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Wade Center

Wade Center at Wheaton College (IL)

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The Wade Center Podcast features interviews and discussions with scholars and figures related to Wade Center and our authors: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dorothy L. Sayers, George MacDonald, G.K. Chesterton, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams.
 
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"My own debt to [Unspoken Sermons] is almost as great as one man can owe to another." With these words, C.S. Lewis acknowledged the role the George MacDonald's spiritual writings (as well as his novels) played in his own faith journey and theology. In this week's episode Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing, along with Producer Aaron Hill, explore a v…
 
"It is worse than useless for Christians to talk about the importance of Christian morality, unless they are prepared to take their stand on the fundamentals of Christian theology." Few Christian authors can cut straight to the heart of our problems like Sayers. In this week's episode, Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing continue to discuss a series …
 
Words like dogma and theology have for a long time been viewed as "dull" and irrelevant, but in a series of essays written in the late 1930s Dorothy L. Sayers argues quite the opposite: "The Christian faith is the most exciting drama ... and the dogma is the drama." In this week's episode Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing discuss three of Sayers's …
 
"As long as you are governed by that desire you will never get what you want. ... Until you conquer the fear of being an outsider, an outsider you will remain." In C.S. Lewis's essays—"The Inner Ring" and "Membership"—he unpacks two dangerous social forces that threaten both the church and the morality of Christians: individualism and cliques. This…
 
"We always have to answer the question: How can you be so frivolous and selfish to think of anything by the salvation of human souls?" During World War II, C.S. Lewis preached three sermons which were eventually packaged and published along with six others in 1949 as The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses. In this week's episode, Drs. Crystal and …
 
Upon completion of The Lord of the Rings, new readers often turn to The Silmarillion. But J.R.R. Tolkien's epic collection of mythopoeic stories—covering everything from the creation of Eä (the Ainulindalë), the Valar and Mayar, the creation of the Elves as well as the events of the First and Second Ages of Middle-earth—can be overwhelming. Thankfu…
 
Who or what deserves our allegiance? Our heart? An external morality handed down by our parents or Christendom? Our intellect or science? In one of his most challenging books, The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis addresses many of the assumptions about morality, theology, and philosophy that are baked into the fabric of our modern world. Join Drs. Crys…
 
"Guesses, of course, only guesses. If they are not true, something better will be." At the end of his life, Lewis wrote Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer. Lewis's thoughts on heaven and the resurrection were, perhaps ironically, published posthumously. In this fifth installment of "Love, Pain, Grief, and Joy," Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing,…
 
"Creation seems to be delegation through and through. He will do nothing simply of Himself which can be done by creatures." Those words were written by C.S. Lewis in Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer at the end of his life and published posthumously. In this fifth installment of "Love, Pain, Grief, and Joy," Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing, a…
 
"What reason have we, except our own desperate wishes, to believe that God is ... 'good’?" Phrases such as these in A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis have caused many fans and critics to assume that Lewis lost his faith after the death of his wife, Joy Davidman Lewis. In this fourth installment of "Love, Pain, and Grief," Drs. Crystal and David C. Dow…
 
“To enter heaven is to become more human than you ever succeeded in being on earth; to enter hell, is to be banished from humanity.” This week, in our third installment of "Love, Pain, and Grief," we continue our discussion of The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis with Dr. Jerry Root. Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing, along with Dr. Root and and Produ…
 
“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to." Dr. Jerry Root, scholar and close friend of the podcast, is back again for our second installment of "Love, Pain, and Grief." This week hosts Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing, along with Dr. Root and and Producer Aaron Hill explore The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis. Because al…
 
Over the course of his life, C.S. Lewis wrote several books addressing the most complex and universal human experiences—love, pain, and grief. In this week’s episode, Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing sit down with scholar and close friend of the podcast, Dr. Jerry Root, to discuss The Four Loves (1960) by C.S. Lewis. How does Lewis define philia, …
 
Is the Incarnation, like other miracles, a suspension or a reversal of the natural universe? Or, as Lewis writes in "The Grand Miracle," is it "the central chapter" of history such that "every miracle exhibits the character of the Incarnation"? Join Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing as they sit down with Producer Aaron Hill on this special Christma…
 
Before Sam can declare "I'm back" at the end of Book VI, Frodo must destroy the ring and Aragorn must be enthroned. But nailing down the climax of The Return of the King proved challenging for J.R.R. Tolkien. How do you destroy the ring and resolve such an epic adventure that took eleven years to compose? In the sixth and final installment of the I…
 
In the opening of Book V of The Return of the King, Beregond gazes out over Pellenor, realizing that soon, "all realms shall be put to the test, to stand, or fall—under the Shadow." In this fifth installment of our series on The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing, along with Producer Aaron M. Hill, explore how ea…
 
