This is the second podcast on “The Screwtape Letters”, one of the most popular books and most unusual books that C S Lewis wrote. To review, it is a set of letters from one senior devil (Screwtape) to a junior devil (Wormwood). Wormwood has just graduated from Hell’s Tempters College and posted to tempt a man on earth. Screwtape, a successful tempter, advises Wormwood on how to proceed. Since the book is written from a devil’s point of view, it is a work of inversion or reversal in that what is black to us is white to them, and what is bad is good.
In this podcast we take a look at three of the major subjects that Lewis covers, temptation, church, and prayer. More show notes for this podcast can be found by clicking here.
This show covers God in the Dock, a collection of essays and letters by C.. S. Lewis. The title (God in the Dock) is taken from one of the essays and refers to the place where the defendant stands in the English court system. The essays cover a wide range of topics and show the scope of Jack’s work.
There are essays on theological topics, such as miracles, essays on ethics and essays on what the editor calls “semi-theological topics”. For example, the essay God in the Dock describes the difficulties that Lewis had (and the we still have) in presenting the Good News of the Christian religion to an audience of unbelievers. There are also interviews as well as some letters that Lewis wrote in response to questions and criticisms of his writings. All of them are very good, and you are sure to find several essays that appeal especially to you.
Since there is no theme or development in the book, we cover three of the essays in order to give you a sample of what they are like and what subjects they cover. We cover “God in the Dock”, as well as “Miracles” and “Work and Prayer”. You are sure to find others that appeal to you as you read the book.
Today’s book is The World’s Last Night and Other Essays.It is a collection of seven essays from later in C S Lewis’ life, after he was 50 years of age. They were written during a of some significant changes in his life. For one thing, he switched universities, going from Oxford to Cambridge. For another, Lewis met and married his wife, Joy Davidman Gresham. (You might remember this story from the excellent move Shadowlands).These essays give us a good picture of Jack’s thoughts and beliefs at this time and provide us with some good material for our own reflection and learning.
We cover three of the essays in this podcast and leave the rest for your reading pleasure.
The first piece we cover is entitled “The Efficacy of Prayer” and reviews what it means to ask “Does prayer work”.
The second essay in the podcast is “Screwtape Proposes a Toast” and is a biting commentary on the modern educational system and its unfortunate results in society. It is presented as a speech a senior devil in Hell gives to graduates of Hell’s Tempters College and is well worth reading.
The final selection is “The World’s Last Night” and it addresses the idea of the Second Return of Christ, the sudden end of the world when God steps onto the stage. It is considered one of Jack’s best essays and needs careful reading and refelction.