As long as I’m working with Millennials, I will probably keep C.S. Lewis works toward the top of my list for use with college students. I’ve gotten the chance to use Lewis’s wisdom plenty in teaching and some in one-on-one disciplemaking, too. And especially his article and message collections – far less well-known than The Chronicles or Screwtape or Mere Christianity – are screaming for use as small group “curriculum” today.
I have met many students (including lots at Christian colleges, incidentally) who could use a major dose of Lewis. He does an amazing job of taking Christian “oversophistication” and beating it at its own game.
I know he has regularly beaten me. Over the head. Bludgeoned, really.
What I mean is that Lewis’s practical, gritty Christianity – packaged in brilliant prose – ambushes anyone whose religious life has strayed from the “great in the basics” spirituality so often presented in Scripture. His articles and chapters speak on basics as broad as church membership, forgiveness, faith, love, reading old books, “chronological snobbery,” the Psalms, and on and on. And even when he talks about specifics – like church music or using animals in medical research (!) or extraterrestrials (!) – he reveals the core issues and busts our ridiculousness.
Where to start? Eerdman’s big God in the Dock has lots of essays. Select some. I’m reading Fern-seed and Elephants now, which starts with a great apologetic for being true members of Christ’s Body and ends with a great apologetic against liberal biblical criticism. There are several other “collections” out there, and the wading-through is worth it.
And the chapters of Mere Christianity really can’t be beat, so I’ll throw that one in.
Screwtape Letters is probably better for passing out on campus (rather than trying to use with a small group); the chapters there are sometimes less pointed, and you can’t really “pick and choose” like you might want to for a small group study.
One last note: As always, I suspect Lewis can still draw a crowd – not only among Christians but among those who aren’t, even defiantly so. That opens the door to plenty of possibilities here.