The Devil's Schemes

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”¬†¬† ~Colossians 2:8

¬†Screwtape’s initial letter to Wormwood sets up a theme that runs throughout C. S. Lewis’ masterpiece: the devil’s genius in using the material to distract us from the eternal. Screwtape speaks of Hell’s “weapons,” the daily newspaper, radio, television, and, I would add, the internet. He tells his nephew that “man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to have a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together in his head.” And it’s the devil’s intention to keep man focused on that “stream.” That stream of unchecked information that floods us and consumes us.

Information. Stories. Scores. Quotes. Good news. Bad news. Entertainment news. Business. Politics. The bizarre.

The “real world.” We’re so easily distracted by all of it. Bible study is good and prayer is good and church is good. But that doesn’t pay the bills. That doesn’t fly too far once you get out in the “real world.”

Why is Satan so good at making us feel that only the material things are “real?”

Screwtape explains, “Thanks to processes which we set at work in them centuries ago, they find it all but impossible to believe in the unfamiliar while the familiar is before their eyes.”

Information is not neutral. None of it is. All of it that we see and hear and take into our lives has an impact. It all comes from a certain world view. And most of those views are incompatible with what we profess to believe as children of God.

Satan’s plan is not to teach. It’s to distract and confuse. We are not unaware of the devil’s schemes.


OK. OK! The Cowboys are good. They’re a good football team. I’ve not denied that since about week five. I still don’t necessarily like it. But I certainly don’t deny it. Your emails and your comments to me about your team are much appreciated, especially the dry sarcastic ones. Rub it in my face. It’s fine. Very nice. I actually appreciate it.

ThreeCowgirlsAround here, Lance Parrish, our junior high youth minister, always wears his Tony Romo jersey on Mondays after a Cowboys game. That’s only mildly obnoxious. He’s young. It’s cute. But now the office staff has taken it to a new level of irritation. Bonny, Suzanne, and Jackie—all normally mature, level-headed adults—showed up at the Monday morning staff meeting yesterday in their Cowboys shirts. Rubbing it in. Laughing. Mocking. Enjoying themselves fully. And then when I returned from lunch, I was met in my office by an 8×10 framed glossy of the three of them. Mocking me. A continual reminder of my tragically wrong preseason and week-to-week predictions.

Kipi, thank you for being strong.

Everybody else around here, thank you for being so much fun to work with.




  1. Jimmy

    Wow! That really steps on my toes! I haven’t read that book in a long time and I forgot that it had mentioned this. I am so many times distracted even from my own distractions that it can totally monopolize the majority of my days. I sure hope that many people, young and old alike, will read this and take serious note

  2. Kipi

    You don’t have to worry about me, Allan. I will not be wearing anything blue and silver as long as Jerry is in charge.

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