Narnia: Unlocking the Wardrobe – by Paul A Karkainen

31 12 2014

As a non-fiction book, this has taken me a bit longer to read – I reckon about seven weeks. I always find they contain so much more information that it takes me longer to digest it!

I’m a devoted Narnia and C.S. Lewis fan. As a child I listened to the BBC audio books every night as I went to sleep and probably got close to word-perfect at one point. I have a whole stack of his signature classics upstairs too, I’ve only read one so far, but aim to do another soon! And last month I watched “Shadowlands” which is a film based on a portion of his life (of which you can see the horribly American trailer)

This book basically takes each Narnian book, and looks at the Christian symbolism and application in it. Some of this is obvious and we pick it up without needing to be told – e.g. Creation, and Aslan’s sacrifice on the stone table. But there’s a lot more to be pulled out from it. We see things like the idea that the Calormene folk may be like those who follow Islam, the conversion stories that are told through various books (Edmund, Trumpkin, Eustace and Jill to name a few), and all sorts.

You probably want to have read each Narnia book before reading the associated chapter in this book as it does assume knowledge, but then, I don’t think you’d find it interesting unless you’d read them anyway! It’s definitely in the form of a commentary.

As I went, I turned down some of the corners of pages I found interesting, and so a few lines from this are below:

  • “Lewis avoided using sustained allegory in his writings. […] the Narnia chronicles contain a mixture of symbolism and passages that are pure fantasy, without profound meaning.”
  • He likens each of the children in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe to one of the disciples. He gives them at least a paragraph each, but here are the headlines:
    • “Peter deserves the role of the apostle Paul. […] the leader of the Gentile church”
    • “Lucy is much like John, the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
    • “Edmund is a bit harder to categorize. For a long time he seems to be Judas, […] But he does come around in the end, rather in the fashion of the apostle Peter [who] makes every mistake in the book.”
    • “Susan does not really show her true colours in this book.”
  • “Bree [The Horse and His Boy] is the perfect picture of a reluctant convert, as he heads toward Narnia. Even though he has had his meeting with Aslan, he still wants to wait in Archenland until his tail grows, and he is still concerned whether Narnian horses roll.”
  • “When they left Narnia at the end of the Golden Age, they were maturing into real kings and queens. But when they returned to this world, they became children again. Living in Narnia represents living in the Spirit, and living in this world represents living in the flesh, because the children have not yet discovered the earthly equivalent of Aslan.”
  • “Wickedness is known by its fruits, just as righteousness is”
  • “Civilisation by itself is no substitute for righteosness. Some of the world’s most advanced nations have caused some of the most horrible carnage. Some of the most congenial and intellectual people around the world have espoused some of the most wrongheaded, perverted, and destructive philosophies.”
  • “In every age Satan has a different plan for enslaving man. He might use mystery religions, as he did at the time of Christ. Or he might use the Inquisition, as he did during the Middle Ages. Or he might rely on witchcraft, as he did in Elizabethan England. Or he might turn to dictators like Hitler and Mussolini. Bus his intention is always the same. He means to trick, betray, bind, and kill mankind.”
  • “A true servant of God does not make much of himself – he makes much of the God he serves. True devotion brings humility, not pride.”
  • “Satan knows that a fake Christian is an even more powerful tool in his hands than a strong atheist.”
  • “But Shift [The Last Battle] finally becomes the victim of his own deceit. In blinding himself to the reality of Aslan, he has also deceived himself into thinking there is no Tash. He has cut himself off from Aslan’s protection and becomes fair game for Tash’s claws.”
  • “People’s minds, as well as their bodies, will be made flawless in heaven.”
  • There’s also an interesting bit about Emeth who worshipped Tash but only did good things in his name and ended up being accepted by Aslan, but that’s too long to quote here – you’ll have to read it for yourselves!

narnia unlocking the wardrobe


28 12 2014

This evening I introduced my parents to the film Elf – definitely one of the best Christmas films there is – and one of them stayed awake the whole time…!

