Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Charmed, I'm Sure

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."  - Ephesians 6:12

If you've read many of my posts in the "On Bended Knee" section, you already know I believe that God woos us.  He woos us.  Hold on, let's talk about the word "woo" first.  "To woo" means "to court, to solicit, to seek to gain or bring about."  

God woos us.  He woos us before we know who he is.  Even after we know who he is, God continues to woo us to pull us into a closer embrace with him.  It's a never-ending, never-ceasing, always-growing relationship.  In The Sacred Romance, John Eldredge uses worldly examples to show how God loves us.  Clips from movies and snippets of songs - all from the secular world - offer concrete illustrations of how God loves us.  Through these illustrations, we learn more about the nature of God and our relationship with him.

Eldredge's method rocked the worlds of some of my Christian sisters during the Bible study.  They had spent their lives so immersed in the Christian media world that watching a scene from some secular movie and seeing it through God-loving eyes shocked them.  How could something as secular as a Hollywood movie be such an utterly effective teaching tool?  The answer is that God can - and does - use everything to reach us.

It wasn't shocking to me.  For me, Eldredge merely confirmed what I already knew: God speaks to us all the time, through everything - we just have to open our eyes and look for him.  Eldredge confirmed for me that when we are grounded in the Word and when we are rooted in the Lord, we can be in the world and still be of God.

Where I had trouble was understanding how we could be under attack.  It made no sense to me.  Principalities of darkness?  Rulers and authorities and powers of evil?  I hadn't quite embraced the idea that if there is good, there is evil. If there are angels, there are demons.  After all, if there is light, there must be darkness. I didn't quite get it.  And then, as Eldredge teaches, God used the secular to do a work in me.

The Scripture above, Ephesians 6:12, flummoxed me until a very silly, very secular, controversial Aaron Spelling show opened my eyes.  I'm talking about Charmed.  It's a show starring Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs, and Shannen Doherty (who was then replaced by Rose McGowan).  The actresses play sisters, Phoebe, Piper, and Prue (and then Paige) who are each powerful witches, who together comprise the "Charmed Ones."  In the series, they are on the side of good and battle evil, often vanquishing demons while protecting innocents.

Now, as Christians, we know that witchcraft is no where close to the real power.  We know that it is a sadly misguided attempt at knowledge and purity.  After all, the way and the truth and the life is through Christ.  See how being grounded in the Word puts things in perspective?  There's nothing to fear when you're grounded in the Word.

That said, Charmed served and sometimes still serves, for me, as a powerful illustration of what Paul wrote.  We live in the United States of America.  For most of us, the idea of seeing witches wielding power or people succumbing to possession or worshiping golden idols seems remote and old-timey.  Yes, we still have versions of those things, but they aren't as apparent and public as they were when Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians.

Episode after episode, Charmed shows me that when I read about being filled with a fear not of this world, I am not to be separated from God.  There are principalities of darkness, eager to pull me down.  When I see an episode about the sisters being given immense power and they must choose to use it for its designated purpose and not be consumed by the power, I see an example of how God has given me gifts and he expects me to use them for him and his benefit and not for my own gain.

When I see an episode, like the one in the clip below, where Piper is drowning and can't get free, I am reminded that God has angels everywhere who are working for him to guide me.  When Phoebe is trapped by her exterior, I am reminded that my trappings must be removed to be on hallowed ground.  When Paige leaves her job to focus on helping people with her magic, I am reminded that God doesn't want me to split my time between working for him and doing my own thing.  He wants me to keep my eyes on him in everything I do.

Yes, I can see how my interpretations might seem like a stretch.  After all, this is an Aaron Spelling creation.  That means there's a lot of skin and a lot of cheese.  The question is what eyes are you using to watch it?  Your worldly eyes or your godly eyes?  When we use our godly background, we can see God's message in the most unlikely places.  Take a look:

I'm not saying we should sit down with our small children or young Christians and have them watch Charmed.  I'm not even saying that it is something you have to watch to understand God.  I'm certainly not saying Aaron Spelling and his writers should be revered for the show.  I am saying that sometimes we need help understanding concepts and sometimes God uses the very unconventional to teach us.

For me, for my comprehension of Ephesians 6:12, that's Charmed.  Watching the show made it clear to me that there are powers of darkness I don't know and I don't want to know.  It gave me a visual for my struggle against the "rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."  When we look at the world through God-loving eyes, He can teach us more than if we only keep our eyes on what we think is good.

I encourage you to use your godly eyes when you're enjoying or even when you're repelled by worldly things.  Is God showing you - personal you - something he wants YOU to learn?  God is the ultimate teacher.  He can use anything from a cheesy television show to a flat tire to a butterfly on a branch to a stubbed toe to teach us what we need to grow.  I would love to know what God has used to help you understand him better.  Maybe through sharing, we can help one another?  Let's use this secular internet to draw closer to God!  :-)

~ G

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