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Deadworm

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  1. (2) "Breathe:" Some in my congregation absolutely adored this simple little chorus as a means of putting them in a prayerful attitude for our time of silent prayer.
  2. I'm actually grateful for the correction. I normally look up such references before posting, but this time I trusted my memory of reading "Memories, Dreams, Reflections" back in the 1980s. But my mistake does not affect my main point. Jung predicts a repeat of the immediate loud boom from the bookcase. I want to respond to Burl's case of childhood possession. About 15 years ago, I attended my Aunt Ruth's funeral. My Uncle George was a retired Pentecostal pastor. He shared this exorcism story with me in the presence of my cousin E. who is a psychiatrist. When E. was just 3, George was summoned to perform an exorcism on a possessed lady. My Aunt Ruth waited with E in the car outside the house during the exorcism. When the demon was finally expelled, E's eyes rolled up in their sockets, so that only the whites were visible and E began screaming hysterically. Apparently the demon had left the woman inside and was infesting little E, who had no concept of what was transpiring inside the house. His parents prayed frantically during the drive home and the demon apparently left. E said that all he recalls of this episode is having a vision of being safely cradled in the arms of Jesus. It is striking to me that a psychiatrist like E considers this an authentic case of a demon seeking to control his young mind.
  3. There is a wise old saying, "A faith nor worth sharing is not worth believing." To grow in any faith, one needs to explore varying experiences and unanswered questions. Those evangelical sites primarily serve the needs of Christian fellowship and faith support, and are not proselytizing sites. Omo the lack of comparable progressive sites is a deafening silence that bears witness to an impoverished spirituality that creates no hunger for growth and spiritual exploration.
  4. For me, the most interesting autobiography ever is Carl Jung's "Memories, Draams, Reflections," which is a history of his soul rather than a history of his life events. A primer on basic Jungian psychoanalytic concepts is helpful because Jung shares childhood experiences that catalyzed those concepts. At one point, he explores channeling, something he would later regret. Soon paranormal experiences began to plague his house. For example, he would find his dishes and silverware totally rearranged in his kitchen by an unseen hand. Once, there was a loud knock at his door. When Jung opened it, no one was there, but he heard a disembodied voice say, "We are Legion and we are from Jerusalem!: Around that time, one of the most famous atheists ever, Sigmund Freud, paid him a visit. During their conversation, there was a loud boom coming from a nearby bureau. Such explosions had been happening at times during Jung's occult exploration phase. Freud tried to explain the noise as natural house rumblings. Jung responded, "Well, wait! It will happen again!" Another loud boom immediately followed and a visibly shaken Freud left. Later, he wrote Jung to try to explain away the 2 booms as natural house noises. Jung presents a copy of Freud's letter in his autobiography.
  5. I now shift my focus to the first of 3 short praise choruses that are most conducive to creating a reverential mood, a longing for more of God, and a desire to pray. The posted chorus, "You Are my Hiding Place," is a choral prayer response to Psalm 32:6-8. Every worship service should have a time of prayer preceded by a couple of minutes of silent prayer and meditation. I always used this structure: (1) Expression of Congregational Joys and Concerns (2) Preliminary Prayer Chorus (to create a reverential mood) (3) Silent Prayer (4) Pastoral Prayer (followed by congregational recitation of the Lord's Prayer)
  6. As you can see, Dee, progressive Christianity is as dead as this site. If you search for Christian discussion boards, you will find many evangelical sites, but almost no progressive Christian sites, though there are some small Facebook progressive chat groups. Why is that? Well, consider this Wikipedia definition: "Progressive Christianity is characterized by a willingness to question tradition, acceptance of human diversity, a strong emphasis on social justice and care for the poor and the oppressed, and environmental stewardship of the earth." Sounds good enough. But our regional United Methodist Conference is progressive and lacks any meaningful discipleship programs. When one attends their annual conference, one looks in vain for evidence of a rich inner life or any strong belief in the power of intercessory prayer. So their social focus is basically a means of compensating for the fact that their faith just doesn't work well and their social focus is virtually indistinguishable from secular organizations like the Rotarians, Kiwanis, et al. My United Methodist denomination (13 million) is currently being rocked by schism due to their recent rejection of gay marriage and gay ordination. The progressive wing is in steady decline and the evangelical wing in Africa and the Philippines is growing in leaps and bounds. So the Progressives just don't have the votes to advance their agenda.
