Editor’s Note: Administering a website like this occasionally makes editors privy to some exotic and intriguing correspondence. In light of the particularly dark nature of some letters we have stumbled upon—we can’t reveal exactly how—we thought it our duty to share this series of missives. We appear to be in possession of only one side of the exchange of letters—from a nephew to his uncle. The nephew’s name is Ichabod and his uncle’s name Apollyon, who seems to be in an advisory position of some sort. It’s not our intent to demonize anyone by divulging what we have seen, but we feel we are performing an important service by bringing this devilishly cunning correspondence to light. Here is the twenty-first letter we were given.
My Dear Waffling Uncle Apollyon,
How delightfully you turn both the pro and the con of every question to evil. How I long to be as shifty as you! I shall continue to soak up your tutelage in the two-faced twisting of facts.
This week our congregation had its annual business meeting. I suspected that the gathering would offer me some sterling opportunities, both immediately and in the future, for turning people's thoughts in the wrong direction, and I was right. Even before the meeting, there was a lot of buzzing around about the people to be newly appointed as elders and deacons and committee chairpersons. And this year, for the first time, two representatives from the congregation who are not already serving as officers are to be elected to sit in on meetings of the elders, deacons, and ministers so that the broadest range of viewpoints can be represented in the official officers' deliberations. Also on the agenda is a discussion of the possibility of a periodic review of elders and deacons, so that there is a means of testing the rapport they have with the congregation. I am hoping to utilize your methods of putting people in spiritual double jeopardy, in this case by cultivating both the indignation of those who want greater democracy in the church and the apprehension of those who perceive these efforts as disrespectful and dangerous to proper order and authority. Broad Way has not yet resolved the question of the extent to which women can serve the church in official capacities (their privilege of serving as kitchen maids and baby-sitters has not been challenged), but perhaps even more upsetting to some is the prospect that the new at-large representatives may not be from the social mainstream. We have recently had some conversions (these take place from time to time, in spite of my best efforts) from among the rather disreputable-looking people in a seedy neighborhood near the church building. They have already made a bad impression on the "better" sort in the congregation by speaking out in classes (and even in church services !) about their thrill in finding Christ, and about the need for greater concern toward people in the old neighborhood. Having been told that we are all "one in Christ," these new converts don't understand the coolness of some of their new brothers and sisters to expressing the Gospel in terms that will be meaningful to people who have never set foot in a church before. Thank badness that Christians rarely transcend the social distinctions that separate them in this worldly kingdom of our Dark Prince.
Some observations on being an elected official: I won my seat on the City Council by managing to convince the people at large of my integrity, but at the same time I privately persuaded the political operatives that I was devious and unprincipled enough to carry out their objectives. To paraphrase the Apostle Paul, I am willing to be all things to all people, in order that I may damn some. I must say that I don't think most of the voters would be very disturbed if they did find out that I had cut some corners, so long as I was able to bring a little pork to their section of town. It's getting harder and harder to find something that the public considers scandalous enough to justify throwing one of us rascals out of office, so I should be able to stay in office by making sure that I cross the right palms with silver from time to time--all out of the public eye, of course.
I hope you were as encouraged as I was at the recent national poll which indicated that, although a majority of people still believe in God, a much smaller number believe in the Devil. So long as they're not on the lookout for us, every side is a blind side. They'll find out soon enough how real we are!
Yours in invisible iniquity,
Image: "keyed" by D. Gavey. CC License.