52 in 52 Week 48: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis is one of the smartest people I know. So smart that I had never been able to read Mere Christianity because it made my head hurt. My son read The Screwtape Letters earlier this year, and I thought if he could do it (since I taught him), I could do it too. I told myself to be brave and encouraged since I had gotten through The Weight of Glory and Other Essays in June. He still made my head hurt, but I got through it! (with a little help from the narrator, Ralph Cosham, of Blackstone Audiobooks)

I still think C.S. Lewis is so much smarter than I could ever hope to be.

But I do not envy brilliant people, they inspire me. C.S. Lewis inspires me. He is so deep. He is so profound. I felt like I needed to stop my iPod after every sentence to fully digest and appreciate his words. I could never say it like he does.  Brilliance. Pure brilliance.  


What is even more brilliant is the forethought of this book (written during the World War II years). Everything he says is so applicable for today. EVERYTHING!  

Here is a review that I read on Wordpress that is a great summary of the book (written by someone much smarter):
The book is a collection of letters from a senior demon, Screwtape, to his nephew and lower-level tempter, Wormwood. The lesser demon is in the process of trying to tempt a young English man, referred to only as “the patient.” There is a bit of a story here, but mostly this book is a series of musings on the human condition and our moral struggles. What makes this book brilliant, however, is that because it is written from the point-of-view of a demon, everything is flipped on its head. Good is bad, bad is good, etc. Lewis called it “diabolical ventriloquism.” This technique gives the book a comic charm, but also keeps it from feeling to preachy. 
Although there is humor in the relationship between Screwtape and his apparently inept nephew, the book is really about our moments of weakness, “opportunities” for the demons, in which a person might be led astray. Greed, gluttony, lust, pride, envy—Lewis more or less digs his blade under each of the seven sins and flips it over to see what bugs are attached. But he also gets at less biblical truths, large—probing the link between fear and hate, the ability of love to launch us toward grace or defilement—and smaller truths—our tendency to give credibility to thinking simply because it’s old, or the anger that can be produced by simply taking away from a person time they think is their own. 
This book could easily have been a good, straightforward collection of essays, Musings on Sin. There’s a lot of wisdom packed in here, and every reader will identify with different points. But the way the wisdom is delivered is what makes The Screwtape Letters such a great read. (http://bosilawhat.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/the-screwtape-letters-by-c-s-lewis/)
P.S. I didn't know when I was reading the book that this review would post on the week of C.S. Lewis' birthday! He was born 114 years ago on November 29!
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