Thursday, March 23, 2006

In this present Darkness

WebMuseum Paris - Bosh Hieronimus: The Temptation of St. Anthony

Years ago, I was presented to “This Present Darkness” from Frank Peretti, it was my first 200 pages book that I could read in a week. Thanks to this book it was a time when we started to talk a lot about Spiritual Battles and the importance of prayer. Frank’s very good narrative gave us a view like movie scenes of what Temptation could be and how we could succeed in this kind of war.
However, people here in Brazil started to go away from the message of importance of prayer and readiness. People started to develop a kind of mystical theology where they could draw maps of the city with regions where certain devils would operate, very detailed hierarchies for angels and devils, tools to defeat devils etc... This kind of influence developed a kind of church that is steady until now.
Latelly I have finished a book older than “The Present Darkness”, it was “Screwtape letters” from C.S. Lewis. I though it a somewhat humourus book where we can taste another close description about how we get tempted. But the idea is not close to the conspiration showed at TPD, temptation at SL is much more subtle, danger is not an heresy or a new kind of order that would take place, but danger is inside ourselves: our pride, our perfectionism, our agenda, our kind of spirituality, our own matters. I believe temptation in this book is also more lethal. Devil is not so interested about how world is going on, but only if it can help him take lives away from God.
But my point here is: if this book came earlier, why did this book not have the same impact that TPD had? Would people rather hunt devils and save his neighborhood than to realize how their ego is jeopardizing their marriage? Might it became more interesting to defeat new age heresy than to defeat their kind of spirituality that is taking them away from the care of people close to them?
I believe this situation arises the fact of how we run for confronting ourselves and for admiting our falts. Raw Material of temptation at Screwtape Letters are located inside ourselves, we are just stimulated, and our evil desire makes all work. But when we pretend to exercise our heroism, evil is located outside us and we could fade our weakeness and our dependance on the grace of God.
I remember of Rm 12:3 when we are exhorted to have a real figure of ourselves. I believe this is the origin of evil defeatness, when we are aware of ourselves, of our weakeness, of our evil nature and start to depend on God to win His battles.


Andrew said...

Excellent comments about these two books and the issue of sppiritual depravity. I believe Peretti relied heavily on the insights of 'The Screwtape Letters' when writing 'This Present Darkness.' I have read both, and believe that 'Screwtape' is far superior. Frank Peretti's best novel, in my opinion, was one he wrote called 'Visitation.' It was about spiritual warfare, but was more focused on the 'here and now' and less focused on the invisible, unseen forces of demons and angels. But I haven't read much Peretti since that book was published about a decade ago.


GraFX Boy said...

Not sure if you were aware of the film adaption of This Present Darkness back in the late 90's. Here is a link to my blog that has concept art from that development.

Also Frank Peretti has launch his new site that discusses new projects with writing and film.