SCREWTAPE CHAPTERS 1-4

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SCREWTAPE CHAPTERS 1-4

Postby Kevin Young » Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:53 pm

Hey everybody. Please post your comments on Chapters 1-4 here. I read Chapter 1 last night, and there was a sentence I loved a lot.... "they find it all but impossible to believe in the unfamiliar while the familiar is before their eyes." I was greatly convicted by this. One of the enemy's plans to keep me from God is to surround me with "familiar" things like keeping me busy working on miniscule tasks or "real life" as Screwtape calls it. I've got to look beyond the familiar in order to see the "unfamiliar."
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Re: SCREWTAPE CHAPTERS 1-4

Postby kcvearner » Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:51 pm

"...give him a grand general idea that he knows it all..." I felt that one a lot. I need to practice rhe "Miniistry of Holding One's Tongue".
You won't obey what you don't believe.
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Re: SCREWTAPE CHAPTERS 1-4

Postby Deborah » Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:56 pm

I'm wishing I had bought this book instead of getting it from the library because I keep finding the urge to highlight things & and words I have to look up because I believe it was written in the 1940s? Had a discussion with my mom last night who knew all the words I was wondering about...like miser. Wasn't sure what that meant :blush: The only thing that came to mind was a Chilly Pepper song & I still wasn't sure what it meant.

It's scary to think that's how the enemy (funny how they refer to God as the enemy in the book) might work. I was in a bible study one time where a girl made a comment about how she was taught to pray silently because if you say things out loud the devil will hear and know your weaknesses. In this case they know your every thought at every moment.

I'm a little ahead but I like when he says on page 38 "Now then it may surprise you to learn that in His efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, He relies on the troughs even more than on the peaks; some of His special favourites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone ese. The reason is this. To us a human is primarily food; our aim is the absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our own area of selfhood at its expense. But the obedience which the Enemy demands of men is quite a different thing. One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself--creatures whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His.....".etc. I could go on and on and it gets better but that whole part is kind of an amazing thing to ponder.
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Re: SCREWTAPE CHAPTERS 1-4

Postby superwheelerchick » Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:09 pm

"By the very act of arguing, you awake the patients reason; and once it is awake who can foresee the result? Even if a particular train of thought can be twisted so as to end in our favor, you will find that you have been strengthening in your patient the fatal habit of attending to universal issues and withdrawing his attention from the stream of immediate sense experiences."

You just can't reason away a God like ours for long.
I'll run and not grow weak!
I'll walk and will not faint!
I'll climb the highest mountain
and dive off
I'll fly high on broken wings.
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Re: SCREWTAPE CHAPTERS 1-4

Postby S_arah » Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:16 am

Deborah wrote:I'm wishing I had bought this book instead of getting it from the library because I keep finding the urge to highlight things & and words I have to look up because I believe it was written in the 1940s? Had a discussion with my mom last night who knew all the words I was wondering about...like miser. Wasn't sure what that meant :blush: The only thing that came to mind was a Chilly Pepper song & I still wasn't sure what it meant.


yea, I just read the first letter and I really have to be in a smart mood reading this book in english. But fortunately i have this book also in dutch and found out that it's way easier to first read a chapter in dutch..

'Even if a particular train of thought can be twisted so as to end in our favour, you will find that you have been strengthening in your patient the fatal habit of attending to universal issues and withdrawing his attention from the stream of immediate sense experiences. Your business is to fix his attention on the stream. Teach him to call it "real life" and don't let him ask what he means by "real."
I agree, You just can't reason away a God like ours for long. But it's pretty scary to see that satan can, and is trying to, turn us into some shallow thinkers.


'One day, as he sat reading, I saw a train of thought in his mind beginning to go the wrong way...
This part really made me think; Can satan read our minds and know our thoughts? Can he put thoughts into our minds? I don't think so, but i do think that he is very powerful. He knows how people think and he knows our weaknesses. And he can do a lot like you can read in this part...
Vrees niet, want Ik heb u verlost;
Ik heb u bij uw naam geroepen, gij zijt Mijn.