It’s such a quoteable film, I wrote down all my favourite one-liners, and bunged in a couple of YouTube clips for when you can’t explain it with words… Enjoy!

    “The three rules for elves:

  1. Treat every day like Christmas
  2. There’s room for everyone on the nice list
  3. The best way of spreading Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear”

“I’m a cotton headed ninny-muggins.”

“Of course you’re not an elf. You’re six-foot-three and had a beard since you were fifteen.”

“You did it, congratulations! World’s best cup of coffee! Great job everybody, it’s great to be here!”

“I’d love to ride the rest of the way up, with you but this is where my Dad works – Oh I forgot to give you a hug!”

“I’m here with my dad
And we never met
And he wants me to sing him a song
And I was adopted, but you didn’t know I was born
So I’m here now
I found you, Daddy
And guess what, I love you, I love you, I love youuuuuuuu!”

“What’s a Christmas-gram?! I want one!”

“I like to whisper too!”

“Hey! Have you seen these toilets? They’re gi-normous!”

“I just like to smile, smiling’s my favourite!”

“Santa!!!! I know him, I know him!”

“I’m singing
I’m in a store and I’m singing
I’m in a store and I’m singing!!!”

“You sit on a throne of lies”

“You smell like beef and cheese, you don’t smell like Santa”

“I thought maybe we could make ginger bread houses, and eat cookie dough, and go ice skating, and maybe even hold hands.”

“Well technically I’m a human, but I was raised by elves.”

“I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel.”

    “We elves try to stick to the four main food groups:

  • Candy
  • Candy Canes
  • Candy Corn
  • Syrup”

“[I slept] great! I got a full forty minutes, and even had time to make that rocking horse!”

“First we’ll make snow angels for a two hours, then we’ll go ice skating, then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie dough as fast as we can, and then we’ll snuggle.”

“So, good news, I saw a dog today.”

“Son of a nutcracker!”

“I think you’re really beautiful and I feel really warm when I’m around you and my tongue swells up. So… do you wanna eat food?”

“That’s a nice purple dress, very purpley”

“Francisco, that’s fun to say!”

“You have such a pretty face you should be on a Christmas card!”

“Buddy the Elf, what’s your favourite colour?!”

“This place reminds me of Santa’s Workshop! Except it smells like mushrooms and everyone looks like they want to hurt me.”

“What about this: a tribe of asparagus children, but they’re self-conscious about the way their pee smells?”

“I’m sorry I ruined your lives and crammed cookies in the VCR.”

Internet highlights w/c 21st December 2014

27 12 2014

The runners and riders to replace Nick Hewer on The Apprentice – I’m going for Mike Soutar

Bianca’s going to sell her tights anyway (but a bit cheaper!)

A cat trying to catch fish in a frozen pond

An Orangutan has been given his freedom as a non-human person

The history of NORAD tracking Santa around the globe

The Jenga Pistol

BRILLIANT piece on Anxiety and Panic for beginners – for those who are just starting to experience it

Horribly sexist adverts – from 2014!!

Adorable dog gets mixed up in a Christmas photoshoot

How they make rice paper

The Good News in one simple musical scale

Egypt has banned the new Exodus film due to historical inaccuracies – namely that the film claims the parting of the Red Sea was caused by an earthquake, not a miracle

More great info from people with Anxiety

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😂😂😂 #ChristmasPun #GingerbreadHouse

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Baby Cheeses is born! #ChristmasPun

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A friend rewrote We Three Kings…

“We three kings of Great Britain are,
Gazing up to see from afar,
From field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Looking up for a star.

(Oh…) Star of wonder, star of light,
Star of NASA, shining bright,
Eastward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us with thy perfect light.

Not a King from Bethlehem’s plain,
This is a space-ship, easy to explain,
Flies forever, ceasing never
Over us just like rain.