  7. When the 70 return from their preparatory missions in Palestinian towns and villages, they report their succession mission, including their ability to perform exorcisms. Jesus accounts for their success by saying, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven (Luke 10:17-18)." Jesus' incarnation was apparently timed to coincide with a dramatic change in spiritual dimensions.
  8. Well, nothing in Roman religion itself would account for Latin xenoglossy. But consider these 2 facts: (1) In the classic possession case that inspired that movie "The Exorcist," a pivotal moment came when Father Bowdern got the child victim to agree to taking Holy Communion. The demon haughtily challenged the efficacy of this sacramental act by snarling: "There's a word he might say that might force me out, but I will never let him say it!" That word proved to be "Dominus." the Latin word for "Lord" (Christ as "Lord"). When the boy, after great struggle, was able to say that word, a possession lasting months quickly ending in exorcism in an explosion of blue light that was seen by a group across the street in St. Louis. (2) There is a widespread false belief that exorcisms were commonplace in Jesus' time. In fact, there is not a single example of an exorcism of an evil spirit in the Roman world prior to Jesus. But after Jesus, exorcisms became commonplace in the Roman world. That might help explain Jesus' claim that His exorcisms ushered in the kingdom of God. My cousin E's Dad told me the story of E's exorcism as a 3-year-old. E is now a psychiatrist and he confirmed my uncle's account for me. I'll recount the details of that case in my next planned post.
  9. Burl, in the Catholic exorcist discernment process, they have been taught to look for xenoglossy (not just Latin) as a sign of possession. Modern speaking in tongues is an awesome gift as an expression of worship and surrender to God. But sometimes seekers merely want a spiritual high akin to a drug high. In such cases, the act of surrender needed to speak in tongues can function like a Ouija board and attract demonic entities. Fundamentalist opponents of speaking in tongues use such cases as a strawman to attack the whole modern phenomenon. One of the most important spiritual lessons I have learned is this: every powerful life-changing experience of divine power has its counterfeit inspired by dark forces.
  10. Burl requested that I deal with this topic. So I decided to start a separate thread for that purpose. When Christians discuss modern possession and exorcisms, they do well to heed C. S. Lewis' s famous caution; “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.” The first issue that needs mentioning is the Gospel distinction between demon possession and mental illness: "People brought to Him all who were ill of various diseases, , those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed and the mentally ill [Greek: "seleniazomai" ] and the paralytics, and He healed them (Matthew 4:25)." This Greek verb is often mistranslated "epileptics" because of its use in Matthew 17:14 where a distraught father uses the term to describe his sick son's symptoms which are reminiscent of epilepsy. But there are 4 objections to this interpretation: (1) Mark is the source used by Matthew here and Mark does not use this verb; instead, he uses the phrase "dumb spirit" to label this son's condition (Mark 9:17). (2) So it is Matthew's interpretation of Mark that labels the son "mentally ill." Demon-possessed victims can also be mentally ill, but not all mentally ill people are demon-possessed. That point is established by Matthew 4:24. Those mentally ill and those possessed can display overlapping symptoms. (3) The Greek verb "seleniazomai" derives from the noun "selene" which means "moon," and so, the verb literally means "moonstruck." The Latin equivalent of "selene" is "luna," from which we derive the word "lunatic." So the Greek verb cited in Matthew 4:24 means "moonstruck" or "insane" or "mentally ill." (4) Sirach 38 (c. 200 BC) in the Catholic OT may be instructive here. It encourages Jews to combine prayer for healing with medical consultation and the use of herbal medications and then insists that consultation with a doctor is essential, even after prayer for healing has been offered up. By implication, the doctor's craft might be the instrument by which God answers the prayer.
