Cousin, the problem is not that you see conspiracy everywhere— vaccination, climate change, Obama the secret Muslim, the dole bludgers ruining the country— but that you fail to see the obvious one everywhere present, which is the exploitation of the poor by the rich; Trump, Exhibit One. And then vote for him, or those like him. You mislocate and misdiagnose the powers, which dislocates your Faith.
You make the powers and demons into spiritual forces, as in ethereal and invisible forces, which inevitably become the superstitions of The Exorcist and similar fictions. And fail to see the very real presence of evil all around us.
You use the words evil, demonic, or Satan too often, in the wrong places, and too obviously as a projection of your own fears and prejudices. Which repels the rest of us. So we avoid these terms in an effort not to be obnoxious or simplistic. We search for less naïve and more reasonable descriptions of the world. It means we lose the very real insights of our ancestors in the faith, and discount the present realities of evil. We make our own misdiagnoses because, as the old cliché says, we throw the baby out with the bathwater.
What happens if we apply the language of evil, demon, principalities and powers, in a more considered way? What if we do not simply transfer the names onto superstitions— do you not see how you make your fears into the unbelievable, and then magic them away with faith formula (in the name of Jesus), aka spells, like Harry Potter, but not like the Christ? What if we do not simply transfer the names onto superstitions but trust that— or even check if— our forebears were aware of real forces to which we have become blind?
Following Walter Wink, Richard Beck says, (The Slavery of Death pp50)
Rather than view the spiritual as “above” the physical, [something ethereal and unreal; something we have grown beyond,] we can instead view the spiritual as the “inner” life—the “heart” and “soul,” if you will—of a particular power structure or power relation (e.g., social, institutional, organizational, economic, national, political). For example, when we talk about a nation, an economy, an organization, or a corporation, we can consider the “spirituality” each embodies, the top-down culture and ethos that govern the lives of the individuals who serve and participate within those structures…
With this reframing in hand, Wink argues that we can continue to use the language of the satanic or the demonic to name the ruling ethos or spirituality of a power structure that is violent, degrading, and abusive… [Bolding added by me.]
From that, Wink concludes:
“Satan” is the actual power that congeals around collective idolatry, injustice, or inhumanity, a power that increases or decreases according to the degree of collective refusal to choose higher values.
Our collective Australian abuse of refugees, of the poor— think the government's Centrelink extortion scam, and of the sick— we call them in-valids, and that's how we treat them—
—our collective abuse becomes a power and a force for even greater inhumanity or evil. Each uncontested scapegoating pronouncement by our politicians and shock jocks gives permission to the malcontents and psychopaths among us. It validates them, and it validates evil.
It means that Turnbull's acquiescence to Trump, and Morrison's statement that the world is catching up to Australia in its persecution of Muslim refugees, means Turnbull and Morrison are servants to Satan.
And to the extent that we do not decry them, and resist them, so are we.
Powers and evil are everywhere, dear Cousin. You are correct. But in supporting these men, and those even more extreme, you do not notice that they have captured you. Simply crying, "Lord, Lord…" does not determine our allegiance.
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