(Oh…) Star of wonder, star of light,
Star of NASA, shining bright,…

Frankincense, carried from the east,
A symbol of Jesus being a priest,
Born in a stable, so all men are able
To meet God, from greatest to least.

Star of wonder,…

Myrrh is sad, its bitter perfume,
Breath of life to blossoming gloom,
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
God sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

The story goes on with a pretty big claim,
Jesus came back, he woke up again,
He ate and he walked, relaxed and talked,
And he’ll speak to you just the same.

As we gaze back up at the star,
Remembering Jesus who came from afar,
A King as a baby, he’s somewhat crazy,
Came to meet us where we are.

Oh…. Star of wonder, star of light,
Star of Jesus, shining bright,
Eastward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us with thy perfect light.”

Christmas with Billy & Me – by Giovanna Fletcher

26 12 2014

I’m currently partway through another book, but I got this “Novella” for Christmas (a follow-up to Giovanna’s first novel, Billy & Me), and at only about 50 pages, I read it on the day – it was the perfect length to read while the family watched Doctor Who.

It was a lovely little heart-warming read. We meet the characters a few months on from the end of the original book, and just go through December in the little town. There is a mysterious note that comes to the bakery asking for assistance with a Christmas Eve proposal, but who is it from?

Cute and uplifting – just delightful!

Christmas With Billy & Me

Nine Lessons and Carols: Ninth Lesson – John 1 vv 1-14

24 12 2014

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Nine Lessons and Carols: Eighth Lesson – Matthew 2 vv 1-12

23 12 2014

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written:

‘“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.”’
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”

Nine Lessons and Carols: Seventh Lesson – Luke 2 vv 8-16

22 12 2014

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields near by, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.’
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.”

Nine Lessons and Carols: Sixth Lesson – Luke 2 vv 1, 3-7

21 12 2014

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.”

“And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”

Sermon Notes: “He restores my soul” – Psalm 23 v 3a

21 12 2014

From last Sunday evening’s communion service:

“He restores my soul” – Psalm 23 v 3a

We all know David as a shepherd, but in this Psalm he depicts himself as the sheep.

Some of his Psalms are full of joy, but not 42
“Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.” – Psalm 42v11
We can each ask ourselves this.

A sheep on its back cannot get back on its feet. If a shepherd doesn’t find it quickly it will die. They get ‘downcast’ like this by finding a hollow in the field in which to lean, but as their centre of gravity shifts they roll over and are stuck. In the middle east they’d die within a few hours due to the heat. For a Ewe this obviously also puts her young at risk.


We sometimes think that God would be angry when we’ve fallen, but He has compassion on the lost and rejected. At times we all become downcast and in need of restoration. We’re most vulnerable to this when we think we have it together and are susceptible to pride.

The sheep is at danger in its comfortable place. There are times when the good Shepherd may move us on to somewhere more difficult.


If a sheep’s wool is too long then it is also at risk. Weighed down with wool it is far more susceptible to being cast down. It could also get dangerous things stuck in it. A shearing is not a pleasant experience for the sheep or the shearer, but it can be necessary. It is a relief for both parties when it is over, particularly the sheep having shed its thick coat if it is a hot day.


God may find things in our life He wants to strip away. “because the Lord disciplines those he loves” – Proverbs 3v12a. He knows exactly what He’s doing, he knows exactly how deep to go with the shears in the wool. He prunes us to grow new shoots if you want a different analogy.

Jesus chose to be cast down and die, to lay down His life for us. He was cast down when we were on our backs. He comes to restore the lost, broken and struggling.

Internet Highlights w/c 14th December 2014

20 12 2014

A teenager came up with a great invention to protect his grandfather from his own Alzheimer’s

BSL Finger Spelling Challenge

Great Gilmore Girls facts

Physics *claims* Santa doesn’t exist

Signs you’re old before your time (I definitely got some, but not all 🙂 )

Swan that only attacks foreign students

All the cat expressions you need for Christmas