Exorcism as pastoral care

I came across a long, detailed account of an evangelical pastor who casts out demons.  Not with a rite of exorcism or a laying on of hands, but with a “conversation” in the context of what sounds like ordinary pastoral care.

The pastor, Rev. Karl Payne, has written a book about his experiences and his approach.

Please read the article–excerpted and linked after the jump–and tell me what you think of it.  Have any of you pastors experienced anything similar?   [Read more…]

Young men living the dream

Research shows that young men 18-30 are more likely to be living with their parents than with a woman.  And that the large number of the unemployed in this demographic are not only living with their parents but spending virtually all of the time they would normally be working playing video games.

But here is the kicker:  They LIKE living this way.  It isn’t that poor economic prospects are causing them to retreat into a depressing isolation.  They consider this a good life.  Expending their sexual impulses in internet pornography, rather than marriage or dating that could lead to marriage, and channeling all of their aggression into first person shooters, instead of the military or ambition or earning a living or protecting a family, this generation is happy, content, and living the dream.

So says Samuel D. James, drawing on the research of Erik Hurst and the insights of Russell Moore, excerpted and linked after the jump.

[Read more…]

A psychiatrist who identifies demonic possession

Richard Gallagher is a board-certified New York psychiatrist who serves as a consultant for exorcists in distinguishing between mental illness and demonic possession.  He tells his story in the Washington Post, no less, excerpted and linked after the jump. [Read more…]

Data on conservatives being psychotic actually referred to liberals!

Remember the study, still cited by liberals, that found that a correlation between “psychoticism” and conservative political beliefs?  It said qualities such as “dogmatism,” “intolerance of ambiguity,” the “fear of threat or loss”  manifest themselves in conservatives, who “are more uncooperative, hostile, troublesome, and socially withdrawn,” as well as less conscientious, less agreeable, and more “manipulative.” Conversely, liberals have low scores on “psychoticism,” making them “altruistic, well socialized, empathic, and conventional.”

Well, in what has been called “one of the most humiliating academic mistakes ever,” the journal that printed the study has posted “the mother of all corrections.”  It turns out, the researchers exactly reversed the results!

Psychoticism actually correlates not with conservatism but with liberalism!  The study found that liberals have the traits of “dogmatism,” “intolerance of ambiguity,” and the “fear of threat and loss.”  Liberals were found to be “more uncooperative, hostile, troublesome, and socially withdrawn,” as well as less conscientious, less agreeable, and more “manipulative.”  Conservatives are the ones who are “altruistic, well socialized, empathic, and conventional”! [Read more…]

Transgendered men in women’s sports

The sports world obediently accepts the new cultural mandates about gender.  That means transgendered men can now compete, as women, in women’s sports.

Consider this case study:  Fallon Fox is a man who has transitioned into being a woman.  He, now called she, competes in women’s mixed martial arts.  Fox has so far beaten–and beaten up–5 women, having lost only one match in a technical knockout.  Here is an account of Fox’s last fight:

During Fox’s fight against Tamikka Brents, Brents suffered a concussion, an orbital bone fracture, and seven staples to the head. After her loss, Brents took to social media to fuel the controversy surrounding Fox’s perceived advantage: “I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because she was born a man or not because I’m not a doctor. I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right,” she stated. “Her grip was different, I could usually move around in the clinch against other females but couldn’t move at all in Fox’s clinch…”

Is this kind of competition fair?  Are those of you who are sympathetic to transgendered individuals OK with this?  And can’t you wait to see how this plays out in the Olympics, which has opened women’s sports to men who have not had “gender-reassignment surgery,” just hormone treatments?

After the jump, a picture and a link to a discussion by J. Douglas Johnson. [Read more…]

Summer Christians & Winter Christians

Some Christians feel closer to God when they are happy (and if they aren’t, they often feel that there is something wrong with them spiritually).  Other Christians feel closer to God when they are hurting or struggling.  Those with the sunnier religious experience have been called “Summer Christians.”  Those with the darker experiences of God have been called “Winter Christians.”

This distinction may have some affinity with Luther’s “theology of glory” vs. “the theology of the cross,” but it seems to be more a matter of temperament.  But in today’s climate, “Winter Christians” may well feel themselves written out of the church.  After the jump, some links to the subject, including a study of how today’s pop Christian music is nearly always oriented to Summer Christians, while Christian music of the past deals with darker, more wintry themes. [Read more…]