In a 1944 letter to his son, J.R.R. Tolkien shared his surprise at the sudden entrance of Faramir: "I am sure I did not invent him, I did not even want him, though I like him, but there he came walking into the woods of Ithilien." In part four of the Wade Center Podcast's series on The Lord of the Rings, Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing, along wit…
 
In the first half of The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien the Company of the Ring scrambles to interpret strange signs as legends, such as the Ents, stride "on the green earth in the daylight." In part three of our series on The Lord of the Rings, Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing unpack the allusions, symbolism, deeper meaning, and significance found …
 
In this second installment of the Wade Center Podcast's six-part series on The Lord of the Rings, Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing, along with Producer Aaron M. Hill, dare to delve too deep into the darkening world that is Book II. Follow along as Crystal, Aaron, and David deem the doom of Sauron's ring and discuss the themes, character developmen…
 
The Wade Center Podcast's six-part, in-depth exploration of The Lord of the Rings has arrived precisely when it was meant to—just in time for Tolkien Week and Hobbit Day! In this first installment, Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing, along with Producer Aaron M. Hill, discuss many of the major themes, characters, and opening chapters of J.R.R. Tolki…
 
During his labor to create The Lord of the Rings, an allegorical and autobiographical story came to J.R.R. Tolkien "like a dream." Some have described this short story, titled Leaf by Niggle (1945), as the "the hidden nucleus of Tolkien's work." As the Wade Center Podcast prepares to kick off a six-part, in-depth series on The Lord of the Rings, Dr…
 
Almost everything we read or "write" today is digital. Words and even books are typed, not written by hand like C.S. Lewis's Narnia Chronicles or The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. In this week's episode, Dr. Charlie W. Starr joins Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing to discuss C.S. Lewis's "villainous handwriting." Charlie explain how we can l…
 
G.K. Chesterton said that being born is like stepping "into a fairy-tale"—for "we step into a world we have not made" with its own laws and a cast of characters. In this week's episode, Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing sit down with Dr. Crystal Hurd to explore her work on C.S. Lewis as a transformational leader as well Lewis's family influences—wi…
 
G.K. Chesterton has impacted the lives of countless Christians. That list includes not only C.S. Lewis but also this week's guest, Dale Ahlquist, the President and Co-founder of the Society of Gilbert Keith Chesterton. In this episode, Dale sits down with Drs. David and Crystal Downing to discuss how G.K. Chesterton turned not only Dale's life upsi…
 
Ever wondered what it would be like attend an Inklings meeting with C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams? In this week's episode, our very own Dr. David C Downing discusses the Arthurian lore and spiritual inspiration behind his novel Looking for the King—a page-turning tale about two Americans, Tom McCord and Laura Hartman, who find th…
 
Dorothy L. Sayers describe autobiography as “dangerous business” in The Mind of the Maker. To write one is either “a mark of great insensitiveness to danger or of an almost supernatural courage.” In this week’s episode, Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing sit down with Producer Aaron Hill to discuss the autobiographies written by three and half of th…
 
Are miracles merely "a series of disconnected raids on Nature" or are they "the various steps of a strategically coherent invasion?" C.S. Lewis explores philosophical and historical arguments surrounding Biblical and contemporary accounts of signs and wonders in Miracles: A Preliminary Study (1947). In this week's episode, Drs. Crystal and David C.…
 
Less than a year after his conversion, C.S. Lewis wrote The Pilgrim's Regress in only two weeks while visiting his friend Arthur Greeves in Ireland. Lewis's thick landscape of literary allusions, quotes, and philosophical criticism has long thwarted interested readers. In this week's episode, Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing sit down with Producer…
 
These days, discussions about demons and temptation are an uncommon occurrence—at least sober ones. In this week’s episode, Dr. Jerry Root sits down with Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing to discuss The Screwtape Letters (1942) by C.S. Lewis. What inspired Lewis to write this series of letters from Screwtape to his nephew. Wormwood? And what can we…
 
"Come further up and further in." After telling us of first things in The Magician's Nephew, Lewis finally reveals the last things—the end times—of Narnia. Join Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing as they conclude a seven-part series on The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. In this final episode, David and Crystal explore profound truths in The Las…
 
The Magician's Nephew was one of the most difficult books for Lewis to finish in the Narnia series. Why? In this sixth Into Narnia episode, Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing explore the wonder and dangers contained within The Magician's Nephew. What inspired Lewis to write about Uncle Andrew, Jadis (the White Witch), the dying world of Charn, the D…
 
Aslan lies at the back of every story in Narnia. In the fifth novel in The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis weaves a tale of separated twins, mistaken identity, escaping slaves, vast desserts, and a desperate escape to the North. Join Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing as they discuss The Horse and His Boy. This week David and Crystal sit down with …
 
