SCREWTAPE PROPOSES AN EPISCOPAL TOAST (21)
With apologies to C.S. Lewis
By David W. Virtue
February 4, 2013
My dear Wormwood,
So the South Carolina Episcopalians have split with the minority playing the victim in the face of Bishop Mark Lawrence's venality and intransigence. Make sure the press plays up the "fundamentalism", "narrowness" and doctrinaire bishop and his fundie followers. Their lack of inclusion and diversity must ring around the communion and across the world. Paint them as the worst kind of narrow minded persons, never mind that "their way" is indeed narrow and "few there be that find it." You must paint Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori and her crowd as the open-minded ones, open to change and the winds of the spirit, whatever the hell that is and wherever the hell they blow. They blow of course right into our father's furnace.
Keep the talk all sweetness and light, inviting those who did not cross the road with them to come back by warm invitation into the bosom of TEC...a bosom overflowing with largess and luminosity, but with fewer dollars. After all she is going to need several million dollars to finance lawsuits against Lawrence and his diocese, so one might have to contribute to that fund. Furthermore, remind them that they are still part of the Anglican Communion whereas Lawrence is not, and that HIS arms are wide enough to embrace all regardless of sexual orientation, even religion and not the stunted medieval dogma of those ghastly orthodox types.
At all times, religion must be conceived of in the broadest possible terms; that His love has no boundaries, all are embraced with no thought to behavior and discipleship (a horrible word) that forces people to conclude that it is "my will" and not "thy will" be done. Therein lies the harder, higher road and under no circumstances must that be taken.
The easy road leads to us, Wormwood, so pave it with good intentions, half-hearted commitments, all sexualities, endless social projects and concerns for the "other". Let them chatter on about interfaith and interface, showing deep tearful concern for the "other" that they have no interest in converting. Under no circumstances must the fearful sight of a crucified Christ (I hate even to say the word) be visible on their spiritual radar screens. Divert, divert, divert. Keep people endlessly playing on their i-phones, i-Pads, chattering meaningless nonsense on Facebook and the half dozen social media that now inhabit the earth. Keep them endlessly tweeting, twittering and texting; but NEVER must they come to a knowledge of the truth that could radically change their lives and force them into a new direction. Keep the Kardashians not Christ ever before them.
The next move, and one I have positioned a personal demon onto, is that dreadful evangelical Archbishop-elect Justin Welby. We almost had it in the bag with Rowan of Oystermouth. Then the Church of England goes and does the darndest thing; they go for another George Carey type. This is too horrible to contemplate. Undermining him is now our top priority. The failure by Agent Slubgob to neutralize that ALPHA movement has caused our father great perplexity and deep pain that he will undoubtedly inflict on others, in due course.
Mercifully, The Episcopal Church is almost all ours with only a small handful of holdout dioceses. In time, they will elect moderates (we do so love them) as they think they are doing His will and not ours. Really nasty bishops like Spong, Righter, Dixon, Bruno, Jefferts Schori et al are too obvious. Obviously ours are the subtler ones, keep our serpentine father in a special hellish mode of artful glee as he contemplates their arrival with oh so much unctuousness. "Good day to you my lord bishop, welcome to Hell. What, you didn't know you were coming here? What could possibly have made you think otherwise? Ah, you mean all that fine talk of compromise, via media and "generous orthodoxy" over Visigoth and gay Rites and queer marriages with women in the kitchen and boys in the bed...such sweet music to our ears bishop. Your confreres await you."
The notion that God loves absolutely everybody, Wormwood, violates the whole notion of total obedience. The freedom of the Will to willfully abandon His commandments and the need for radical discipleship seems lost on these poor fools. The deeper truth, Wormwood, is that they were never His in the first place. They mistakenly thought that throwing a little water over them and saying a few words admitted them into His family, when in fact it was only a down payment for future promises of total surrender. It never happened. Their notion of baptism is little more than ecclesiastical gerrymandering. The floors of hell are paved with liberals, progressives, revisionists and Affirming Catholics.
Now make sure that lawsuits follow swiftly and painfully in South Carolina. This will brilliantly deflect from their mission and calling. It is a marvelously distracting moment and can run for weeks, months and even years, leaving little time to talk about Him and his life-saving Gospel. Distraction is the name of the game, Wormwood.
We were delighted to learn that recent polls show a growing majority of Americans no longer feel comfortable with words like "sin". Such a word is highly offensive to defenders of the Sexual Revolution; the mere mention of the word creates apoplexy. My, how times have changed, Wormwood, and to our advantage, no less. We much prefer words like "dysfunction"... far more satisfying.
There was a time when preachers and pastors railed against sin and evil and the darkness that followed and then the free offer of salvation and hope. No more. What traditional Christians have believed for 2,000 years about sexual behavior is now considered narrow and intolerant. So-called Christian denominations like The Episcopal Church are content to rewrite the rules even as they diminish and decline. What were once simply mainstream evangelical expressions of sexual morality have now been marginalized and degraded. It is sweet music to our ears, Wormwood.
Remember that the immortal words of Yogi Berra, "It ain't over till it's over" still ring true. The other side has an arsenal of possibilities. When people are down and out, they turn to Him for rescue and guidance, not us. When the storms and thunder clouds roll and children are slaughtered by their mad gun laws, they turn to Him for solace. Such random acts of violence rarely benefit us. The one lonely gun-slinging soul who makes his way here is vastly offset by the knowledge that children wing their way to heaven and to their Father. Our Father goes mad with rage.
Choose your battles carefully, Wormwood. Don't overplay your hand. We love moderate men of all shades of opinion, agnostics and skeptics who are not sure He exists, atheists who deny him and materialists who concern themselves with only their own comfort unmindful of the life to come. The Hawkins and the Dawkins are sweet music to our ears. Blot out the future, Wormwood. Make them think only of the present...starve their souls. Then they are ours.
I remain your affectionate uncle,
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