I have gone from valuing Connie Rossini’s marvelous little website, “Contemplative Homeschool,” highly to considering it indispensable. She writes with simplicity and clarity. Her content is always well balanced and carefully considered. Because of the elegance of its simplicity, one could miss the profound depth of it – but it is profound.
I have long been deeply disturbed by some prayer groups which go through long lists of things we “renounce” as works of satan. One I went to last year had three single-spaced pages. Insane. One I saw actually denounced the Power Rangers (kids cartoon characters) as works of satan. I am waiting for someone to denounce Flintstone vitamins.
We are Christians. This is the religion that swept the world. We are not a faith that cowers in the bushes fearing two demons behind every rock and every tree. Once we hold fast to Christ with fortitude, satan has no power over us whatsoever – except the power to try to persuade us to let go. Some who have a little learning criticize many of our practices and traditions – particularly at Christmas and Easter – as having been derived from pagan practices. They are right – just don’t have enough learning to know that that was the point. The plan of Christian evangelization from the beginning is to banish what is contrary to faith; keep those customs that are comforting to a culture and are not contrary to faith; then ‘baptize’ them with Christ and incorporate them into our own practice. It is why we have ever been enriched while never departing from the fundamentals of the faith. But that was not accomplished by people who fearfully looked for demons everywhere. It was accomplished by people who knew with certain confidence that once they grabbed on to Christ, the powers of hell were impotent. In fact, long lists of things to renounce can be a subtle danger – for it gently persuades us that it is our renouncing that holds satan at bay rather than Christ’s power – and can fill us with fear that if we neglect to renounce something, satan can pounce. Poppycock! I had pagans in three states once holding rituals on a single night to curse me. I laughed at them when I was told and told them to curse on: my Master was stronger than their master.
That said, there are certain practices that are, indeed, designed to seduce Christians away from the faith while soothing them that it is okay. Today, Rossini begins a series on just that subject here. I marvel at how solid it is, denuncing that which needs to genuinely be renounced, not getting caught up in an enthusiasm about renouncing everything in sight, and doing it without instilling any sense of fear or dread – just confidence in Christ. If you do not read Rossini regularly, you should.