Tilting at Windmills

There are two different ways to go through life. Afraid, or confident.

In grew up in the church of the afraid. Otherwise known as the devotees of spiritual warfare. Does anyone even use that term anymore?

I knew people who saw an attack and a plan and a conspiracy against them behind every corner. The car broke down again, that was “an attack of the enemy, trying to prevent you from getting to church and praying.”

Of course, it was more likely that the car broke down again because it was an old crappy car that you bought as cheaply as possibly and can’t afford to maintain, and is not a reliable automobile. But sure, it also died, again, because of an attack of Satan.

Maybe you’re sick all the time because of an attack by the devil. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that you eat unhealthy food, you’re overweight, you don’t exercise, and you don’t get proper sleep.

Sure, Satan hates you because he hates everyone. But you make his job pretty easy when you don’t maintain your car, don’t pay your bills on time, don’t organize your paperwork, don’t take care of your body, and otherwise fail to do the basics required of a grown up for life to go smoothly more often than it doesn’t.

So yes, get all the prayer warriors together to have a special meeting and pray over the many ways the devil has tried to thwart you in your quest to be at every single prayer meeting possible, to pray over all the ways your life sucks right now, and then, maybe be open to the possibility that the answer to your prayers is not that you have been singled out for attacks because you are so stinking special and such a threat to the powers of darkness, but that you are bringing your suffering on yourself by failing to be a responsible human being who does the bare minimum required to be a functional adult in this society.

I’m not against prayer, I’m not. I believe it works. I’ve seen things not easily explained any way other than miraculous, and I have a pretty high standard for using that word, skeptic that I often am. I’m not against people devoting themselves to prayer, or even the idea that some people have a “calling” in that particular ministry.

But I have observed that people who go looking for demons, find them. People who go looking for conspiracies, find one. People who go looking for something to be afraid of, well, they live their lives afraid.

You know the latest thing I just read that Christians are being warned against? Coloring. By coloring pictures in adult coloring books you could possibly be making yourself vulnerable to Satan by meditating on images that might give him access to your heart and mind, as if the magic witchcraft of story books has anything to do with the way power actually works and your heart and will are so inconsequential that you can be tricked by a coloring book into unwittingly hosting the devil himself.

Can we please talk about how insane this kind of thinking is? And while we’re at it, can we talk about the parents who didn’t let their kids watch Star Wars, or have cabbage patch dolls, or read Harry Potter all out of a fear that those things were somehow demonic.

Why are we so quick to fear, and so slow to believe in the authority we have in Christ?

There are two styles of parenting. There are the parents who put their kids in virtual bubbles. “Don’t climb that, don’t do that, don’t go there, don’t try that” you could get hurt. There’s kind of an epidemic of this kind of parenting these days. People who are terrified to give children any independence, any space to try things on their own, any freedom to even try and climb around on playground equipment without anyone standing right beside them. Those kids hit adulthood and can’t do anything, are afraid of everything, and have no skills.

Then there is the second school of parenting, the one that believes that childhood is practice for adulthood and that children must learn to risk, to try things, to acquire skills that make them able to deal with the world as it is once they grow up.

How do you think the sons and daughters of the king of kings should act? How do you think we ought to raise other Christians?

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