Archive for February, 2010
Posted by owner on
February 22, 2010
Published items illustrating the growing impact of neopaganism and occult religion on Western culture.
The San Francisco Chronicle carried the exciting news on February 20th. West Marin’s best known Shamanic priestess and witch, Cerridwen Fallingstar, is accepting applications for her Shamanic Apprenticeship program. If you’re desperate to pursue your inner witch, the paper says you can contact Cerridwen by email..
Left Coast to Milwaukee. Come in, Milwaukee.
OnMilwaukee.com, the city’s “Daily Magazine,” covered a visit by San Franscico’s Starhawk. Seems that Starhawk, who lives with her partner and friends in a little hut in the Sonoma Valley, has been invited by the First Unitarian Society to put on some Green workshops and conduct a few rituals in Milwaukee. Starhawk explains that “the goddess traditions say the Earth is sacred and alive and a living being, and to be healthy, vibrant people we need a connection to the natural world.” While in Milwaukee she’s also promoting her children’s book, “The Last Wild Witch.” When asked what she hoped her visit would accomplish in addition to creating advocates for the natural world, Starhawk explained, “we create ritual and sacred space and hopefully people walk away feeling like they had a lot of fun.”
Legal in Ireland
After a five year campaign Pagan weddings performed by a Druid are now recognized as legal in Ireland. Forty couples are reputedly ready to tie the knot in the ancient ceremony. However, Ray Sweeney, the coordinator of the Pagan Federation Ireland, plans to keep the weddings low key for fear of a “Christian backlash.”
Ritual Dance Restored
Under the influence of Quaker missionaries and the Russian Orthodox Church, traditional ritual dances were banned in remote Eskimo villages. Today they’re being revived in Inupiat Eskimo villages like Noorvik and Cup’ik. Mike Ulroan says he can’t imagine life without the traditional dances. “It’s just a way to make me feel happy,” he said. “With the movements we do, we push away bad spirits and keep away sickness.” Theresa John, a Yup’ik Eskimo and professor of Native studies at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, blamed missionaries for “the destruction of their sacred traditions, including shamans, who were revered as spiritual leaders empowered by the creator with skills and tools to communicate with the spirit world to ensure the welfare of communities.” She states that dancing had nothing to do with devil worship.
Psychic protection and Paranormal Defense!
According to the ad that showed up on my computer February 21st, “Everyone involved in ghost hunting and paranormal research should use some kind of protection to prevent attachments, against psychic attacks, against low level or negative spirits, energy drain, emotional baggage and bringing something home with you.” The ad recommends a four hour, April 10th presentation at the GhostHunter Store in Mount Holly, NJ.
Personally, I recommend the defense against real “negative spirits” [demons] provided by the Armor of God. You can find out about that in Ephesians 6, or at one of my Freedom Workshops.
Psychology and Exorcism Don’t Mix?
Christian psychologist Edward Tynan was censured for professional misconduct by the Psychologist Tribunal of New South Wales. It seems he was treating two patient for DID [Dissociative Identity Disorder] with “inappropriate methods” such as “prayer, visualization, and reconstructing childhood events.” Tynan’s belief his clients were victims of satanic abuse by adults was dismissed as based on “documents best described as sinister, bizarre, sadistic and without scientific basis or psychological merit.” The
Tribunal then banned Tynan “from any alternative healing, psychological treatment and welfare.”
NOTE. The fact and symptoms of satanic ritual abuse are well established as a cause of DID. And prayer, visualization and reconstructing childhood events are often elements in the healing process. See Tom and Diane Hawkins’ outstanding books on this subject, reviewed earlier on Demondope.
Timed with Valentine’s Day, Lady Nylewind, a high priestess with the Billings Mountain Moon Circle pagan group, warned that casting love spells is considered immoral in her religion. “It’s really against the Wiccan religion to affect someone,” she warned. “You’re messing with someone else’s karma.” However, it’s OK to use spells to seek more love in your own life. Thus says the Great Falls Tribune (MO) in a timely Valentines Day article.
Pagan Invasion in New Zealand
It seems that that official statistics show thousands of New Zealanders “follow the pagan way of life.” [The last census showed over 1800 wiccans, spiritualists, and druids in NZ.] Organizers of a pagan festival to be held at Morrinsville say paganism is “so hot right now. We have school teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, police officers.” While admitting that some groups “address the dark side and form a relationship with it,” the organizers promised that nudity and Satan would be banned from the Feb 14,15 festival.
Mark of the Beast?
