Look at How Smart I Am: The Screwtape Letters

February 6, 2009

My Dear Wormwood,

It almost gets taken for granted. We’re Christians, of course we love Lewis and have read every scrap he ever wrote! Well, I suppose that’s not really the case. There may be a couple of you who don’t actually like Lewis, but we’ll be praying for you to get saved.

When you think of C.S. Lewis, you may think of Mere Christianity or The Chronicles of Narnia. When I think of Lewis, I think of the only book of his I have read many multiple times and always discover something new each time I return.

This week’s book:

The Screwtape Letters

by C.S. Lewis

Why should you read it?
The story is one side of the correspondence between a senior demon and his protoge, whose is tasked with the job of luring a single sould to hell. The entire book is comprised of the letters written by the senior demon, Screwtape. Wormwood is the recipient.

Wormwood’s job is no easy one. He has many difficult decisions to make and his youthful naivete often leads him to foolish decisions, which earn him the chastisement of his uncle Screwtape. Being an entry level pencil pusher in hell is a high pressure job.

However, as difficult as it may seem for Wormwood to trap his victim, demons seem to be notoriously clever and resourceful creatures. Screwtape is never at a loss of ideas. Whether the man goes to church, whether he stays home, whether he fights with his family, or gets along with them, the forces of hell are always able to attack him.

It’s this that is the beauty and inspiration of the book. Lewis gives an uncanny insight into what might be the mind of the devil. As the saying from the Bible goes, God uses all things for good. Even what we mean for evil, God intends for good. Well, the opposite is true as well. Everything, even the good can be used for evil.

And as with most of Lewis’ writing, although it was written in 1943, the story is simply timeless. It never goes out of style. I really think in another generation, this book will be considered a classic.

How long will it take me to read it?
A very long time. I only say that because, although it is 150 pages, I can almost promise that you will pick it back up off your bookshelf a year or two from now and read it again. Then read it again another few years from then.

A periennial classic and one of my favorites. Have you read it? Do you agree, disagree? What is your favorite Lewis writing? Your least favorite? Do you just hate everything Lewis wrote?