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Letters From Behind the Lines

Letters From Behind the Lines

Enemy-occupied territory that is what the world is. & When you go to
church you are really listening-in to the secret wireless from our
friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going. -
C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity, II-2

Spin Can Make You Dizzy

A diabolical communiqué, intercepted by Gerry Hunter

From the Desk of the Undersecretary for Ecclesiastical Affairs

My Dear Dogwood,

I doubt that you realize what a lucky devil you are. In fact, your
recent behaviour has been so bizarre that you probably dont even
realize that, bereft of blessing as we are, luck is all we have. Douglas
Todds piece in that marvelously cynical and secular publication, the
Vancouver Sun, caught the Secretarys attention. Now for whatever
reason, he gives you credit for causing it, when I know for a fact you
were wasting your time trying to get some clod to curse when he stubbed
his toe. But you are getting the credit, along with an assignment to
prepare the analysis and recommendations for follow-up. Worse yet, his
Disgrace made it clear that the quality of the report would be a clear
indicator of my abilities as your directing executive. So do pay
attention to what Im telling you here, or we will both end up in the gulag.

First, the article itself. We are on pretty thin ice here. The piece is
so fawning and solicitous that one could conclude it was written by a
press secretary, not a news gatherer. Not that we mind when paeans of
praise for Michael Ingham fall into our laps, but we dont want them to
be so obvious. But more to the point when you write your analysis,
nephew, be aware that you are merely dealing with the kind of thing that
one religionist routinely writes about another religionist. As distinct
from what a Christian churchmen might write about one of his fellows,
this article concentrates on the man, with his beliefs entering the
picture only as peripheral ornaments. (More about those beliefs later.)
So do not make the mistake of presenting this to the Secretary as
something truly profound or insightful. You do that, and we will both be
served up, garni, at the next executive banquet.

Consequently, you had better just point out that the image presented in
the article is that of a typical religionist, and leave it there. Strong
but benevolent; his prayer, Bible reading, and golf all part of a tidy
package; eager to discuss; a head as sensitive as foam rubber, to go
along with his "spine of granite"; a man who places people before
beliefs, even, you could note, beliefs that would nurture them. Don't
forget to point out the favorable contrasts the writer includes
concerning those churchmen who oppose his subject's efforts. It wouldn't
hurt to complement the writer on how he has included them to bolster his
subject's observations on "vehement language" and "hate mail." Also, the
fact that the writer has worked in the view of togetherness before
faithfulness probably deserves a favorable mention. And for the hate of
Heaven, don't neglect to complement the writer for working in his
subject's dismissal of those opponents, who are similar in
ecclesiastical rank to the subject, as mere pragmatists, rather than as
men of Christian conviction. The Secretary himself had a strong hand in
encouraging that kind of thinking.

In summary, Dogwood, don't make your usual mistake of presenting the
ordinary as something extraordinary, and trying to claim credit for it.
I happen to know that the Secretary considers you senior tempter
material. He clearly does not know you well, and it is best for us both
that he does not come to.

You will notice, I hope, that I have said very little about the beliefs
of the subject up to this point. Neither should you, in the analysis of
the article. They pertain mostly to the recommendations that you should
present, so you should discuss them at that point, as I am about to do
now. Unfortunately, Dogwood, it will not escape everyone's notice that
those beliefs of the subject that do come out in the article are much
more Socinian then they are Christian. They aren't really good
Socinianism, because they seem to be muddled with pop psychology and New
Age spirituality. Still, they will alarm those who take the Enemy's
teachings seriously. I've already mentioned how the subject categorized
golf together with his prayer and Bible reading. You will notice, I
hope, the reference to "the spirituality, the Zen, of golf," in the
article, and how that concept has been developed into a course, if you
please. Also, the ranking of togetherness before faithfulness will get
the Christian reader's attention, as will the characterization of those
who think differently as "architects of schism." For the Enemy's call to
follow the narrow path, and enter the narrow gate, we have the subject's
invitation to swim in "a big river." Don't make too much of the
subject's father holding God responsible for evil. What you want to hit
on there is the subject's characterization of Jesus as a way-shower, as
distinct from a savior. Nor should you hit too hard on the subject's
observations about his opponents "willingness to flout the church's
cannon law," because he does try to represent himself as the leader of a
Protestant denomination, and we don't want to undermine that image by
making him look crypto-Roman. Still, you might be able to make something
out of his delicious tendency to put man's corporate laws before the
Enemys Commandments and scriptural teachings. But the article has saved
the best for last in the area of beliefs. Unfortunately, it also lets
the cat out of the bag.

When a man says, "a Christian is one who believes Jesus Christ to be the
way, the truth and the life. This is not to say there are no others.
This issue will be the next major battleground," he is making a
statement that is going to attract attention beyond his own extended
corporate sphere. If we are not careful, a statement like that could
lead to difficulties involving the Enemy's followers who look to Rome,
Constantinople, Geneva, Canterbury, or wherever. The recommendations you
present the Secretary had better take that into account.

There are several possibilities you should consider in your
recommendations, but the following one should predominate. Don't waste
much time on the Romans, or the Eastern Orthodox who have moved back
from the subject's Anglican Communion until they sort things out. The
best we can hope for from them is that they just let this pass without
commenting. Come up with some ideas on how to encourage them in thinking
that it really isn't their affair, and to have them say nothing. You
might mention that, in those circumstances, the delicious prospect for
confusion among their faithful, in the midst of such silence, is very
real. After all, many of them live in the same culture whose ideas have
overwhelmed the subject's spiritual thinking. Additionally, those vermin
with no real concept of what it means to follow the Enemy, but who think
they are somehow doing so, will continue to swim in the big river, and
not be moved to make for the shore while theres still time. We like
that river. It delivers many souls to our gates, and the water, once
vaporized, helps make our environment in hell delightfully beastly. So
in this case, as a many others, just letting nature take its course will
serve our purposes just fine.

The subject's own co-denominationalists should probably be moved to
silence as well. That is undoubtedly impossible in the case of that
pesky remnant in his own area. But on a national and international
level, we would certainly hope to achieve some degree of success in that
regard. And of those two, the national is by far the most important.
People outside of the subject's own country of residence have already
made a lot of noise to minimal effect, and our own strategy should be
one that helps to insulate those in his own national corporate
ecclesiastical entity from being any more influenced by offshore noise
over this article than they seem to have been from past noises. So then,
come up with some recommendations on how to make it easy for everyone,
but especially the latter group, to simply ignore this abject
abandonment and denunciation of faith in the Enemy's Son. How, you ask?
Well, Dogwood, if the Secretary considers you to be senior tempter
material, I'm sure you will be able to come up with a way. And if you
can't, you can be sure that all I, your adoring uncle, will fill in any
gaps before I deliver your report to His Disgrace, thereby solidifying
an unbreakable hold over you through the rest of eternity.

Your affectionate uncle,


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