July 28, 2008 § 4 Comments
I’m curious, I know many of you have an eclectic and varied taste in reading and I was wondering if anyone else out there besides myself had read Malachi Martin’s Hostage to the Devil. This little bit of non-fiction has always presented a bit of a paradox to me. I find it invaluable reading for anyone interested in demonology, spiritual warfare, or the paranormal, yet it is such a … difficult read.
Difficult in that it is most profoundly disturbing. Basically the book chronicles 5 real life case studies of demonization (better known as “demon possession” but I take issue with the term, since that is not an accurate translation of what Scripture says.) The writer, Malachi Martin, is (was?) a former Jesuit priest who meticulously studied these occurances based on the very precise records kept by the Roman Catholic church for the exorcisms they perform. Apparently, they keep immaculate records of personal histories, including notes and written records, and also are in the habit of taping the actual exorcisms themselves with audio and video. So the “vignettes” Martin gives of each of these is very detailed.
The problem I have in recommending the book for anyone who might be interested is that the descriptions of the exorcisms themselves are so… brutal, and defiling.
I came away from this book at once admiring the RC church for at least having the integrity and courage to continue an invaluable ministry that was ordained by Christ Himself, and yet also feeling such repugnance and anger with them for how very badly they have gone about it. In one of the final case studies, the priest performing the exorcism was so brutally scarred– emotionally, psychologically and PHYSICALLY– that he immediately went into early retirement.
It just makes me question… I mean, spiritual warfare is real. Very real. Demons are out there, and they want to kill you. But the Church (as they are on so many issues) is mixed up, torn, and in many cases, in egregious error. Either they go to the extreme of ignoring this important ministry outright, or the pendulum swings the other way and people end up getting unnecessarily hurt or even killed.
It’s just one more ministry I would like to see properly restored from the proper perspective; with wisdom, discernment and love, with a healthy understanding of the Power and Authority in which it works.
March 1, 2008 § 3 Comments
This morning, Matt told me about Larry Norman’s passing last week. For those of you who don’t know who this incredible man was, Larry Norman was a pioneer of Christian music in the 20th Century. He brought “religious music” out of the old-timey hymns and saccharine sweet New Christie era into an era of rock and roll and made faith accessible to a generation that couldn’t relate to, and rejected anything offered by, anyone over 30.
Called a rebel and scoffed at by the Establishment, he along with such groups and musicians as Keith Green, the Resurrection Band, Phil Keaggy, and many many more helped cement the Jesus Movement of the 70’s. Songs like “Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music” and “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” awakened and inspired a generation of young people hungry for righteousness and something good and new.
The Gen Xer’s out there, and the subsequent generations owe a debt of gratitude to Larry and his generation for bringing our music out if the dark ages, and into a form of art that is at once inspirational, informative, convicting, fun, worshipful and prophetic.
God bless you, Brother Larry, and we hope to see you soon along with Keith, and Rich and all our brothers and sisters on the other side. Welcome home.
FYI, not all of the artists featured in this video have passed on, just so you know. 😉
February 5, 2008 § 15 Comments
Today I did NOT vote. I actually haven’t voted in… several years now. I used to vote. Oh how I voted. I would go down to the polls and feel all patriotic and dutiful and stuff. I proudly carried my voter’s registration card around with me in my wallet, and am convinced it saved me when I was put on trial by Q for the crimes of humanity. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t for the crimes of humanity but rather failure to obey a traffic device. And alright, so it wasn’t actually Q, but the judge did bear a rather striking (and considering the circumstances, frightening) resemblance to John DeLancie. But that is neither here nor there.
The reason I do not vote is actually two-fold. At some point, I came to the conclusion that it is WORK to suss out where a politician really stands on all issues, and also where I stand on all issues. I mean, half of the stuff these guys talk about I simply do not think about day to day. How often am I faced with immigration issues? I mean, really?
So the lazy part of me was already starting to lean towards chucking it in on this whole political … thing.
But, being an analytical thinking person, even my lazy part could not be justified. I think. I can’t help it. and as I reasoned out issues and topics and weighed and sifted, it occurred to me that (at the time) neither of the Presidential contenders truly stood for … well… ME. I could not in good conscience vote for either option.
Oh, I know what folks will say, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain; choose the lesser of two evils; he who does not exercise his rights will soon lose them; etc. etc. But a true ethical dilemma and moral question began to formulate.
For instance, in the case of the Bush vs. Gore campaign: Life was my primary issue. I could not support someone who was for abortion. But I also couldn’t support someone who was for the death penalty.
See my quandary? Either way, I was voting to support *someone’s* death. Innocent or guilty, I do not support death.
Well, I thought and prayed about it, and eventually came to the conclusion that there are many things that I believe that do not fit in the political arena. And that there is NO candidate who fully exemplifies everything that I hold dear– and in fact, if there WAS one, I wouldn’t vote for him/her because I so STRONGLY believe in a separation of Church and State and don’t believe they belong in office. Indeed that means that I will not vote for a Christian, because I do not believe Christians should hold office.
Radical, I know.
Turns out I’m not the first or only one to feel this way. I started to look into this and it turns out that historically, the Christians of the first couple of centuries believed the same way– you could not take office once you had become a Christian. And later on, the Anabaptists would revive this understanding and tradition.
So I’m not the only one. And I feel very good about my decision.
July 16, 2007 § 6 Comments
Hello folks! I have created a community for those individuals interested in Church history, and how it impacts us today. It is called earlychurch. I want to invite all of you to join, and if you do, to also post this invite into your own journal to your Christian filter (should you have such a thing!)
The focus of this group is to study the writings of our earliest brethren from the first couple of centuries– the pre-Nicene writings of such as Tertullian, Justin, Irenaeus, Clement and the like. The purpose of our discussions is to explore how their writings might inform our understanding of Scripture. It is important that they not supersede Scripture, but be used as a tool to better understand how those of the first two or three centuries lived the faith that was handed down to them by the Apostles, and see how (and if) we measure up in our faith today.
Some sites to visit for more information of what the earliest believers actually believed and practiced are Scroll Publishing, which also has links to local churches that are attempting to get back to this primitive faith and practice; The Guide to Early Church Documents; The Works of Tertullian; Earlychurch.com; and a link to the first 10 volumes of the Ante-Nicene Writings.
Some other sites of interest are: Blueprint for a Revolution by Reed Merino, Nonresistance.org which has writings from Christians and non-Christians about the peace witness. Tread carefully, many of the writings are still wed to the world.
I do not expect that everyone will agree with what they will find in the early writings, nor are all of the writings in perfect accord with Scripture. But overwhelmingly, the farther back one goes in examining them, the closer to a literal understanding of Christ’s words, and those of His Apostles, one finds. It is my hope that a dialogue may be opened to explore where we are today, how we got here, whether we could be in a better place, and how that might be accomplished. I’m praying for open hearts and open minds.
My desire is to promote unity in the Body of Christ, and my hope is that we may grow in ever greater surrender to our Lord and Master through a deeper understanding of what His expectations of us may be, that our love for Him and one another may grow and that our joy may be made full.
Please join me for discussion!