Seeking the Secret Place
The Spiritual Formation of C. S. Lewis
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- Nov 2004
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"I can imagine no one better suited by training and temperament than Lyle Dorsett to write this book. From a variety of angles, and drawing on a wide range of materials (including many of Lewis's letters to his correspondents), Dorsett uncovers the manner in which Lewis learned to seek the secret place in which the believer enters ever more deeply into communion with God."--Gilbert Meilaender,
C. S. Lewis is perhaps the most beloved modern Christian author. From the Chronicles of Narnia to The Screwtape Letters to Mere Christianity, his works have enthralled and influenced readers of all ages. Yet, though numerous books have been written about Lewis's life and his dramatic conversion to Christianity, none have asked the important question of how he grew spiritually. Lyle Dorsett sets out to answer that question in Seeking the Secret Place.
Drawing on Lewis's books, letters he wrote and received, and more than one hundred interviews with dozens of his contemporaries, Dorsett shows that as the newly converted Lewis filled his mind with scripture and prayer, "his soul gradually became transformed into Christlikeness." The sacraments also contributed to his spiritual formation. To Lewis, being a member of the church was vital to his spiritual development, and he came to have a deep reverence for the Eucharist.
Professors and students in spiritual formation courses, C. S. Lewis readers, and anyone seeking to grow spiritually will value the rich and warm insights found in this book.
"The writings of C. S. Lewis have been subject to selective distortion both by Christians preoccupied with him as an apologist or theologian and by secularists interested in him purely as a writer of fantasies. Helpful balance from his scholarly work and inner spiritual life is much harder to come by. Lyle Dorsett has made a significant contribution to our appreciation of Lewis's spiritual life in particular, thereby enriching and grounding more authentically our appreciation of Lewis as a day-by-day follower of Jesus Christ."--David Lyle Jeffrey, Baylor University
"I can imagine no one better suited by training and temperament than Lyle Dorsett to write this book about the spiritual disciplines that shaped C. S. Lewis from the time of his conversion to his death. From a variety of angles, and drawing on a wide range of materials (including many of Lewis's letters to his correspondents), Dorsett uncovers the manner in which Lewis learned to seek the secret place in which the believer enters ever more deeply into communion with God. Even those who know Lewis's writings well will learn from this book."--Gilbert Meilaender, Valparaiso University
"The subject of C. S. Lewis's spiritual life has been raised in numerous contexts, but Lyle Dorsett is the first to give this important subject sustained attention. In a clear and concise way, Dorsett traces the growth and maturity of Lewis's spirit as well as the development of his spiritual practices and ministry. If one is interested in the particulars of C. S. Lewis's devotional life and ministry, this is the place to begin."--Christopher Mitchell, Marion E. Wade Center
"What a wonderful question Dorsett seeks to answer in this work: What were the foundational elements of spiritual growth and formation in the life of C. S. Lewis? The answers, as Dorsett explores them, are extremely well-informed, full of insight, and true inspiration for our own journey into Christ-likeness."--Ruth Haley Barton, author of Invitation to Solitude and Silence
"Dorsett emphasizes C. S. Lewis's humility and obedience to God's will. . . . Using Lewis's words to express his devotion to God, humility, and obedience, Dorsett has composed an admiring and thorough tribute to Lewis, his spiritual mentor."--Amanda Doyle-Borowski, Christian Retailing
"A fastidious examination of the Narnia author's religious evolution from atheist to devout Christian."--ForeWord
"Amidst the steady flow of studies of C. S. Lewis, this inexpensive volume neatly fills a need. . . . [Dorsett] has spent many years studying Lewis' writings, interviewing his friends and gathering Lewis' international correspondence. This all serves Dorsett well as he focuses on Lewis' growth into Christianity, and how his writings, especially his letters reflect his developing beliefs. . . . Dorsett is able, on the basis of his many years of research, to glean pertinent examples from Lewis' enormous correspondence, which clearly reveal his brilliance and diffidence. . . . Publisher Brazos serves the book well through its footnotes and good index. Professor Dorsett's book will be useful in libraries with collections Lewisiana, and welcome by Lewis fans."--Daniel Boice, Catholic Library World
"Combining his training as an historian with his keen pastoral insights, Dorsett offers a systematic assessment of Lewis's spiritual practices in a clear, easily accessible volume that simultaneously encourages the serious Christian. . . . Dorsett successfully traces key intellectual developments in Lewis's understanding of the spiritual disciplines and paints as full a picture as possible of Lewis's spiritual habits and routines."--Joseph Williams, SEVEN: An Anglo-American Literary Review