A few weeks ago a group from the church went to see Max McLean’s performance of C.S. Lewis’ classic The Screwtape Letters. SL has long been one of my favorite books, as many of you probably already know. I think what I find so appealing about this book is Lewis’ ability to address deep theological issues, as they work out in the day to day life of an average Christian, yet in a way that is humorous and cleverly written. The following is an excerpt from one of my favorite “Letters,” Letter XXII. In just a few paragraphs Lewis paints a delightful picture of the trouble of a godly woman (from Screwtape’s perspective), the nature of God, and the limitations of Satan. –Pastor Dave
I have looked up this girl’s dossier and am horrified at what I find. Not only a Christian but such a Christian—a vile, sneaking, simpering, demure, monosyllabic, mouselike, watery, insignificant, virginal, bread-and-butter miss! The little brute! She makes me vomit. She stinks and scalds through the very pages of the dossier. It drives me mad, the way the world has worsened. We’d have had her to the arena in the old days. That’s what her sort is made for. Not that she’d do much good there, either. A two-faced little cheat (I know the sort) who looks as if she’d faint at the sight of blood, and then dies with a smile. A cheat in every way. Looks as if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, and yet has a satirical wit. The sort of creature who’d find ME funny! Filthy, insipid little prude—and yet ready to fall into this booby’s arms like any other breeding animal. Why doesn’t the Enemy blast her for it, if He’s so moonstruck by virginity—instead of looking on there, grinning?He’s a hedonist at heart. All those fasts and vigils and stakes and crosses are only a façade. Or only like foam on the seashore. Out at sea, out in His sea, there is pleasure, and more pleasure. He makes no secret of it; at His right hand are “pleasures for evermore.” Ugh! I don’t think He has the least inkling of that high and austere mystery to which we rise in the Miserific Vision. He’s vulgar, Wormwood. He has a bourgeois mind. He has filled His world full of pleasures. There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least—sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working. Everything has to be twisted before it’s any use to us. We fight under cruel disadvantages. Nothing is naturally on our side (The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis, Bantam Books, 1982, pp. 64-65).