Saturday, November 1, 2008

For the Spirit of the Dead

Today Lisa and I went for a walk around town. It was a beautiful day, quiet too. With the holiday, many of the shops were closed. There was little traffic. Even the basketball court at the plaza only had a few people playing on it.

Along the sidewalk near the bridge is an area with several graves. Bontoc has a cemetery, but in many places in this region, graves are commonly located along (even under) the walkways. Most do not have a headstone, but rather a small shelter. They look like they could be little roosts for 1 or 2 chickens. As we walked by that area on our way back home, there were a few people tending the graves there. They appeared to be cutting back the weeds. Others had already visited many of the other graves. Under the little shelters, a candle was burning and there was a plate of food. We would like to have taken a picture to share with you, but we did not want to be insensitive to the people there.

One need not look too far to see that spiritism is very real here. I recognize that for many people, these are just traditions. They see them as nothing more than that. Much like people in the US look at ghosts, goblins, and haunted houses at Halloween. But the more I look around me and consider what I read in the Bible, the less I see that is truly neutral in this world. I am not on a witch hunt. And I don't think I am as confused as Don Quiote, confusing windmills for dragons. But I am convinced there is a spiritual battle going on around us. The enemy gains a great advantage when we allow him into our camp and think doing so is a harmless tradition.

This blog is not intended to be a place of great theological discussion. Nor do we claim to have any spiritual advantage over those who visit. Indeed, many of you who read about our journey on this blog are mentors to us; people in whom we see qualities we would like to emulate. But I would like to pass along some things of which I am reminded as I consider many of the things I see around me.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12
Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.

1 Thesssalonians 5:21-22

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8


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