More on sexuality, and C. S. Lewis

A friend writes …

Since you are blogging about the increasing acceptance of gays by evangelical leaders, I thought I’d drop you a note on a revealing personal fact about CS Lewis that you might want to mention to your readers.

While reading a new book about Lewis, I stumbled across the fact that one of CS Lewis’ best friends throughout life was gay. The author mentions that CS Lewis’ “pronouncements on homosexuality were notably liberal-minded…no doubt because Arthur Greeves, his best friend from boyhood, was homosexual (p.128).” That’s from Laura Miller’s The Magician’s Book: A Skeptic’s Adventures in Narnia (2008). Since Lewis is such an important inspiration and touchstone for evangelical thought, this fact about Lewis (if it were more well-known) might provide the occasion for evangelical leaders to theologically reexamine why they shun, or worse, demonize gays. In fact, maybe CS Lewis provides a potential new model for how evangelical leaders can build bridges to gay Christians.
Here are the facts about Lewis’ friend: Not knowing much about Aurthor Greeves, I googled his name and found that the CS Lewis Book Club had posted excerpts from Lewis on the topic of homosexuality and Greeves for Sunday school groups reading his books and letters (see below). You wouldn’t say that CS Lewis was “liberal-minded” on the topic for 2011, but he obviously didn’t approve of the state or busybodies harassing or bothering gays. He also didn’t believe (based on the book club excerpts) that “being homosexual” was an especially dark sin as many conservatives try to argue today. And his 50-year friendship with Greeves says something profound about straight Christians accepting gay Christians just the way they are.

Here’s the book club’s information on Greeves:

V. Arthur Greeves
Lewis’s best friend from childhood and throughout life was a boy who lived across the street from him in Belfast named Arthur Greeves. Lewis wrote more letters to Greeves than any other person. A collection of them fills a 500+ page book. Later biographies disclose that Arthur was homosexual. Lewis did not disassociate from Greeves because of it. Their friendship, correspondence, and visits continued until Lewis’s death in 1963.
More info: According to Walter Hooper’s C.S. Lewis: A Complete Guide to his Life and Works (p. 756), Lewis dedicated The Pilgrim’s Regress (1933) to Arthur Greeves. Walter Hooper also edited a volume of the 50-years of correspondence between the two (mostly Lewis writing to Greeves).

Hope that is helpful for your work!

Thanks. Fascinating!