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My dear Wormwood,

Even under Slubgob you must have learned at college the routine
technique of sexual temptation, and since, for us spirits, this
whole subject is one of considerable tedium (though necessary as
part of our training) I will pass it over. But on the larger issues
involved I think you have a good deal to learn.
The Enemy’s demand on humans takes the form of a dilemma; either complete
abstinence or unmitigated monogamy. Ever since our Father’s first great victory, we
have rendered the former very difficult to them. The latter, for the last few centuries,
we have been closing up as a way of escape. We have done this through the poets and
novelists by persuading the humans that a curious, and usually short-lived, experience
which they call “being in love” is the only respectable ground for marriage; that
marriage can, and ought to, render this excitement permanent; and that a marriage
which does not do so is no longer binding. This idea is our parody of an idea that came
from the Enemy.
The whole philosophy of Hell rests on recognition of the axiom that one thing is not
another thing, and, specially, that one self is not another self. My good is my good and
your good is yours. What one gains another loses. Even an inanimate object is what it
is by excluding all other objects from the space it occupies; if it expands, it does so by
thrusting other objects aside or by absorbing them. A self does the same. With beasts
the absorption takes the form of eating; for us, it means the sucking of will and freedom
out of a weaker self into a stronger. “To be” means “to be in competition”.
Now the Enemy’s philosophy is nothing more nor less than one continued attempt
to evade this very obvious truth. He aims at a contradiction. Things are to be many,
yet somehow also one. The good of one self is to be the good of another. This impossibility
He calls love, and this same monotonous panacea can be detected under all He
does and even all He is — or claims to be. Thus He is not content, even Himself, to
be a sheer arithmetical unity; He claims to be three as well as one, in order that this
nonsense about Love may find a foothold in His own nature. At the other end of the
scale, He introduces into matter that obscene invention the organism, in which the
parts are perverted from their natural destiny of competition and made to co-operate.
His real motive for fixing on sex as the method of reproduction among humans
is only too apparent from the use He has made of it. Sex might have been, from our
point of view, quite innocent. It might have been merely one more mode in which a

stronger self preyed upon a weaker — as it is, indeed, among the spiders where the
bride concludes her nuptials by eating her groom. But in the humans the Enemy has
gratuitously associated affection between the parties with sexual desire. He has also
made the offspring dependent on the parents and given the parents an impulse to support
it — thus producing the Family, which is like the organism, only worse; for the
members are more distinct, yet also united in a more conscious and responsible way.
The whole thing, in fact, turns out to be simply one more device for dragging in Love.
Now comes the joke. The Enemy described a married couple as “one flesh”. He did
not say “a happily married couple” or “a couple who married because they were in love”,
but you can make the humans ignore that. You can also make them forget that the man
they call Paul did not confine it to married couples. Mere copulation, for him, makes
“one flesh”. You can thus get the humans to accept as rhetorical eulogies of “being in
love” what were in fact plain descriptions of the real significance of sexual intercourse.
The truth is that wherever a man lies with a woman, there, whether they like it or not, a
transcendental relation is set up between them which must be eternally enjoyed or eternally
endured. From the true statement that this transcendental relation was intended
to produce, and, if obediently entered into, too often will produce, affection and the
family, humans can be made to infer the false belief that the blend of affection, fear, and
desire which they call “being in love” is the only thing that makes marriage either happy
or holy. The error is easy to produce because “being in love” does very often, in Western
Europe, precede marriages which are made in obedience to the Enemy’s designs,
that is, with the intention of fidelity, fertility and good will; just as religious emotion
very often, but not always, attends conversion. In other words, the humans are to be
encouraged to regard as the basis for marriage a highly-coloured and distorted version
of something the Enemy really promises as its result. Two advantages follow. In the
first place, humans who have not the gift of continence can be deterred from seeking
marriage as a solution because they do not find themselves “in love”, and, thanks to us,
the idea of marrying with any other motive seems to them low and cynical. Yes, they
think that. They regard the intention of loyalty to a partnership for mutual help, for
the preservation of chastity, and for the transmission of life, as something lower than
a storm of emotion. (Don’t neglect to make your man think the marriage-service very
offensive.) In the second place any sexual infatuation whatever, so long as it intends
marriage, will be regarded as “love”, and “love” will be held to excuse a man from all
the guilt, and to protect him from all the consequences, of marrying a heathen, a fool,
or a wanton. But more of this in my next,

Your affectionate uncle

Screwtape

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Gavin Ashenden

Curry 1

The world is rightly talking about Michael Curry’s wedding sermon. It was a ‘tour-de-force’. He is very good at preaching. But it also offers us all an insight into the dramatic difference between the two kind of Christianity that are at odds with each other in the Anglican Communion.

We will call them for the moment, ‘Christianity-max’, and ‘Christianity-lite’.

Credit where it is due. ‘Christianity-lite’ can be very appealing. It reaches out to where people are hurting and it encourages them. It reaches out to where they are longing for good change, and it promises them that change can come.

It speaks continuously of love and hope. Everyone likes to hear of love and hope.

But it has three serious flaws. It doesn’t define love, and it never delivers on the hope. It isn’t what Jesus preached.

It was of course wonderful to hear a celebration of love in the…

View original post 1,868 more words

Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation;
O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!
For You are the God of my strength; why have You rejected me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me;
Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your dwelling places.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
To God my exceeding joy;
And upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God.
Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why are you disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.

