Originally published Monday, 01 September 2014.
The following letter is a play on the brilliant work of C.S. Lewis in his book, The Screwtape Letters — a collection of letters written by a chief demon, Screwtape, to his nephew and protege, Wormwood. The idea was also inspired by a very thought-provoking post written by my friend, Bronwyn Lea, on the World Vision debate earlier this year.
My dear Wormwood,
I see from the news headlines recently that much of your work in generations past has caught the public eye and caused a bit of a ruckus. You really should have kept it under wraps, but I’ll excuse your negligence just this once. I realize that sometimes, the Enemy allows for these things to happen to expose us and all of our labor in the hearts and minds of our patients.
Nevertheless, I commend you for the way you’ve worked hard in the midst of the situation at hand.
That headline that appeared on the CNN homepage, for example, was a brilliant tactic:
“More money raised for Ferguson officer than slain teen”
As long as you keep them thinking it’s a competition and choosing sides, you can kick back and relax for a while.
Don’t concern yourself with the ones who are using their platforms to preach the importance of unity and diversity. Sure, they might get a handful of “Amens” in the comments section, but don’t fret — it’s only temporary. In fact, go ahead and give your patient some slack in that regard. It’s fine if he gets all riled up for a while. Let him vent and huff and puff to the masses. He is a highly emotional being, but his whims change with the wind. Next month he’ll have a new hobby horse and will forget all about the words he so passionately penned with great spiritual fervor.
Your greatest offensive strategy will be to make him think he understands. Better yet, get him to believe he’s making a difference with his words from the climbing statistics on his site and the comments on his writing. Just don’t let it go beyond the computer screen. As long as his heart and lifestyle don’t change, his lip service is no threat to our plan. He’ll make a concerted effort here and there and maybe even have a conversation or two that he wouldn’t have had before, but this too shall pass.
Whatever you do, don’t allow the differing factions to actually get to know one another. Make every effort to keep them out of each other’s homes and churches. You must never allow them to realize the strength they could possess if united. Once they actually become genuine friends, the Enemy has won.
Oh, and one more thing: Keep distracting your patient with the pleasures of this life. Let him continue living for himself, as is quite easy for you to do, given his nature. As long as his focus is on the here and now, he’ll forget that there is life to come, and won’t care about who else will be there with him.
Your affectionate uncle,