Virginia’s House of Delegates just passed a law forbidding companies to force their employees to be implanted with tracking devices. Virginia state Delegate Mark Cole, who proposed the law, expressed concern that the electronic implants might turn out to be the “mark of the beast” spoken of in the Book of Revelation. Not exactly news of the occult. But interesting.
Paranormal Home Inspections?
The Salem, Oregon News recently reported that OPHIR, the Occult & Paranormal House of Investigative Research in Salem, is offering a unique service. Their investigators will visit a house or piece of property and make sure that it is not “stigmatized” by the presence of real or rumored ghosts. The investigators pour through records to make sure no murders or other such events have taken place on the premises, and also offer a series of three on-site paranormal probes. While a fee is charged for the research, no fee is charged for the paranormal investigation itself. “That’s our passion,” says Berrnard Powell, OPHIR’s founder.
Speaking of Investigations
In Port Townsend, Washington, another group, PIHA, Pasranormal Investigations of Historic America, is probing the basement of the Palace Hotel, which is said to be haunted by “the Lady in Blue.” According to Robin Alexis, star of the local Mystic Radio talk show, the basement is filled with a host of ghosts. However, after she chanted in the basement one early February Friday night, Alexis claims there is “one less tortured soul” there. The investigation was given extensive coverage in the online Olympia Peninsula Daily News.
A Store to Believe In?
On February 7th the Philadelphia Enquirer featured Botanica Maria, a store that carries an eclectic supply of crucifixes, holy water, saints’ statues and magical candles and herbs for the practice of Santeria, a religion that promises healing and good luck that is common in Latino neighborhoods. The customers come “seeking money, prosperity, open roads,” says the store owner. The Episcopal vicar of a nearby church observes, “When people have something to believe in, they have a little hope in the future. To have good luck, and good things in this life.”
Pink Ouija Boards, No Less
According to a Fox News report on February 6th, Hasbro toys sells a hot pink ouija board targeting young girls’ sleepover parties. Hasbro has sold ouija boards since 1967, although company officials claim the $19.95 product is being “phased out.” The pink edition is available on Amazon.com for $33.99. While Christians have labeled Ouija a dangerous game that “opens up a person to spiritual attack,” the Toy Industry Association told Fox News that Ouija is just another game designed to bring “fun and excitement” to children.
Prejudice, or Just Zoaning?
The Carroll Country [GA] Board of Commissioners heard residents’ claim that the refusal of the Zoning board to issue a conditional-use permit for an “ecumenical pagan group” to use a 33 acre tract as a retreat was motivated by prejudice, not valid zoning concerns. The claim of the “Church of the Spiral Tree” [shades of Avitar!] was refuted by the Zoning board, that stated the denial was based on storage units that were being used as housing on the property. The Board voted 3 to 2 to deny the request.
Don’t Break Wiccan Pacts
In Everett, Washington, Eric Christensen was charged with the murder of Sherry Harlan. Seems Sherry entered into a “Wiccan Blood Oath” not to see Eric’s rival again. When she broke the oath, which was witnessed by another Wiccan, Eric stabbed her and dismembered her body.
Psychic Speed Dating
The Brits are at it again. Fill half a room with folks yearning for love, and the other half with psychics. Spend three minutes with the crystal ball [interpreted by one of the psychics, of course], and move on to the next crystal ball and seer. What you supposedly get is “individual insights into your future for love.” And you get 25 stations for one price! It’s supposedly rather expensive, but you do get a love spell thrown in. And if the one question you’re allowed at each station isn’t enough, you can sign up for 10 more minutes for only 10 Pounds-sterling. So if you’re ever visiting Liverpool England, you can go to the Thomas Hotel on Victoria Street the first Wednesday of every month for Psychic Speed Dating.
Posted by owner on
February 22, 2010
Ephesians 6 introduces us to the phrase. “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” I like that word, schemes, although we might translate the original as Satan’s “tactics” or “strategies.” We need that “full armor,” Paul goes on to say, because “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 5:11,12). Now, that sounds scary. And it is.
But the devil’s schemes aren’t what most of us, familiar with the Gospel accounts of demons and evil spirits, might think. In fact, if we page through the epistles and stop at every reference to Satan or to the devil, or at references to those “powers” that served as the names of demons in the Hellenistic world and thus in Paul’s epistles, we get a rather surprising insight into just what the devil’s schemes are.
If we limit ourselves to the Gospels we get the distinct impression that demons spend all their time crippling people mentally or physically. The people Jesus cast demons from were typically blind or deaf or mute, or were as openly hostile and mentally disturbed as the man called Legion. I suspect that one reason preachers hesitate to mention demons in their teaching is that Christians think anyone who is demonized must act or be really weird.
