Sunday, October 7, 2007

Lewis in General Conference

I'm teaching a class on C. S. Lewis right now, and I told my students I wasn't sure whether he'd be quoted in General Conference this time. But he has been once so far, by Elder Michael Teh on Saturday afternoon. It was wonderful passage from The Screwtape Letters. I'll give the complete passage here. Keep in mind that this is advice from one devil to another, so we have to do some subtle translating to get the point:

"Do what you will, there is going to be some benevolence, as well as some malice, in your patient's soul. The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbours whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus becomes wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary. There is no good at all in inflaming his hatred of Germans if, at the same time, a pernicious habit of charity is growing up between him and his mother, his employer, and the man he meets in the train. Think of your man as a series of concentric circles, his will being the innermost, his intellect coming next, and finally his fantasy. You can hardly hope, at once, to exclude from all the circles everything that smells of the Enemy: but you must keep on shoving all the virtues outward till they are finally located in the circle of fantasy, and all the desirable qualities inward into the Will. It is only in so far as they reach the will and are there embodied in habits that the virtues are really fatal to us. (I don't, of course, mean what the patient mistakes for his will, the conscious fume and fret of resolutions and clenched teeth, but the real centre, what the Enemy calls the Heart.) All sorts of virtues painted in the fantasy or approved by the intellect or even, in some measure, loved and admired, will not keep a man from our Father's house: indeed they may make him more amusing when he gets there."

This is a passage maybe especially relevant to the world of blogging, given its ambiguous place, somewhere between face-to-face and fantasy.

3 comments:

Red headed snuggler said...

Hi Sweetie. I just provided your blog link to BCC. The C.S. Lewis quote is so relevant to one of their discussions.

Jana B. said...

This is quite the blog! I'm impressed. I actually find myself writing about Lewis on my own blog - or at least when I had the time - a lot. Wonderful! Thanks for the awesome class!

Bruce Young said...

You're welcome, Jana. Thanks for the comment.