July 18, 2010

The Screwtape Letters

     My first C. S. Lewis book . . . well aside from The Chronicles of Narnia collection.  Which I suppose I should start there; I think it speaks to Lewis' great amount of latitude in his ability to go from writing children's stories to a book like The Screwtape Letters.  Admittedly it's been a few months since I've finished the book, which reminds me I need to make sure I get the copy back to my pastor 🙂  This is the 2nd book of my twelve book challenge; I must say that I'm quite off schedule, I've now downed only 3 books and March is coming faster than I thought.
     Knowing the authors faith and how it intertwines with his writing I thought it a bit odd to be reading the supposed correspondence between two demons that were working at the undoing of a certain man.  No great detail is given of their quarry, only that he is a man living in the United Kingdom at the onset of the second world war.  Instead the letters are from a senior demon to his junior on bringing him up on the proper ways to thwart the enemy, Christ in this situation, and how to use current events to their favor.  I thought at first that the story would get to dark or twisted, but instead the vantage point is taken from what a follower of Christ would see and then rotated 180 degrees.

     If you've not read this book yet I recommend picking it up.  While you could sit down to treat is as a casual read it is possible you will find yourself in the similar situation their target is facing.  I know that on more than one occasion I found myself going down the path that the demon Wormwood was laying before his prey.  I had a good bit of family drama going on in June & July (still do to tell the truth) and the stress and busyness of it all was changing me.  Lewis does a fantastic job of keeping the conversation short and directed, just like a commander offering instruction.  Some may take concern with reading something that's written from an "evil" perspective but the letters don't come off that way at all.  It's difficult to describe the exact manner but if you could imagine Paul's letter to Timothy that were meant to provide instruction and guidance to a young pastor . . . then it's along those lines just in work against the Kingdom as opposed to for it.  
     Since pride and self is of the utmost center of our enemy's camp (our enemy being the devil) then it is by no accident that Lewis makes it a point to show a competition between the two demons.  Both are positioning for power and praise and in the end a glimpse of the ultimate end is given.  I will not divulge as to whether Wormwood and his uncle Screwtape are successful in undermining the faith and work of the man they are after; this is one you should definitely take the time to read.  

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