In Live Like a Narnian Joe Rigney shows that Owen Barfield was right—What C.S. Lewis thought about everything was secretly present in what he said about anything. From apologetics to his thoughts on education, from his view of science to the role of government, from Natural Law to true manhood and womanhood—the breadth of Lewis's bright vision of life shines through in his beloved Chronicles. Come, learn to breathe Narnian air.
As I’ve read the Narniad over the years, I have often thought that a book needed to be written highlighting the richest and most poignant lessons that Lewis intended to be learned in Narnia. Joe Rigney’s “Live Like a Narnian” is that book. This was an incredibly enjoyable read for any friend of Narnia (or Archenland). However, rumor has it that the Calormenes don’t particularly like this book. Rigney has masterfully chosen some of the most precious parts and themes in the Chronicles and then layers in other writings by Lewis to bring additional insight into what error, vice, or flawed logic Lewis was aiming to address. Obviously this is not an exhaustive book, and I hereby assert that Mr. Rigney ought to pen a second volume. Aslan hints in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader that the reason the children were brought to Narnia was that by knowing him there, they might know him better in our world (although of course he has a different name in our world). This is Lewis’ more explicit moments of tying Aslan to being a Christ-figure. I, along with many others, have been shaped by the lessons I learned upon the fresh and vibrant soil of Dancing Lawn, Beaversdam, the Stone Table and the Eastern Seas. Rigney has helpfully pointed out how Narnia is not an escape from reality, but rather it is brimful of lessons to be learned, and a manner of life that, as Christians, we ought to live. Chivalry, boldness, humility, enduring hardness, worship, obedience, masculine and feminine virtues all make an appearance in Narnia, and Live Like a Narnian aims to be a friendly reminder that to be a true King or Queen of Narnia, you must not forget Aslan’s signs. I especially enjoyed Rigney’s pointed discussion in Chapter 3 on Edmund, and how our present actions (and what we are worshipping) are shaping us into what we will be. We must not take the object of our worship lightly. I was moved to tears in several chapters, being reminded of the hardship that many of the Narnian heroes face, and yet despite the difficulties, persevere, resting all the while between the Lion’s paws. In Chapter 10 (about Shasta in The Horse and His Boy), I found a very timely reminder for me; in it Rigney quotes the Chronicle: “If you do one good deed your reward is usually to be set to do another and harder and better one.” What a great reminder. And really that is exactly what this book is…a helpful reminder to grip those lessons learned in Narnia. Don’t forget, don’t let the thick air of the shadowlands cloud your thinking and cause you to forget the lessons learned in Aslan’s country. I highly recommend Live Like a Narnia. Obviously, you should read the seven stories first…but then, this would be a helpful companion and guide. I give this book a Reepicheep salute, and commend Rigney for a job well done, and for making this a read that was really a pleasure to read (and not just because it was full of Lewis); Rigney’s commentary was truly as insightful, pastoral, and good-humored as one would expect a descendant of King Lune to be.
Livro maravilhoso e inspirador. Faz boas conexões com as obras de Lewis, a Bíblia, com ótimas aplicações para o nosso cotidiano. Certamente você se verá em vários momentos, tanto pela genialidade de Lewis, como pela perspicácia de Rigney. Recomendo. 👍🏻 📔 ⭐️
2021: Such a joy to read. This book will make you want to read the Chronicles of Narnia all over again!
2016: So many good things can be drawn from this book, but if I had to pick and choose only two, I would choose these sections as my favorite ones:
"I can speak for every one, but breathing this type of Narnian air has a particular effect on me, one that I think Lewis intended...
But more than just awaking my hunger, breathing Narnian air awakens a desire for a particular meal, one with tasty food, good conversation, lots of joy and laughter and revelry and strategizing about how to defeat the White Witch.
It makes me want to eat my bread with joy and drink my wine with a merry heart, because God approves (Eccles. 9:7). It makes me want to guard my heart against gluttony and miserliness. It makes me want to live so that those with shriveled hearts and icy minds accuse me of self-indulgence and waste. It also makes me want to live so that the accusations are false.
It makes me want to pay attention at mealtimes, both to the food on my plate and the friends on my table. It makes me want to enjoy high feasts on appropriate occasions, to eat simple meals as though they mattered (because they do), and to teach my children by example the meaning of jollification (hint: dancing is required). " (p.44-45)
And this other line :
"Indeed, the Witch provides two meals to Edmund: the enchanted candy and stale bread and water. The Witch and her evil are the origins of both gluttony and asceticism, of sinful indulgence and sinful austerity." (p.43)
This is a great, compact, little volume the way in which The Chronicles of Narnia disciples its readers into Christian maturity. Rigney shows how the books prepare the soil for receiving God's Word in the Bible, by preparing readers to think in biblical modes and categories.
