The practice plays a big role in Christianity—and not just on the fringes.
If O'Connor's stories are shocking, that's only because the gospel is, too.
Narratives of fear, domination, and greed abound. But there's a better story.
Americans have always believed that the devil likes to play politics. Colonial leader Henry Hugh Brackenridge claimed in 1778 that Satan inspired George III’s allegedly ruthless policy toward the colonies. Two decades later, Federalists claimed that the nascent Democratic Party had put forward the antichrist as a presidential candidate in the form of Thomas Jefferson. Later Jedidiah Morse, inventor of Morse code and end-times enthusiast, explained to audiences the Devil’s role in Jeffersonianism. He even claimed to have a list of Democrats who belonged to the Illuminati (though like Joe McCarthy, Morse never showed anyone his proof). The History Channel miniseries The Bible has been alleged to continue this trend.
I want to arrive at the kind of equilibrium admired by the disciples who broke down the barrier to St. Anthony's fortress. To do this, I have to befriend the demons dwelling in the cave of my heart.
Jean sits down with the rest of the committee members, and the meeting gets started. She's in her familiar light blue cashmere cardigan sweater, her reading glasses hanging from a thin black woven cord around her neck, her gray-streaked hair pulled back into an efficient bun. She is as proper as always. But tonight her face is completely blank, as if she doesn’t dare reveal anything. She says nothing. “What’s up with Jean?” I wonder.