Wednesday, December 18, 2002

This excerpt from Letter XVI of Screwtape's letters to his junior demon Wormwood is a real beauty:

Surely you know that if a man can't be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighbourhood looking for the church that "suits" him until he becomes a connoisseur of churches.

The reasons are obvious. In the first place the parochial organisation should always be attacked, because, being a unity of place and not of likings, it brings people of different classes and psychology together in the kind of unity the Enemy desires. The congregational principle, on the other hand, makes each church into a kind of club, and finally, if all goes well, into a coterie or faction.

It's been awhile since I've read C. S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters, but saw the above excerpt at Jon Amos' blog (Dec. 17th post). Lewis here nails one of the big problems with churches that are not primarily and narrowly local -- that the congregation then assembles more on the basis of common interests, socioeconomic status, race, educational level, etc. This only further contributes to the alienated feeling that many of us have. We don't belong anywhere or to anyone.

By the way, I've added Jon Amos, Betsy Ballard, Daniel Ballard, and Bobber -- aka Raw Data to my blog roll.

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