February 21, 2011
C.S. Lewis, arguably the most highly acclaimed and popular Christian writer of the 20th century, will appear in the weekly chapel service at OBU on Wednesday, Feb. 23, portrayed by Dr. Kevin Radaker. The presentation will be at 10 a.m. in Raley Chapel's Potter Auditorium.
In the script for the performance, Radaker weaves together passages from the 13 writings by Lewis. Nearly half of the script is taken from Lewis' autobiographical work, "Surprised by Joy"(1955), which highlights the extraordinary story of his conversion to Christianity.
"In choosing passages from several other nonfiction works from throughout his career, I aim to illustrate to some degree the vast array of theological issues and aspects of the Christian life that he addressed in his nonfiction," Radaker said. "Finally, I have chosen certain passages for how well they display the sparkling wit, keen intelligence and elegant prose of C. S. Lewis."
During the prolific career of C.S. Lewis, he wrote more than 30 books in a variety of arenas: literary criticism, children's literature, science fiction, fantasy literature and popular theology. OBU's chapel theme for this academic year is "Unadorned: A Return to the Simplicity of the Gospel," based on the book "Mere Christianity" by Lewis.
Radaker, who serves as chair of the English Department at Anderson University in Anderson, Ind., earned his Ph.D. from Penn State in 1986. He began offering his portrayal of C. S. Lewis in the fall of 2009. Since then, he has presented his "Lewis" more than 30 times in six states. In August, he will be presenting his "Lewis" as part of two Chautauquas in Pueblo, Colo., and Greeley, Colo., and in October, he will be taking it to Beijing, China.
In addition, Radaker has presented his portrayal of Henry David Thoreau more than 350 times throughout the United States since 1991. He has published articles on Thoreau, Herman Melville, Annie Dillard and Wendell Berry in academic journals and encyclopedias.
Radaker's program does not include any references to "The Chronicles of Narnia" and is intended for audience members 16 and older. For more information on his two portrayals, see Thoreau Live and C.S. Lewis Live.
For more information about the chapel service, contact OBU Campus Ministry at (405) 878-2377.