But when we look through the Epistles, we get a very different impression of Satan’s efforts to trouble believers. In fact, the picture drawn in the epistles is so dramatically different we wonder if Gospels and epistles are dealing with the same phenomenon.
There’s A Reason
There have been three periods in history when the warfare between God and Satan broke into the open. The first period was that of the Exodus, when God performed his miracle judgments on Egypt. Those miracles had specific purposes: they authenticated the revelation given through Moses, they served as judgment on the demon-gods of Egypt, and they confirmed to the Egyptians as well as the Israelites that the Lord is God. Miracles continued to be the norm for the generation that left Egypt to travel to the Holy Land. But then miracles became less and less common.
The next period of open warfare took place in the 8th century B.C. Through the efforts of King Ahab and his pagan queen, Jezebel, the people of Israel wavered between allegiance to the Lord or to Baal. Then God sent Elijah and Elisha, and their combined 21 recorded miracles convinced Israel that the Lord, he is God. Afterward miracles again became uncommon.
The third period of open warfare took place when Jesus began to preach and teach. Jesus’ miracles and the casting out of demons whose presence was obvious to the nation, again served unique purposes. The miracles confirmed Jesus as the Messiah, they authenticated the new revelation which he brought, and they served to judge the evil forces that operated among God’s people. Infrequent miracles continued to mark the ministry of Jesus disciples as the church became established. But then again the miraculous became less and less common.
These periods of miracle and open conflict with the powers of evil were not normative, For most of the Old Testament era and in most times and places during the age of the New Testament, open and obvious conflict simply has not taken place. Satan and his demons have continued their work, but quietly. Satan’s strategies as described in the Epistles are not designed to provoke open conflict, but to cripple, hinder and sabotage what God is seeking to do through his people, without bringing undue attention to Satan or his demons.
A Strategy Survey
Some demonic activity referred to in the Epistles is as crude as that described in the Gospels. Paul was given a “thorn in the flesh” by Satan, a debilitating illness which God permitted for his own purposes (2 Cor. 12:7). It also seems that the Apostle recognized demonic involvement in the hardships, persecutions and dangers he suffered; hardships intended to drive a wedge between believers and their awareness of the love of God (Romans 8:36). Satan’s followers also stopped Paul us from pursuing godly goals (1 Thes 2:18). And 2 Thes. 2:9 speaks of “counterfeit miracles.” While the reference is to a future spate of counterfeit miracles as the end draws near, we should recognize the fact that demons have the ability to enable feign true miracles, something we should remember when dealing with the occult.
Still, overall, Satan’s schemes are far more subtle. The context of verses in the epistles shows that the devil presents temptations to those who lack self-control (1 Cor. 7:5). He encourages believers to punish straying brothers too severely, and to withhold forgiveness (2 Cor 2:11). Satan’s demons masquerade as servants of righteousness, causing confusion between good and evil (2 Cor. 11:14). The devil encourages believers to hold on to anger (Eph. 4:27). He confuses believers so that they take following lists of “dos and don’ts,” legalism, with true spirituality (Col.2:15), and confusing human traditions with unchanging truth (Col. 2:8). The devil seeks to weaken faith and encourage those with weak consciences to violate their own standards of right and wrong (1` Tim. 1:20). Satan encourages conceit and pride in leaders, especially in those who are relatively new believers (1 Tim 3:5). The devil corrupts biblical truth by promoting asceticism (1 Tim. 4:1), and tempts sexually those who are single or re-singled (1 Tim. 5:15). Satan promotes a “wisdom” that’s rooted in envy and selfish ambition, and works to promote failings that ruin a Christian’s reputation with unbelievers. Satan blinds the eyes of unbelievers to the Gospel, and no doubt uses the same ability to blind believers to other realities (2 Cor 4:4). Certainly getting a believer innocently involved in the occult is one of his most effective strategies (1 Cor. 10:20-21).
What is perhaps surprising about this list of what I’ve called the subtle strategies is that they seem so ordinary.
There seems to be nothing supernatural about a person holding on to anger, or acting out of selfish ambition. There’s nothing obviously demonic about a believer’s conviction that a sinning brother should suffer for his failings, or about our unwillingness to truly forgive someone who sins against us. There is nothing obviously demonic about a person taking pride in the things he does or does not do because he or she is a Christian. Yet each of these things is identified in the New Testament epistles with Satan’s efforts to make our lives miserable and ineffective. And it seems likely that what the Epistles identify as a focus of demonic activity is a representative rather than an exhaustive listing!
Each of these so obviously “human” issues, is, however, a focus of demonic efforts to accomplish Satan’s purposes and to thwart the purposes of God.
