November 13, 2006

Screwtape to Wormwood, 2006

My dear Wormwood,

I want to pass along a brief note in recognition of the wonderful work you are doing with the Anglicans these days. Anglicans in general have been rather bland fare for quite some time, but your introduction of some new condiments has a spiced things up quite delightfully. I don’t think I’ve experienced such delectable invective since the late 19th century. Of course, it can’t hold a candle to the Reformation, but it does show signs of promise for a sumptuous feast.

But first of all, credit where credit is due: and much of it must be given to Glumsnaggle, our new IT manager, for the way in which he has managed to transform the Internet from a useful tool for communication into a positive cesspool of trivialization, mischaracterization, libel and slander — and my old favorite, assertion masked as argument. Oh, I never tire of that one. Fortunately, neither do they! Of course, he merely had to guide the process, but it has assured him a place in the Lowerarchy, and I hear he may even be on the Dishonors List.

Along the line of credit where due, I must say you appear to have taken a leaf out of the Enemy’s book, and are becoming positively creative. You have got your patients to the point where they are simultaneously claiming and rejecting authority (of any and all sorts, no less!) without seeing the contradiction. You’ve got them taking each other’s arguments at the very worst, and picking nits like there’s no tomorrow — true enough for some of them, as they will soon discover when they arrive in the Infernal Kitchen.

Just a bit of avuncular advice as you continue your work: by all means keep them focused on themselves, and on institutional questions — Who Gets to Be In Power. I mean, you can be creative as you like with the details, but the “tried and false” methods are always best to Fall back on. I think I do not need to remind you of the First Principle of The Tempters’ Manual, “Remember the Apple.”

Which brings me to my central concern: this unfortunate attention on the part of some of your patients to these so-called Millennium Development Goals. It would really be most unhelpful to our cause to have them actually do the things the Enemy wants them to do, to set aside self-obsession and do something about disease, poverty, ignorance, and so on. Anything you can do to persuade them that these MDGs are just “secular” will be to your advantage. I had a lovely curried Goat last night — one of the Old Souls that I’d kept in reserve; and you know, he still didn’t get it! As I savored him bite by bite, he kept whimpering, “But when did we see you hungry or thirsty or in prison...” Delicious.

So, Nephew, in closing, I advise you to apply yourself to this two-pronged approach: play up the institution and downplay what it is actually meant to accomplish, as it could turn out to be a disaster for us if this movement catches on.

Your Uncle,
Screwtape


— Tobias Haller BSG, with thanks to C.S. Lewis

8 comments:

Jared Cramer said...

very nicely put. thanks for this.

Jared Cramer said...

very nicely put, thanks for this.

Alma Beck said...

Absolutely elegant and right on the mark! What a delight to read, Tobias!

Rick Cluett said...

Delicious, indeed, Tobias.

fatherjones.com said...

Good man, when we convinced them that there was no Hell, it was a big win for us. Of course there's a Hell -- that's where we've been seasoning religious hypocrites for eons.

Alan said...

It has been obvious that TEC is an undiscovered sequel to the Screwtape Letters. Our Father Below must be truly pleased with it!

Anonymous said...

Exactly what needed to be said! Thank you.

Parker said...

'nuff said!