StoneBridge Community Church
The Power of Story and Imagination
Pastor Jeff Cheadle
Locations & Times
  • StoneBridge Campus
    4832 Cochran St, Simi Valley, CA 93063, USA
    Saturday 5:30 PM, Sunday 9:00 AM, Sunday 10:30 AM
  • Growth Groups
    Simi Town Center Way, Simi Valley, CA 93065, USA
    Sunday 12:00 PM

Online "Connection Card"

Thanks for joining us today! Follow this link to our online "Connection Card" where you can let us know you were here and share any prayer concerns.
"In the Trinity Term of 1929, I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England." —C.S. Lewis, Surprised By Joy

Conversation on Addison's Walk

"J. R. R. Tolkien Convinces C. S. Lewis That Christ Is the True Myth," The Gospel Coalition, September 20, 2016.

George MacDonald

"George MacDonald (1824 – 1905) was a Scottish author, poet and Christian minister. He was a pioneering figure in the field of fantasy literature and the mentor of fellow writer Lewis Carroll. His writings have been cited as a major literary influence by many notable authors, including W. H. Auden, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Walter de la Mare, E. Nesbit, and Madeleine L'Engle. C.S. Lewis wrote that he regarded MacDonald his 'master': 'Picking up a copy of Phantastes one day at a train-station bookstall, I began to read. A few hours later', said Lewis, 'I knew that I had crossed a great frontier.' G. K. Chesterton cited The Princess and the Goblin as a book that had 'made a difference to my whole existence'." Wikipedia article. Read more…

Scottish poet, author, and clergyman George MacDonald

1. Understand the part…
1. Understand the part that imagination plays in our becoming believers.

Science and Imagination in the Age of Reason

Robin Downie (The University of Glasgow), "Science and Imagination in the Age of Reason" Journal of Medical Ethics: Medical Humanities 2001;27:58–63
“Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of the imagination.” —John Dewey

Rembrandt, The Return of the Prodigal Son, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Parables as Imagination

"Jesus told parable after parable, and the parables are not just illustrations. Parables are fictional stories depicting an alternative world. The essence of his parables probe into this mindset he wants from his followers: Imagine a world like this." —Scot McKnight, "Parables as Imagination 1" Patheos, July 29, 2013.
For Reflection/Discussion: Imagination doesn't refer solely, or even primarily, to the so-called "world of make believe." In what ways is imagination necessary to science and scientific discovery? In what ways did Jesus use, and appeal to, imagination to convey his message? Why? Which of Jesus's parables most appeal to you? Which do you find puzzling? What can you learn about yourself and the Kingdom of God from the parables which annoy you or whose meaning is unclear to you?
2. Learn how stories…
2. Learn how stories communicate the Good News of the Gospel in powerful ways.
"Ever since I became a Christian I have thought that the best, perhaps the only, service I could do for my unbelieving neighbors was to explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times." —C.S. Lewis, Preface to Mere Christianity [emphases added]

C.S. Lewis on the Danger of Apologetics

"No doctrine of that faith seems to me so spectral, so unreal as the one that I have just successfully defended in a public debate. For a moment, you see, it has seemed to rest on oneself: as a result when you go away from the debate, it seems no stronger than that weak pillar. That is why we apologists take our lives in our hands…." —Keith Plummer, "C.S. Lewis on the Danger of Apologetics" Stand To Reason, April 17, 2018. (Includes Lewis's fascinating poem "The Apologist's Evening Prayer")

C.S. Lewis on the Imagination

Kevin Vanhoozer, "In Bright Shadow: C.S. Lewis on the Imagination for Theology and Discipleship," The Romantic Rationalist: God, Life, and Imagination in the Work of C.S. Lewis. Desiring God, September 28, 2013. [Recommended]

The Spiritual Odyssey of C. S. Lewis

Michael Nelson, “One Mythology Among Many: The Spiritual Odyssey of C. S. Lewis" VQR: A National Journal of Literature and Discussion, Autumn, 1996.

