by Brian G. Daigle
MY DEAR WORMWOOD,
I’m always surprised by your lack of faith in human error. Or perhaps this is your lack of faith in our Father below. It’s as if with each turn of your patient, you anticipate how this may play in the Enemy’s favor and not our own. Your latest anxiety is a classic case. So your patient has become a teacher at a classical Christian school. While some of my colleagues down here may follow your example and expect me to bemoan this turn of misfortune, I would like to say that this could be one of those unexpected turns of fortune, for there is no current educational institution which shows higher promise than a classical Christian school. With your effort to create a few small cracks, the whole thing could burst into oblivion, at least for some individuals. And as you know, it is after all the individual over whom we have any power, so that is where we must do our work.
Your patient has joined a Christian community, and as I told you in a previous letter, if you remember, that a Christian community is fertile ground for our planting and reaping, if only our work takes effect in those individuals. Have you forgotten, my dear student? A Christian community is one of our greatest allies. Your patient only needs to create a great caricature of each of his Christian colleagues, one which they can never live up to, and he needs to always be discontent between his dreaming aspirations and the laborious doing. And let him never see himself more wretched than the person next to him, for that would afford the Enemy real ground. All this is as true in a Church as it is in a Christian school. But this situation of yours, while it is similar to your patient while he is in the pew, it has some specific differences when he is in the hallway. There are several things playing in our favor at this time, and you must take advantage of this present opportunity, however small the successes may appear.
The first opportunity is within your patient himself. Intelligent and well-meaning Christians begin teaching at a classical Christian school and often have high and unrealistic expectations for the caliber of students, the perfection of the faculty, and the maturity of the parents. These ignorant educators are men and women who love their academic subjects, and when others are less motivated or less capable, the teacher may grow cold to their students, lacking their own maturity to do the work required to truly educate. Start by keeping from their minds the true meaning of education, something far from any modern mind; that will be all the better for you. Then, if you can capture your patient’s imagination at the first sign of disappointment, you may be able to settle into him the burdened soil of regret and discontentment. The slightest disappointment in your patient’s expectations could be but the first signs of a great snowball of frustration, bitterness, and eventual resolve to no longer work among such scum. Soon enough, if your patient is willing to talk to others, and many of the Enemy’s followers will indeed disguise their gossip as prayer requests, the city will be buzzing, not with real criticisms and assessments of the school, but with second and third-hand conjectures. And these have always proven to play well into our purposes, for there is nothing easier to twist than the mind of a man who is unwilling to find out and solve a problem for himself.
The next opportunity is also within your patient. Do you see the standard these schools set for their curricula? How many of those teachers have been well educated in the same? How many of those parents who send their children to the school have also been educated this way? There is ripe ground here for insecurities, pride, and misunderstandings. Your patient knows but a few years more than his own students, and the more he knows, the more he will realize he doesn’t know. The Enemy may certainly turn this toward that virtue they call humility, and that could be disastrous for us; it could become like fuel to the fire of learning and what our Enemy calls love. But it could also turn elsewhere, and that is your job. Look for every opportunity to highlight your patient’s insecurities and hidden sins, and make him think the whole world strictly defines and interacts with him as such. The slightest glance from a colleague or a brief word from a parent could trigger all this doubt. Do not let him see the school as a place for his own maturity. Again, that could breed the other virtue they call gratitude. Do all you can for him to see it as his ministry to those who are inferior to him, and in that way you will build in him the virtue we call pride. A man has never found his home with us until pride has first found a home in him.
The other thing playing in our favor is not within the patient but outside him. We have had many successes leading up to this present era. Do I need to remind you of those greater victories? Judas himself walked with the one they call Christ, and that great ancient teacher Prodit turned him to our will. I am sure we will have many more successes to come. You must see your patient in that long line of our Father’s victories more than your patient sees himself in that long line of saints. In the present era, our mounting victories are all around these schools. On a daily basis I receive letters from our fellow colleagues that yet another college and university, yet another family, yet another church, yet another coffee company has claimed for our Father below more territory. These victories are the fruit of the ideas and implications set in motion decades ago. We currently have the high ground; their art is evidence enough. These foolish schools and churches who are attempting to form their students and teachers to the contrary have more work than they realize. It is in our favor that every truth they teach will likely fall amid a grand scaffolding contrary to the Enemy’s likeness. What these students hear once at school, they hear and see the contrary thirty times at home, in the mall, at church, and on their radio. If we can overwhelm your patient with his work, taking away the joy of the burden, then all the faster will he quit his present labors.
I do not know when I can write to you again. My days are increasingly more filled with requests for how to manage the growing number of patients in our care. Particularly in the place they call America, where I believe your patient is, there is a growing commitment to our Father. And so I must call to your attention that it is in this same place where your patient’s schools are thriving. While you are aware that we do not know the Enemy’s next move, this cannot be a coincidence. We must take every sign and seed as a threat to our work, and that means we cannot be surprised that if you are not successful in the aforementioned opportunities, we will lose even more ground,
Your affectionate uncle