Ode to Wormwood (Inspired by The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis)

Your job is not difficult,
junior worker for the dark.
Your task in the main
is to hinder your subject’s work
for the enemy.
It’s no secret
the war is lost
but we have many battles
which we may yet win,
so do your best for the company.

You’ve reported
he is passionate.
Well, that is fine,
passions can be redirected.
His enthusiasm for
memorizing scripture,
sharing his faith,
or uplifting others of the opposition
can be channeled toward innocuous pursuits
the moment they are detected.

You say he persists in meeting with his ilk,
sometimes more than twice a week.
This simply indicates you’re lazy.
How hard is it to suggest alternatives to him?
There are dozens of human sports being played on Sunday.
You can encourage him to stay up too late on Saturday.
If you fail to keep him from raining on your weekend,
talk him into believing that’s holiness enough for one week,
or your scorecard may be grim.

Finally, beginning agent,
among your allies,
in addition to the usual vices
are those modern conveniences
such as the internet.
Oh sure, it’s a portal to all
sorts of invaluable sin,
but the not so obvious boon to our business
is its ability to keep him harmlessly busy.
Keep those hours high,
and you may make senior grade demon yet.

© Joel Tipple



Something my maternal grandfather said once made an impression on me. I’m not even sure why it impressed me at the time. I’m going to guess I was somewhere in my tweens, though I could have been younger. He said young people have to be constantly entertained, or something to that effect. I suppose I could have shrugged it off as one of those statements “old people” make. You know, like, “When I was a child, I had three rocks to play with; and I was lucky, the kid down the street only had two!” But over the years I’ve given what he said some consideration. Why is it that we have to be busy doing something all of the time? I think we all know people who have to spend almost every waking moment involved in some activity: video games, TV, etc. If we say we’re Christians, how much time does God get? Does He get dibs on our day? Does he get the leftovers? In the long run, in our search for entertainment, are we settling for a second rate life?

God, why do I seem
always to be dancing
away from the dream.
The dream of a relationship
with you
that’s more than an extra
15 or 20 minutes
when I can fit You in.
The world tries to sell
me a life that’s
more “As seen on TV”
hand crafted.
And as usual,
I get what I pay for.
Help me to give less of me to that,
and more of me to You.
I don’t believe You
ever intended our lives to be
filled with drudgery.
I just think we’ve been suckered into
buying what life is not.
Show us what life is, God.
Show me.