five things that CS Lewis can teach songwriters

Posted by Craig Borlase on 10 June 2014

Fifty years on from his death, the church - and the world beyond its walls - still cherishes the work of CS Lewis. With good reason, too. Here are five great tips for songwriters that might help...

1. Show, Don’t Tell - Good art isn’t forced. Good art allows us to enter into an experience for ourselves, rather than simply mapping it out. Let’s not rely on lyrics that tell people we’re worshipping God; let’s do it for real.

2. Know The Culture - Lewis recognised the trauma that affected his culture and chose to speak directly to it. Eternal truths don’t have to be separated from modern day living. 

3. Translate The Culture - By giving lectures on spiritual matters at air bases throughout the UK during WW2, Lewis addressed the issues of the day head on. From these lectures came works like Mere Christianity and mapped his emergence as an Apologist. Christianity has plenty to say to modern culture - can we allow some of that to flow into our sung worship? 

4. Value The Dark - Seeds grow in darkness. Lewis grew to understand this, and chose not to run away from mystery, questions and suffering. How much room do our songs allow for these?

5. Create For More Than The Sake Of Creation - One day, while standing in a in tool shed Lewis noticed a beam of sunlight light that came through a hole in the wall, illuminating various particles of dust. He was fascinated, yet it was only when he stood in the light itself and looked through the hole, that he saw the trees and sky beyond. Sometimes what we create can be dazzling, but the greatest transformation comes when what we create allows people to see beyond. As Lewis wrote: "I believe in Christianity as I believe in that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else."

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