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Asking the right questions 7 September 2005

Posted by Dr Moose in Uncategorized.
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I am normally of the opinion that MLPK isn’t so different from much of the rest of the UK, but rather something of a leader in the trends and attitudes of an affluent society. Even so the profusion of organisations and individuals, both established and as new start-ups, offering a variey of pyschic and occultic services has surprised me somewhat. Whether on the walls of the community halls, in the glossy free magazines or on paper flyers that fall with such profusion on my doormat, you just can’t escape from the stuff here.

Over the last decade or so the increased acceptance and embrace of pychics events, tarot, and the like has bas been noticeable. At the same time, while I haven’t looked too hard, I have not seen any evidence of a coherent Christian response.

That’s not to say that there has not been a reaction. Let me explain. A reaction is what we do, often unthinkingly, and as a blunt tool. A response is one which engages with the questions and issues far more. It looks at the questions of why something is happening and offers an apologetic and constructive engagement. I know of plenty of churches, organisations and individuals that will say loudly and at great length that such and such a practice is wrong, usually backed up by scripture and a number of examples (which sometimes are highly dubious in themselves – such as the largely conservative American attack on role-playing games of the late 80s. Although I would hotly dispute that RPGs are occultic in nature anyway as a general rule).

Surely the question we should be addressing though, is not why such practices are wrong or harmful (and yes I would often agree that they are), but about why folks resort to them – and more importantly what is it that Christians should be doing, not only in response to the demand, but in offering a viable alternative.

What was the tactic of the early church, I wonder? Or even of Jesus? Was it one of opposition and condemnation, or one of offering an alternative? I suspect the latter. The book of Acts preesents us with a number of occasions were distraction or hostility was met with a forceful rebuff in the form of exorcism, but off the top of my head I can’t remember any active condemnation removed from those contexts. Similarly early Christians disposed of manuscripts of magical/occult nature in a public manner, but initially at least, it was as an act of repentance and with their own materials rather than taking somebody else’s.

So that’s my ponder point for the day (or my distraction from other work) – what should be the response and attitudes of the Church and all Christians to the increasing prevelance of psychic and occultic practice in the environment of post-Christendom which we inhabit? Or more specifically, what should be mine, here?

Intelligent responses, are, of course welcome. As usual.

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