The Devil Likes to Sing is laugh-out-loud funny at places and clever throughout. It’s the story of Timothy McFarland, a student at University of Chicago Divinity School. After failing to get a dissertation approved, he hangs around Hyde Park, Chicago, developing a career as a writer of schmaltzy gift books.
Comparisons between C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters and Thomas Davis’s The Devil Likes to Sing are inevitable, but I can’t go there. When I tried reading Screwtape years ago, I just couldn’t get into it. (Let me assure the Lewis fans who just gasped in horror that I have read many of his other books.)
Not long after graduating from college, I found myself editing Christian History magazine, a richly illustrated quarterly where most of the contributing writers were academics but most of the readers were not. Honestly, I had more in common with our readers than with our authors. On my way to a B.A. in English literature, I had taken one class in Christian thought, one in Western civ, and zero in church history. I also had basically no exposure to Christian traditions other than evangelical Protestantism.
Compassion & Choices, a death with dignity group, recently polled a representative group of likely California voters, asking how they’d vote on a measure to give terminally ill people who are of sound mind the right to request a life-ending medication. Nearly two-thirds said they’d vote in favor of it, including 53 percent of Republicans. Ignacia Castuera, a United Methodist minister and a Compassion & Choices board member, believes baby boomers are going to want that choice when they reach the end of life. Previous death with dignity efforts in California have been defeated with the help of religious groups, including the Catholic Church. Five states now have provisions for assisted suicide or assisted dying (Los Angeles Times, September 30).