Monday, January 30, 2006

Demons: Reaction to a Modern Parable

Yesterday, my church presented for the first time a sermon which actually offended me. After more than two years of sermons which were either spot-on what I needed to hear, or pleasant, or thought-provoking, I didn’t think they’d ever offend me, but they finally did.

The way we do things without a full-time rector is that the sermon duty alternates between three women: the supply priest, the parish coordinator, and a woman who is in the process of becoming ordained. Yesterday was the parish coordinator’s turn.

Her sermon was based around a short story about a woman who is “restless and displeased” with her life, who goes to consult a gypsy fortuneteller to see if she can figure out what’s wrong. The gypsy tells the woman that she is possessed by seven demons, and gives the demons names such as “I Will Not Die,” “Things Will Get Better,” “Someday Love Will Come,” and “If Only This, Then That.” Basically, all of the usual dissatisfactions and insecurities a modern woman might have with her life.

I take exception to this story for two reasons.

The first is that to portray these insecurities as demons is unusually facile. The way the story was written, they come from outside entities. This is a dangerous doctrine, to think of the unwanted facets of the personality as demons or evil spirits. It seems something that could very easily be used to put off personal responsibility or the need to shape our personalities ourselves. “Well, I can’t help being this way. It’s the demon’s fault!”

The second is the inherent assumption that such restlessness is bad. I have found that through restlessness comes creativity and a desire to make my life better. Restlessness impelled me to action at times when I might otherwise have sat passively and let my life crumble around me. God helps those who help themselves, as they say. And who’s to say that a restlessness of that sort is not in itself a message from the Spirit, trying to get through and tell us that we have something we need to be doing?

Surrendering to the will of God, as the story suggested, does not alleviate restlessness. It may direct it and give it purpose, but the restlessness will ever be there, pulsing and preparing the person to act.


At 1/31/2006 12:24 PM, Blogger Tirithien said...

Hey, a new post. :-) Hi there. :-)

A little discomfort is the driving force, isn't it?

I could have taken the easy track in HS, gone for a basic degree in college, and given myself over to the easy path. It would have been so easy to do, but so wrong.

So. Honors track HS, Honors program college, post-bac certifications, medical school. Discomfort drives me, the need to get where I'm going, to creatively use what I have

At 2/10/2006 6:00 PM, Blogger Sensual Demoness said...

I assure you, we demons are really nothing like that at all. ;)


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