My dear Wormwood, about World Vision…

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My Dear Wormwood, About World Vision

My dear Wormwood,

It has been a while since our last correspondence, but Headquarters has sent out a fresh batch of directives which require our most immediate and urgent attention. Our Father is particularly delighted at the ways in which the Christians are slinging arrows at each other following the gleeful little rumpus regarding World Vision. Usually it is our task to aim the fiery darts, but it seems at present our bows have been all but snatched from our hands. All we need do is work at twisting the arrows in where they have found purchase.

It is rare that I congratulate you on a job well done, but I must applaud you for your fine work on your patient this week. Where there was disappointment at first, you managed to nudge it towards disdain and even anger in the hours that followed. We count it a victory that you kept your patient reading and engaging online for hours before the Enemy pulled him away for an infuriating moment of prayer and reflection.

It is, of course, the Enemy’s habit to unravel and undo our best efforts at disunity and confusion, but our immediate attention must be to delay the inevitable as long as possible. Collateral damage is key, even if the final battle cannot be won. The longer you can stir feelings of grief and outrage, the better. Put it into his head to feel a pitiful sorrow for himself, for the starving children, for the opportunities lost; and pit his sorrow against the “others” who call themselves Christians. Make frequent use of the words ‘they’ and ‘them’: those sneaky pronouns make such delightful inroads into so-called Christian “community”.

Self-righteous reflection will be our greatest ally here. Do your very best to keep a level of deep disappointment and blame simmering in his chest, but under no circumstances should you let his regret develop into remorse or repentance. Let him be sad, but do not let him wallow near godly sorrow. Have him question the state of the souls of others: it will keep him from soul-searching himself, at least for a time.

Time is of the essence, dear nephew. Do all you can to keep him at his computer, and off his knees. If we cannot dissuade our patients from calling themselves biblical Christians, our best bet is to make critics rather than students of them all. I look forward to your next missive reporting increased levels of frustration and folly all round.

Your affectionate uncle,


C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters have long been a favorite of mine. 1 Peter 5:8 reminds us to beware of our enemy, who prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour. This week, I have wondered what that prowling lion has made of the World Vision controversy, and I confess I spent too much time online and not on my knees. Writing this was a helpful spiritual exercise for me. I publish it in the hope that it might be for you.

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21 thoughts on “My dear Wormwood, about World Vision…”

  1. Mmmm. Well written. Wish we navigated these things well as a community of Christ followers. I find myself slowing my responses, and that is a matter of growth for me. Now, if I could receive news and respond well. I hope for authentic grace (neither a cheap, wishy-washy imitation…or ugly legalistic non-grace). Still praying for my heart and the hearts of those I know. Wisdom is needed.

  2. This is really powerful, Bronwyn. “Have him question the state of the souls of others: it will keep him from soul-searching himself, at least for a time.” That’s so easy for all of us to do isn’t it. Just thinking about how this pleases the Enemy of our Souls should give us pause.

  3. I’ve done exactly what you did here… after studying The Screwtape Letters, I wrote a “letter” of my own. It was back during the presidential election. Yours is divine, although I just don’t understand why, when so many people need jobs, would World Vision wave their hands around, per se, and advertise this development in their hiring strategy. I’ve not spent enough time on it, apparently, and after reading this lovely letter, I’ll just leave the whole thing alone for now. Thanks for a super blog. I often think of commenting how much I appreciate you!

  4. Very “C.S. Lewis-esque”! And convicting. It is a useful exercise to put ourselves in the enemy’s court, theoretically, to see where he may be making headway. By applying this to a current issue you have given immediacy to a prevalent problem in the Christian community. Well done!

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  6. We studied John 17 in Bible study yesterday. How sobering and encouraging to know that Jesus prayed for unity for His followers, for us. Protection, unity, and love…now to live them out…thanks for another thought-provoking post, friend!

  7. “P.S., And, my dear Wormwood, I must also applaud all of you that the World Vision made such an ill-considered decision to implement the policy without much apparent reflection on what the reaction of many of their supporters would be AND THEN quickly reversed it so rapidly as the brouhaha began. The first act was brilliant, the second was breathtaking. I know that this was not your work alone, only a concerted effort on the part of many of your brethren to sow such discord, bitterness and confusion across the ranks of Christendom – and even to sour outsiders on their Good News. It is extremely important that organisations NOT subject such decisions to careful consideration and prayer and not ‘stick to their guns’. Well done indeed!”

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