Monday, November 06, 2006

My Dear Gobdrip:


It is with much applause and mentoring pride that I congratulate you on the recent public humiliation of your patient. You were given an immensely important assignation, one that not just any fiend would be awarded, and I am pleased to see the depths to which you’ve taken it. You bided your time well as I suggested, working within the patient’s secret mind, even as you allowed him to lead the hue and cry for the Enemy. Some of your younger fellow fiends may have questioned the methods, but now the proof of our cunning is clear. High accomplishments in the name of the Enemy, and over many years, can be blackened in one stunning moment. And, as you know, this particular success ripples far beyond merely you and your patient.

First, all humans who have succumbed to the Enemy are affected. By their very stance in the Enemy’s camp, they stand readily accusable by those who serve Our Father. See—another hypocrite fallen. Are not all of them as such? Humans are most predictable in this regard: they will forego judgment of all the earthly gluttonies put together in the face of hypocrisy. As a result, the accusations against your patient can ring around the world with little to no thought as to the inherent behavior of the human making those accusations. And your own patient stands far less condemned for his apparent gratifying of passions than for his concurrent loud denouncement of the same.

Second, many who follow the Enemy, particularly those brought into his camp by your patient, may be led to feel a sense of betrayal. This can quickly be followed by doubt of the Enemy and all for which he stands. Such progression occurs when a patient is taught to focus on the disturbing actions of the fellow human rather than the qualities of our Enemy himself. There is nothing logical in this, of course. Why should the betrayed feel any less vulnerable to passions than his fallen fellow? And why should human weakness--hardly a new discovery--alter the personhood of the Enemy, who existed long before man? Little wonder we have become expert in guiding our patients to dwell not in reason, but darkly stirred emotion.

Third, those who follow Our Father are awarded serendipitous proof that they are right. In the shining light of your patient’s public disgrace, all other followers of the Enemy who have demonstrated true “life-changing” behavior now pale. How quickly these are forgotten in the singular focus upon the one fallen. As a result, the Enemy himself is once more put into question. If his offering of eternal life were so blessed, why would a follower abandon such promise for ephemeral indulgence? If the Enemy were so mighty, why would he even allow this to happen? These questions, too, would not stand the test of reason, as the issue of man's free will has been left out of the equation. But such issues seem of little consequence in the giddy, heady celebration of being right. Happy day indeed for us, dear Gobdrip, when Our Father’s servants can wield the two-edged sword of an Enemy proven both faithless and flimsy.

Let me remind you, however, that your work is not finished. It has merely shifted to another challenge as your patient goes on from here. Undoubtedly the Enemy will sidle in with his wiles of redemption and humility. These offerings, though failing to appeal while your patient reveled in his duality of public holiness and private indulgence (a duality that for centuries has afforded us some of our highest victories) may now rise as bright promise. Your job will be to focus your patient on all that he has lost. Fame, success, and earthly glory, particularly when gained through claims of direct access to the Enemy’s infamous power, can be most dazzling to humans. Remind your patient of these losses daily. (This will not be difficult due to the many means of communication covering the events.) The danger is that such loss can turn a human’s thoughts to questions of the soul—for what else has he left? You must not give an inch here. I need not remind you, my dear Gobdrip, how the Enemy loves such questions.

In the coming days my colleagues and I shall meet with you and your fellow fiends to discuss ways in which to best exploit your success. We will not fail to use followers of both the Enemy and Our Father alike in our pursuits. Each has his particular weaknesses which, with the right guidance, can prove equally useful.

Once again, my deepest commendations on your victory.

Your affectionate Uncle,

Screwtape

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Your job will be to focus your patient on all that he has lost. Fame, success, and earthly glory, particularly when gained through claims of direct access to the Enemy’s infamous power, can be most dazzling to humans. Remind your patient of these losses daily. (This will not be difficult due to the many means of communication covering the events.) The danger is that such loss can turn a human’s thoughts to questions of the soul—for what else has he left? You must not give an inch here. I need not remind you, my dear Gobdrip, how the Enemy loves such questions.

