Among C.S. Lewis‘ masterful works is the Screwtape Letters. For those unfamiliar with this book, Screwtape is a fictional senior devil mentoring his nephew, Wormwood, a junior devil, in undermining his “patients” new found spiritual journey. When reading Screwtape Letters it is important to remind yourself that everything is presented from a backward perspective – from a perspective a devil might have. In these letters God is the “Enemy”.
Here is what Screwtape says about Churchgoing:
Surely you know that if a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighborhood looking for the church that “suits” him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches. The reasons are obvious. In the first place the parochial organization [neighborhood church] should always be attacked, because, being a unity of place and not of likings, it brings people of different classes and psychology together in the kind of unity the Enemy desires. The congregational principle, on the other hand, makes each church into a kind of club, and finally, if all goes well, into a coterie or faction. In the second place, the search for a “suitable” church makes the man a critic where the Enemy wants him to be a pupil.”
I suspect Screwtape would be very pleased with the whole “Me Church” culture – both those individuals who embrace it and the churches that promote it.
If you are curious about the Screwtape Letters, they are available online: