Taking A Lesson from C. S. Lewis

“I have no intention of explaining how the correspondence which I now offer to the public fell into my hands. There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.” -C.S. Lewis

My Dear Wormwood,
I’m writing to you today to discuss a very important topic: leading those in ministry astray. This can apply to all who serve, whether it is clergy or lay, youth minister or core team volunteer, old or young, parish council member or retreat team participant. I know what you’re thinking my nephew. Those in ministry who are frequenting the sacraments are getting grace from the Enemy, so that when they face our usual temptations of this day and age, they are able to withstand. While we may not get to them with tempting them to lie, cheat, and steal, there are certain weaknesses to which those in ministry are particularly vulnerable.

 
The first thing you need to do, my Wormwood, is to narrow the vision of his ministry to a certain set of menial tasks. Paperwork, emails, and meetings should be what he sees himself doing the majority of the time. Cloud his mind with the weight of these activities, and make sure you never let him ever discover that when he asks the Enemy to be present in those things, He turns that work into a prayer. Let him believe that their organizing and planning are all he does, and allow it to drain the life out of them. This way, the minister will burn out, and if he doesn’t leave soon enough, he will eventually turn away from faith all together, and we will have him. Let him equate ministry with relationship with the Enemy. Let him think that doing ministry is all he needs to do, and that he does not really need any prayer time. Be warned: once the minister has discovered that he can invite the Enemy into his work life and make every action a prayer and an offer of sacrifice, he will discover that it is life-giving, and we have lost him in this avenue.

Oh Wormwood, there are so many more ways to take the minister, but for that we must wait for another time.

The second task I have for you Wormwood is one with which you are familiar, and in which you have quite a bit of experience. Pride, which was the downfall of mankind, is also the particular downfall of the minister. Oh Wormwood, how the times have been lent to us! The age of that horrid girl St. Therese is over. The time of humble, hidden sainthood has passed us! The time of famous youth ministers and speakers have given us an edge. Do not misunderstand me: While many of these ministers do damage to our task in having a wider audience to spread the knowledge of the Enemy, we can take advantage of this new phenomenon. Let the minister believe that he is worthy of fame. Let him glory in the spotlight, and let him believe that he is above correction. The Age of Entitlement helps us a great deal, and particularly affects both the elderly minister who has been running things for 40 years and the fresh young millennial ready to take on the world. Let him believe that he is entitled to a large audience with a microphone. He will unknowingly exalt himself higher than the Church and even the Enemy Himself! And then we will have him. I know, my nephew, it seems prehistoric to use the same method as the First Temptation in this day and age, but these humans are gullible and naïve, and believe themselves to be above falling to the same old sins. And yet, here we are.

 
The next task is to convince him that it is his job to convert every person in his ministry. This highly effective method is fairly new, so pay close attention my nephew. Convince him that the salvation of every person is up to him, and that if not every person is receptive to his message, he is failing as a minister. Do NOT, under any circumstances, let him remember that The Son of the Enemy was rejected, and that not even HE changed the hearts of all who heard him. The minister will not be able to convert all, as we well know, and will soon believe he has failed. Let him dwell in that failure. Tell him that his worth is inherently connected to his success. He will forget his own teaching that each human’s dignity is grounded in The Enemy (which, in a delightful taste of irony, is why we hate them so much in the first place!). Once he has rejected his identity, he is much more likely to fall to our other methods of temptation.

 
Oh Wormwood, there are so many more ways to take the minister, but for that we must wait for another time.

Your Affectionate Uncle,
Screwtape

Tweet This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *