Monday, March 31, 2008

Subtle Changes

Alert: For those of you who are not familiar with phrases such as; Spiritual Warfare, Ruling and Reigning, Cleansing the Land, Ruling Spirits over a Region, Spiritual prayer over a region or a city or the names of Cindy Jacobs or Dutch Sheets, you can just skip over this post. You really won’t understand it except to rejoice with me that these things are not part of who I am now. Go have a cup of coffee and thank Father that you don’t have this stuff to purge from your lives.

One of the surprising things in this journey has been watching myself change in very subtle ways. There have been moments of extreme change in how I view things or how I may act now (like my last posts details- Thanks to all the wahoos offered there) but those are easy to see and notice. Other things are changing though and I didn’t decide to change them…they just are different now.

I was driving with Husband to Georgia for a brief visit with his parents this weekend. We love to drive and it was a good get-away. Mostly our driving time was in listening to Rob Bell preach and then listening to Wayne Jacobsen’s series on Transitions. Great time together. We love driving and processing together.

The thing I noticed though was during a quiet period. Husband drove past a small city in Maryland or somewhere along the way. As we passed over the bridge and I took in the downtown section I thought to myself, “I bet there are great people there. I could live there I think.”

Now this might not be amazingly different for you to imagine someone thinking but let me in on what I might have said just a year ago in passing this city.

“Hmmmm…I wonder what spirit resides here in this city. It feels dark and controlled. I bet there are people who are praying here against the darkness. Maybe from that hill over there. Yes, that would be the spot to pray from. Wow, I bet the churches in this area are not even aware of the presence that I feel here. Probably not an apostolic presence in this city at all.”

Does that weird you out or what???? EWWWWWWWW!

This trip, I loved driving past cities and just loving the people in them. Realizing that Father is especially fond of them and desired a relationship with them. I laughed and cringed at what I would have thought before. What a waste of time and how inflated my ego to think that I could even know that stuff. It makes you constantly alert and fearful because the enemy is sooooo big. In that alertness you miss on the simple act of loving the people there and dreaming of a possible relationship with them.

I really am beginning to like me so much better now. I bet the people in that town would too.

21 comments:

Erin said...

OK, I think Blogger ate my comment...if this is a duplicate - just delete one...

Anyhow, I have been one of those people on the hill a time or two calling down and binding up and casting out...I have all those books (well, not anymore, most of them are at Goodwill now)...Ewww is right!

I'm afraid you have a rebellious spirit, young lady. I know I do. ;-)

Sue said...

A rebellious spirit 'cause you don't want to indulge in what sounds strangely closer to witchcraft than anything else (how ironic is that)? Rock on, dude. Rebel all you like. Just make sure you blog about it afterwards ;)

Tracy Simmons said...

Barb, oh I can soooooo relate! That used to be me, too. Thank God (literally) I cannot even relate to that old mindset any more. Freedom is just so tasty!

malegra said...

Heh. All those spirits in Maryland were already cast down, 'cus we had prayed them out years ago. Sigh... what a mess I was. So glad to be free, and just love folks (and myself) for who they are, and who I am.

Well - you're welcome to stop in our little Maryland town anytime!!!

Jen said...

Oh man this so hit me on nail on the head. I can recall being with people I work with and thinking they are full of the devil and have evil spirits out to rob me of my destiny. I also can't tell you how many times I thought that of people who lived in my own town. Now I look at them and think maybe these people are hurting and what could I do to be a friend to them. I sold all my cast them out, pray out books on amazon. They paid for my brand new computer. I like you like myself so much better now. Of course all my friends who still go to those kinds of churches think I am now in the category of the ones I used to curse.

Maria said...

I had a brief acquaintance with that sort of thinking/praying... thankfully it was balanced with some people who still had their heads on straight. I remember one friend's comment -- and she was a primary intercessor with some in that circle -- that we don't need to watch our backs if we're bowed in worship. Kinda takes the wind out of all the fear and paranoia, doesn't it?

Travis said...

i never fully got immersed in the Cindy Jacobs and Dutch Sheets books, but i have always straddled the fence of a) wishing i was able to "do" whatever it is what the authors said was available and b) wondering whether there was any validity to these things at all in Christianity (which, in hindsight and as sue has mentioned, it appears similar to witchcraft). so i guess my question is, do you think there is ANY room for these things in Christianity (and that, for instance, perhaps it has gotten out of hand and it just needs to be "toned down"), or is it entirely out-of-place?