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Re: SCREWTAPE CHAPTERS 1-4

Postby superwheelerchick » Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:41 pm

S_arah wrote:'Even if a particular train of thought can be twisted so as to end in our favour, you will find that you have been strengthening in your patient the fatal habit of attending to universal issues and withdrawing his attention from the stream of immediate sense experiences. Your business is to fix his attention on the stream. Teach him to call it "real life" and don't let him ask what he means by "real."
I agree, You just can't reason away a God like ours for long. But it's pretty scary to see that satan can, and is trying to, turn us into some shallow thinkers.

It's true, the devil's biggest weapons against even Christians is to lull us into a complacent state of mind. Dull, numb, and completely senseless. That's where the battle is with me a lot of the time

S_arah wrote:'One day, as he sat reading, I saw a train of thought in his mind beginning to go the wrong way...
This part really made me think; Can satan read our minds and know our thoughts? Can he put thoughts into our minds? I don't think so, but i do think that he is very powerful. He knows how people think and he knows our weaknesses. And he can do a lot like you can read in this part...

I think the devil may have a certain capacity for reading minds just based on the fact that he is an eternal being and has thousands of years of observation of human behavior at his disposal. But he has no bearing on our spiritual minds. He is not omniscient.
I'll run and not grow weak!
I'll walk and will not faint!
I'll climb the highest mountain
and dive off
I'll fly high on broken wings.
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Re: SCREWTAPE CHAPTERS 1-4

Postby kcvearner » Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:10 pm

I read letter II tonight. "All you have to do is keep out of his mind the question, 'If I, being what I am, can consider that I am in some sense a Christian, why should the different vices of those people in the next pew prove that their religion is mere hypocrisy and convention?' "

I have often felt that and heard it said that there are "too many hypocrites" at church. I have no doubt that is a true statement, so I don't think having one more (ie. myself) there, should be a bother to anyone.

Lord give me the wisdom to remember that I may always be surrounded by broken people while on this earth -- and to take care and mind the sharp edges. I pray they show me the same grace.
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Re: SCREWTAPE CHAPTERS 1-4

Postby *Elena » Sat Nov 20, 2010 2:40 pm

Letter II:

If I, being what I am, can consider that I am in some sense a Christian, why should the different vices of those people in the next pew prove that their religion is mere hypocrisy and convention?
That's a good question to ask ourselves! I'll keep that in mind.

He has not been anything like long enough with the Enemy to have any real humility yet.
So if we turn this around, we can say: By being in the presence of Jesus we'll become humble. That's disastrous for satan.
Thanks for the tip, Screwtape!
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Re: SCREWTAPE CHAPTERS 1-4

Postby Sparkz4Christ » Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:08 am

I read 3 chapters last night and I'm gonna read the 4th when I get back from school. It's taking me a little longer cuz I'm writing down the pieces that I find interesting from each chapter instead of highlighting in it (my mom would kill me lol).

I will say though that Chapter 3 was the biggest hit for me personally. The whole scheme that Screwtape is plotting between the patient and his mother made me think of me and my own mom's relationship....which is a little scary. Made me really think about how I'm talking and the expressions I have when I talk, so I'm gonna be working on that :P
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Re: SCREWTAPE CHAPTERS 1-4

Postby Disciple Stac » Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:33 am

Chapter 3 was big for me as well. The relationship between the subject and his mother- the fact that she could do something she'd done for years and now him take it so personally and it irritates him- made me think of how we can turn things around and make them about US even though it shouldn't be. And to how people look at us as well when we say or do something. And his prayers for her, make them about her soul not her rheumatism....his attention will be kept on her sins. WOW- I need to focus on my prayer life and make every prayer be real and not like "praying for an imaginary person".

