Whose revival? Which Christianity? CS Lewis & Owen Barfield on the renewed interest of belief in God

An audio version of this talk is at my podcast, Talks and Thoughts, available via podcast feeds.

There is much talk of a revival of Christianity amongst secular intellectuals, at least in my cultural bubble. That may or may not be sociological significant and church attendence figures stay in marked decline.

But what interests me is not so much the numbers as the spirit of the renewed interest. What is the feel of the Christianity being discussed, what attitudes does it embody, what spiritual does it represent?

CS Lewis and Owen Barfield discussed these things and, then, Barfield teased out differences between them after Lewis’s death. He characterised that as the difference between an analytic and romantic rationality, which produces separate even oppositional understandings of God, Jesus, salvation, this world, the imagination, the human and the creation as a whole.

I think that their “oppositional friendship” might illuminate our now, which I try to tease out in this talk.

Recorded in St Mary Magdalene church, Stapleford Park

0:00 The revival now and the differences between Lewis and Barfield
4:25 The Christian story as chasm or participation
8:08 Salvation or participation?
11:20 Exclusive Christianity or porous Christianity?
13:45 The role of reason and the imagination
17:11 Following the head or the heart?
21:21 Analytical and Romantic, allegorical and mythological approaches to truth
27:39 The appeal of Lewis, simplicity and joy
32:02 Polarities, oppositions and Trinitarian perception
35:40 Different experiences of time, culture wars and choice
39:02 What of the future of Christianity?