It is a sort of companion book to Doug Wilson's "What I Learned in Narnia," which Rigney endorses toward the end. Where Wilson's book is geared toward younger readers, Rigney's is aimed at older readers that will help their children or students understand the books in a much deeper way.
This is really good, and I recommend it to everyone who has read the full series.
terminei com vontade de reler nárnia, o autor relaciona as virtudes narnianas ao discipulado cristão e acrescenta relações entre as crônicas de nárnias e os escritos não-fictícios de lewis. e eu gostei muito pq ele explicou muitas coisas sobre a abolição do homem que eu não tinha pescado quando eu li (outro que eu preciso reler). recomendo!
I didn’t think it would be possible for me appreciate Lewis’s Narnia Chronicles more than I already did. But Joe Rigney has succeeded in making me do just that. While this book is packed with helpful insights into living like a Narnian, it’s Rigney’s love for Narnia and C. S. Lewis that really come through to the reader. Thank you, Dr. Rigney!
Um dos grandes méritos deste livro foi ter posto as crônicas em diálogo com as obras de não ficção de Lewis, proporcionando ao leitor uma visão mais abrangente e harmoniosa de seu pensamento. Em alguns momentos tive que parar a leitura/tradução para meditar e chorar. Rigney é muito bom com a caneta, e escreveu o livro que muitos narnianos gostariam de ter escrito. Como narniano convicto, fico imensamente feliz de poder “escrevê-lo”, por assim dizer, em português. Em breve, pela Editora Monergismo.
I thought this book would be less impactful because I had seen Joe Rigney's talk on it at one of the Desiring God Conferences. I was wrong. What a good book! The best part about it is that it makes the reader want to dive back into Narnia and in that sense, Rigney has achieved what he set out to do. To give the reader a greater appreciation of God through Lewis
Wow! So good! If you haven't read The Chronicles of Narnia yet, do it! Then you can enjoy this book. Rigney pulls wonderful lessons out of the Chronicles and Lewis' other writings. I will be reading them again very soon to get a fresh breath of Narnian air.
I especially loved the chapter, "Tirian's Trials and Tragedy - Enduring Deep Doubt and the Soul's Dark Night." "So then, The Last Battle shows us tragedy and despair. Does it also show us how to endure? Can it instruct Narnians how to live in the dark and 'take the adventure that Aslan sends to us'? I believe that it can."
I believe lovers of Narnia will love this book.
The appendix also has a good argument for the proper reading order of the Chronicles and I completely agree.
I really enjoyed this book. I don't know that there really was anything new to me in that most of the things noted wouldn't be a surprise to any thoughtful Narnia lover, but it was good to have them pulled out of the book to think about.
I have a quibble which is perhaps more significant the more I consider it; the author is too ready to call Jesus Aslan. That may sound odd, but I think caution is needed. Aslan is a fictional character who represents Jesus. Jesus is real. Aslan is presented to us by a human fallible author and therefore we need to be very careful that we do not learn things from Aslan that are not true of Jesus. The Narnia Books are not Scripture.
Of course once you start down this line of thought you begin to wonder whether there is any point to a book such as this at all. Why draw lessons from Narnia when you can draw them from the Bible? But I think that goes too far the other way. C.S. Lewis was skilled in showing Christian truths in his work, and why should we not have a book to help us think about those truths more deeply?
Rigney captures the lessons that Lewis teaches in The Chronicles of Narnia without taking away from the magic and mystery of the stories. He helps the reader understand why they love Narnia, and how to live as much like a Narnian in this world as is possible. His thoughts left me feeling discipled, refreshed, and desiring to know Aslan better in that world, so that I might know Jesus better in this one.
The best books on Narnia are the ones that make us want to return to the stories themselves, and Joe Rigney's slim, easy read does just that. He has a number of particularly fine insights, but the one that really sticks with me is this: "Though all of his plans come to naught, Tirian is never without one." - p. 145
I heard Joe Rigney on a podcast about parenting and he was brilliant. I've read and reread the Narnia books, so while I expected to enjoy this, I didn't really expect to gain any new insight. I was quite wrong as this felt like a wonderful guide for citizenship into the Land of Narnia. I thoroughly enjoyed this, and now can't wait to read anything else he's written.
Livro muito bom para o objetivo proposto, isto é, realizar um discipulado cristão com base nas Crônicas de Nárnia. O que complementa ainda mais esse livro é o conhecimento do professor Rigney sobre C. S. Lewis, ao nos trazer a percepção de como as próprias visões teológicas do autor irlandês influenciam a forma como histórias narnianas foram narradas e criadas, além de traçar em paralelo com outras visões em outros livros de Lewis.