In the coming days my colleagues and I shall meet with you and your fellow fiends to discuss ways in which to best exploit your success. We will not fail to use followers of both the Enemy and Our Father alike in our pursuits. Each has his particular weaknesses which, with the right guidance, can prove equally useful."

So powerful.

Robin said...

As a fan of The Screwtape Letters (and the powerful truths expressed by CS Lewis), I applaud this entry, BC. Because it is true, and because we must pray against old Gobdrip and his efforts.

Robin

Air Force Family said...

We must always be on our guard, lest we succomb to the Enemy. The Enemy is always out to get us. Our Father in heaven will deliver us from evil, but we must be willing to do what is right and go to the opening that He provides for us in the midst of the battle.

Lynda Pongracz said...

Thanks for this thought-provoking piece. This tragic situation is yet another reminder that we need to be praying for our spiritual leaders and their families. It has certainly inspired me to pray more diligently for my pastor. How the enemy loves to take down those who have influence over so many souls.

remade gold said...

Careful, Gobdrip. Your uncle ate your cousin. 0=)

You have no idea how perfect the timing was on this, Brandilyn.

Nicole said...

When are we going to get it? It's a battle. For all of us. Everyday. Our enemy is more real than the deluge of rain falling on my area. It's real, folks. Ephesians 6:10-18. 1 Peter 5:6-11

Accidental Poet said...

Came here through Angela Hunt's blog, and I just want to say, this made me want to stand up and cheer.

The power of story, indeed.

Anonymous said...

"We will not fail to use followers of both the Enemy and Our Father alike in our pursuits. Each has his particular weaknesses which, with the right guidance, can prove equally useful."

I was with you all the way, then the last lines (above) hit me between the eyes. Not that I didn't know that Christians can cause just as much collateral damage as nonChristians. Guess I just needed the reminder. Thank you.

eva m. said...

"Happy day indeed for us, dear Gobdrip, when Our Father’s servants can wield the two-edged sword of an Enemy proven both faithless and flimsy."

Oh! Ouch, ouch, ouch!

Susanne said...

Brandilyn: Thank you so much for coming by my site today and leaving your very encouraging comment! Please come by anytime and have some of that coffee up at the top! :v)

I'd love to read your site also. I'm going to bookmark it and get to it as soon as I feel a little better. Your books look exciting and I'm going to go check out and see if my Christian Bookstore or Chapters has them. I hope so. Looking forward to getting into them. Do you recommend one to start with?

Blessings to you,
Susanne

Leslie said...

Thank you for this well written reminder for all of us! I knew that it wasn't a "coincedence" that all of this came out when it did...at such a crucial election.

miriam said...

Thank you for this well-presented piece. The interesting thing to me is that "Gobdrip" really will have a more difficult time with his patient now. Gobdrip may think he's won in some big ways, but as you point out, now that the "patient" has lost his earthly glory, he's more likely to listen to God's voice.

Someone above said we should pray for our church leaders. I agree. Perhaps this IS an answer to many people's prayers for Haggard. Perhaps God tried to get this man's attention in many way, and finally, not giving up in His mercy--thanks to those prayers on Haggard's behalf--God allowed this to happen.

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Hey, Susanne, thanks for stopping by. I have answered your question on your blog so as not to hinder the flow of comments on today's post.

Greetings and welcome, also, to others of you who are visiting Forensics and Faith for the first time. I appreciate your feedback. We're not always this serious--day to day, ya just never know...

Anonymous said...

This line is the hardest for me to take: "In the shining light of your patient’s public disgrace, all other followers of the Enemy who have demonstrated true “life-changing” behavior now pale."

I'm trying to be friends with some people who aren't Christians, but it seems so easy for them to label my lifestyle and beliefs by the actions of others who ended up being hypocrites. I don't want to be judged by others. I want to be judged by me.

Lynette Sowell said...

Wow, that's really fitting. Times have not changed.

Ruth Seamands said...

At the beginning of Gobdrip, I had no idea where you were headed. Then it dawned on me, but I thought it was Screwtape's cloned brother. What a wondeful letter you wrote. What a sad thing because it talked about the fall of another pastor. We see that too often and know something of the effect around the world. So proud of you, honey. Mom