We can understand demonization as the activity of demons by which they seek to influence or control human beings with a view to keeping a nonChristian from becoming a believer, or with a view to making a believer ineffective in his or her calling as one of Jesus’ people.
At this point it’s important to make a few observations.
1. Each of the things identified above may be manipulated by demons. If we continue to give demons access by persisting in the anger, or pride, or legalism, etc., demons use our behavior to establish a presence in in our lives, and may then exacerbate the problem.
2. In some cases a trait such as anger or unforgiveness may provide a basis on which demons can cause physical illness or other serious problems.
3. In a few cases persistent commitment to one of these behaviors may provide a basis for demons to gain additional control over our thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
The symptoms we observe in the Gospels need not be present at all for an individual be demonized. In fact, it’s far more common for demons to work through the ordinary sins and failings to which the Epistles relate them when describing Satan’s strategies!
Dealing with the Demons
In some cases an exorcism . . . a power confrontation in which one or more demons is cast out in the name of Jesus . . . may be required. But it is much more likely that demonic efforts can be thwarted by becoming aware of the avenue though which demons entered, and dealing directly with that issue. Take anger as an example.
Some tend to react to frustration or conflict with anger. Scripture recognizes this, and encourages the angry person not to sin. The prescription, don’t let the sun go down on your anger, emphasizes the need to deal with anger immediately and in a healthy way. The anger response can’t be excused with a “that’s just the way I am” remark. We need to acknowledge that fits of rage are rooted in the flesh, and are ungodly. We need to look for the root of our anger and seek the Spirit’s help in dealing with it. Often a person with an anger issue will need the prayers and support of others. What’s significant is that in the process of dealing with anger we remove the foothold gained by any demons, and the may demons leave without the need of exorcism.
In other cases anger may have escalated and led to significant sins. For instance, an angry husband may have beaten his wife or a child. If this pattern is deeply engrained, it’s likely that demons will have established a stronghold in that husband’s life. In such cases its still necessary to deal with the root of the anger and also the impact on the husband’s relationship with his wife, family, and all others involved. But generally when anger has established this strong a grip on a person, the associated demons will need to be cast out.
While dealing with such issues and any demons who have used them to gain entrance to one’s life is often necessary, there is a much better way.
Block Entry Points Early
I do believe that Scripture’s description of the Christian as involved in a struggle against supernatural powers that rule this “dark world” is accurate. I have no hesitation in believing the accounts of those in deliverance ministry of confrontations with demons, in which the demons were cast out of a victim by the power of Jesus. I do not doubt that demons can and do cause or exacerbate physical and metal problems, and that we must be aware of the spiritual dimension if we are to help such individuals.
At the same time, I’ve come to believe that rather than deal with demons after they have established a foothold in a Christian’s life, it’s far better to equip Christians with what Paul calls the “whole armor of God,” so that we can take our “stand against the devil’s schemes.”
What’s been exciting for me is to realize that the Book of Ephesians is written specifically to prepare Christians for this spiritual warfare and enable them to block those vulnerable points at which Satan and his demons might gain a foothold their lives.
On a personal note, let me add that this is why I’m so excited to offer my FREEDOM WORKSHOP, which takes participants through the Book of Ephesians, not only explaining each piece of God’s armor, but helping each person actually put that piece of armor on. I’m so enthusiastic about Ephesians and its vital contribution to Christians that I plan to offer this Friday evening/Saturday workshop, free, to churches or groups that wish to sponsor it.
Oops. I didn’t intend this post to end up promoting my FREEDOM WORKSHOP.
I began simply intending to review what the epistles reveals about Satan’s schemes. But the more I learned, the more I realized how key the Book of Ephesians is to building a defense against demonic influence in our lives. And the more thankful I am to have had the privilege of studying this great epistle against the background of the New Testament’s teaching on spiritual warfare.
May you be blessed too.
Posted by owner on
February 15, 2010
Demons are slippery creatures. They much prefer we not be aware of their existence. For those who trust Scripture and believe they exist, demons adopt a number of masking strategies. Here are a few of the falsehoods Satan spreads.
1. Demons may have been active in Bible times, but not today.
2. Demons may be active today in more primitive cultures, but not here in
the “enlightened” West.
3. Christians can’t be demonized because the Holy Spirit is present in them.
The Holy Spirit and demons just don’t mix.
4. All these symptoms fit physical or mental illnesses, so there’s no reason
to probe for demons.
5. If you don’t look for demons [and don’t look, because they’re scary!]
demons won’t bother you.
