Tag Archives: supernatural

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.



‘Til next time!

A Comic Fan Searches For A New Hero: Part 10, John Constantine

A Comic Fan Searches For A New Hero: Part 10, John Constantine

Posted on November 15, 2013 by 

Check out the introduction for background on this series of posts!
Check out part 1: Green Lantern. Check out part 2: Captain America.Check out part 3: Wolverine. Check out part 4: Power Girl. Check out part 5: Aquaman. Check out part 6: Luke Cage. Check out part 7: Iron Man. Check out part 8: Spider-Man. Check out part 9: Wonder Woman.

Detail from the cover to Hellblazer #214 (2005...

Detail from the cover to Hellblazer #214 (2005) by Bradstreet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of you are asking, who the heck is John Constantine? Others are wondering why Keanu Reeves made it onto the list. Well, the horrible movie aside, Constantine is actually a very interesting and off-kilter hero within the DC universe. Also, potentially part of a movie in the next year or so helmed by Guillermo Del Toro.

Who is John Constantine?

Mostly referred to as Constantine, he is a hero only in the loosest sense of that word. However, what he is good at is magic. He very much does not look the part, however, and looks more like something out of an uninspired noir movie from the 1940’s. Still, that is part of his charm. His English accent, his massive tobacco addiction, his utterly manipulative nature, and his low brow charm/wit/sarcasm all combine to make him one of the funnest characters to read. He used to be in a book called Hellblazer, but now resides both in his own self-titled comic, as well as the non-aptly titled Justice League: Dark.

Is this character heroic?  No. He is selfish, manipulative, and very, very unwilling to sacrifice himself personally for the greater good. He may often be found on the SIDE of the greater good, but he would much rather throw someone else under the bus before taking a risk himself. (0 points)

Does this character represent the “powers” or fight against them? Well, he stands against the powers, honestly. No one, I mean no one, really likes him. He is a foreigner. He dabbles in magic that even most magic users find distasteful. He manipulates everyone. Everyone. Never mind that if he ever became the power, he would be the worst leader ever. But that is secondary. He does not represent any power but himself. (1 point)

Does this character kill? Yep. Often in ritualistic and gruesome ways. He might feel a twinge of guilt about it, but… actually never-mind. He doesn’t even feel bad about it. (0 points)

Does this character have a spirituality? Well, he does have that. It is a bizarre and mostly messed up, self-loathing spirituality that comes out of the need to literally interact with spirits and magic, but, it is there, on literally every page. So I guess that counts…  (1 point)

Does this character have an interesting (and sustainable) story to inhabit?No doubt about it. One of the more interesting things that DC did when it folded Constantine back into the DC universe proper (he used to be a Vertigo porperty) was to make COnstantine and Zatana have a past together. She comes as close as anyone to being someone John cares about, and to see them play out the hurt me, save me, save you, hurt you relationship over and over is actually very engaging. Also, John’s relationships with his JL:Dark teammates are worth the price of the book. (1 point)

Does this character have a supporting cast that isn’t just around to make them look good? No. Not really. BEsides Zatanna mentioned above (who really isn’t even his supporting character since she has been more popular and in more books than him). Everyone else in his books are there just to get hurt and manipulated by him,  (0 points)

Does this character have a T-shirt I can buy in size XL? no. (0 bonus points)

Does this character represent, in broad terms, an outlook on life that I can support? No. While it is fun to read about, Constantine is pretty much everything that I hate about people in one place.  (0 Points)

Are this characters powers (or lack thereof) interesting? Yeah. Having a “hero” use blak, dark, and forbidden magic all the time, being immune to its cirrupting effects because he is already corrupt, is a nice refresher from the hoo-rah, mom and apple pie characters that we grew up with. Of course, as our heroes get darker, John stands as a reminder of what happens when you throw out all the rules…(1 point)

Verdict: 4 out of 8 points 

Tune in next time for a discussion of the Incredible Hulk…

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If you meet an angel you should probably run #SPN #Supernatural


Castiel (Supernatural)

Castiel (Supernatural) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, Candida Moss offered a brief but very excellent piece on the Daily Beast about angels and our cultural expectations. What really annoys me is that angels are 1) seen in very much anthropomorphic terms ala Touched By An Angel, 2) that angels are here for us, serving our self-centered needs, being non-disruptive to our day to day lives.

In stark contrast to this approach, one of my favorite television shows, Supernatural took a quite different perspective. In context, for the first three seasons, the only supernatural beings we encounter with the Winchester brothers are demons, zombies, werewolves, vampires, and werewolves for the most part. Season 4 changes everything, as the audience is introduced to angels who wear trenchcoats. Angels we learn have the ability to be more powerful than demons, but because of their “dickish” behavior, and bureaucratic infighting, chaos happens on a regular basis. Yes, angels do adopt meatsuits (human beings who volunteer to exist as shells for our angelic overlords, but the terror that the angels bring to Sam and Dean is something that goes against the grain of popular ideas concerning these celestial beings. Yes, Castiel announces himself as “an Angel of the Lord,” but “God has left the building” in the SPNuniverse so one must rightly ask, just which god are we referring to (if not the lost ancient gods of Greece who wound up lost in the American midwest!). The reason why Supernatural as a series is superior to our favorite cultural image of angels is that angels are portrayed as monstrosities for us to fear, similar to what we see in the Old Testament as Candida Moss pointed out.

“Then Gideon perceived that it was the angel of the Lord; and Gideon said, “Help me, Lord God! For I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” “- Judges 6:22, NRSV

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