The winner of HarperCollins's contest, "The Screwtape Letters—Now it's Your Turn to Play Devil's Advocate," has been announced, and it's quite enjoyable. Amy Schwartz, a journalist with The Washington Post and an observant Jew, imagined Screwtape corresponding with a junior devil whose assignment is a television anchor. But Schwartz avoids predictability: "You may think I refer to the importance of tempting a subject who, if properly turned, can help mislead, confuse and ultimately recruit to our side the many millions of additional souls in his viewing audience," Screwtape writes. "Not so! … What makes this particular task truly noteworthy is the combination of a private person of limited gifts with a powerful and outsized public persona. Purely from a gastronomic perspective, the potential rewards are awesome. Such twistings and turnings of insecurity and self-justification, such excellent and succulent depths of self-deception!"
Since this is a semi-official "sequel" to one of Lewis's best-known works, it may be a harbinger of how HarperCollins will handle the controversial sequels to the Chronicles of Narnia. Like several of the names floated for that project, Schwartz does not share Lewis's Christianity. But that doesn't mean she doesn't respect it—and can't promote Christian truth in her work. "It may seem odd for an observant Jew to nourish a lifelong passion for the works of a Christian theologian," Schwartz says in the intro to her piece. "But I find much of Lewis's humane wisdom to be universal, and this is especially true of the psychological and spiritual insight that fills The Screwtape Letters."
Her entry, in fact, includes a section where the anchor decides he should become "born again." ...1
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