Father Dwight Longenecker treads some familiar ground in his new book The Gargoyle Code. Father writes the book in the style of the christian classic “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis. Like in the Lewis classic, this book is comprised of a series of letters from a senior tempter in the employ of the devil to one merely of junior grade. However, while the setting is familiar, Father Longenecker manages to bring something modern and fresh to the story.
Of course you probably know Father from his wonderful and funny blog Standing On My Head (A CMR favorite!) or from his many other books. This current book is a little bit of a departure from his more traditional exploration of faith matters in his other books, but it still manages to deliver an important spiritual message.
In the “The Gargoyle Code” we read the intercepted communication between these demonic tempters of men. The tone of the letters are alternately sarcastic, biting, humorous, and downright mean. In these letters they discuss what they call their “patients.” These are the people to whom they are assigned with the express goal of seeing them end up in hell.
The patients are what I found most interesting in the book. The two main “patients” being explored are a young man exploring his faith, potential love life, and vocation while the other is a older Catholic man of a traditional and conservative bent.
While these two characters are very different, to some degree they are both me. Their temptations are my temptations. So much of what the young man is going through and is tempted by seems so familiar, so me twenty years ago. But what hit home even more was the temptations and sins of the traditional conservative Catholic. Secure in his version of the faith, he embraces the rules without embracing the Spirit. His anger at what is wrong during a liturgy blinds him to what is really happening at mass and cuts him off from the grace available, in short, his pride. Like the young man, his sins are my sins. His temptations are my temptations.
So what Father Longenecker manages to do so well with this book is to use the familiar to take a deeper look at your self. He uses the Lewis format to highlight the sins of today. While sin and temptation never really change, their forms do vary. Father Longenecker reveals these age old temptations in their modern and familiar form enabling the reader to see them in his own life but laughing along the way.
“The Gargoyle Code” is a quick and enjoyable 102 pages and easily read in one sitting. However, you will likely be thinking about the lessons therein for a lot longer. Because of this I think C.S. Lewis would be very happy with this book.
You can get a copy of this enjoyable book at Father Longenecker’s Website here.