (and in other works), C.S. Lewis sought to build bridges between Christians of all stripes – emphasizing what we had in common, and avoiding discussion of doctrinal issues which would divide us into different denominations. C.S. Lewis was also an apologist, taking pains to explain and defend Christianity to those outside the church.
Hayward, on the other hand, is clearly not trying to build bridges, or make this book palatable to all Christians – he has no hesitation in bringing up issues where Orthodoxy differs from other denominations. (His essay “An Open Letter to Catholics on Orthodoxy and Ecumenism” is just one example; he also has some choice words for Martin Luther and the Reformation.) Neither is this book meant to be an Orthodox apologetic – Hayward does not try to explain or defend Orthodoxy to outsiders.
Rather, this book is an invitation – an invitation to worship, an invitation to repentance and faith, an invitation to Orthodoxy. Throughout the book (but particularly in “Stephanos”, “Doxology”, and the last couple pages of “Within the Steel Orb”), Hayward attempts to show in writing just a glimmer of the beauty of the Orthodox faith. And that is where his writing really shines.