Unformatted text preview: he
was converted, and that he is not wholly pleased with it. May I ask what you are about? Why have I no report on the
causes of his fidelity to the parish church? Do you realise that unless it is due to indifference it is a very bad thing?
Surely you know that if a man can't be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the
neighbourhood looking for the church that "suits" him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches.
The reasons are obvious. In the first place the parochial organisation should always be attacked, because, being a unity
of place and not of likings, it brings people of different classes and psychology together in the kind of unity the Enemy
desires. The congregational principle, on the other hand, makes each church into a kind of club, and finally, if all goes
well, into a coterie or faction. In the second place, the search for a "suitable" church makes the man a critic where the
Enemy wants him to be a pupil. What He wants of the layman in church is an attitude which may, indeed, be critical in
the sense of rejecting what is false or unhelpful, but which is wholly uncritical in the sense that it does not appraise—
does not waste time in thinking about what it rejects, but lays itself open in uncommenting, humble receptivity to any
nourishment that is going. (You see how grovelling, how unspiritual, how irredeemably vulgar He is!) This attitude,
especially during sermons, creates the condition (most hostile to our whole policy) in which platitudes can become
really audible to a human soul. There is hardly any sermon, or any book, which may not be dangerous to us if it is
received in this temper. So pray bestir yourself and send this fool the round of the neighbouring churches as soon as
possible. Your record up to date has not given us much satisfaction.
The two churches nearest to him, I have looked up in the office. Both have certain claims. At the first of these the Vicar
is a man who has been so long engaged in watering down the faith to make it easier for supposedly incredulous and
hard-headed congregation that it is now he who shocks his parishioners with his unbelief, not vice versa. He has
undermined many a soul's Christianity. His conduct of the services is also admirable. In order to spare the laity all
"difficulties" he has deserted both the lectionary and the appointed psalms and now, without noticing it, revolves
endlessly round the little treadmill of his fifteen favourite psalms and twenty favourite lessons. We are thus safe from
the danger that any truth not already familiar to him and to his flock should over reach them through Scripture. But
perhaps bur patient is not quite silly enough for this church—or not yet?
At the other church we have Fr. Spike. The humans are often puzzled to understand the range of his opinions—why he
is one day almost a Communist and the next not far from some kind of theocratic Fascism—one day a scholastic, and
the next prepared to deny human reason altogether—one day immersed in politics, and...
View Full Document
- Spring '07
- C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters