By C.S. Lewis
The Screwtape Letters is one of those little masterworks of accessible theology that has done so much to foster prejudice against Lewis and his entire circle with the militant anti-church crowd that makes up the majority of the society where I live. Theology is bad
enough, but acceptable if it stays stodgy and unreadable. Accessible theology, theology with a dash of humour and a sense of fun — that is actively dangerous.
However, I find these letters as fresh and illuminating as I imagine they when they were first released to the public. As far as I am concerned, they have not aged at all. I’m not qualified to determine whether there’s much specifically Anglican about the theology behind the book, except for the allusions to the purgatory, which is a Roman invention not accepted by the Orthodox Church.
And there’s much to learn even when you don’t want to accept the central message of the book, because the peripheral teachings about what it takes to lead a good life are, I image, universally applicable.
One example is that it often happens that people forego what are to them real pleasures that bring them real joy for pastimes that somehow seem more important, more refined, civilized, cultured, socially acceptable — and then, one day, one finds oneself longing to, e.g., pick up a pencil and never doing it, never doing that quick sketch one has promised to allow oneself for six months because more important things always took precedence. Things that may very well feel hollow even expending time on it.
So I made a sketch after a work by Rogier van der Weijden, and tried to capture my rapidly growing eldest daughter. Can’t show the results yet, because I don’t have a scanner anymore, but hey, I didn’t do the sketches for publication, just for the pleasure of doing them.