Jesus can be found in books other than Bible

Curtis Shelburne

Oh, my aching back! I knew it would hurt today. I spent too much time yesterday on a bar stool.

Oh, you thought . . . No, I was sitting on a stool at the “bar” in our kitchen. I like to work there, but my back doesn’t like it when I do.

It was a Monday. I like Mondays. I love what happens on Sundays, but I’m okay with the fact that Mondays are as far as you can get from Sundays. I learned ages ago that anything “extra” I want to get accomplished during a given week can best be done early in the week.

So on the Monday in question I spent some time working on a kind of grandfatherly gift for my kids and grandkids.

When our four sons were just little guys (they didn’t stay little in any sense for long), more often than not, I’d put them to sleep by reading to them. My wife and I read them a bunch of the children’s books, Bible story books, etc., you’d expect. (And, yes, some fairy tales. No child should be deprived of the real-life truths found in fairy tales.)

As they got older (but way earlier than was reasonable) I read to them my favorite books, J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.” During Christmas, we’d read Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

But we spent most of our time reading C. S. Lewis’ series of seven children’s books, “The Chronicles of Narnia.”

I’m glad that The Lord of the Rings and several of the Narnia books are now movies. I was afraid Hollywood would butcher these books that I love, but those films are amazingly well done. Still, I’m glad that in my head, and those of my sons, our own images of hobbits and centaurs and epic voyages and wonderful Narnian and Middle Earth adventures came before Hollywood’s.

My sons loved the night-time readings, but they wanted more and longer readings than I could provide. (Since they went to sleep every night to the sound of my voice, they tell me that I have no one but myself to blame if they sleep through my sermons.)

But sometime in the midst of our reading years ago, I decided to crank up the tape recorder each evening, which means that I could later play them the tape when I got tired. I ended up with recordings of five of those Narnia books actually being read to my sons.

Now the grandkids are showing up, and Monday I spent some time “digitizing” those old tape recordings and putting them on CD so I can keep on reading to my favorite little people (if they’re interested) even when I’m not around. (I mean geographically “not around,” not dead, though I guess . . .)

Reading’s good. We all ought to do a lot more of it. Reading to kids is especially good. By all means, a good Bible story book, filled with the best stories of all, can wonderfully implant in little children’s minds pictures of Jesus and his love. But why stop there? If you’ve spent any time in Narnia, you know that it would be very hard to find a better picture of who Christ really is than that of a great Lion, awesome and joy-filled but completely untamed, named Aslan.

Thank God for all the ways the Father shows us the Son.

Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at