Friday, March 24, 2006

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Screwtape Letters

Our book study group is starting a study and discussion of C. S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters. This will be our first adventure into a work of fiction. And while "fiction" is a proper descriptor for this book, a more accurate classification would be "satire". This book could be called a masterpiece of satire. This book has also been described as "reverse theology".

The reversal is starling and stunning. The book attempts to describe Christian faith and temptation from the point-of-view of the temptor, namely Screwtape, a master demon or devil in the service of "Our Father Below", who we can only assume to be Satan. This is a chronicle of a series of letters from Screwtape to his nephew/apprentice Wormwood, whose task is to secure the damnation of an ordinary human.

This is a most effective method of working through the issue of temptation in our lives and how we react to the most subtle of guidance. As Lewis states in the preface, most of us have one of two views of devils/demons/Satan: We either disbelieve completely or we place too much emphasis on their power and control. Yet who can deny that we all face temptations daily, temptations that we would never wish to be faced with, but which seem to totally beyond our ability to make go away.