The Space Trilogy

The Space Trilogy is a series of science fiction novels by C. S. Lewis that includes Out of the Silent Planet (1938), Perelandra (1943), and That Hideous Strength (1945). A philologist named Elwin Ransom is the hero of the first two novels and an important character in the third. Wikipedia article.

Aslan as portrayed in the film adaptations of Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia.

The Chronicles of Narnia Overview

"The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels by C. S. Lewis. It is considered a classic of children's literature and is the author's best-known work, having sold over 100 million copies in 47 languages. Written by Lewis and illustrated by Pauline Baynes, it was originally published in London between 1950 and 1956…" Wikipedia article.

The Chronicles of Narnia in One Volume

An affordable, deluxe hardcover edition, including all seven stories The Magician's Nephew, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Horse and His Boy, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, and The Last Battle, with hand-colored illustrations by original artist Pauline Baynes and an insightful introduction by Narnia authority Brian Sibley. Available at Amazon via this link.
For Reflection/Discussion: At a certain point in his life, C.S. Lewis largely abandoned explaining and defending the Christian faith, and instead devoted his time and energy to presenting it through story and imagination, including The Chronicles of Narnia. Have you read The Chronicles of Narnia or seen the movies based on them? Read or reread them this summer. What Christian themes can you identify in them? Why, in your judgment, did Lewis choose to use science fiction, children's literature, novels, and other forms of storytelling to communicate the Gospel?
3. Make use of…
3. Make use of stories, your story, and the Story as you share your faith with your friends.

Films and Faith

"Movies are powerful pieces of communication that speak to our emotions and intellect. We often spend time talking about movies after we see them, but what if we intentionally looked for ways to bridge these conversations to spiritual topics? 'Christians should approach every film we watch as an opportunity to talk about faith and spirituality,' says Mark Bogertman, 'because it is!'” —"Films and Faith" Intervarsity Christian Fellowship.

Spiritual themes and symbols abound in many movies.

Jesus Christ, Harry Potter, and Aslan

"All of this presupposes a working knowledge of God’s Word. Without a thorough understanding of how God has worked in the world through the lives of people from creation until the coming of Jesus, most if not all of the parallels and symbolism that runs throughout new and older literature will be completely lost on the reader. So while you are reading your fiction, don’t neglect the reading of the Scriptures as well!" —Jesus Christ, Harry Potter, and Aslan

Think Christian

"Think Christian serves the devout faithful who are also fans of popular culture. In music and movies, television and video games, we seek to find, in the words of the Apostle Paul, 'whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable.' Our task as a digital magazine is to consider how popular culture and its cultivators interact with God’s story, and we do this with grace, appreciation, and discernment." Explore the Think Christian website.

An Evangelism Tool You Already Have

Use your own story to naturally communicate how to become a Christian. —Sarah Martin, "An Evangelism Tool You Already Have" CRU
Plan to attend Becoming a Contagious Christian this July at StoneBridge.
For Reflection/Discussion: Have you ever noticed important spiritual themes in movies (sin and redemption, death and resurrection, the power of sacrifice and love, etc)? How can talking about books, movies, television programs, or popular songs start a spiritual conversation? What religious themes, if any, do you see in superhero movies? The Lord of the Rings trilogy? Harry Potter? Others? Why is it so important to know the Bible as you look for biblical themes in movies, books, and popular culture? If someone were to ask you to share your spiritual journey, would you be prepared to answer? How did you become a believer? What were some key turning points in your spiritual journey? How does your story connect with the great Story of God that is laid out in scripture?

A Cool Bonus for Our Series' End

Singer-songwriter Heath McNeese has dedicated an entire album to the works of C.S. Lewis. He writes, "Thank you, C.S. Lewis. Thank you for creating works of warmth, depth, and humor. Thank you for changing the way I see everything." You can listen to and download (name your own price) "The Weight of Glory: Songs Inspired by the Works of C.S. Lewis" at Heath McNeese Music.

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