We’re so desperate to be a part of the inner ring that when they approach and ask you to bend a rule, look the other way for just a moment, or participate in their well-intentioned but off-the-books plan, you’ll compromise your principles as the price of admission. The problem, Lewis explains, only compounds itself as time goes by—compromise gives way to immorality, and before you know it, you’re a scoundrel.
One of the terms that has become popular in the last year is the deep state. In other words, people recognize that there is the institutional government, the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, but that at a deeper level there is a group of people and institutions that truly make the decisions and run things. Whether there is a deep state or not is best left to historians and political pundits, but the truth of the matter is that most schools, churches, businesses, and organizations have what C. S. Lewis called “inner rings.”
Perhaps you’ve seen this phenomenon in a church. The church has its pastor and elders who are supposed to be the group that makes the decisions in the church, but in reality, there is a small group of people who really make the decisions.