Acredito que seja uma leitura recomendada para fãs das crônicas, quer sejam cristãos, quer não, porque o tipo de reflexão que Nárnia nos traz é justamente para enfrentarmos com a cosmovisão materialista (ateísta) que está tão presente em nosso mundo ocidental pós-moderno que, por mais que esteja em voga, nem todos se dobram ao desespero e feiura que ela proporciona. A Criação é bela e revela a glória do seu Criador, portanto, os mais sensíveis e menos cauterizados pelas trevas da presente ignorância, certamente vão se render a essa leitura, mesmo que não se declarem cristãos professos, porque o que os contos de fadas nos fazem (os bons, ao menos) é justamente mostrar a beleza da nossa realidade noutra, fantástica, mas que, no final, revela que a nossa realidade é realmente fantástica mesmo, nós que não percebíamos! =)
A truly excellent series of short essays penned by the Renaissance man that is Joe Rigney. I seem to recall that the last time I read entirely through C.S. Lewis's Chronicles, I was not a Christian, so to read this book was helpful in that it has persuaded me to read through them again, and given me a better framework to read them with. Rigney is a humble man, never declaring that his book is meant to be any definitive take on the Chronicles, and rather hoping that he might embody the spirit of the characters that he exhorts his readers to aspire to. He writes with a sense of palpable joy and a clear love for Lewis/his works, and if the reader is paying attention that zeal will be passed along. I think, personally, that this book tells me more about Rigney than anything else, and he is a character that I have enjoyed catching glimpses of.
Otherwise, I have gleaned much wisdom from this book. Even in the shortest of chapters, Rigney squeezes the Chronicles just enough that the wine that emerges makes the heart soar without getting it drunk. I fear that I do not have the appropriate words for this book, and it will require the reader of this review to read the book for themselves to grasp its fine qualities. In that light, I highly recommend this book.
From the introductory word to the reader: “I... prefer people... read these chapters and say, ‘Ah, yes. That’s exactly what I’ve always thought about that scene, or that character, or that theme.’” Mission accomplished, Joe. I recently finished the Narnia books with my 5-year-old, and after having spent another serious jaunt through the wardrobe, having breathed Narnian air and spent time with Aslan, I feel refreshed and motivated to be a better, more noble, more honest, more humble, more grateful and jovial husband and dad and friend and pastor. Joe does a fantastic job at explaining the effects of breathing Narnian air. I’m particularly grateful for his tribute to King Lune (also my favorite minor character). I agree with Joe about reading the series in the right order (publication order), and then reading this book. It’s an excellent tribute to Lewis.
I expected this book to simply point out the obvious connections between Narnia and Christianity, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that Rigney’s analysis is deeper than that. I think this book is valuable, not just as an analysis of the Narnia books, but also for its summary and explanation of The Abolition of Man—which is a brilliant work of Lewis’s, but very hard to read and understand. (It was hard for me, anyway.) I love literary criticism when it is sane and well done—this book is both. It makes me want to read Rigney’s other books.
I have learned a lot from Joe Rigney’s preaching, and I admire him even more as a Christian man and leader after reading this book. I’ve come to appreciate the Chronicles of Narnia exponentially more and learned how to apply them to my life thanks to this book. Rigney does a masterful job describing what it means to live like a Narnian and the wonders that Narnian air can do for someone. I hope to live like this book describes and that I can be someone like these characters from the Chronicles of Narnia.
An excellent devotional-type of book meditating on the wisdom in Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles. I read this directly after reading through all of them and found it to be immensely beneficial. Much of what Rigney writes on were things I already knew to be true, but wouldn’t have been able to put into words like he did. I would highly recommend this to parents who want to read the Narnia stories to their children and use them as a means of discipleship.
Excellent through and through. I suppose there could be hesitation that we look at Christian discipleship through the wardrobe and into Aslan’s country. One must not stay in the wardrobe, though. Like the Pevensie children, we must come back. Through our time in Narnia, we can learn to know and be known and love and live better on this side of the door. Through the truth in the story of Narnia, truth becomes clearer. In no way is Lewis authoritative and therefore should take a backseat to all Scripture. However, if we hold these stories lightly, we can begin to breathe the free air of the kingdom of God and of Narnia at the intersection of the lamppost. This is a book that can be read and reread and returned to again and again.
An encouraging read to help Christians remember that they are held between the paws of the true Aslan. The chapter that analyzes Aslan’s rescue of the Dawn Treader party from the Dark Island made me weep. May I never forget that scene or Aslan’s precious admonition of, “Courage, dear heart.”
Definitely a book worth reading! Only i wish i had read it in one sitting instead of over weeks of interruptions. I think i would have gotten more out of it that way. So glad to have finally gotten my hands on it tho (even tho my mom was hiding it from me 😆)
This was such a lovely read. I recently reread the beloved Chronicles after having read them over a decade ago for the first time, and it was such a treat to meet this world again. I discovered so much truth in the stories, and this book helps explore their richness even further. I only wish the book were longer and he could have written about additional themes.