Wednesday, February 13, 2008

[THO] Witchcraft

Witchcraft is best defined as seeking to manipulate a situation to a desired end. This is especially apt when we take it in a spiritual sense. To manipulate spiritual forces or energies to align to a desired pattern and produce a desired effect. So for instance if you create a love potion with the intention of winning the affections of another, you are engaging in a manipulation of spiritual energies.

At this point I have not made a judgement about if this manipulation is good or bad. I imagine a good number of you have already gone to that place. The word manipulate is one of those words that has a very negative semantic range. Add to that the preconceptions of witchcraft and no one would blame you from heading to those negative conclusions. But I want to pull you back, at least long enough to make my argument. Then when you have the insight feel free to move to judgement - I know I will.

Manipulation is not necessarily a negative word. It simply means to adjust or rearrange. We spend a lot of time an energy manipulating objects in our worlds. In fact I'm manipulating words right now to type this message. So it is possible that what I have described as witchcraft can have a wider field of meaning. Which will be helpful because my main argument is that many Christians fall into the practice of witchcraft all the time.

What do we manipulate? Well the fact is we try to manipulate God.

The biggest example I can think of is the way we manipulate the biblical narrative to escape from the discomforts of real life. We love to craft grand decline narratives about how the world is heading to hell in a hand basket, while Christians just have to wait for God to pluck them up into the clouds so that they can enjoy the morbid apocalypse below. We love to create steps and rituals with the guarentee of success (if followed exactly right, a great out for the inevitable failures) for healing, deliverance and even finding a spouse. We do these things because we have a strong aversion to facing live on lifes terms, and above all we do them because we do not truly believe in the goodness of God.

Now the goodness of God is not a magic cure all for whatever ails and discomforts. It is a reality that is only fully encountered in the midst of adversity, discomfort and even suffering. I'm not glorifying suffering, but I'm acknowledging that the human situation is one of great anxiety and great hope. God is found in between these two, right smack dab in the midst of real life. This is the God who enters into the suffering of humanity to speak a word of hope - the gospel.

So why do we not trust this God? Well, the reality is that God is not our personal Santa Claus. If you are looking for a God who can be manipulated to do exactly what you want all the time - don't look to the Christian God. Don't look to the God of the Cross who was completely obedient to the will of the Father. If you do you will find that this God is not trustworthy in the way you want. Simply because this God, the God of the Cross, does not submit to the manipulations of humans.

You show your trust by giving yourself as completely as God gives God's self to you.

See I believe in healing; I believe in deliverance and I even believe that God will help you in major life decisions. But these things happen on God's terms, not ours. There is no magic formula that will make any of these things happen. God is not even bound by the Law, something us non-Jewish believers are especially grateful for.

Now that's my insight. I ask you is the witchcraft that Christians practice good or bad?

God have mercy and help us to respond appropriately.

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