A church that fits me

While going through some old posts from an older blog of mine, I found a quote from C. S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters.” Every time I read this passage I think about what the point of church is. Is it important to find a church that fits you? Is it about something else? I’m really not sure of the answer, although sometimes it might seem obvious. Lewis poses some thought-provoking ideas.

In “The Screwtape Letters,” a demon and senior tempter named Screwtape writes to his nephew Wormwood, a junior tempter. The uncle provides advice to Wormwood, who has been assigned a man. His task is to prevent this man from following God. The “Enemy” referred to in the letters is God.

My dear Wormwood,

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 want him to be a pupil.

Your affectionate uncle,
SCREWTAPE

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2 thoughts on “A church that fits me

  1. C.S. Lewis didn’t live in 2015 America – he spent the whole of existence as a college professor in the 1930-1950s in England. He couldn’t have predicted that Christianity would tear itself apart in divisions about everything from theological interpretations to the color of the carpet. The problem is that it’s not about finding a church that ‘suits me’ – but one that doesn’t ignore me, reject me, try to re-make me in it’s own image. The churches are not innocent institutions, but flawed groups of people that sometimes let power and money get the best of them. I keep on looking for churches that have Jesus in them, that’s all. Sometimes he’s there for a moment, sometimes he leaves when things get out of hand and people fall victim to their sin nature. There’s no use pretending otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jamie,

      Thanks for your comment! You brought up a good point. There are many churches that reject and ignore their members and/or visitors.

      I don’t think churches will ever be perfect. A group of people will never agree on everything, but we can agree on a few key things. If we make those key aspects our mission, we can be a productive church despite our differences.

      I like the idea of making Jesus the key aspect to look for in a church. It’s so central to Christianity, yet it seems we have forgotten him and focused on peripheral issues and trivial matters like a carpet.

      On the other hand, I see many people who look for a church that ‘suits me.’ If you find a church that accepts you and cares for you even if they disagree with some of your theology, I believe we should put our eyes upon Jesus.

      Thanks again! Really appreciate your perspective. I think it adds what my post lacked.

      Like

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