Tag Archives: spirits

UC Berkeley; it’s prestigious, it’s competitive, it’s acclaimed…it’s full of spirits: Receiving the Holy Spirit Part 3

26 May

On the morning of September 11th 2001, planes crashed into New York skyscrapers…and I had to get to class. It was my first semester at the University of California at Berkeley and not even an attack on domestic soil was going to cancel Sasha Goldman’s lecture. With a classroom full of stunned and emotional students, Sasha ditched her rhetorical analysis of Marcel Proust heady novel to address current events. “I know this is traumatic; what are you guys feeling right now?” Some were in tears, others expressed disgust or sentiments for the lives lost; but for Sasha, this was chance to wipe the whimsy from the minds of her students, to reveal the true, atrocious nature of the United States government. “It’s the government’s fault!’ she proclaimed. “They smashed those airplanes into the buildings.” She went on to enumerate the evils of our country and what she perceived to be U.S. war crimes against a multitude of nations. In the next weeks and months, the campus would become a political battleground complete with protests, rallies, and marches on lecture halls. While sitting through a lesson in Wheeler Hall, our small classroom on the second floor of the monstrous stone building began to bounce. Protesters were crashing like a wave through the halls, chanting and stomping and shaking the old building to its foundation.  Unsure of what mood this mob might take, a large oak outside the window looked pretty appealing as a fire escape while the flood of embolden malcontents went by our classroom.

While a handful of professors and large population of sycophantic students “raged against the machine,” the sense there was something larger, more ominous at work was accentuated during a night lecture on the north side of campus.  In the barn-sized shingled building, Sasha was screening “American Gigolo.” A storm had come in earlier that night, but during the film, rain began pelting the windows and lightning could be heard clapping in the distance. Pelting turned into pounding and what was once a far-off “crack” in the night-air, had now become a roaring thunder. As the weather intensified, so did Sasha; she was determined to awaken her impressionable students to the deep analytical mysteries of this “cinematic masterpiece” which challenged societal sex roles indefinitely. As the rain grew louder, she grew louder; she strained to talk over the downpour but then BAM!…a bolt of lightning struck just outside the building. Students were screaming, but you couldn’t hear it over the deafening rampage of the storm. The building, shaking from the power blast, was rocked a second time as a lightning bolt hit the ground right outside the window and lit the whole room up with its glow. Paralyzed with fear I prayed, “Please Lord, don’t kill me like this.” I had thoughts of Sodom and Gomorra being charred to the ground under a deluge of fire from heaven.  “Spare me and keep this building safe!” I begged. Sasha willfully continued to lecture, but it was in vain; she was actually inaudible and finally gave up talking until the storm had moved on enough so she could shout her points.

As draining and difficult as Sasha Goldman was as a professor, it wasn’t Sasha, it wasn’t the war, it wasn’t the students or even the demanding course load that wore me down to a breaking point.  Yes, all of the above didn’t help, but over my first year at UC Berkeley, there seemed to be another…a larger force at work challenging me, draining me. While the angry opinions, hateful political views and discontent attitudes around campus were intense, it felt like they were being empowered by something outside themselves, maybe someone with a larger objective.  Maybe I was in a Spiritual Battle? As crazy as she seemed at the time, the weird Holy Spirit lady’s words came to mind.

“That place is heavy spiritually, a real war zone. I hope you have been preparing yourself for battle and ready to fight the good fight of the Lord!…You’re gonna need the armor of God to survive in that environment! Most of all you’re gonna need the power of the Holy Spirit to lead you in God’s paths of righteousness!”

Maybe she wasn’t so kooky after al; her words began to ring true to me! I did feel like I had been in battle! I did feel battered and bruised spiritually! I did feel the heaviness! I guess I do need the armor of God…and I guess I do need the Holy Spirit. I finally broke and turned to God. As I was going to bed, I decided this was the night I would ask for the Holy Spirit to come and live in me. I shut my eyes tight and prepared myself to receive, but in my mind all I could think was, “How do I know which spirit I’m letting in? What if I let in the wrong one?” Then the Ouija board event came flooding back and terrified me, “What if I let in a bad spirit or even a demon!” My doubt was working me up into a frothy fear. My mind was dominated by worry, which spilled out from me and apparently opened a spiritual door. Pouncing on the momentum, terror and darkness filled my room. It felt as though an encompassing black void engulfed me, I was shaken to my core and paralyzed with terror. Satan had capitalized on my weakness, and there I lie unable and unwilling to move through the dark hours of night…

 

*Names were changed to protect anonymity

 

Intersecting Stories: Welcome into my Heart Jesus; Just Don’t Touch Anything! Receiving the Holy Spirit Part 2 

Don’t Play with Ouija Boards Kids, All spirits are not the same: Receiving the Holy Spirit Part 1 

