Uncle Screwtape Miscalculates Badly

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

A Meditation on Letter II

          It has been pointed out in a number of blogs recently that despite an attempt by the perpetrator of the murders at Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, Dylan Roof, to bring a great evil into the world that evil has “hit the wall” in the response of the people of South Carolina and our leaders . We need to pause and thank God for our people and our leaders as we have been truly blessed.

I have recently been re-reading the Screwtape Letters, again, and find that the insight of C.S. Lewis is overwhelmingly applicable to this present situation.  I can just see Uncle Screwtape whispering in the ear of Dylan Roof that he needs to do something drastic to those people at Emmanuel so as to save his people (that is his perceived people via his own emotional prejudices) so as to inspire them to further hatred and bloodshed so as to purify the state and the nation.

In letter II Screwtape comforts Wormwood, his nephew and protege, who has just lost a patient to Christianity, with the statement that “ There is no need to despair; hundreds of these adult converts have been reclaimed after a brief sojourn in the Enemy’s camp and are now with us. All the habits of the patient, both mental and bodily, are still in our favour.”  Those habits he refers to are the preconceived mindset of the patient who sees things not as they are but rather through his, or her, own pre-conceived notions and prejudices.  The patient does not see the Church as it is, historical and timeless, but rather as he imagines it should be with half-finished Gothic buildings.  He does not like his fellow parishioners as they are but visualizes Christians as he thinks they should be that being as they were in the early church wearing togas and sandals.  He sees things with what Screwtape refers to as the “clarity of Hell”.

Dylan Roof, moved by whatever force, had the notion that black people were not people but something bad to be attacked.  The forces driving him not only wanted to kill black people immediately but also to create a wider circle of evil engulfing all of South Carolina and possibly the entire world if possible.  But, the people of Emanuel and of this State with the help of God and his only begotten Son overcame their pre-conceived notions and saw things clearly not with the clarity of Hell, but the clarity of Heaven, and  as with the vision of the prophets.  They responded not with hate, but with love and compassion. The responded by loving their neighbor as themselves  and recognizing that “our people” are not the select few as envisaged by Dylan Roof, but rather they are  all the people of this State, this Nation, and the World.

May the Lord bless South Carolina and this Nation today.

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