And chapter 4 again with our prayer lives....mood and feelings. And not get into a "parrot-like" nature. Sometimes it's easy when I'm tired to do a "basic" prayer but I really need to take the time and always make it true and sincere and really think about what and who I'm praying for- not just something repetitive.
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Re: SCREWTAPE CHAPTERS 1-4

Postby Kevin Young » Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:38 pm

I also agree that Chapter 3 is very eye-opening. At home or at work, I am always looking beyond the words that were said, and looking at "how" the words were said. It is a great reminder to pick up the mirror, and be concerned with how my words are spoken to others more than how other's words are spoken to me.
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Re: SCREWTAPE CHAPTERS 1-4

Postby ImageBearer13 » Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:55 pm

I'm a little behind so I'll try to be brief. In Letter 1 I was challenged by how Screwtape was encouraged to distract his "patient" from deeper, spiritual issues with "immediate sense experience." So often I ignore God because I'm tired or hungry or whatever excuse I allow. When, if the person of Jesus Christ was sitting in my living room, I would drop everything and hang on His every Word. Another point I thought of was how I tend to let the world around me become ordinary when, the closer I to grow to God, the more extraordinarily supernatural and beautiful things He shows me. He reveals to us the beauty under the ordinary.

I love the description of the Church in Letter 2, "...the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy." It is unfortunate that we only see the broken, imperfect people who make up this Church, and become discouraged or sometimes completely turned off by the comparison to our concept of what the Church should look like. It's a little scary too that "The Enemy allows this disappointment to occur on the threshold of every human endeavour." Looking back, I can see how God has allowed disappointment in my life where the dream has become reality. That's when the work begins. It's like we have the chance to live the dream, or abandon it so that we can keep on dreaming. In fact I like this whole paragraph! Great stuff! Praise God, He lets us do it on our own!

Others have summed up what I thought about Letter 3. Letter 4 struck me about fulfilling my own prayers by trying to produce feelings. How obviously revolutionary a thought?! Instead of waiting, anticipating concrete movement by God to produce the desired result, I was trying to answer my own prayers! Um...duh! I also especially like the idea that my prayers are most powerful when I abandon all my preconceived notions of who or what or where God is and pray to who He actually is...the Being that can never be fully known or understood by me. This is when satan is defeated and desperate. Maybe that's one way God has given us power of satan.
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Re: SCREWTAPE CHAPTERS 1-4

Postby abchjk7 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:42 pm

In the 2nd letter, he mentions how easy it is to distract us in church. "Provided that any of those neighbors sing out of tune, or have boots that squeak, or double chins, or odd clothes, the patient will quite easily believe that their religion must therefore be somehow ridiculous." That makes perfect sense. How many times do we sit through a church service and become easily distracted by something, such as a person sitting across the room from us, and then give more attention to that persons composure - the way they're sitting or standing, their choice of clothes that day, or simply the fact that they look like they might not be paying attention. We then judge them and think that we must be better than them because they're not paying attention in church, even though we are worse because we are the ones sitting there and not paying attention, but rather judging them. It is so easy for satan to lead us astray from God's Word by causing us to focus on such paltry details as the appearance of the people around us. We lose all sight of the real reason that we are there: to worship God. After we come to know Christ, our purpose in life is to serve, honor, and worship God. We are to do that by being obedient and loving others and showing them the love of Christ. Unfortunately, satan has made it a habit (and a good one at that) of causing us to judge and make fun of other people, most of the time before we even talk to them. We would never think to share God's love with those weird-looking people because we don't want to be seen anywhere near them. We also have the fear of not wanting other people to judge us, so we just sit there and judge back. We need to live and meditate on God's Word, not the "familiar"-ity of the world.
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Re: SCREWTAPE CHAPTERS 1-4

Postby *Elena » Sat Nov 27, 2010 4:15 am

Chapter 3:

It is really interesting to read how Satan is trying to rendering our prayers.
'Make sure that they are always very 'spiritual', that he is always concerned with the state of her soul and never with her rheumatism.
This is an eye-opener indeed!
I've been praying for my mother very 'spiritual' and I forgot praying for the pain in her back. When I read this I became aware of that, so I began to pray for the pain in her back and I gave her a massage and that really helped for the time-being. So praying for the non-spiritual things made me also aware of how I can practically love/help my mum.

The fourth point Screwtape is making is something very obvious.
Kevin Young wrote: It is a great reminder to pick up the mirror, and be concerned with how my words are spoken to others more than how other's words are spoken to me.
I agree!
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Re: SCREWTAPE CHAPTERS 1-4

Postby *Elena » Sat Nov 27, 2010 4:22 am

Chapter 4:

I found something very interesting in letter 4:

'At the very least, they can be persuaded that the bodily position makes no diference to their prayers; for they constantly forget, what you must always remember, that they are animals and that whatever their bodies do affects their souls. It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.'