  11. C. Austin Miles composed both "In the Garden" and "Dwelling in Beulah Land," both of which imo have the most beautiful poetic lyrics of any traditional hymn. In his photography room, Miles had a waking vision of Mary Magdalene, clad in a white robe, visiting Jesus' tomb on Easter Sunday morning. "In the Garden" represents his hymnic response to Mary's subsequent encounter with the Risen Lord in the garden. Miles claims that the words of the song came to him very quickly almost as if dictated. That interests me because of the way that the words of his other hymn "Dwelling in Beulah Land" came to my attention. It is hard to believe that the same composer wrote both hymns! Here is Elvis's rendition of "In the Garden" sung at slightly slower than normal pace: https://www.bing.com/search?q=in+the+garden+youtube+&form=EDGNB1&mkt=en-us&httpsmsn=1&plvar=0&refig=6cd4eba53f8f4d31914a2b16bc0c64bb&sp=-1&pq=in+the+garden+youtube+&sc=8-22&qs=n&sk=&cvid=6cd4eba53f8f4d31914a2b16bc0c64bb When I was a Methodist pastor in a traditional church, I felt the need for a livelier traditional hymn to supplement our Hymn book . So I went for a long walk in the country, meditating on what to do. Suddenly the words of an old hymn I'd only heard once as a boy 30 years prior were sung in my head! When I then introduced "Dwelling in Beulah Land to my congregation, the effect was electrifying, partly because our pianist was an accomplished jazz musician. "Beulah" is a Hebrew word for "marriage. So the hymn gives poetic expression to a 2nd honeymoon with Christ on the mountaintop of an exalted intimacy with Him. The contrast between the poetic constrast between life "below" and life "above" is poignant an inspiring. The posted rendition of the first 2 verses offer an idea of how Jon's piano accompaniment sounded: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?...550ECFBCEAFFCB397E64550ECFBCEAFFCB3&FORM=VIRE Here are all the lyrics: Far away the noise of strife upon my ear is falling. Then I know the sins of earth beset on every hand. Doubt and fear and things of earth in vain to me are calling. None of these shall move me from Beulah Land. Refrain I’m living on the mountain, underneath a cloudless sky. I’m drinking at the fountain that never shall run dry. O yes! I’m feasting on the manna from a bountiful supply, For I am dwelling in Beulah Land. Far below the storm of doubt upon the world is beating. Sons of men in battle long the enemy withstand. Safe am I within the castle of God’s Word retreating. Nothing then can reach me-’tis Beulah Land. Refrain Let the stormy breezes blow, their cry cannot alarm me; I am safely sheltered here, protected by God’s hand. Here the sun is always shining, here there’s naught can harm me. I am safe forever in Beulah Land. Refrain Viewing here the works of God, I sink in contemplation. Hearing now His blessed voice, I see the way He planned. Dwelling in the Spirit here I learn of full salvation. Gladly I will tarry in Beulah Land. Refrain
  12. As a pastor, I often had to deal with the problems of the homeless. Let me offer 3 examples" (1) A was a mentally ill homeless woman. Like other local young women, she became trapped in a drugs-for-sex arrangement and soon thought her heroine and cocaine were superior meds to her own. If her problem were just mental illness, she could have received treatment. But social agencies wouldn't help her because of her drug habit! She was often violent and spent a lot of time in jail, where I regularly visited her as a favor to her parents. I learned that half of our prison inmates are mentally ill. Since they can't get treatment, incarceration is their only option, but that just makes their condition worse. Ultimately, she got in legal trouble in another county that has a therapeutic court. Treatment was mandated and she is now living successfully with her parents. We are fighting to get a therapeutic court for our county. (2) Sean had moved to NE Washington from California. He initially lived with his brother, who got him into hard drugs, including some meth. Drugs made him schizophrenic. He moved here and lived in his tent in the woods. If I tried to take him out for lunch, he would quickly leave the restaurant, curl up in a fetal position, and claim that everyone was reading his thoughts and condemning him! Misguided pastors treated him as a demoniac and tried to exorcise him. So I had to try to persuade him that he was mentally ill and not demon possessed., I repeatedly warned him that he couldn't survive the winter here in a tent. He said he loved snow, but I reminded him that the issue was colder temperatures than he ever knew in California and on the west coast. I sent him to a psychiatrist and social service agencies for appropriate meds, but no one would prescribe them for Sean. Their only concern was to determine whether he was just looking for money to buy drugs! Eventually, I lost contact with him and wondered why. I soon discovered the reason. The increasing cold had panicked him into prowling cars and stealing their valuables. He gained enough money to move into a motel near my church. One night a cop came to his room with the motel owner and demanded that he open his bag. Inside was a gun he had stolen from the motel owner's car. He removed the gun and stared at it vacantly. The cop unloaded his revolver into Sean's chest! What made this particularly sad for me was that the night before I had just gotten him a place to stay inside and a regular source of free food. (3) Gary became homeless as a result of a failed business ventured. He eventually stayed in a rescue mission in Spokane 75 miles away. He then got a job here and became a saint! He is a treasured member of our weekly prayer group (5 regulars), delivers Meals on Wheels to elderly shut-ins, and conducts worship services at a local nursing home.