6. If a pastor should teach about demons he’d opens a can or worms.
Ignore demons, and they won’t trouble good, church-going folks.
These and other fictions have helped keep Christians ignorant regarding demons and how they operate.
I’ve attended various churches as an adult for over 60 years now, and I can’t recall even one sermon on Satan or demons. So Satan’s “let’s pretend demons aren’t around” campaign seems to have worked pretty well.
Trouble Right Here in River City
The trouble, of course, is that the whole time we’ve ignored demons they’ve been free to operate unopposed; troubling individuals, sowing dissension in our congregations, and blocking the spread of the gospel in many different ways.
But even where a belief in demons exists, demons remain slippery. In most causes demons mask their presence in those they demonize, and mask their influence as well.
In earlier posts in this series I looked at possible symptoms of demonization, provided a questionnaire one might use to help identify demonic entry points and continuing activity, and suggested that healing the damage that provided demons with entry often should precede any attempt at exorcism.
But after all these steps have been taken, it’s very likely that even a person experienced in dealing with the demonic won’t be sure demons are present. And this is just what demons want. They will be intent on remaining hidden. And they will hide their presence as long as possible.
So, challenge them
When we have reason to suspect that demons are active in a person we’re counseling or who has come to us for prayer, we need to be sure they are present before taking any other action.
About the only way to do this is to explain to the person we suspect may be demonized something of how demons operate, exacerbating existing problems such as depression or a chronic physical illness, etc. Ask the person permission to test to see if demons are involved. If the person refuses permission, respect his choice. But encourage him or her to return if he changes his mind.
If the person gives permission, challenge the demon to reveal itself. In the name and authority of Jesus Command any demon present to reveal himself. This may take the form of an action, but normally the demon will reveal itself by speaking through the person who is demonized.
As I noted, demons are intent on remaining hidden. So this command may need to be repeated several times. It’s also helpful if you suspect that a demon is causing a specific symptom to command the demon by the name of the symptom. Say, “Demon of despair [or anger, or lust, or whatever the presenting problem may be], “I command you in Jesus’ name, reveal your self,” or perhaps, “tspeak to me.”
A word about demons’ names
Demons are individuals, with their own names and personalities. In ancient times demons took the name of the deities people worshipped. Demons also had personal names, such as Lilith, Beelzebub, etc. As I’ve noted in the series on Principalities and Powers, the way in which people have spoken about spirit beings, and the names given to them, have experienced several transitions.
What’s important to understand is that in the present time, as in the Gospels era, demons take on the name of the problem that they cause. Thus Jesus once commanded, “Deaf and mute spirit, come out of him” (Mark 9:25).
We follow that example in dealing with demonization today, and identify evil spirits by their function. The experience of many in deliverance ministry suggests that each demon has a primary function and is known by that function. Thus when challenging a demon to reveal itself, it’s wise to use the name of the symptom we suspect the demon may be causing when we command the demon to reveal itself and speak to us.
Demonic responses to challenges
It’s important to remember that confrontations with demons involve a power struggle, and that the power is on our side. We speak in Jesus name, with an authority he has given believers. As Paul writes in Philippians, Jesus has been exalted with the intent that “every knee should bow” to him. A demon commanded in the name of Jesus to reveal its presence in a person bows to Christ’s authority, not willingly, but because it has to, comes forward.
As noted, demonic responses may take a physical form, such as causing the person to fall down, fall into an apparent seizure, even fall on the floor and slither as would a snake. This is further evidence of demonic presence.
But the ultimate response, and the one we seek, is for the demon to speak to us. Again, the experience of experienced exorcists confirms that even though the demon uses the demonized person’s speech organs, there will be an easily distinguished difference in the voice and often in a person’s features when the demon speaks.
When the demon finally speaks to us, the exorcism can begin. And that is the subject of the next post in this series: the exorcism itself.
Posted by owner on
February 15, 2010
A Demondope Interview:
When Mike Garrett, teaching pastor at Crossroads Fellowship, told me folks at a nearby church had produced a movie on the paranormal, I just had to find out more! I checked out their web site and got in touch with April Kruger, the COO and producer at Cross Shadow Productions in Apex, North Carolina. She arranged for me to meet with the Director, Dr. Matt Mitchell, who is the Worship Pastor at the Potter’s Hand Bible Church. I learned that “Paranormal” is the third feature-length film the team has made. Here’s what I found out when I went to the church and visited with Matt, a friendly and enthusiastic 37 year old film Director and Worship Arts Pastor.
Demondope: Matt, what target audience were you shooting for when your team wrote, filmed, edited and produced Paranormal?
