Thank you Douglas Gresham

This weekend “The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe” opened to the second biggest December box office in history, second only to Lord of the Rings. Had you dropped in at the “Bird and Baby” pub and asked Oxford dons Lewis and Tolkien about the likelihood of such a phenomena, they would have been dubious and considered it highly improbable.

Their success with people of all ages, including the younger generation, is a tribute to their great artistic creativity and intelligence and allows their message a contemporary hearing even among the irreligious. We should learn some lessons from this.

Today’s USA today reports on “The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe’s” faithfulness to Lewis Christian storyline; this and the fact the film ever saw the big screen is a tribute to one man, Lewis’s stepson, Douglas Gresham.

I spent some time with Douglas this past year (foto Staub left & Gresham right) as I raised over 600,000 dollars to convert Lewis’ home, “The Kiln’s,” into a year around study center. It was an honor to be associated with a project extending Lewis legacy and I can only imagine Doug’s thrill as he saw his dream come true. He always wanted the Narnia series to be on the big screen, but only if it remained true to Lewis nuanced approach to telling a great story complete with subtle Christian implications.

After the NYT raised questions about this issue, suggesting some feared Disney might jettison the Christian themes, I heard Douglas repeatedly remind people that Lewis did not set out to write a Christian book, nor was he setting out to make a Christian movie. He also said the Lewis storyline would be retained in ways that please readers of the classic tale. He obviously succeeded!

Gresham also felt that technology had just recently reached the place where Lewis imaginary creatures could be brought to the screen with dignity; he was also right on that score!

Taking seriously his role as guardian of the Lewis estate and advisor to the filmmaker cannot have been an easy task, but we can all thank Douglas for fulfilling his duties admirably in a way that would have pleased Lewis.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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