For background information, see "Days of the Dead" at Cornerstone "Christian" Youth Camp
Cornerstone Organizer Responds to "Slice of Laodicea" Article
By Ingrid Schlueter - July 21, 2006
Someone identifying himself/herself as "Lint Hatcher" posted the following comments on the article regarding Cornerstone Festival at Slice of Laodicea.
"I can assure you that in the Imaginarium this year it was made quite clear that people should not mess with the occult. I can assure you of this because I am the one who made it clear! Right up there behind the microphone, I said, "Some people dabble in the pop occult as though they were playing on a rubber raft in a swimming pool. They may actually may be in a poorly constructed canoe setting off into the wide, blue, shark-infested sea." I went on at some length about the harmfulness of Ouija boards and tarot cards, etc.
I don't see that reported here.
I then went on to ask "Where do we draw the line?" You may disagree with my conclusion -- that some spooky things are off limits and others are not -- but I think you would agree that just discussing such things is in no way "introducing teens to the occult". Again, I specifically and at some length went into why the pop occult, so to speak, is dangerous.
Now about the Halloween decorations, the Day of the Dead activity, etc: You make a good point. It's one thing to examine these things, to talk about them, but another thing to hop right into them and put them into practice.
But let's be clear. The folks organizing the Imaginarium, including myself, and the speakers, including Gretchen Passantino-Coburn and John Morehead, had all come to the conclusion that you can't slap a sticker saying "Demonic!" on every single spooky thing or every aspect of these festivals that show up in our culture and down in Mexico.
Spookiness includes a lot of things. Some folks may feel just fine slapping a "Demonic!" sticker of Boris Karloff's forehead, or on wiggly, glow-in-the-dark skeletons. They don't like such things anyhow and aren't losing anything. Others, myself included, are quite fond of Boris and Bela and goofy Halloween decorations.
I drew the line this way: (1) There is a difference between a Ouija board and a Magic Eightball toy. People are tampering with the spirit world in the first case. That is asking for trouble. But playing with a Magic Eightball? It's basically the same as pressing on a Pop-O-Matic dice roller. It's spooky and fun and other things fall into this category. (2) It is possible for a Dad to come home from work and, to his kids' delight, pretend he is a lion and chase them around the coffee table. It is possible for kids to play cops and robbers. It is also possible to dress up as scary monsters for fun (again, within limits -- I'm not a big fan of Freddy or Jason). And finally (3) spookiness is built into the creation. (Give me a minute to explain.) The fact is, spiders are spooky. Bats are spooky. Night is spooky. Skeletons [symbols of death in cultures around the world] are spooky. All these things were around "in the beginning" -- long before the first witch cast the first spell, before any sorcerer decided black cats made good familiars or any such thing like that. In other words, the occult doesn't get to ruin all the good spookiness.
So, yes, there were spooky decorations. Yes, there was a Halloween party. Yes, people were invited to see how things work in Mexico, putting little sugar skulls on a table along with photos of lost loved ones as a tribute and remembrance. But those little sugar skulls are silly, they fall into the Magic Eightball category. As uncomfortable as you may be with them, I don't think you'll find that they cross the line into Ouija board and tarot card territory. As much as you may feel that people should leave spookiness entirely alone, please at least consider that such things are present in the creation and that the occult should not be allowed to lay claim to all of them.
It's not right to jump from "they showed a monster movie" to "they introduced the occult to our children". It's slack thinking. And it's saying really hurtful, untrue things about the speakers and other contributors to the Imaginarium. We showed "The Body Snatcher", for example. This is a black and white film starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. It is based on a Robert Louis Stevenson story. It is about as harmful as a Classics Illustrated comic book. We showed "Curse of the Demon" -- another black and white oldie -- which is about an anti-Christian athiest who comes to believe in God because of a run-in with supernatural evil. We showed "Donnie Darko", which has bad language in it, yes, but is ultimately about a boy who comes to believe in God because time travel experiences lead him to believe in divine providence. [What kind of god or "divine providence"?] They don't use those terms in the movie -- but that's kind of the whole point.
Sorry about the lengthiness of this reply.
One more thing: the whole "levitation" thing mentioned at the beginning of this page.
One of the speakers gave a Protestant perspective on saints of the Catholic sort (there was also mention of the New Testament meaning that all believing Christians are "saints"). The Mexican cultural side of Halloween was being discussed, after all, and there's a big Catholic influence there. In speaking about saints (from a Protestant perspective), the speaker mentioned the various miracles associated with saints. One of those miracles is levitation. Apparently, someone in the audience heard that word and thought, "Hey, that's something that happens in occult practices." This person then proceeded to tell thousands of people online that a speaker at the Imaginarium ENCOURAGED the occult practice of levitation!
What the speaker meant by "levitation" is flying. That's it. Flying. In addition to miracles like healing and prophecy, some "legends", if you will, about saints include flying.
I'm not arguing that those people actually flew. What I am saying is that (1) the speaker was giving a Protestant perspective on saints, (2) one thing about saints is that miracles are attributed to them, and (3) among those miracles was flying. The speaker in no way shape or fashion introduced people to the occult by relating this Catholic claim about some of the saints. (In fact, the same speaker went on to express his disagreements with Catholicism and the idea of saints.)
It is wrong of people to spread the word that this speaker "spread the occult". I know for a fact that the speaker did not sin when he said "Here are some miracles attributed to Catholic saints." I also know for a fact that a person sins if they tell thousands of people that this man "spread the occult". They are spreading slander. False witness. They are not being careful to be truthful and fair. They are playing fast and loose with other people's good reputations. This is especially galling when I know for a fact that I cautioned people to stay away from the occult.
Thanks for listening,
[Note from Berit: Notice the double-speak in this letter. One might compare it with those who warn children not to engage in pre-marital sex but see nothing wrong with the flood of sexual suggestions that flow into their home through television, movies, magazine ads or popular books.
As for "levitation," our 1989 Webster's Dictionary defines "levitate" as "to rise or float in the air as if weightless; to cause to rise or float in the air." That mystical phenomenon has, through history, been linked to pagan sorcerers, shamans, and other occult mystics and gurus. When "Christians" adopt "spooky" occult words -- and redefine them to fit their values -- the result is a deceptive form of syncretism -- a blend of good and evil certain to dull discernment and blur spiritual and moral boundaries.]
Slice of Laodicea will be responding to "Lint" shortly.
© 2006 Ingrid Schlueter
Ingrid Schlueter has been producer and co-host of the Crosstalk Radio Talk Show on the VCY America Radio Network for 18 years. She is author of numerous articles on current issues and is a regular columnist for Wisconsin Christian News. She has also authored, Parent Police: The UN Wants Your Children. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://sliceoflaodicea.com
Other articles by Ingrid Schlueter: Thirty Small Singing Soldiers
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