Matt: Teens and adults today are looking for a fun, clean, thrill ride. But most of the secular films that are out there are so objectionable. Tiaan (the Cinematographer and Executive Producer) and I wanted to produce a morally clean film that would provide some good scares, but would also present the Truth from a biblical worldview. Hopefully, in addition to the church, the movie will draw secular audiences as well, as they need to hear this message more than anyone.
Demondope: I’ve found that most churches stay as far away from the paranormal and demons as possible. Why are Cross Shadow and your church different?
Matt: For one thing, my Pastor (Dr. Steven Rumley) isn’t afraid of the truth, or tackling tough subjects. If it’s in the Bible, he’ll preach it and I love that about him! Recently he’s been teaching a series on Spiritual Warfare, and that means teaching on angels and demons. If we won’t share the Truth on this topic, who will? I’ve read that research has shown that 8 out of 10 teens and young adults are interested in the supernatural, but fewer than 1 in 10 have ever had any biblical teaching on it. That’s why we made our latest movie.
Demondope: I know. I recently checked and found 66 programs on our cable TV that promote pagan or occultic notions about the supernatural. And there’s a new one starting this week on network TV: Past Lives.
Matt: This topic is everywhere now. We wanted to reach people in our culture who like the suspense/thriller type movies, while communicating the truth about the supernatural. In addition to being a fun, exciting story, we always want to introduce the Gospel, not in a preachy way, but naturally.
Demondope: So, what’s your movie about?
Matt: Without giving away too much, it’s ultimately about a Paranormal Investigation Team that is trying to help a best-selling author who is being “haunted by ghosts” in his beautiful mansion. The Team uses all the scientific equipment used by TV’s “Ghost Hunters” and we even get to show some of their other investigations, including an allegedly haunted Sanitarium! Of course, everyone gets in over their heads, as they come in contact with the truly evil spirits that are behind paranormal experiences.
Demondope: That sounds like it could be scary!
Matt: (laughs) Yeah, hopefully it has enough good clean scares to keep the audience on the edge of their seats! This is one of those movies that a teen can invite friends to see at church or at their home without worrying about it being preachy, or offensive. Our movies will never have bad language, sexuality, gore, or over-the-top violence. The friends will get their adrenaline rush . . . and they’ll also get the truth.
Demondope: Say you’re a Youth Minister in a local church. How would you use this film?
Matt: I’d have an overnight lock-in or retreat at church, and encourage the kids to invite their friends. About 10 o’clock after all the games, I’d turn out the lights and show Paranormal. Then follow that up with the Bible study/discussion guide we make available free online at paranormalthemovie.com
Demondope: That sounds really effective, Matt. But Paranormal isn’t just for young people, is it?
Matt: No, it’s for adults too. I wouldn’t recommend it for young children, obviously, as we tried to have a few good scares spaced throughout the movie. When we were shooting this movie, we’d be rehearsing the scene before we filmed it, and I would try to give them a feel for how scared they should, or should not be at this point. We came up with a “Fear-Meter” where I would say, “Okay, in this scene you’re pretty freaked out here… you’re probably about an 8 or 9 on a scale of 1 to 10”. There are probably two or three scenes in the movie where they hit a full-blown “10” (And no, I’m not allowed to tell you where they are. J ) I do want to mention that while you will jump a few times, Cross Shadow doesn’t really make “horror” movies, but rather our movies tend to be more creepy and atmospheric in nature. Most people tend to label them as Suspense/Thrillers.
Demondope: All of your movies start with the letter “P”. Will there be another Paranormal movie?
Matt: Perhaps! (Smiles and laughs) Cross Shadow is always willing to do whatever the Lord leads us to do next. Tiaan and I were instant messaging each other a few weeks ago and we got on the topic of possible future movie titles. Most of them were hilarious, although some were actually pretty good! Tiaan came up with a title that I absolutely loved! I can’t reveal what it was yet, but I can tell you it did start with a “P”. J
Demondope: So where can people find your movies?
Matt: All of our movies are available online and at most Family and Christian Bookstores nationwide. (For an up-to-date list of places to find Cross Shadow movies, click here: http://crossshadowproductions.com/index.php?page=WhereToBuy )
Demondope: Some research I just shared with registered users on my blog, www.demondope.com, indicate that at least 50% of those who go to evangelical churches have bought into the false beliefs about the supernatural that are spread through TV, movies, and the Internet. I’m really excited to see what you’re doing to combat error in this area with truth, and do it in a really powerful medium like movies.
Demondope: In addition to purchasing a copy of the DVD, what else can readers of demondope do to find out more about Paranormal, the Movie, and help promote it?
