Is Satan Real?

The journey of Lent begins with an image of Jesus being tempted by the devil. Growing up in conservative Christian family in the south, I too grew up with the sense that the devil was out there, ready to lead us all astray. Recently, during my daily Bible reading, I wrote the following about my journey, which I posted on facebook — “Mark 3 talks a lot about demons. The more I try to follow God, the less certain I am what that means. As a child I imagined bogeyman out to get us. Older I imagined evil beings we fight through doing good. Now I wonder if its just a metaphor for the shadow sides of ourselves we must face to be whole and the shadow sides to our society that unless we combat bring oppression. How do you understand the demons Mark pictures resisting Jesus, his followers, & his work?”
In this blog Rebecca shares about her struggle over the question of the devil as another progressive redneck preacher. Though I don’t share all her experiences, there is much I can relate with. In particular I remember waking up with a gripping fear and sense of being pinned down, which I connected with a sense of the devil. I have also seen things in life I can’t explain. Yet in alot of my work, especially when I’ve worked as a mental health worker and now as a psychiatric chaplain, I’ve seen so much of what we equate with the devil as often having psychological explanations. I think she raises some important questions. How do you deal with this vexing image in Scripture & tradition?
And, most importantly, how do you confront the shadow sides of your life, your own temptations and frailties, as you journey through this season of preparation for Easter?
I’m not just whistling Dixie here,
your progressive redneck preacher,


ImageImageImageWe grew up fearing the monsters under our bed. Stories filled our Sunday school class about the teenagers who dressed in black, who would kill animals in the woods, turn over historical cemeteries and spray paint pentagons on the ruble of headstones.  Judgement Journey, tribulation trail, heavens gates and other weird autumn festivals scared the shit out of me as a teenager. I would see monsters everywhere as a child.  Movement in my closet. The shadowy creature hovering above my bed.Waking up screaming. Mama entered my bedroom, turned on the lights, brought out the Pompeian oil and made the sign of the cross on the wall. Just the name of Jesus would ease my fears, and send me to sleep.

As a child, I would have dreams I was being choked by monsters and shadows having sex with me. I could not speak. They would taunt me. Finally I would…

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