Tag: Screwtape Letters

The Horror of the Same Old Thing

Every Wednesday evening since early January, I’ve had the joy of teaching a class on C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters. A local Episcopal church invited me to do so, and I accepted the offer with relish. A group of eager learners comprises this class (approximately fifty each week), which has made it one of the highlights of this new year for me. I’d read Screwtape a number of times over the years. Lewis himself famously commented that a really… Read more »

Screwtape’s War Lesson

I’ve been teaching a Screwtape Letters class at a local church on Wednesday evenings. It’s one of the highlights of my week. Although I’ve read this wonderful C. S. Lewis book a number of times, this is the first time I’ve attempted to discuss it with a group paragraph by paragraph, and the interaction with members of the class over Lewis’s key points has been illuminating. Nearly every paragraph offers some pearl of meditation that could conceivably fill up my… Read more »

Life Has Never Been Normal: Lewis on War

World War I devastated Europe and decimated the male populations of Britain and France. C. S. Lewis served in that war, even though, having grown up in Northern Ireland, he wasn’t required to do so. In his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, he doesn’t spend a lot of time describing his wartime experience, but what he does relate is striking: The war—the frights, the cold, . . . the horribly smashed men still moving like half-crushed beetles, the sitting or standing… Read more »

Hell As a Bureaucracy

“We must picture Hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement,” advised C. S. Lewis, “where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment.” Lewis wrote those words in his preface to the 1961 edition of The Screwtape Letters. Although Screwtape is, in one sense, a comical devil, Lewis never lets his readers forget what lies at the heart of hell: the self, with… Read more »

Screwtape & Humility

In preparation for a class I will be teaching on The Screwtape Letters at a local church from January to April next year, I knew I needed to get a new copy of the book, as mine was falling apart from decades of use. I settled on the annotated edition by Paul McCusker. I know I must have read sometime the preface Lewis wrote for the 1961 edition of his classic, but if so, it has escaped my memory. Reading… Read more »

The Latest Fake Lewis Quote

I saw it on Facebook, so it must be true! And if it is in all caps with lots of exclamation points afterward, I can rely on its authenticity. I trust those statements don’t reflect your perspective. Why focus on that today? There’s a supposed C. S. Lewis quote floating around that people are sharing incessantly because it seems so apropos to our current political situation. We are told it comes from his classic work, The Screwtape Letters, and goes… Read more »

Screwtape’s “Advice”

Over Christmas, I re-read C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce, both favorites of mine, although it has been quite some time since I sat down to read them through again. I marvel at how much one can always draw from them, no matter how often they are read. One of my favorite passages from Screwtape is found in Letter VII, where Screwtape instructs his junior devil, Wormwood, in the ways of deception, especially with respect to… Read more »