Brad said...

Great post and comments – I wasn’t heavily involved in this stuff, but have been circling around the edges of it for awhile. Hard to find a balance – still working on that.

If you’ve been adversely affected by the “Transformations” theology and “spiritual mapping/strategic-level warfare prayer” practices, you might be interested in getting this book I found over 10 years ago: *Spiritual Power and Missions: Raising the Issues* by Edward Rommen. It’s available at amazon. It has several articles that give a substantial theological critique of the Otis-Jacobs-Sheets-Wagner-etc. system, if that’s part of how you want to process your release from captivity.

I attended the second ever spiritual mapping conference in 1994, not because I was a total advocate, but because I am a cautionary critic and wanted to find out what this was about. I have had many friends directly involved as advocates, and I could see something seemed out of whack. I wrestled for a few years with whether the Transformations system was biblical, abiblical, or anti-biblical. I finally concluded it was an abiblical system (not substantiated in Scripture) that easily becomes anti-biblical (a counterfeit system) by taking us away from the clear teachings of Scripture. (Though I still do hold to many aspects of spiritual warfare and theodicy, even as a never-been-Charismatic missional-minded mostly-Baptist-in-my-theology guy!)

Here’s an analogy I came up with to explain what I see as the core problem. It’s like we’re doorkeepers who stand in the open doorway between two rooms. In the outer room it is fully dark. In the throne room sits Jesus and it is full of light.

Spiritual warfare praying wants us to stand in the doorway, facing into the dark room, and focusing on casting out the darkness. Some of the light from Jesus flows past us and into the dark room. We occasionally turn toward Jesus, but not for too long because our supposed job is to stand against the darkness.

But what Scripture wants of us is to stand in the doorway, facing Jesus, taking in the light. When we stand in the doorway and face Jesus, the same amount of light goes around us and into the dark room as when we go the warfare route, plus we can always turn temporarily to greet anyone who comes near because they are being drawn toward the light.

We become like whatever we focus on. If we integrate our lives around Jesus, we ourselves are transformed and can affect the people around us. It’s ironic that when we integrate our lives around how people are influenced by Satan, we ourselves become inhumane because we no longer see humans, only spiritual forces. I wonder if all abusive theologies are built around such contempt for the very people whom God loves …

Meanwhile, welcome back to the land of Aslan! His springtime has arrived and is melting the gloom and desolation of the White Witch’s winter …

Tera Rose said...

ARE ALL THESE POSTERS SPIRITUAL ABUSE SURVIVORS????

OMG,

THERE IS AN ARMY OF US!

Tera Rose said...

OK NOW BACK TO THE POST-

um, yes, been there- done that - but (oh soo embarrassed) over the city of Hartford- I'll have to blog someday-

LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS!

OH MY!


:)

Ruth said...

Barb you are so great at putting stuff out there that we think in our head.

I'm with Travis...is there a place for it? There must be a balance. I am so tired of extreme's. I love balance.

I'm from an evangelical background where Satan was rarely mentioned. Certainly no books in the library about it other than someone telling you not to worry your pretty little head about it.

But now I meet all of you who have had the opposite experience.

It's just so great to get it out in the open isn't it?

Brad said...

Over the past few years, I've been trying to find a balance on this topic, starting from the rather odd journey of an post-liberal/evangelical/Baptist who has studied cross-cultural missions since the 1970s and hung out with friends in the spiritual warfare/prayer movement, but am now primarily associated with "emerging" and missional movements, where cultures frequently function in an post-Christendom/anti-hyper-rationalist/spiritual powers framework.

Go figure ...

I don't know what it means either ...

Anyway, about a year ago I posted a lengthy comment on Dutch emerging guy Marc van der Woude's blog. It's about "theodicy," a doctrinal perspective which gives a storyline framework to the unseen world without letting it hijack The Main Story. If interested, check out this link. My comment is near the bottom, and interesting that the final comment is from a Charismatic brother searching for balance within the emerging movement.

http://marcsmessages.typepad.com/mm3/2007/02/emerging_feedba.html

Also, you might find *The Invisible War* by Donald Grey Barnhouse a reasonably balanced view on the doctrinal side of spiirtual warfare.

Heather said...

