C.S. Lewis – The Screwtape Letters

For the last 12 weeks, I’ve been doing the Alpha Course at Pudsey Parish Church (it finished last night – boooo!). There’s a really interesting group of people on my table, including a lovely lady called Eunice who recommended the Adrian Plass book I read previously. She also recommended this book a few times, saying that I’d really enjoy it and that it was very funny. As her last recommendation was so good, I went straight out and bought this the next day.

Let me tell you, I was not disappointed!! The book is a collection of letters from an imagined ‘senior’ devil to his junior, instructing him in the ways of tempting people to his side. The letters are a telling off from the senior devil, letting his junior know all the things he’s doing wrong in trying to release ‘his’ human from the grasps of God (aka The Enemy).

It’s all a very sly way of letting us know the things we’re doing wrong in life. We tend to think of sins as the big things, but Lewis very cleverly highlights all those little things we’re doing wrong too, holding a mirror up to ourselves and prodding us to examine our lives a little closer.

As Eunice had said, the book made me chuckle in many places, just from how spot-on it was. But most of my time reading this book was spent thinking about how many of the things were things that I am sometimes guilty of, a definite eye-opener.

There was one part of the book which stood out to me more than any. Particularly poignant in today’s body obsessed world, even though it was written more than 70 years ago!

“We have engineered a great increase in the licence which society allows to the representation of the apparent nude (not the real nude) in art, and its exhibition on the stage or the bathing beach. It is all a fake, of course; the figures in the popular art are falsely drawn, the real women in bathing suits or tights are actually pinched in and propped up to make them appear firmer and more slender and boyish than nature allows a full-grown woman to be. Yet at the same time, the modern world is taught that it is being ‘frank’ and ‘healthy’ and getting back to nature. As a result, we are more and more directing the desires of men to something which does not exist – making the role of the eye in sexuality more and more important and at the same time making its demands more and more impossible. What follows you can easily forecast!”

I wonder if he knew all that time ago that his quote would still be relevant now. Maybe we should all take heed of his advice. Definitely we should all read his book, it was absolutely fantastic!


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