Rillian and Puddleglum and Glimfeather, oh my! The unique cast of giants, gnomes, knights, and witches sets The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis apart. Join Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing as they unpack the adventures of Eustace and Jill Pole in this fourth novel from The Chronicles of Narnia with Producer Aaron Hill. Follow along as the Downings unpa…
 
"Where the waves grow sweet, Doubt not, Reepicheep, There is the utter East." This week Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing sit down with Producer Aaron Hill to explore the meaning and message of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third installment in the The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Join Crystal and David as they discuss the Sehnsucht an…
 
What can talking animals possibly teach us about evil, belief, and apostasy in this age of cynicism? Join Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing as the Wade Center Podcast continues to explore the meaning and message of The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. This week David and Crystal sit down with Producer Aaron Hill for a fascinating discussion abou…
 
Why did C.S. Lewis, an Oxford professor, write children's books? And what is Father Christmas doing in Narnia? Join C.S. Lewis expert, Dr. David C. Downing (author of Into the Wardrobe) and Dr. Crystal Downing as the Wade Center Podcast begins a seven-part series to explore the meaning and message of The Chronicles of Narnia. In this first episode,…
 
C.S. Lewis's last novel, Till We Have Faces, is nothing like the Chronicles of Narnia. It is perhaps Lewis's most complex, profound, and misunderstood work. Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing discuss this uniquely modern and meaningful novel with Producer Aaron Hill. How are we to interpret the actions of Orual and Pscyhe, and what is Lewis trying t…
 
Over 100 years ago, the world was dealing with the aftermath of The Great War (and a terrifying global pandemic). In this week's episode, Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing sit down with Producer Aaron Hill to discuss the life-changing impact of The Great War on each of the Wade authors, as well as the ways that World War I surfaces in novels such a…
 
Dorothy L. Sayers used edgy, often hilarious metaphors to shock people into seeing the truth of ancient Christian doctrines in a new light. In this week's episode, Dr. Crystal Downing talks with David and Aaron about her new book and how Sayers can help 21st-century Christians find new ways to talk and think about faith and culture. Purchase a copy…
 
Many Inklings fans know and love J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis both for their imaginary worlds (Narnia and Middle-earth) and for their legendary friendship. In this week's episode, Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing sit down with Ron Reed—Founding Artistic Director of Pacific Theatre in Vancouver, BC—to discuss his play, Tolkien, which dramatizes ho…
 
"Stand! Stand where you are ... ," C.S. Lewis bellows into the tape recorder. In this third installment of The Lost Lewis Tapes, Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing sit down with Producer Aaron Hill to discuss the final novel in the Ransom Trilogy and to listen to excerpts of Lewis narrating Merlin’s interrogation of Elwin Ransom from Chapter 13 of T…
 
In a quiet room at the Kilns in August 1960, C. S. Lewis recorded three audio tracks on a portable reel-to-reel tape deck. In one of those tracks, Lewis reads from Perelandra for 27 minutes, narrating in a mesmerizing and confident voice Elwin Ransom’s arrival on the watery planet Venus. In this second installment of The Lost Lewis Tapes, Drs. Crys…
 
Before he was known as a children's author, C.S. Lewis wrote science fiction. Listen to never-before-heard audio recordings of Lewis reading from his Ransom Trilogy in this exciting three-part series on Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength. In this week's episode, Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing sit down with Producer Aa…
 
Most Inklings fans see George MacDonald through the lens of C.S. Lewis. Others enter MacDonald's novels through diverse doorways. In this week's episode Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing sit down with Producer Aaron Hill to discuss this 19th century Scots author. Why was George MacDonald so important to Lewis? Why is he considered controversial? Ar…
 
Whether it is a game of Clue or an episode of Sherlock on the BBC, everyone loves to solve a good murder mystery. In this week's episode, Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing sit down with Producer Aaron Hill to put the detective fiction of Dorothy L. Sayers and G.K. Chesterton under a magnifying glass, and to interrogate their famous fictional sleuth…
 
If you are a serious C.S. Lewis fan, you likely know and love The Chronicles of Narnia, the Ransom Trilogy, and apologetics books such as Mere Christianity. But have you read The Discarded Image or An Experiment in Criticism? In this week's episode, Dr. Jerry Root discusses his latest book, The Neglected C.S. Lewis, with Drs. Crystal and David C. D…
 
Before he was famous for his books, C.S. Lewis was one of the most well-recognized voices in Britain because of his broadcasts on 'the wireless.' In this week's episode, Drs. Crystal and David C. Downing sit down with Producer Aaron Hill to discuss the radio broadcasts of Dorothy L. Sayers and C.S. Lewis, two of the first lay theologians invited to…
 
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