During one of my last semesters at seminary I had the pleasure of taking an elective focused on one of my absolute favorite authors, C.S. Lewis. The class was taught by Dr. Chris Mitchell, director of the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College which archives and promotes the writing of seven legendary British Christian authors: Lewis, Owen Barfield, G.K. Chesterton, George MacDonald, Dorothy Sayers, J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams.
For my class term paper, I reviewed a fascinating article by Andrew Linzey on Lewis' attention to animals in his writing: "C.S. Lewis's Theology of Animals" (originally published in Anglican Theological Review, Winter '98). Linzey is generally considered the modern father of the Christian animal advocacy movement, authoring the groundbreaking Animal Rights: A Christian Assessment in 1976 (SCM) and contributing dedicatedly to the discussion ever since. He currently serves as member of the theology department at the University of Oxford and as director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. As I wrote in my paper,
Linzey shares the same British nationality and Anglican tradition as C. S. Lewis, and no doubt recognizes the weight of Lewis’ legacy in Christian thought. Linzey also seems also to have a genuine affinity for Lewis’ writing ... (Another Lewis reviewer) David G. Clark recently noted that animals are one of the most neglected areas of attention in Lewis’ thought, and in Christian thought in general (C.S. Lewis: A Guide to His Theology).
Linzey's article is an excellent overview of what Lewis had to say about animals, and where you can find it in his different writings. But it's also a great way to learn more about Linzey's own perspective on animals and faith, which can lean liberal at times, but which we can share much in common with and learn a great deal from as well. His book Animal Theology (University of Illinois '95) is an insightful collection of essays, and see the brief talk below (thanks to Nekeisha Alexis-Baker of Jesus Radicals for pointing me to it). I'd also like to thank Andrew for graciously reviewing my paper last Summer and extending a warm welcome to not one sparrow in the process. It was truly an honor to correspond with him.
I had meant to follow up further on this post, with more from my paper on Linzey's assessment of Lewis' theology of animals, but still haven't gotten round to it. I apologize for that.