Jan 22, 2006

Screwtape Letters- "Lost" Letter

I found this at Christianitytoday.com. The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis has always been one of my favorite books, and this "lost" letter fits in perfectly. Enjoy. http://www.christianitytoday.com/leaders/newsletter/2006/cln60109.html

My Dear Wormwood:

Concerning your correspondence about your new assignment, you are correct: preachers must never do anything they can get caught at.

The old list of seven has proven deadly to many and those sins certainly further our cause. But taken to their logical conclusions, they put our targets out of business. I won't recite our victories; you know their names. Their demise is often well publicized, but then we must begin the long and tedious process of wooing another.

There is a more excellent way to disable the servants of our Enemy. Why it is not one of the "deadlies" I'm not sure, but it is very effective. It hobbles our prey without disqualifying them. It's the only way I know they avoid being accused of the first seven. Indeed, it is an answer to them.

I commend to you the pastor's deadliest sin: keeping up appearances.

When feeling proud, have him look humble. When lusting, look chaste. When envious, have your subject publicly congratulate the popular contemporary-worship pastor across town who is making his own congregation look like altar-call troglodytes. He needn't like his competitors, just compliment them.

(Hypocrisy is hard, Wormwood. Watch C-SPAN until you get it down. Politicians are naturals at this art.)

Gluttony is hard to mask, but it can be done. At big, must-do dinners, your pastor should say loudly, "I'll have my dressing on the side!" When the salad comes, urge him to dump it over the top when no one is looking.

If the menu is fried chicken, he should say, "The fat is in the skin, I always tear it off." Then whisper to him how Mother Teresa would eat this. He will nibble the skinned part while looking as if this chore is interrupting his quiet time. (Here's a delicious tip I picked up from an assignment in Kentucky: take the skin home in a napkin, microwave it for 40 seconds-on the defrost setting so as not to toughen it-and presto! he can eat the crunchy part and keep his testimony.)

When it comes to cars, Toyotas look sincere. If the pastor must have something larger, it should be a maroon Dodge Caravan, at least two years old, to be used when taking shut-ins to cash their Social Security checks. One preacher of mine bought a new, red Taurus and lost his witness. Red is not a humble color.

The congregation should never doubt that your project is a true minister. He should carry a Left Behind Sky Chart with his Spiritual Formation Bible. He may read Anne Rice, but keep Janette Oke novels on the desk. The key is to imply, imply, imply.

Also, I have made good use of sanctimonious phrases. Say a deacon asks, "Did you see the last episode of The Sopranos?" The proper reply is "No, that's the only time I can work in my Experiencing God notebook." This does two things: it makes the deacon feel like a Unitarian and it elevates the pastor to president of Essenes International.

And these have proven useful in preserving approval ratings: "Mrs. Jones, I went by the hospital to see your husband, but he was asleep" and "I tried to get you on the phone this week, were you out of town?"

And he must never say, "I'm going out to play eighteen holes!" Instead intone, "I'm off to visit the Greenes!"

After all, Wormwood, keeping up appearances is what it's all about. In twenty years or so, he can drive a red car and winter in Biloxi; in the meantime, he'll have done our side little harm.

Your devoted uncle,


Jan 17, 2006

New Year's Realizations 1

Once again, imported from my myspace account:

Why must I constantly defend myself to others?

Was talking to this one girl at the new year's eve party...when she found out that the xbox everyone was playing with belonged to me, she asked me if I played games alot. I sorta danced around the question..."Yeah, I play some, although I do alot more...I mean, as a writer or journalism student, don't you have to be exposed to lots of different types of medium?" She kinda agreed with me because she's also an english student.

But that right there raises a big point. Why do I feel the need to defend my self and my actions to others? I know others have been asking me that question for a while now, too.
I enjoy video games. I am a gamer. I do not deny it. But why would I hide it from someone who seems attractive to me at that particular moment in time? Video games are hardly my life...I read too many books, watch too many movies, enjoy far too many different things for me to be exclusive to video games. And normally, video games is the thing that suffers the most. There just isn't enough hours in the night to do everything!

Do I need to apologize for who I am? It's not like I'm gonna quit playing video games or anything for a girl...I made that mistake with comics once, and I'm not going to make it again.
Ladies, listen: if you want your guy to do less of one particular thing, you had better provide an alternative that is just as interesting.

The above point really has nothing at all to do with videogames...It has more to do with why must I defend and explain myself about anything? Why am I, no matter what the subject or what the situation is, always prepared to explain and defend every little thing I do or say? Years of being defensive and having to defend many things from people who'd attack me or try to see my stumble must have taking it's toll...

Another realization: sleep is the enemy. All my life I have associated going to bed with giving something else up. This probably started way back when I would read a book before going to bed, and turning out the light would force me to stop reading. It's almost the same way now. There is just so much I want to do, that going to bed is almost like giving up. Might be why I'm a night owl. Plus things are so much calmer and cooler at night; less hustle and bustle.

Jan 8, 2006

New Year's Realization 2

I'm importing this over from my other blog on myspace...it's part 2 in a probable series of New Year's Realizations. Part 1 might come over at a later time...

Would you agree it is fair to say that most Christians, instead of modelling their lives after Christ, instead model their lives after Paul or Peter or other Bible people?

I know growing up, I could pretty much fit most of my peers into two categories: those who care, and those who don't give a care. I don't need to describe the latter group...but the former group is fun to describe. In Baptist fundamentalist circles, this is the group that typically has an overdomineering mother, with a father who is probably a deacon and works construction or some other manual labor. They follow "their" Bible to a T, always attend each church service, and generally throw a Bible quote into every other line. Examples would be something like "Hi. I'd like to order a bacon cheeseburger, and did you know Jesus died for your sins? Oh, no pickles."

But tieing this into my thought above...these kids, typically, can always be seen reading the biography of some notable missionary or lay person. These are the people who typically say that Amy Carmichael or that guy who went Africa (or worse, the guy who wrote I Kissed Dating Goodbye) is their hero. But once again tying this into the book i'm reading as well as my New Year Realization...

It seems we tend to pattern our lives more after others than we do the one person we are supposed to be following...Christ. Why is it we are more quick to see what Paul or Peter did in a specific situation than what Jesus would have done, or did?

Make no mistake- I am not supporting the WWJD movement. I disagree with them utterly, and think what they have done is cheapened Christianity. Christ is not a commodity.

But is there a good argument for this? Is our focus on the wrong person(s)?

And bringing it closer to home...Is my focus wrong?