Marcia Z. Nelson 3/22/04
In "Gimme that Old-Time Spirituality"
Scott Tunseth, publisher of Augsburg Fortress Books, a Lutheran publisher, says spirituality publishing is now blending traditioinal resources with a strong interest in mind-body-spirit concerns. Barbara Laymon's "The Devil's Inbox" (Augsburg Books) updates the classic C.S. Lewis "The Screwtape Letters."
The Living Church
Patricia Nakamura, August 15, 2004
Screwtape and Wormwood for the 21st century! PC and pc.
Even Hell has modernized to the point where senior devil Anesthesia (Anasty1) uses e-mail - well, h-mail -to communicate with and advise her niece, Termite N. Fester (gnawingirl), on the new graduate's first assignment, a young middle-class woman. This time they are all women: God is referred to as "MH" for Mother Hen, from Matthew 23:37.
Amusing, yes, but Ms. Laymon gives us pointed insights, too. "True community comes about only when the humans can disagree - passionately, sometimes - yet still care for one another. We have a much simpler task - get them to disagree on some issue and develop hatred and divisioin around it." And "It should be easy to convince her that fundrasising will do more good than ladling soup." Pithy, thought-provoking, as the best of our e-mails.
The Dallas Morning News
Jeff Zell, October 10, 2004
This novel, modeled after "the Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis, has a contemporary twist. E-mail, not snail mail, is used. The major characters are female. God is addressed as the Mother Hen. The demons and victim are female. Anesthesia advised her understudy, Termite, on how to sway her victim from worship and hope in the Mother Hen.
"The Devil's Inbox" raises interesting questions: Are there really demons? How do evil ones influence people? Barbara Laymon's narrative suggests that demons do not control humans. Rather, demons influence a human's decision to not trust and worship God by putting suggestions of fear, doubt and anxiety in their heads.
Termite is instructed to use circumstances such as marital unhappiness, the stress of raising children and disappointment in relationiships at church to create dissonance within her victim and between the victim and her family and God.
Reflective Christians will have "aha" moments while reading this book. The demon's strategy for creating busyness and unhappiness will be all too familiar.
Francis C. Rossow, October 2007
... The Devil's Inbox is a gem, theologically sophisticated and attractively styled.