  13. Just a footnote to spiritual experience (4), the spiritual and emotional highlight of my life. Weeks before the experience my faith was crippled by doubt and I found myself drifting towards agnosticism. Then someone gave me a Mormon Tabernacle Choir record. Now as a 16 year old, my favorite music groups were The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. So this high brow choral music was not my cup of tea. Still, 2 hymn in particular had the effect of intensifying my longing for God to make Himself real to me. The first song was "Come, Come, Ye Saints" which I heard as an allegory of my troubled spiritual journey: https://www.bing.com/search?q=comr%2C+come%2C+ye+saints+mormon+tabernacle+choir&form=EDGNB1&mkt=en-us&httpsmsn=1&plvar=0&refig=921544bb3f5749dfbaafdc2316dcb661&sp=2&qs=HS&sk=HS1&sc=7-0&cvid=921544bb3f5749dfbaafdc2316dcb661&cc=US&setlang=en-US The 2nd is Gounod's "Holy, Holy." Looking back, I'm awed by how deeply moved I was by a passionate longing for God as this majestic number built elegantly to its climax: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=gounod+holy%2c+holy+youtube&view=detail&mid=CA8C0D0FDDCC52765E9CCA8C0D0FDDCC52765E9C&FORM=VIRE
  14. (3) Kari Jobe sings "Revelation Song" which has lovely lyrics drawn from John the Seer's visit to Heaven as recorded in the Book of Revelation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-zk-E55dRk
  15. I'm posting my next example because the family involved hunted me down and called me last night. I was embarrassed because they were good friends and I hadn't contacted them in over 10 years after moving form Buffalo, NY, to northeastern Washington state. I'm puzzled by how the family was able to track me down and was humbled and delighted to hear from them. Karen, the mother of Austin in the testimony described below , wanted me to know that our discussions on the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the paranormal long ago had born fruit because she was now a Charismatic Christian. We will now be e-mailing each other on a regular basis. (3) When I was a pastor in Buffalo, NY Austin was a quiet teenager who avoided my many discussions on paranormal incidents with his parents. What we didn't know was that Austin had become addicted to opioids. One day, he accepted his friends' dare to go see the movie Paranormal. Austin was not the horror movie type and it frightened him badly. Soon thereafter, he began to see lights in his closet in his blackened room. He tried to ignore this, but soon psychokinetic experiences began to terrorize him, e.g. his blankets would suddenly be ripped off his bed by an unseen hand. Finally, in desperation he confessed all this to his parents. They invited 2 charismatic Christians who supposedly specialized in deliverance ministry to bless their house and exorcise any demonic presence. This had no effect and the paranormal manifestations continued relentlessly. Then in desperation, the parents called the Catholic church. This step was hard for them because they were not pro-Catholic by any means. The bishop sent a gentle Nigerian priest who, with no histrionics, quietly took command of the nasty spirit presence and successfully exorcised the house. There were no more paranormal manifestations. This Nigerian apparently had had prior experience with African witch doctors (shamans). I learned about this and met Austin's baby son, when I was asked to return to Buffalo to perform the wedding ceremony for Austin's brother. I like to share this story with anti-Catholic charismatics who seem to think they have a monopoly on deliverance ministry. Again, the right prayer partner proved decisive. In my 12 years as a theology professor at a Catholic university, I had a colleague who was a priest exorcist and had been a good friend of Father Bawdern, the priest who had performed the exorcism in the famous paranormal that inspired the horror movie, "The Exorcist." This priest knew the paranormal details of this afmous exorcism. As in my friends' case, in that famous exoicism a Protestant minister had attempted and failed to perform the exorcism and was injured by the boy's superhuman strength in the attempt. And that's why Father Bowdern was summoned and proved to be the right choice. I am known around here as a debunker of alleged possession cases, because I have had to deal with the harm done by wannabe exorcists who treat ordinary psychopathology and mental illness as cases of possession. Real possession cases are rare and every step must first be taken to find alternative explanations of the aberrant behavior and phenomena. Still, my family has encountered and dealt with a couple of dramatic possession cases in a convincing way, but only a couple in my lifetime. Again, the right prayer partner was essential. Prev 1 … 13 14 15 16 17 … 32
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