In the church.
This is a true story. That I watched happened. Up-close and personal, as they say.
It’s the story of a church that was beset.
The head of this church thought what was besetting it was church warfare.
But it wasn’t.
Because this particular church was actually at war with itself.
And it lost the battle. With itself.
Let me explain.
For every person who has ever walked this Earth, there is a soul. A distinct soul. A soul with its own song. Its own point-of-view. Its own way of seeing God. Or not seeing God.
Now souls of a certain kind tend to flock together. It’s why there are different religions.
Each are always much, much better than the others.
This is the only area of our life where I believe in evolution.
But just because souls can and do evolve into a more refined understanding of God doesn’t mean that those who still make their relationship with God as simple as a stick scratching in the dirt are inferior. In the eyes of God, that is.
We try to make it so. We try to prejudge people, putting down unGodly people, casting them away like over-soiled rags.
But souls are souls. And they can change.
They can evolve.
So let them be.
People who are looking for a connection in life, who may even be desperate to feel connected in life, can stumble onto the fraudulent offer made by Satan to connect with him and be part of his family. This is where you will find cult members. And gang members. And lonely little girls.
As the desperate soul receives illusions of connection, Satan gets a piece of its energy.
This is way with soul-oriented evil: I’ll trade you a dream for some of your energy.
And so it goes until a person is pretty much deleted of their soul energy. From this place, they couldn’t connect with God if their lives depended on it.
And, as it happens, their lives do depend on reconnecting with God.
So here is where the church comes in.
But not just any church.
The evangelical church.
The church that requires very little from a person. No knowledge of the prayerbook. No knowing of when to kneel, when to stand, how to respond.
It’s a place where simple music with almost moronic words is played.
And the words are on the screen.
The tunes you have to learn yourself (there’s no reading music here!). And the words repeat themselves.
A two-year old can do it.
And probably does.
You can wave your hands around. You can speak out loud.
You don’t have to wear hats.
It is the emergency room for Satan-bound souls.
They can breathe in the friendliness, the automatic acceptance.
They can sway to the music.
They can sit and just connect.
Connect to what is being said.
Connect to who is saying it.
Connect with the idea of God.
And, eventually, connect with God himself.
My story today is about an evangelical church.
Who was court bound.
Day after day, year after year, they had to fight in court to save their building. Their church.
Or try to save their building.
Years into the court battle, I was sent in.
I’m not an attorney. I know nothing of canon law.
And I tend to be disinterested in church politics and church wars.
The stupidity of churches is of little interest to me.
Not that I didn’t sympathize with this church. I did. I just found the Anglican sentiment of, You keep the buildings, we’ll keep the faith, refreshingly appropriate.
But assigned I was.
And so I went.
And I “saw” a lot.
This is where I came to understand how vibrant, loud evangelicalism could offer solace to suffering souls.
The church even boasted that in its evangelical services, almost all the people there were unchurched.
Were at church for the first time in their lives.
I found this very impressive.
And these services were huge.
This is coming from me, the person raised on the coast of Maine, in a tiny, sweet church.
So a thousand people crying in joy with a large group of priests lined up before them seems huge to me.
And there were multiple services every Sunday.
A lot of souls coming to Jesus, as they say in that world.
So I waited to see what else I would see.
And I listened.
One day, the rector mentioned that a woman had told him that when she looked up into the lights, all she could see was demons.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one God had sent in to help this church out of its struggles.
That I still thought only existed in a courtroom.
The lights referred to were not in the evangelical space of the church, but in an old, worn-in house of worship with wooden pews.
The lights were not the blinding bright ones in the celebration romper-room.
They were soft teardrops that floated over our heads.
After hearing with the other mystic had told the rector I began to study the lights. What I noticed is that their shades were filthy.
I wrote and advised the rector to clean the lights immediately.
What a fool I must have sounded to him!
I shrugged my shoulders.
But this whole little dynamic really caught my attention. I began to want very much to know what was going on.
So I prayed. And waited for the answers. And here is what I got:
As souls were being saved in the other sanctuary, demons were being expelled. And they were staying in the church. They were clinging to the church with the hopes of finding someone else to infect.
This is why, when I was alerted to the presence of the demons, I wanted the church—at least the lights—cleansed.
The church building was infected. It was teeming. If it were termites, no one would question getting help for it.
But because it was something from the unseen realm, and because evangelical clergy like to think that keeping their feet on the ground at all times and remaining logical was good, and thinking they had all the answers and knew everything, no one in the church cared.
That the church itself was becoming increasingly desperate to get the current tenants Out Of The Building.
Orthodox priests have the advantage of knowing that they are not the knowers-of-all-things. And that the unseen world does exist, with its angels and demons and flowing motion, and that God works in mysterious ways.
If you are looking at something—anything—if you are savvy enough you will know that you are not seeing the whole thing. That there is always an unseen side to it all.
And so it was at this church.
The powers-that-were at the church saw only the court battle.
I saw only the dynamic that their successful ministry to Satan-bound souls had created. One that eventually backfired on them.
It’s like a hospital. An operating room.
A doctor takes out an infected organ. He disposes of it. And the staff thoroughly cleans the room afterwards.
No one just thinks that because the “seen” organ is now gone that the room is safe from infection.
We now know that all kinds of unseen thingies float around and can get us and kill us.
So we clean.
With all our might.
So that someone coming into that operating room next won’t be infected.
By what we can’t see.
But not so in this church.
We only wanted success in that which could see.
It makes me think of Jesus, in a way. The people around him wanted him to be the Messiah, but only if he led them to victory over the people who oppressed them.
It was all, Begone with your life after death nonsense. We want freedom here and now!
And so Jesus died.
As did this congregation.
Who was shooed out of the building.
Out you go!
I also think that any religious work that involves healing has to remember that steps must be taken to finish the job by cleansing the person, and closing all the portals that were opened in the process.
Jesus knew what he was talking about:
When an unclean spirit comes out of a man, it passes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, “I will return to the house I left.” On its arrival, it finds the house vacant, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and dwell there; and the final plight of that man is worse than the first. (Matthew 12:43-45)
Funny. This is right in the Bible.
And yet this very successful church just ignored the warning.