Do you ever think about spiritual warfare? I mean really think about it? Do you think the forces of good and evil are warring somewhere in another dimension where they can see and influence us but we can’t see them? Do you believe the biblical accounts of angels and demons and satan? What about Hebrews 12:1 “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” And if we can entertain angels without knowing it, might we also entertain demons without knowing it?
Is it just me, or is this a subject that none of us discuss because it makes all of us at least a little uncomfortable? How many of you have heard a sermon about this at church? If you’re from a protestant non-charismatic background (like me), how many of you have heard sermons about this at all? Except maybe in passing as something that occurred back in Old Testament times.
I’ve had the opportunity to read two books recently, both on the subject of demonology. One non-fiction, one fiction. One for class, one for fun. Both excellent.
The first is Spirit of the Rainforest: A Yanomamo Shaman’s Story by Mark Ritchie. This book is not for everyone, but I enjoyed it because it transported me back to college when I was studying for a BA in Anthropology. Why anthropology? Because I love learning about other cultures. The way we think is largely based on what we were taught and the rules of the society where we live. If you grew up in a different time or culture with different parents, friends, and experiences, would you be the same person you are today? Seems to me the answer is no. But it’s an interesting question, isn’t it?
The Yanomamo are something of a time-warp culture. They are an aboriginal group of South American Indians who had no contact with the outside world until the latter half of the twentieth century. Their culture is violent and is based on retaliation so they are always at war. And they are poor, the kind of poor where life is a struggle just to survive.
What is most remarkable about this book is the chronicle of spiritual warfare from the Yanamamö perspective. With their strong belief in the spirit world, the Yanamamö interact with spirits in a way that Western society does not. The authenticity of the shaman’s stories allows the reader to learn about Yanamamö culture and the impetus for their actions. And you don’t have to read that far into it before you realize that the impetus for their actions is demonic in origin. Fascinating stuff. And amazing when God enters the picture.
The book I just finished today, I highly recommend if you haven’t already read it. Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee. What a ride!
At first, the book seems simple enough. There’s this demon and he wants to tell his story. To explain his view. To explain his perspective. And you almost feel sorry for him.
Then you’ve got the main character, the person the demon is telling his story to. The one that becomes obsessed with it so that this memoir becomes the most important thing he’s doing with his life.
And then you want to know how it all ends.
And when it finally ends, then you see what the story was really about. And THAT is why this is one of the most brilliant and well-told books I’ve ever read.
I don’t want to tell much more about the story than that because I don’t want to ruin it for you if you haven’t read it. But it is multi-faceted and will change the way you think about demonic influence, much the same way that C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters does.
SO, SPIRITUAL WARFARE. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?