I wrestled with a demon. So I wrote a book about it.
The story is about a demon I battled while growing up in Plattsburgh, NY. If you don't know about Plattsburgh, it is a city that is rife with demonic activity. Something I didn't truly learn until many years later after leaving New York.
Most Christians don't understand demonic activity
I became serious about my Christian faith back in 2000. However, I've been part of "the Church" since I was a child. During my early childhood my mother had me enrolled in everything from being a white-glove usher, attending Sunday School, being part of church plays, singing in the choir and serving on Potluck Sundays.
As an adult I found myself still married to the church as I found different ways to serve in ministry. Everything ranging from building websites, doing video production, open air preaching, jail ministry, blogging and evangelizing on the street. It goes without saying that the Church has been a huge part of my life. A very consistent theme that I imagine was all part of God's sovereign design. To this day I am still serving God's Church with my time.
However, time isn't something that we often have a lot of. And so I realized it was necessary for me to publish a story that I held with me for most of my life. I wanted to release it before my time ran out. The story is about a demon I battled while growing up in Plattsburgh, NY. If you don't know about Plattsburgh, it is a city that is rife with demonic activity. Something I didn't truly learn until many years later after leaving New York.
I've been around the Church for most of my life and one of the things that I've learned is that most Christians don't truly understand what demonic activity looks like. They simply think they do because they've memorized verses and theological talking points. These ideas are then paired with experiences that are often unexplained or don't have a happy ending, so the explanation for these experiences are boiled down to "demonic activity".
I've been part of countless churches that echo the same scriptures regarding demonic activity; the devil prowling around seeking someone to devour, fleeing sexual temptation, putting on your armor, satan appears as an angel of light, and on and on it goes. I've listened to countless sermons from Pastors who boldly proclaim how one is to handle supernatural powers from the demonic realm. Everything from the laying of hands, shouting the name of Jesus, using holy water, administering holy oil, calling on God, stop sinning, read your bible and exercise more faith. I often wondered where they received all of this council because I can tell you first hand, it doesn't necessarily work the way they think it does. In the book of Jude Satan contended with Michael the archangel over the body of Moses. Satan also confronted Jesus to His face. If you think demons or Satan is going to run off scared because they see you reading your bible then you're highly miscalculating how the spiritual realm operates. You are also highly underestimating your opponents.
There is nothing more frustrating then watching or listening to people speak about such things with no real world experience. But with age comes wisdom -so I hope. I've learned that most Christians are simply good at parroting what they believe is an effective way to handle spiritual forces because they're not taught anything different. Yet, there are some who will tell you point blank that they have no idea how to handle demonic activity at all. I still remember having a conversation with a pastor who told me directly, he would not know how to handle demonic activity if someone from his church was confronted with it. I wasn't terribly surprised by his statement but I was surprised by his willingness to be so vulnerable and transparent. A lot of pastors who pretend they can "beat back the devil" could learn from his posture.
The missing spiritual narrative
The bible delivers an incredible spiritual narrative that has been almost wiped out of our theology. Many Christians today are familiar with large ideas such as the demonic realm, satan and spiritual warfare but have no understanding of the relationship between these ideas and creation. Ideas such as guardian cherubs, cosmic geography, the strategy of deception, spiritual sibling rivalry and God's Council are foreign ideas to most believers; yes including Church leaders. I'm amazed that Christians today sit in churches and have yet to be taught why the Serpent was in the Garden. Or why the world is in the state that it is in. The most basic and fundamental ideas that were once held as critical to understanding God's creation has been effectively erased from Christian thought.
This has left the Church inept as it concerns the topic of spiritual warfare. The Church is good at positing generalities and sounding bold and passionate because of what Christ did on the cross. And what an amazing victory! But it's easy to make a mockery of demons when you've never faced one. I'm reminded of a famous Mike Tyson quote, "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth".
On the other end of the spectrum are the litany of demonic activity stories that sound like they were written by Hollywood. Countless books and videos on people who apparently were taken to Hell by satan, or the half-human goat figures they claimed to have seen, or the feeling of a dark presence near them, or a shadowy figure out of the corner of their eye, or the sleep paralysis they experienced, or the string of job losses they endured, or their marriage that divorced. I mean, I could keep going but the point is you'll find a buffet of ridiculous ideas concerning the spiritual realm. You may be wondering what makes me the expert? Well, I'm not an expert but my experience is actually rooted in scripture while most stories aren't. Let me illustrate.
For starters, Satan doesn't control Hell. There are no verses that support Satan controlling or living in a place called Hell. He has not received his final judgement yet therefore he still roams the earth like many other rebellious creatures. This idea that Satan is the ruler of Hell -a place where other demons reside- and tortures human is just beyond bizarre let alone not biblical. This idea satan has authority to take anyone to Hell is equally bizarre. It's a place called Hell ladies and gentlemen. Even the devil wouldn't want to visit it.
Also, Satan is a Cherub as seen in the dual prophecy of Tyre in Ezekiel 28. He's not a half-goat half-man figure. He doesn't have horns or look like a Hollywood creature. Scripture doesn't support this idea and common sense would tell us that appearing as an evil villain wouldn't really work in his favor if his goal is to deceive people.
Lastly, sleep paralysis is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, not a demon that is pinning anyone down. I'll link an article here so you don't have to take my word for it. I'll also add I know first hand that sleep paralysis isn't of demonic activity because I've had sleep paralysis since I was a child. I'll take sleep paralysis over what I experienced as I child any day. Trust me, it is not the same.
Darkness in the Clouds
This brings me to my book, Darkness in the Clouds. I wrote this book so the world may know what demonic activity really looks like and so that Christians can learn about the spiritual worldview that they've been missing. The very same worldview that not only biblical scholars of today hold, but more importantly the ancient writers of the Old and New Testament held.
Darkness in the Clouds exists to also help Christians better identify what could be demonic activity in their lives and what isn't while giving some practical ways to deal with such concerns.
I do want to add that I don't presume to think I hold exclusivity on this issue. I know there are others out there just like me, who have never really shared their story due to the trauma they faced and fear of being labeled a pariah by the Church. I can only hope that as I share my story others will start to do the same.
If you want to better understand the art of spiritual warfare then I would encourage you to pick up a copy of my latest book. I know it will bless you.