Over the next few weeks, we will be releasing excerpts from Donovan Riley’s new book, “Withertongue Emails,” which will be available on March 15th. Here is the first installment.

A reminder to the reader that this is a satire. It is a darkly humorous look at the trials and temptations of a young pastor, who represents every pastor at some point in his ministry. But, in my experience, every Christian will relate to what they read herein because, for every hour of our life, we are attacked. We are chased and hunted down by Satan's agents. And if God did not intervene to strengthen us to withstand temptation, we would be quickly overcome and ruined.

So each email entry in this book is intended to compel the reader to stop and think about their pastor, themselves, and their churches in light of the dangers and temptations which every Christian must bear.

I have decided to enlist the help of someone who is far more adept than me at writing about such things: C.S. Lewis. Fans of C.S. Lewis, or readers of his wonderful book, The Screwtape Letters, will recognize Lewis' DNA in this book throughout.

Here is a sample of one of the early emails from Withertongue to Filthpit. Be on the lookout for more as time goes on!

Subject Line: Contentment is preferable to struggle

My dear Filthpit,

So, your young pastor has trouble distinguishing between the world as he wants it to be and the world as it truly is. This is typical of his generation. His fear of pain and hardship compels him to flee suffering. It is why he will not permit himself to take seriously the Enemy's abysmal display of pain and suffering at Calvary. And how could he take it seriously? Your young pastor prefers a life of contentment to what the Nazarene teaches about taking up his cross. To reinforce this perspective, encourage his pursuit of any desire that helps him to avoid struggle, especially if you can frame it as "God's will." It won't be long before he grinds his teeth whenever "God's will" is evoked because you have doomed him to an endless pursuit of impossible goals. In this way, you can be certain he will never wake up to reality.

Your proud teacher,

Withertongue

Professor and Chair, Department of Pastoral Abuse

phone: (666) 738-1318 ext. 3721

email: tongue.wither@gehennaseminary.edu