My Dear Globdrop,
As is apparent from your last letter, your man began attending an “evangelical” church. Although things seemed to have turned for the worse, I can remedy your incompetence yet.
Although we would normally do whatever it takes to keep your man from such a regiment, I discovered, after checking the registry, that this church is harmless. In fact, it is to our advantage that he attends for now. As a junior tempter, you’re undoubtedly confused. Let me explain.
You see, although the “truth” visits this tiny army periodically, we have successfully removed from it that horrible “beauty” that so often allures the rodents to the Enemy. This extraction, as we shall soon observe, has rendered them utterly ineffective. Although you brace yourself when you hear the loud cannon fire of orthodoxy, our gates stand unharmed.
Behold the brilliance.
See the pack of rats huddled together — there your man sits. They just sang songs and now gather to hear the pastor preach — Oh, how we love his sermons! You fuss because his sermons “mention the Enemy with regularity,” and, every so often, he, “sticks to the text.” But, my dear nephew, he is safe. He is one of the few pastors we want to stick to the text.
Observe: Do you notice the fidgeting feet, the blank stares, the bobbing of heads floating just above wakefulness? This pastor is a delicious bore. From week to week, only the strong survive his dialogues to the very end. His preaching has no salt, no gravity, no gladness. He gives light without heat. Silhouettes without color. Clichés without content. He starves their souls with the truth, and no one can question it because, as we keep reminding them, he does not preach heresy.
Now, although his voice is gloriously unmusical, this is not where our victory lies. His blurry content and constipated passions win the day for us.
First, his sermons. You fret because, every so often, he says “true things.” But have you studied his manuscripts? They delightfully major on the peripheral. We have anchored his sermon series to this life alone: marriage, parenting, social issues, and more. Remember: we let the rodents scurry through the labyrinth of the Bible (because in this they think they have life) as long as they do not make it to the Enemy himself! In your case, the Enemy merely photobombs his sermons from time to time.
Globdrop, do not shudder when he draws the Enemy’s sword. He bluffs. The Bible is merely a prop for him, an introduction to get to what he thinks about such and such. We have let him reference verses and distribute trite phrases (the more orthodox sounding, the better) because the souls we want to ruin won’t come without them. His actual sermon text is usually the New York Times, U.S. Constitution, or that week’s most retweeted take on Twitter. That old nonsense about heaven and hell, sin and holiness, death and judgment is assumed (another word for forgotten) and the Enemy along with them.
Secondly, his passions. Listen to him! He mentions glory, heaven, and (best of all) the Enemy — but his stale affections preach the real sermon of their true insignificance. He proclaims the Enemy’s Scriptures in such a way that no one wants to read them throughout the week. Do you hear the chorus of sighs every time he exits his exegesis? The people are relieved when he sheaths his sword to give animated “illustrations” from the most recent Marvel film. Subtly, he teaches his people (soon to be our people) what we already know: that the Enemy is the Dreadful Bore.
Now, here is the crux: You must always associate the boring sermon with the Enemy himself. The humans often learn something of the Enemy’s worth by observing their pastor. We must not let him appear happy to be caged with the Enemy by vocation. No one must envy him. Rather, exalt the pastor as the people’s martyr — the one who is deprived of the enjoyable life for their spiritual benefit. When such a Moses trudges weekly down the mountain, his sullen face ensures that the Enemy will never look more pleasurable than Facebook, Netflix, or speciality coffee.
Allow this uninspired tour guide even to take your man to that horrible Cross at Cavalry. His tired disposition and fatigued phrases present the Adversary in such a way that even we hardly recognize him! Yawns, dear Globdrop, damn as easily as heresy — we are well-fed by his sermons.
As long as we can keep the pastor from his prayer closet, deep fellowship, and his first love, encourage your man to go. As long as we can keep provoking the pastor to be that mother bird that chews up the worm for her chicks, while never getting around to swallowing for herself, do not deter him. We will continue to famish this pastor with busyness and distract him with secondary interests so that his burnout will convince hundreds (including your man) that the Enemy is utterly unworthy of his wakefulness, love, or devotion.
Make sure he makes it to church this Sunday.
Your patient and expectant Uncle,