Matt: On the Official Movie Website (paranormalthemovie.com) there is a button called “Spread The Word” that offers a lot of great ideas to help us out. I would also recommend getting the free, downloadable Bible study/discussion guide as something Youth Leaders can use with their students after viewing the film. They can also show the film in church, at retreats, lock-ins or other groups. We didn’t do this for the money, so we want individuals who buy the film to share it and make it available to others who may need to hear this story. A person can also subscribe to our blog at http://blog.crossshadowproductions.com, to keep informed about Cross Shadow.
(By the way, be careful when going to their site for the movie. After they’d titled the film and secured the domain for their website, the secular film “Paranormal Activity” came out with a similar web domain. So don’t look for Paranormal Movie. Look for Paranormal THE Movie. That ‘the’ in there makes a big difference! )
I left my meeting with Dr. Mitchell at the Potter’s Hand Bible Church feeling encouraged. It’s great to find others who are committed to communicating truths that have been so distorted in our culture. And it’s great to find a team of movie makers in a local church who are not afraid to deal with spiritual warfare. Matt will be sending a copy of the film to me, and I’ll review it in a future post. As this is the third feature-length film the team has produced, I’m expecting great things.
Until then, I recommend that you visit the blog at the address above, and that you also check out the other films the team has produced at www.crossshadowproductions.com.
Posted by owner on
February 3, 2010
The new year brings more evidence that neopagan thought and occult religious ideas have infiltrated the mainstream of American life. Here are examples gleaned from news sources this January
Air Force Academy Goes The Second Mile
Following intense criticism for enthusiastic commitment to evangelical Christianity the Air Force Academy has officially emphasized religious tolerance. Official reports claimed that the “problem” has been resolved. Not the Air Force is going the second mile, adding an outdoor “worship circle” for those who follow “nature based” or “earth centered” [ie, pagan] faith. The circle overlooks the chapel and visitors center at the Colorado Springs campus, and joins other “sacred spaces” set aside for Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists.
Meeting a Need?
Hour long free programs the last Sunday and Tuesday of the month at the LifeTree Café in Colorado Springs explored the appeal of Wicca and witchcraft. A café representative explained, “there’s a lot of misinformation going around. We’ll hear from people who know the fadcts, and discover that the appeal is of Wiccan and Paganism.”
When Julee Higgenbotham fashioned rattles for the Parliament if World Religions to meet in Australia, she had “absolute faith” that one of them would end up in the hands of the Dalai Lama. How could anything else happen? After all, each had been blessed at pagan prayer circles in St Louis, where Julie lives. Sure enough, on the last day of the event the secretary of the Dalai Lama came to accept a shaker from the hands of a pagan from Missouri, wrapped in cloth and twine used at the Pagan Peace Ritual. Other shakers went to leaders of various African and aboriginal tribes. The article, in the January 12th St Louis Post Dispatch, reminds readers that “if enough people focus energy on a goal, good things can happen.”
Pro Witchcraft Novel
In a fiction book titled “Absolution” Canadian author Diana Gendends tells the tale of two girls growing up in Vancouver’s Lower Mainlands. Filled with “strange happenings, telepathic powers, astral travel, and spells that can both heal and paralyze,” the story is loosely based on the author’s own experience. Her hope is that those who read the book will “have a better understanding of Wicca, an ancient way of saying witchcraft.”
Child Sacrifice in Uganda
A BBC news investigative report on human sacrifice in Uganada concluded that the sacrifice of children is “more common than authorities have acknowledged.” One former witch-doctor, who now leads a crusade against child sacrifice, confessed to having murdered 70 persons, including his own son. The practice, which the government admits is on the increase, is linked to the belief that “witchcraft can help people get rich quickly.” One witchdoctor told the BBC, “they capture other people’s children. They bring the heart and the blood directly here to take to the spirits. They bring them in small tins and they place these objects under the tree from which the voices of the spirits are coming.” This particular witchdoctor related that clients come to him on an average of three a week, “with all that the spirits demand from them.”
UAB Exhibit Probes Harry Potter Magick
A traveling exhibit presented by the National Library of Medicine features exhibits that trace the concepts of magic underlying the Harry Potter books to typical “scientific” thinking during the 15th century. Books from University of Alabama at Birmingham collection of rare medical texts reflect some of courses taught at Hogworts, the witchcraft school featured in the Potter books.
Gang Religion Wins Hearing
A prisoner in Virginia has won the right to have his claim that the Virginia State Prison system must recognize Nation of Gods and Earths as a religion. Despite an affidavit filed by the prison department[s Gang Management Unit that the group is a “gang that promoted black supremacy and consistently recruits gang members,” the federal judge allowed the prisoner’s complaint to move forward.
