My Dear Mogslopper,

A reliable source has informed me that your man has fallen in with a "set" at his church. This news is the first truly positive news I have heard regarding your patient in a long time. Disappointingly, it did not come from you in your last report. Your last report was stuffed to the gills with numbers of profane words used, duration of times of irritation, change in the amount of money your patient gives charitable organizations, and your man's leaning toward one of the political parties I discussed in an earlier post. Mostly, though not entirely, rubbish information. I am concerned, Mogslopper, that your time is being spent bean counting and noodling around with your patient instead of directly suggesting to him temptations useful to our Side. And please do not protest in your next report that you are doing your best. I happen to know that you have taken too keen an interest in this year's fashion debate--a subject far too sophisticated for you--forged as it is in the deepest recesses of Hell. The news that he is involved with an inner circle of "friends", however, is something we can sink our teeth into. Tell me more about your patient's co-conspirators. Truly, the issue of class status is not one that Americans think about or bring into polite conversation; but the issue is there, nevertheless. Who are the individuals in this "set"? Are any of them more highly-born than the others? Is your patient the most "uppity"? Is there one whose employment is seen as the most advantageous financially? Is there one who seems to gain wealth and prestige with a minimum of effort? Among humans, these are the factors that may eventually lead to Envy and Strife--delectable vices when they smolder on for weeks or months or years, just underneath the surface. Friendship is a most terrible virtue. Brotherly love, the kind the Greeks called phileo, was manufactured long ago in the dizzying heights of heaven. When a true friendship forms, we must assault it directly and repeatedly before too much Joy or Hope spills out of the humans. We have but one advantage in the situation--a perforation in the armor of phileo that the Enemy must not close lest the love become something wholly different and unexploitable by Him. Your patient feels an insatiable desire to find companions in this life. As your patient is a male, the desire for active camaraderie, to put a fine point on it, is quite strong indeed. He would befriend an otherwise disagreeable person if your patient found some worthwhile mutual interest. It could be reading, cooking, playing chess, collecting botanical samples or, Hell forbid, financially assisting the orphaned and indigent. This otherwise very healthy drive could also be turned sour by the right nuance of temptation. You could, if your patient is the oversexed lummox that frequently exists in a country of excess, tempt him to mold a natural attraction to his companion to a twisted, lust-filled eros. But, as you may understand through experience by now, sins of the flesh, as they are called, are relatively time-intensive and, I daresay, tedious to produce. Every close association affords us an opportunity for great discord if it can become a clique. A clique, a cabal, a club, can be based on some distinguishing characteristic--the central interest of the group perhaps--that sets them apart from the status quo. This fact is not necessarily beneficial for our Side: a club devoted to charity and fellowship, a good laugh or some fun at the expense of the group members, clubs that educate or sharpen the will of a man; all these are positively unhelpful. But as long as it serves our purposes, this bit of exclusivity, this rebellion is very favorable. A group of bad men united against the goodness of society, anarchists against unity and order, rich men conspiring to line their own pockets--these are the circles of friends we wish to nurture. A group of friends is a sort of school. In it, you can make the good, well-meaning human better; you likewise can make the bad or cruel one worse. The very characteristics that make a club necessary for the Christian--a club the Enemy has designated His Church--are the aspects that can be most easily skewed. A group is self-reinforcing as its members encourage each other on through their mere attendance. In matters of philosophy or religion, the self-reinforcing properties become self-justifying. Humans caught up in this loop of continual encouragement and justification are ready to become martyrs, so heavily are they invested in their cause. Each hindrance, each persecution, counter-intuitively becomes additional fuel for the fires of self-justification. The members of the group become deaf to arguments against their particular belief or organization. The clique has become super-organic, more than the sum of its parts, and the members will see to it that the organization itself carries on past their intimate involvement within the circle. If you have your patient firmly entrenched in a club such as this, he will be unable to hear cries for mercy or balance. His lingua franca will have become one of extremes, even irrational ones. If the group itself is devoted to vice, it might prove to be a juggernaut of immorality and injustice. You can rest secured that Hell will one day be flush with a ripe new crop. How can this be the case when your patient's coterie is well within the confines of the Church? Ah, Mogslopper. If your patient is to be in the wicked kind of club, then a church is exactly where he should be. He will be sowing seeds of discord by the mere haughtiness of his position. Should his membership be secret, he will secretly amuse himself thinking that, while others attend this church simply to further their relationships with the Enemy, he has a much more practical and, you should help him think, higher reason for being there. Aside from the den of personal and secret vice, you might tempt him toward subjugating the Enemy for popularity, financial, or political gain. I went into some detail on this in my last post, but here is another example. If your man is in a conservative church that aims for behavioral righteousness, you should lead him to some "progressive" viewpoints. After a time, he will naturally regard his fellow Christians as "uninformed ignoramuses" or "barbarians". If he is in a liberal church that prides itself on social justice and giving to the poor, have his clique be focused the acquisition of personal wealth and power. He should see his fellow Christians as "bleeding hearts" and "commies". Both may be true, but likely he will not know the full extent that each Churchgoer he meets either does or does not follow the commands of the Enemy. A lively perception of his own superiority is what you should puff-up. The outlandish joke of it all is that, as long as he remains under-the-radar, so to speak, his very attendance--just sitting in the seats, singing the songs, praying the prayers--will become comforting to him, justifying the rightness of his position even if it stands in direct contradiction to the Creeds and songs and prayers he recites weekly. Remember to so galvanize him against criticism that he can no longer sense the internal bouts of conscience that the Enemy may be using to right your patient's listing ship. It is true that pride comes before a fall, and the Enemy will resort to discipline in the end. You must see to it that the discipline is seen as just another challenge to be overcome instead of as a cease-and-desist notice from the other Side. All difficulty should serve to bolster his faith in himself and his cause (assuming his cause is sympathetic to our Cause) rather than in the Enemy. Affectionately, Your Uncle


Post a Comment

<< Home