A few years ago, I read a fascinating and somewhat controversial book called The Churching of America, by Roger Finke and Rodney Stark. In it the authors examined and brought to light the history of religion in America by arguing it works as a free market economy, an economy in which there are winners and losers. The authors were not pastors or theologians, but professors of sociology and they tackled the issue as sociologists. They do not speak much about orthodoxy or heterodoxy or faithful confessions but use the language of economics.

Last weekend I competed in my first World Master Jiu-Jitsu competition. Over several days, hundreds of athletes descended on the Las Vegas Convention Center for the biggest master’s competition in the sport. The whole event was awesome. I was terrified, anxious and eager all at the same time. To stand across the mat from a person I have never met and engage in a combat sport is something I never imagined I would find myself doing, especially at the age of 44. But there I was, and it was an experience I will not soon forget.

By Cindy Koch

All extremes, except extreme devotion to the Enemy, are to be encouraged. Not always, of course, but at this period. Some ages are lukewarm and complacent, then it is our business to soothe them yet faster asleep. Other ages, of which the present is one, are unbalanced and prone to faction, and it is our business to inflame them.” – C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters.

Set in the turbulent time of World War II, this fictional conversation between demons enlightens the continually crafty work of the modern Satan. Demon Uncle Screwtape writes advice to his devilish nephew, Wormwood, regarding the fate of a person on earth. This man struggles with the most common of things: his friends, his mother, his faith, and what’s for lunch. But it is the task of the demon team to keep him at a far distance from their great Enemy, God.