Tract Publisher Labled “Intolerant”
When a FEDEX driver lefts a tract on a car featuring a pentagram and a sticker stating “Goddess Bless America,” the Wiccan owner of the vehicle, a Druid Priestess, complained to the company. The tract was produced by Chick Publications of California, a group called a “hate group” by the Southern Law Poverty Center in Montomery, Ala. The publisher denies
the changes, pointing out that as Christians they see those too whom their tracts speak as “lost,” not enemies. [Not having read any of the tracts, I make no judgment.] FedEx however as spoken to the driver about what they deem his “inappropriate” behavior.
Salem Witch Trades in Baggy Celtic Robes
Leanne Marrama, a member of Salem. Mass. Witch community traded in her baggy witches garment Friday, January 14th. She was given a makeover by the TV show “What Not to Wear,” that tossed out many of her garments. The replacements weren’t shown, though most likely they were black like the clothing rejected.
A new book by UK resident Joanne Brocas, of Druid Temple Lane, Inverness, tells of her work with psychic youngsters. She’s been helping children “see into the spirit world” and claims that gifted children can talk with ghosts, help them cross over to “the other side,” foretell the future and even change the past. She’s also spoken to the Highland News Group and provided tips on how to recognize children with psychic gifts. The article featured in the Highland News failed to mention the publisher of her book.
The British Columbia Interfaith office is sponsoring a series of discussions led by representatives of Christian, Jewish, Wiccan, First Nation [Indian], and other religions. The Anglican chaplain of the University of Victoria, who also serves as a priest in local churches, commented on the surprise of people who discovered that “all priests are not conservative, and that a number of them express progressive views on faith.” The first session in the series featured a “noted filmmaker and spiritual activist” who showed his documentary, “First Light at Cinecenta.”
The Future of Business?
The “Klair Witch Project—Future Proofing Your Business,” has been launched! The project, designed to help businesses get a glimpse of the future and plan accordingly, doesn’t make projections based on data bases and spreadsheets. Their tools are a Crystal Ball, the latest edition scrying bowl, and a set of Cletic runes. One reader of the article asked, “How does one get in touch with them?”
Wicca Welcome in Episcopal Newsletter
The January newsletter of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington featured an article titled Crone Power that included a rite for “croning” along with prayers to “Mothering God” and “Eternal Wisdom.” The author of the report on the article, Jeff Walton, notes that “practices drawn from or inspired by pagan belief, including witchcraft, are increasingly finding acceptance within the ranks of the Episcopal Church.” As additional evidence he sites the influence of the “reimagining” movement of the ‘90’s that encouraged worshippers to refer to God as a feminine deity known as Sophia, and the recent hosting of a Native American smudging ceremony at the National Cathedral during an interfaith conference.
Air Force Faiths
A recent study of the faiths held by airmen showed that 80% identified themselves as “Christian,” with 17% stating no religious preference. The breakdown also showed that the largest group in the remaining 3% identified themselves as Wiccans (1,434), followed by 1,271 Buddhists, 1,148 Jews, 678 Muslims, and 190 Hindus.
Jennifer and Kurt Harvilak of Westminster, Md, saw their outdoor wedding as an opportunity to educate guests about their pagan faith. Raised Catholic, Jennifer began exploring paganism after she met Kurt, who follows a Viking religion. Now she “venerates the gods and goddesses within nature,” and considers herself a Unversalist Unitarian Pagan. The extensive article in the Sunday, 24 January Carrol County Times goes into an extensive explanation of pagan beliefs and practices.
Bi-Polar Pagan Objects
When Jemma Hawkins’ health worker told her to put away objects reflecting her pagan faith, Jemma, of Stubbington, in the UK, objected. The health worker, who visited often since Jemma’s diagnosis in November to help her with her depression, was concerned about the possible impact of some of the objects on Jemma’s son, 10. The National Health Service agreed with Jemma. The “Living Dead” dolls on display can stay.
No Protection for Paganism?
In a case now before the 9th Circuit Court in California the California Department of Corrections is arguing against a suite filled by Patrick McCullum, who claims its unconstitutional to demy him a pagan chaplain. Currently only chaplains of five faiths [Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and Native American] can serve in paid positions in the California prison system. Attorneys for the prison system and the National Legal Foundation are arguing that non-traditional faiths are not to be given equal constitutional protection, as the framers did not have them in mind when the equal protection clauses were written. The effect of a ruling for the prison system would in essence establish two classes of religions: “first class religions,” and “others” not viewed as worthy of full constitutional rights and protections.