Do you all pray on your knees?
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Re: SCREWTAPE CHAPTERS 1-4

Postby awelch13 » Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:10 am

Well, I am a week behind, so I'll be brief to try and get caught up. Most of you have addressed what hit me the hardest. Thank you for your comments and insights. Each chapter had some nugget of truth that exploded inside me. Here's a few of my thoughts:

Letter I: "He doesn't think of doctrines as primarily 'true' or 'false,' but as 'academic' or practical,' 'outworn' or 'contemporary' or 'ruthless.'" Today, I think it is a little bit different. No matter what we think of doctrines or beliefs, we are encouraged to accept all beliefs. Tolerance seems to be the "ally" keeping us from Christ and the Church today. This deadens our reason as well, because we don't challenge ourselves to dig in and really look at what we believe and challenge other beliefs.

Letter III was probably the most on target for me right now. I have a hard time taking people at their word and will read into every little tone or action. I, however, do not want to fall into satan's trap of praying for others and/or myself without actually praying. This leads me to my thoughts on Letter IV. Successful prayers do not depend on feelings! God is so much bigger and works in so many different ways than I can imagine. Prayer does not have to follow the form and feelings I was taught as a child. C.S. Lewis always reminds me that my God is creative, and I cannot put Him in a box!
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Re: SCREWTAPE CHAPTERS 1-4

Postby awelch13 » Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:14 am

*Elena wrote:Chapter 4:

I found something very interesting in letter 4:

'At the very least, they can be persuaded that the bodily position makes no diference to their prayers; for they constantly forget, what you must always remember, that they are animals and that whatever their bodies do affects their souls. It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.'

Do you all pray on your knees?



I don't know much on this subject. However, the church I attend now has the congregation pray various ways. Sometimes we stand, sometimes we kneel, others we just sit in our seats. I had never noticed much about my body and praying till going to this church. Now I do notice I often have different attitudes depending on the position. When I kneel, I feel more focused and reverent. When I stand, I feel worshipful. And when I sit, I feel like I'm just talking with my Friend. So...maybe this would be a good thing to research!
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Re: SCREWTAPE CHAPTERS 1-4

Postby *Elena » Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:58 am

awelch13 wrote:
*Elena wrote:Chapter 4:

I found something very interesting in letter 4:

'At the very least, they can be persuaded that the bodily position makes no diference to their prayers; for they constantly forget, what you must always remember, that they are animals and that whatever their bodies do affects their souls. It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.'

Do you all pray on your knees?



I don't know much on this subject. However, the church I attend now has the congregation pray various ways. Sometimes we stand, sometimes we kneel, others we just sit in our seats. I had never noticed much about my body and praying till going to this church. Now I do notice I often have different attitudes depending on the position. When I kneel, I feel more focused and reverent. When I stand, I feel worshipful. And when I sit, I feel like I'm just talking with my Friend. So...maybe this would be a good thing to research!


Thanks, that's a good idea indeed!
I'm going to start that research :)
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Re: SCREWTAPE CHAPTERS 1-4

Postby Polish Tom » Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:30 pm

Letter 2:
Work hard, then, on the disappointment or anticlimax which is certainly coming to the patient during his first few weeks as a churchman. The Enemy allows this disappointment to occur on the threshold of every human endeavor. It occurs when the boy who has been enchanted in the nursery by Stories from the Odyssey buckles down to really learning Greek. It occurs when lovers have got married and begin the real task of learning to live together. In every department of life it marks the transition from dreaming aspiration to laborious doing.


Man, I can't even count the amount of times I've given up on a dream/task because it was too hard. Spiritually speaking, I have previously quit going to church, quit praying, and even quit believing in God. Weird how this passage is almost haunting me. I can't even imagine God's disappointment (if such a word even applies to Him) in me/us, after all his wondrous doings in our lives and yet we humans still turn on backs on Him.
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