Dr. Cliff Cain Publishes Comprehensive Book on Harrod-C.S. Lewis Legacy Lectures

Recent retirement isn’t keeping Dr. Cliff Cain from working in the field he loves. The former Harrod-C.S. Lewis Professor of Religious Studies recently wrote Challenges for Christian Faith: Addresses in Honor of C.S. Lewis.

Published by Lexington Books in May, the book is a compilation of all annual Harrod-C.S. Lewis Legacy Lectures at Westminster College from 2013 to 2021, two of which were disrupted by COVID-19.

“The last couple of addresses were not shared in St. Mary’s [on campus] because of the pandemic. But they are nevertheless included to honor C.S. Lewis, the namesake of my former professorship,” he explains.

Cain recently discussed the various lectures that took place in the years he spent at Westminster from 2010 to 2020, his tentative plans to write a children’s book in the future, and what else he’s up to in his retirement. Keep reading to learn more.

How long did it take you to write the book?

I wrote the first and last lectures, and prominent persons in their respective fields wrote the others. It took about two years to assemble, edit, and proof the contents to the satisfaction of my editor.

Now that you are retired from Westminster and can look back at the various C.S. Lewis Legacy Lectures that took place here, which would you say was the most important or interesting to you?

The subject matter of the book is the challenges that Christians face in the 21st century. ALL of the lectures/addresses on them are very, very interesting to me and very, very essential to living the Christian faith in our current time. As a result, I think that ALL of them are important, and ALL of them are quite interesting.

I would add that a very infamous person wrote the first and last addresses — me. And then truly famous persons wrote the others: for example, the then-presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church (the first woman ever so designated and honored), the acknowledged leading C.S. Lewis scholar in the world today, a distinguished WC religion professor emeritus, the author of one of the “best 15 books written on religion in the last century,” the African American president of a prestigious theological school, one of Pope Francis’s point persons on Jewish-Christian relations and antisemitism, and an expert on martyred theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was hanged for his resistance to Hitler and the Nazis.

Do you plan to write any other books during your retirement?

I am flirting now with writing a children’s book on learning about, and addressing, environmental issues, since we need to teach ecological consciousness and provide an ecological conscience to persons beginning at a young age, and with writing a book on the perennial and controversial issue of “theodicy,” that is, how can a God exist who is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good, and all-present, and yet moral and natural evil exists with such breadth and depth?

Where are you living now, and how are you spending your days, in addition to writing?

I am living now in Greenwood, South Carolina, in a 1926 historic home. I chose Greenwood because of its mild climate (no snow!), university (3,500 students) around the corner from my house, lake district, proximity of mountains and ocean, affordable living, nearness to bigger cities, and excellent medical facilities. Southern Living said that Greenwood is one of the top 25 lake towns in the U.S. And, no, I am NOT a travel agent nor promotional officer for this city of 25,000!

I continue to read and write, work on my house, and, since the mitigation of the pandemic, am starting to get to know my neighbors and my new town. However, I do miss my colleagues at WC and my students.

Amazon.com is offering a 30 percent discount on Cain’s book, listed under “Clifford Chalmers Cain,” through Dec. 31, 2021, by using the code LEX30AUTH21.

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.