Tag Archives: HORROR

Demons and Spiritual Warfare: In Conclusion

Last month, I did a fair amount of coverage on spiritual warfare and ‘demonology’ – of sorts. No, it wasn’t the sort of dense, theological treatise that the belong in the great ranks of theological seminaries, but this is actually what I intended. I wanted the discussion to be more accessible to the laymen interested in the topic. As my series alluded to, the topic is heavily infused within our pop culture, which is why I wanted to do it the month of October- and furthmore why I wanted the series to moreso accessible than high-academic.

Throughout the month of October, I covered various instances of spiritual warfare in pop culture and scripture of spiritual warfare and related it to reality. In this post, I would like to give some key take-away points:

a) We see through pop culture ( and even through Scripture) that the first pre-requisite for being ‘haunted’ or ‘overtaken by demonic control’ is being forsaken, abandoned,dispossessed. One could say this is the condition of the oppressed in the world. Remember the phrase “God-forsaken…”

b) Another component of demonic activity is the notion of vulnerability. This is not limited to simply emotional vulnerability ( see my notes on ableism that sometimes pervades folks’ theolgoy of demonology in the initial post) – this can include those that have been forsaken by society, family, or political system at large

c) In our obsession with the “Horror” genre in film, we should perhaps remember the existential horrors of the sorrows of the everyday. The very real horrors of the poor, the broken-hearted, the mourning, the poor-in-spirit– they are real and cannot be reduced to a mere aesthetic around Halloween

 

Well, whaddya know- went from 5 point calvinism to a 3 point AnaBlacktivist Spiritual Warfare.

 

ūüėČ

‘Til next time!

Demons & Spiritual Warfare: What constitutes ‘Horror Movies’?

2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience

– Ephesians 2:2

Personally, I’ve never really been much into the Horror genre when it comes to films. But this time of year, October/Halloween season, if there’s ever a time I’d be privy to catching a spooky flick, it’d be now! … But in this post, I just want to explore, what exactly ought to constitute a “Horror” Movie?

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Of course , when it comes to the horror movies of the silver screen as they are commonly defined in pop-culture, then tend to feature such elements as ghosts and goblins, witches and vampires, forsaken castles and dungeons, and of course, even the theologically-inspired demons and the otherwise paranormal.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Halloween, Nightmare Before Christmas,Saw, The Texas Chainsaw,Jaws, the pulse-pounding litany of films depicting haunted places and killings…. all these we have identified, collectively as ‘horror’. It’s almost as if it’s been relegated to an aesthetic that’s emphasized Oct. 31st. But what about any other time of the year? What is the danger of emphasizing horror/ the demonic as an aesthetic as opposed to a very real reality that is more than mere fiction?

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Herein lies why I believe I don’t care too much for HOrror films- because they don’t depict the existential horrors (i.e. demonic strongholds) that plague people’s lives. I struggle to take them seriously, even if they may be sometimes fun to watch. In my last post I mentioned Satoshi Kon, a highly regarded Japanese animator who had a huge influence on many- one of which is the great Darren Aranofsky.

Aronofsky is known for some pretty trippy film experiences : The Black Swan and the recent controversial Noah ( yes, even that was trippy!), but none of his films has had quite the same impact on pop culture as ‘Requiem For a Dream’

Without revealing too much, Requiem For a Dream made me understand the demonic like no other movie I’ve even seen. The very title itself is telling- ¬†essentially “[Catholic] Funeral for a Dream”, as we see it tell of the lives of 4 folks whose biggest hopes, dreams and aspirations are literally snatched and gnawed away by the vice grip that drugs ( of various kinds) have on their lives. The looming sense of terror and anguish I felt in my own body just watching this film, was unlike anything any ¬†‘horror’ films could have ever even begun to make me feel. And it made me cringe at the horror of a human life being worn away by the forces of the human condition that are so strong, they needn’t be reduced to an aesthetic. The grip and destruction is real. The destruction wrought on young black unarmed, innocent men and women at the hands of police brutality is real, the effects of war, terrorism, corrupt institutions- if Christ’s ministry teaches us anything, it’s that with Satan being “Prince of the Air” , we are all living in something of a ‘horror film’ that is gradually being redeemed- whose genre is gradually changing!

Spiritual Warfare & Demonic Strongholds: Unclean Spirits/Mental Demons Pt. 2

Content note: brief mention of suicide

So in the last post I tackled mental/emotional issues, most specifically depression, as demonic strongholds that are often symptomatic of our fallen world that is external to us and bound to produce such a heavy , demonic burden on the mind. In today’s post, I want to take it a bit further to the manifestations of mental demons –> i.e. spiritual warfare, and it’s more all-encompassing than just depression.

8Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.¬†”

1 Peter 5:8

 

As I stated in my introductory post for this series, I wanted to explore/use media and pop-culture to illustrate some of these ideas. There are two souls that I wish that more folks knew when it came to film/animation: Satoshi Kon & Darren Aronofsky.

Satoshi Kon.jpg(Satoshi Kon)

The late Satoshi Kon ( died in 2010 of pancreatic cancer) was a prominent ¬†film director and animator and had a penchant for making some of the most surreal animted cartoons (anime) ever to hit TV and silver screens. His emphasis on human consciousness, the blurred lines between reality and dreams, and the ability of the invidual to relate to the outside world are some of his most recurring themes. Some of his most influential work includes the likes of Tokyo Godfathers, Millenial Actress, Paprika and Paranoia Agent. For today’s post, I will focus on Paranoia Agent.

Without spoiling too much, Paranoia Agent is a 13-episode show in which a pair of detectives are charged with uncovering ¬†and finding the identity of “little slugger”, serial attacker/ killer. As the name of the show might suggest, however, the detectives, throughout the show begin to realize something rather perplexing about the nature of the serial tormentor- he may not actually exist, at least not in physical reality. Soon enough, after several episodes in and victims revealed, you begin to realize the unifying theme of all of the “lil slugger’ attacks: he seems to attack those in situations of immense emotional vulnerability – in times where reality seems to be so burdensome, ¬†that the victim, rather than dealing with the situation, the lil slugger comes roller-blading right along with his golden baseball bat to strike the victim and place them out of their misery. The victims typically don’t die but they are unconscious and afterwards, they are more sober-minded. It is suggested throughout the show that the lil-slugger is actually not real but nothing more than a neurotic defense mechanism to protect the victim’s ego from being overwhelmed from outside attack.

Now, this may seem like a random selection at this point, but what I adore about the way Satoshi Kon wrote and conceived of this show is that the Lil Slugger simply is not physically real, rather he prowls around, seeking someone to devour.¬†Preying on the emotionally vulnerable is lil-slugger’s technique and seems awfully similar to how scripture warns of the devil’s behavior.

This of course gets increasingly interesting when we think of the lives of those who are oppressed, systematically. Who else is more emotionally vulnerable than the meek and the poor in spirit? Perhaps this explains the rampant drug abuse/addiction., sex abuse/addiction, etc. we see in oppressed communities of color, especially , something to¬†put them out of their misery. This of course has clear echoes to my last post , as some will sadly seek to do this through suicide. One thing I’ve always loved about Jesus, especially growing up in the pentecostal tradition, is that He is not some nifty narcotic and shot to our vains , He forces us to DEAL with our issues through the power of forgiveness and the refining fire of the holy spirit (Holy Ghost Fire, us pentecostals like to say) , he deals with the unclean spirit and fights and overcomes.

Next time.. I will dive into Darren Aronofsky’s portrayal of a demonic stronghold many are far too familair with – drugs. Til’s next time ūüėČ