I bound the spirits with the best of them. In my experience, the most awful thing about this 'spiritual warfare' mentality is that the Great Commission is completely forgotten.

Don't tell people about the good news - bind and loose and cast out instead. Don't point people to Jesus, but teach them how to look evil squarely in the face. Don't for goodness sake believe that God is above all and in all - find demons wherever possible and spend time focusing on those instead.

It's such a backwards way of thinking.

In the whole time I was binding, loosing, identifying and casting out demons, I never told a single person the true good news of the gospel. Not a single one. That was a good waste of five years or so.

My biggest regret now is the amount of time I wasted following after things like this that did nothing for the cause of Christ. My greatest joy is that I found another way before I wasted any more precious years.

Barb said...

You guys are amazing. Again the comments are better than the original post. I am still chewing on what I think now about the whole thing. I know it was out of balance, just not sure where I'm going to draw the line or decide where I am going to be at this point in my life.

The one thing I do know is that the whole movement took it out of relationship with what Father was doing now and made it a formula. What worked one place (if it did indeed worked) was transported around the globe as the 'way' to do it.

It did make an office for people where they did not have to BE light, just pray for it.

Jesus did not instruct his disciples to pray over the area before he sent them out two by two. He asked them to go and say that the Kindgom of God had come close to them.

Simple and organic. Jesus said he saw Satan fall when they did this. At least that is how I read the passage.

And Tera Rose, many of the people on my sidebar linked are from abusive situations. There is an army. It is a very safe army though. Bent on healing and not adding hurt.

I am looking forward to following the links and books provided. Thanks so much.

Erin said...

As I followed the comments here, I got to thinking...I always felt that something was "off" in all this spiritual warfare stuff I participated in...it was always uncomfortable for me, even as "good" at it as I was...and I think Heather hit it.

We never really proclaimed the gospel...we were WAY more focused on the demonic than Jesus. It's really sad.

Also, I haven't even begun to come to terms with the abuses I experienced in this area yet...it's funny how long that can take to unravel.

Thanks for bringing it up, Barb.

Mike said...

I feel possibly slighted. Did you drive through my dark town without writing ahead? You and your husband could surely have spent a few minutes on my dark porch!

Barb said...

Malegra and Mike,
I am soooo map illiterate. I am the kind of person who gets in the right hand seat of a car and sleeps the whole first half of the trip and reads or in this case listens the whole last half. I have NO idea where we are going.
If you draw a line from the middle of PA to the top middle of GA then you will know if I passed by your town. And then let me know because if it is on our way we would LOVE to stop in you dark little towns and sit on your dark portches and maybe drink a dark beverage! Husband's fav is diet coke, mine is a lager.
(husband just told me that we went through the top narrow part on highway 70.)

Katherine Gunn said...

Barb said:
"The one thing I do know is that the whole movement took it out of relationship with what Father was doing now and made it a formula. What worked one place (if it did indeed worked) was transported around the globe as the 'way' to do it."

This may go a little off topic, but this sparked something in me. This whole 'formula' idea. I think of the teachings I got on prayer, praise, faith. etc., and it was all distilled down to a formula. It was almost like we could, just by doing things 'the right way,' conjure up God's Holy Spirit to do our bidding. Witchcraft, indeed. Ewww!! is right!

I got involved with Dutch Sheets & company only peripherally through and online thing called 'The Elijah List.' After a while, I began to get an uneasy feeling about many of the contributors. It felt more like the spirit of man than the Spirit of God.

That 'transporting it around the globe as the way to do it,' is at the heart of many denominational splits, I think. It also demonstrates two things (at least). First, a hugely limited view of the creative nature of the Holy Spirit and the desire to be diverse and spontaneous, and second, a desire, on the part of leadership, to be in control of things, including God Himself. In my experience, well . . . good luck, guys. He will do what He wants. ;-)

Sue said...

Thank God He will do what He wants :)

Bill Kinnon said...

Barb,
You are a very good writer. I'm sorry I haven't been tracking your blog the way I should have been. You're in my Google Reader feeds now. And I'm enjoying catching up. (Right now, from a hotel bed in Portugal.) Write on, sis!

Barb said...

Bill, Thank you so much. I'm honored. I have read your site since I began coming out of our situation here last May and have always highly respected your site as much of it was instrumental in re-orienting myself. Here's hoping you can see the ocean from where you are right now!