Spending my inheritance

C.S. Lewis's stepson makes tradeoffs

Issue: "Abolition of C.S. Lewis?," June 16, 2001

In the course of WORLD's investigation into a surprising attempt to de-emphasize the Christianity of C.S. Lewis (see p. 30), we may have learned something about the ownership of Lewis's literary estate. When late last month we asked Doug Gresham whether he still had a financial stake in his stepfather's book sales, Mr. Gresham responded, "The C.S. Lewis Company Ltd. is responsible for the management and marketing of the C.S. Lewis copyrights, for the C.S. Lewis estate. The estate is made up of two trusts benefiting the families of C.S. Lewis's stepsons. Does that explain it?" Perhaps it does. We also asked, "Do you have any role in setting policy for the firm?" Mr. Gresham replied, "The decision-making processes at The C.S. Lewis Company are always made by discussion, and my voice (loud though it may be) is one of several." In February, however, when Carol Hatcher's documentary was very much alive but at risk, Mr. Gresham told Ms. Hatcher her problem was "between you, Zondervan, and Simon Adley," and that "I keep myself pretty much at arm's length from all of this sort of business." Asked in another memo late last month to define his influence in the C.S. Lewis Company, Mr. Gresham wrote, "Decisions are always made by a cooperative discussion each of us deferring somewhat to the specialty knowledge of the others." But he refused to comment on the potential demise of Ms. Hatcher's documentary project: "As the whole idea seems to have collapsed, it is no longer of any significance." He concluded, "I am creative and artistic, but I would not impose my will in this area against the views and ideas of others. Likewise I toss my two cents into discussions of other areas as well. I don't think we have ever had anybody actually try to veto anything." Mr. Gresham, born in 1945, may have dodged responsibility concerning the documentary project, but he has taken great care in many other areas. He and his wife Merrie (who became a Christian after a visit to the C.S. Lewis center at Wheaton College, where staff gave her books and tapes of Lewis's works to take back home) are leaders of the International Institute of Pregnancy Loss and Child Abuse Research and Recovery (IIPLCARR). This organization is dedicated to helping those psychologically damaged because of physical or emotional abuse during childhood (including the damage created by parental divorce) or because of the loss of a child through abortion, miscarriage, or other means. Mr. Gresham points out that the most common pregnancy loss IIPLCARR deals with comes through "abortion. Post Abortion Syndrome (PAS) has a much higher component of 'justifiable guilt' (in other words, the patient is not experiencing 'false guilt,' but has a real reason for feeling guilty) than any of the others, and this guilt can be masked and covered for a long time by environmental factors. In the end though, it can be devastating." Mr. Gresham hosts and leads training seminars for therapists, and helps to organize other seminars around the world. The Greshams, who have five children, helped found The International Society of Centurions (ISOC), a group designed to bring together for treatment past practitioners of abortion who "have now realized that infanticide cannot be justified on the grounds of the youth of the victim. People in this situation have one of the worst self-inflicted psychological traumas to deal with, and their pain is not being addressed." Mr. Gresham wrote to WORLD, in tones reminiscent of his stepfather, "All pregnancies are crises, times of difficulty requiring decisions and preparation; it is the steady decline and erosion of individual senses of personal responsibility which have resulted in the desperate straits in which we find our society. The Churches must accept a large part of the blame for allowing this phenomenon to be as insidious as it has. The challenge of a pregnancy should be met with joyous excitement, instead it is all too often faced with dread. This must change." The Greshams live in a large old Irish country home, Rathvinden House, that is surrounded by lawns and landscaped gardens; they enjoy tall beeches and oaks amid 20 acres of fields. Mr. Gresham wrote, "We are rarely without house guests. We find ourselves involved in Christian counseling in many areas, including grief counseling, anxiety counseling, wealth counseling, marriage guidance, and now we are moving towards deliverance ministry counseling as well." He concluded, "We now accept Volunteers who come here to study Applied Christianity by Service, or 'Mere Christianity.' They come for six-month stints, and work in the Ministry in a wide variety of areas, all the while learning about how to put their faith into practice. Often, it turns out that those whom the Lord sends as volunteers are also needful of therapy, and thus His economy is demonstrated."

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