Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Morning Devotions: The Screwtape Letters, Chapter 6

In Chapter 6 of C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, Uncle Screwtape exhorts Wormwood to “direct the malice of his patient to his immediate neighbor whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus becomes wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary.” Screwtape references the English people as “creatures of that miserable sort who loudly proclaim that torture is too good for their enemies and then give tea and cigarettes to the first wounded German pilot who turns up at the back door.”

Recalling that this book was written in 1942, the English people would certainly have been loving their enemies by caring for wounded German pilots. These Luftwaffe pilots had fallen from the sky, just two years earlier, while attempting to destroy London during their Blitz—37 consecutive weeks of bombing raids, resulting in the destruction of over one million English homes and deaths of over 40,000 civilians. Screwtape’s Enemy (God) told His people to love their enemies, and the English people were actually doing it.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Baby Steps Toward the Masterpiece

Thanks to a blue-light special at the Kindle store last year, I acquired an e-copy of N. T. Wright’s Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense. The first section addresses humanity’s struggle with justice, spirituality, relationship and beauty. His questions are honest and piercing, and his logic so seamless, that I find it hard to decide on a pull quote without doing a great injustice to the surrounding material as well as the quote itself, but, having said all that, here’s a portion that is exceptionally tasty.  It is from chapter 4, For the Beauty of the Earth,
"What we must notice at this stage is that both in the Old Testament and the New, the present suffering of the world–about which the biblical writers knew every bit as much as we do–never makes them falter in their claim that the created world really is the good creation of a good God. They live with the tension. And they don’t do it by imagining that the present created order is a shabby, second-rate kind of thing, perhaps (as in some kinds of Platonism) made by a shabby second-rate sort of god. They do it by telling a story of what the one creator God has been doing to rescue his beautiful world and put it to rights. And the story they tell, which we shall explore further in due course, indicates that the present world really is a signpost to a larger beauty, a deeper truth. It really is the authentic manuscript of one part of a masterpiece. The question is, What is the whole masterpiece like, and how can we begin to hear the music in that way it was intended?