Don’t Play with Ouija Boards Kids: All spirits are not the same: Receiving the Holy Spirit Part 1

10 May

Hands perched on the plastic guide, my sixteen year old brother was determined to prove the Ouija board was nothing more than a modern-day superstition. As a budding engineer and mathematician, if it’s wasn’t measurable by science, it was a fanciful fairytale or snake oil trickery. The four of us had been playing with the Hasbro board game for nearly an hour; even though our parents had strictly warned us never to play with a Ouija board, we figured it couldn’t be that dangerous since it was sitting right there on our cousins’ bookshelf.  My older cousin Terry and I had used up our turns asking the Ouija board questions about friends, who we would marry, and what we would do when we “grew up;” my brother finally had enough. “You’re moving that thing, I can see you moving it,” my brother cried out. “I saw your hands pushing it over letters to spell ‘dolphin trainer!’” But no matter how much we objected or even when we tried it as a group all together, my brother would still claim, “Someone here is moving it.”

My brother was going to put an end to this nonsense once and for all, assured he would prove  the Ouija board operated through ‘power of suggestion’ or flat out fakery on someone’s part. Pairing himself up with my pre-kindergarten cousin, he determined there could be no variable for cheating since my cousin couldn’t spell.  Because he wasn’t trying to trick himself, and his partner was incapable of pulling one over on him, he predicted the outcome was going to be…a lot of nothing.  He scanned the room for a question that could have no subjective answer. He couldn’t ask the Ouija board about his future or what someone’s favorite color was, because that too could be a manipulated answer. He spotted a stack of magazines on the coffee table and randomly formulated a question, “In the third magazine down, on page, um…twenty four, what is the forth to the last word on the page?” The planchette began to move, my little cousin was under suspicion.  As it glided across the board, through the round window it paused for a moment over, “G.” Then it quickly slid over the letter, “O.” From there it highlighted, “L” and finally, “F.” Eyes wide, we all became suddenly sheepish. My brother pushed the top two magazines off the pile and picked up the third. Opening to page twenty four, we all crowded around to see the results…”and golf was her passion.”

Screaming, there was lots of screaming. I feel like we all jumped to our feet so quickly we almost hit the ceiling; someone grabbed the Ouija board and flung it across the room. Terrified, we fled to the hall and trampled each other down the staircase; no one wanted to be “last”…that’s always the one in the movies that gets taken.  After that day, we didn’t speak about the incident; not only was I sure my brother and I would get in deep trouble with our parents, I was freaked out to discover there was something outside myself that I couldn’t see and couldn’t control. Yet, while we wouldn’t talk about the incident again for another twenty years over a Christmas dinner, as a child of eight years old, little did I know this event would cause huge issues in my life with receiving God, receiving part of the Trinity…His Holy Spirit.

Israel’s first King, Saul, went to a psychic for direction?

11 Apr

Bible 411: Did you know that Israel’s first King, Saul, went to a psychic for direction? Saul had leadership issues from day one; but his most heartbreaking error was that he never viewed God, as his God.

Gist: Saul has a big battle ahead and he needs direction, but the man he relied on in order to hear from God was dead.  Saul’s solution…go to God himself, NO; get a psychic who can speak to the dead.

1 Samuel 28:7
“Saul then said to his advisers, “Find a woman who is a medium, so I can go and ask her what to do.”

His advisers replied, “There is a medium at Endor.”

8 So Saul disguised himself by wearing ordinary clothing instead of his royal robes. Then he went to the woman’s home at night, accompanied by two of his men.

“I have to talk to a man who has died,” he said. “Will you call up his spirit for me?”

9 “Are you trying to get me killed?” the woman demanded. “You know that Saul has outlawed all the mediums and all who consult the spirits of the dead. Why are you setting a trap for me?”

10 But Saul took an oath in the name of the Lord and promised, “As surely as the Lord lives, nothing bad will happen to you for doing this.”

11 Finally, the woman said, “Well, whose spirit do you want me to call up?”

“Call up Samuel,” Saul replied.

12 When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed, “You’ve deceived me! You are Saul!”

13 “Don’t be afraid!” the king told her. “What do you see?”

“I see a god[b] coming up out of the earth,” she said.

14 “What does he look like?” Saul asked.

“He is an old man wrapped in a robe,” she replied. Saul realized it was Samuel, and he fell to the ground before him.

15 “Why have you disturbed me by calling me back?” Samuel asked Saul.

“Because I am in deep trouble,” Saul replied. “The Philistines are at war with me, and God has left me and won’t reply by prophets or dreams. So I have called for you to tell me what to do.”

16 But Samuel replied, “Why ask me, since the Lord has left you and has become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done just as he said he would. He has torn the kingdom from you and given it to your rival, David.