  1. iudica me Deus et discerne causam meam a gente non sancta a viro doloso et iniquo salva me
  2. tu enim Deus fortitudo mea quare proiecisti me quare tristis incedo adfligente inimico
  3. mitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam ipsae ducent me et introducent ad montem sanctum tuum et ad tabernaculum tuum
  4. et introibo ad altare tuum ad Deum laetitiae et exultationis meae et confitebor tibi in cithara Deus Deus meus
  5. quare incurvaris anima mea et quare conturbas me expecta Dominum quoniam adhuc confitebor ei salutibus vultus mei et Deo meo

27 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread?
When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh,
My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.
Though a host encamp against me,
My heart will not fear;
Though war arise against me,
In spite of this I shall be confident.

One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord
And to meditate in His temple.
For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock.
And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me,
And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice,
And be gracious to me and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You,
“Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me,
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not abandon me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
But the Lord will take me up.

11 Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a level path
Because of my foes.
12 Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries,
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.


  1.  David Dominus lux mea et salutare meum quem timebo Dominus fortitudo vitae meae quem formidabo
  2. cum adpropinquarent mihi maligni ut comederent carnem meam hostes mei et inimici mei ipsi inpigerunt et ceciderunt
  3. si steterint adversus me castra non timebit cor meum si surrexerit contra me bellum in hoc ego confidam
  4. unum petivi a Domino hoc requiram ut habitem in domo Domini omnibus diebus vitae meae ut videam pulchritudinem Domini et adtendam templum eius
  5. abscondet enim me in umbra sua in die pessima abscondet me in secreto tabernaculi sui
  6. in petra exaltabit me nunc quoque exaltabit caput meum super inimicos meos qui sunt in circuitu meo et immolabo in tabernaculo eius hostias iubili cantabo et psallam Domino
  7. audi Domine vocem meam invocantis miserere mei et exaudi me
  8. tibi dixit cor meum quaesivit vultus meus faciem tuam Domine et requiram
  9. ne abscondas faciem tuam a me ne declines in furore tuo a servo tuo auxilium meum fuisti ne derelinquas me et ne dimittas me Deus salvator meus
  10. pater enim meus et mater mea dereliquerunt me Dominus autem collegit me
  11. ostende mihi Domine viam tuam et deduc me in semita recta propter insidiatores meos
  12. ne tradas me Domine animae tribulantium me quoniam surrexerunt contra me testes falsi et apertum mendacium
  13. ego autem credo quod videam bona Domini in terra viventium
  14. expecta Dominum confortare et roboretur cor tuum et sustine Dominum

The alt-right is anti-Christian. Not by implication or insinuation, but by confession. Its leading thinkers flaunt their rejection of Christianity and their desire to convert believers away from it. Greg Johnson, an influential theorist with a doctorate in philosophy from Catholic University of America, argues that “Christianity is one of the main causes of white decline” and a “necessary condition of white racial suicide.” Johnson edits a website that publishes footnoted essays on topics that range from H. P. Lovecraft to Martin Heidegger, where a common feature is its subject’s criticisms of Christian doctrine. “Like acid, Christianity burns through ties of kinship and blood,” writesGregory Hood, one of the website’s most talented essayists. It is “the essential religious step in paving the way for decadent modernity and its toxic creeds.”

 

The temptation to dismiss the alt-right should be resisted. Like Christians in late antiquity, we ought to see ourselves through the eyes of our pagan critics and their growing ranks of online popularizers. They distort many truths, through both malice and ignorance, and lead young men into espousing views and defending authors they scarcely understand. Yet we can learn from their distortions, and in doing so show how Christian theology, whose failings have contributed to the movement’s rise, might also be its remedy.

The alt-right’s understanding of human identity is reductive, and its rejection of Christian solidarity premature. “Christianity provides an identity that is above or before racial and ethnic identity,” Richard Spencer complains. “It’s not like other religions that come out of a folk spirit.” Spencer is right that the baptismal covenant transcends our local loyalties and identities. It does not, however, eradicate them.

https://www.firstthings.com/article/2018/03/the-anti-christian-alt-right#login

The Christian Way

November 23, 2017 — Leave a comment

Christianity thus has an intrinsically dogmatic character, which is to say it remains confident in the truths on which it is founded. The Christian way is not based on pious feelings and good intentions. Inspired by the Spirit, faith is the enduring disposition of assent to and reliance upon God’s revealed Word. A Christian assents to truths made evident by God’s self-disclosure in Scripture, truths about God as Trinity, creation, redemption, and the consummation of all things at the end of history. These truths are reliably transmitted by human beings who, inspired by God, have also been shaped and influenced by their historical circumstances. They have been communicated, reformulated, and deepened in ways that invite ongoing discussion and debate about their full meaning and import. (See the ECT statement “Your Word Is Truth.”) This does not undermine the dogmatic character of faith. The Christian way uses reason to understand more fully divinely revealed truths, not in order to decide whether or not to believe them.

 

Even now, the Christian way bears witness to the fullness of life promised in Christ. Caring for the sick and the poor, friendship for the prisoner and the outcast, comforting the sorrowful and educating those who need instruction: These are works of mercy that embody the love of God in Christ. This active witness is crowned by ongoing prayer for the needs of fellow Christians, as well as for the world. The Christian overleaps the boundaries and limits imposed by a broken world. As Jesus teaches, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:44–45).

https://www.firstthings.com/article/2017/12/the-christian-way