Yesterday, I took my iPhone into the Genius Bar for some work. When I turned my phone back on, I received a series of strange texts, each one cryptically signed, "Screwtape." At first I thought it was a Halloween joke, so I played along, texting back. But the more texts I received, the more I realized it was no joke. Here are some of those texts...
Dear Wormwood, if you cannot divide them into new denominations, have them write angry blogs and sarcastic tweets to one another. As you learned in training, sarcasm is a Greek word meaning “tearing the flesh.” Make them so determined to ‘win the argument,’ that they tear at each other, like sharks at feeding frenzy. – Uncle Screwtape
Dear Wormwood, do everything to keep him disconnected from the Voice of the Enemy. Every morning, rush at him with a thousand voices. Tweets. Texts. Instagram Likes. Make him feel a small buzz of approval whenever he gets a "Like." Soon, he will live for an invisible audience instead of those right in front of him. He will believe to be ‘connected,’ but will be utterly alone. – Your Affectionate Uncle
Dear Wormwood, have your patient become a ‘spiritual critic.’ Make him into a misguided whistleblower writing open letters and airing out his theological rage on Facebook. Twist and use him. Whisper accusations in his ear, like leprous distillments, straight from our Accusing Father below. – Screwtape
Dear Wormwood, I see you are having success with this ‘critic’ idea. I am giddy with impish delight! Your patient feels superior to others and will never learn to serve. He has forgotten Grace extended to him by the Enemy and is religiously competitive, believing, like the Pharisee, ‘I am not like other men.” – Your Proud Uncle
Dear Wormwood, your patient is interested in compassion and justice? Do not lose heart. Convince him to build a social media ‘platform’ to make a name for himself, like those at Babel. Soon, he will have insatiable lust to for superiority and will love fame more than people. He will reach for the heights, lusting for the Throne. – Screwtape
I think Uncle Screwtape is right. Not about the content of our online discourse, but the tone and the posture.
Somewhere along the way, it became fashionable for us to be spiritual critics and blog trolls, to fire off tweets and write angry open letters to one another. Our critical, knee-jerk reactions have taken us a long way from the Prince of Peace. When we act in this way, we are more like the Accuser – the “Father Below.”
So Beware! If your social media tone is anything but love, you may be walking lock-step with Uncle Screwtape's wishes. Happy Halloween!