Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Screwtape on Getting on with Brothers and Sisters who Think, Believe and Behave Differently

Vintage St Clive (CS Lewis, that is)! I've always loved this quote but lost it for a while. Found it in one of my notebooks last Sunday.
And all the purely indifferent things—candles and clothes and what not—are admirable ground for our activities. We have quite removed from men's minds what that pestilent fellow Paul used to teach about food and other unessentials—namely, that the human without scruples should always give in to the human with scruples. You would think they could not fail to see the application. You would expect to find the "low" churchman genuflecting and crossing himself lest the weak conscience of his "high" brother should be moved to irreverence, and the "high" one refraining from these exercises lest he should betray his "low" brother into idolatry. And so it would have been but for our ceaseless labour. Without that, the variety of usage within the Church of England might have become a positive hotbed of charity and humility. 
Your affectionate uncle,
The Screwtape Letters, XVI, p75 
Only genuflecting and crossing one's self are no longer the problem. I am reminded of the great divide between mainline and evangelical churches. Just a few weeks ago at a General Synod reception in Halifax, a Bishop told me Prime Minister Harper is a fundamentalist who, therefore, had no time for Anglicans.