Friday, June 29, 2012

Musings on Paranormal Investigations: What Would Jesus Do?

By Rev. Mark Hunnemann

The paranormal community is a plausibility structure.  Because of a shared web of beliefs and assumptions, it makes it easy within this group to believe something as axiomatic without giving it any scrutiny.  That is, it provides a safe environment for certain beliefs to be accepted as plausible.  This is a sociological phenomenon, and it is neither good nor bad - depending on what is being accepted as plausible.

In this blog, I want to analyze another very basic assumption, which is rarely questioned; the validity and propriety of performing paranormal investigations.  Yes, that is right…I want to analyze whether we have non-critically accepted a belief and practice that may be, in fact, very harmful - to everyone involved.  The issues at stake are of enormous importance.

Do you realize that in the entire history of mankind there has NEVER been a grassroots movement of “ordinary” citizens to search homes for possible supernatural activity?  The last 20 years or so of large scale paranormal investigation IS something new under the sun.  The notion of anyone “off the street banding together with others to form a paranormal investigative team would have been viewed with alarm and suspicion until recent times.  To whatever extent it was done in the past, it was done by the clergy…an educated clergy.  As an ordained minister since 1985, I am painfully aware of how dismissive, scared, lazy, unloving, and ill-equipped most clergy are to supernatural activity, which is exploding in growth.  But that is every reason to awaken the clergy, and not for the laity to step in where angels fear to tread (intended over-statement).  Don’t miss the forest for the trees: the simple point is that we have become accustomed to doing something that has never, ever been done before.  Does that bother you?  I think it should.  There seems to be something immensely foolish about being the first in this regard; the reckless abandonment of the collective wisdom of all cultures throughout time.  In pagan societies, as in the Old Testament, it was still the pagan priest, shaman, etc. who was the spirit expert - and the people knew to leave it alone (for the most part).  “Fools rush in…”

Hence, we are putting investigators and clients in danger.  Just today I spoke with a woman who is terribly oppressed due to her work as a tour guide at Mansfield - a well-known demonic hotspot.  She knew of several others who have had the same issue.  Almost every day I hear of some investigator who is in way over their heads and cannot get out.  It is only going to get worse.  Two years ago (according to the number of paranormal groups was about 950…today the number is about 3,550 - many of these being inquisitive teenagers who know next to nothing.

The clergy should be the expert in all things supernatural.  A biblical pastor lives, eats, and breathes supernatural reality.  Of course he should equip his sheep to be discerning of supernatural evil and how to live victoriously by the blood of Christ and the name of Jesus.  In spiritual warfare, he should teach his sheep how to be “strong in the Lord” and to put on the armor of God daily.  Moreover, it has been the local church which historically has been the gate-keepers of cultures.  Thundering against the satanic spirit of the age, the pastor is especially called by God to fight ensconced demonic evil; to free the captives of demonic oppression.  Listen to me: are you educated to the perils of supernatural evil; and even if you are, have you been called and anointed by God to be His co-worker in abolishing it?  An integral aspect of a call to pastoral ministry is the charge to vanquish the deeds of supernatural darkness.  There are exceptions…because God is God. I know some exceptions.

Another problem I have with the plethora of investigative groups is the demeaning assumption that 90% of reports of supernatural activity are misguided.  Granted this is not your average field, but what other professional service group will come to your house assuming you are probably wrong?  Most people who have lived in a place for more than a month, have a pretty good feel for it.  We KNOW the difference between normal and abnormal sounds in our homes.  Keep in mind, unless there are psychological issues involved, we have every reason to believe in the basic reliability of the sense perceptions.  What we feel, hear, sense, smell, and so on can be trusted…the clients perceptions and ours.  Would you want your exterminator coming with the same skepticism?  No, it is demeaning and denies biblical teaching regarding the accuracy of our senses, as well as people’s common sense.  Do people make mistakes?  Sure!  But not that high of a percentage…no way.

Since Satan and demons watch you set up your equipment, they know precisely how to avoid detection.  Whatever data you get is almost always by demonic design.  Knowing how fiercely they are connected to us and our property, does it not make sense that they will frequently and intentionally avoid detection?  I know of situations where this indisputably occurred.  Hence, the reveal made matters worse, because the folks are more frustrated than ever or will let their guard down.  With demons watching you, what is the purpose of an investigation?  If there is question, doing a cleansing will do no harm, but possibly great good.  That is my proposal: stop doing traditional investigations and only do cleansings /blessings.  Using equipment during this time is very effective, because the demons are no longer in control, and you very likely may hear sounds of surrender.

Whatever happened to Jesus-like trust? According to 1 Cor.13, and elsewhere, love entails trusting people…not being gullible, but a burnable trust (if we are not capable of being burned, then it is not trust).  I must confess deep frustration at this point.  If you are concerned about fraud, then seek it out during the interview, and other conversations.  We have embraced an unbeliever’s attitude: Seeing is believing.  By the time folks contact us, they are often at their wits end.  They know the shadow figures are there…they have been beaten down, raped, burned, bit, kept awake all night.  They don’t need some paranormal investigator (especially a Christian) asking for proof of something that is out to kill them.  When they call, talk to them and plan a cleansing/blessing ASAP. Better safe than sorry is my motto.  Otherwise, stop this historically unprecedented madness now!

Rev. Mark Hunnemann