Movie Review: The Conjuring
Most of us (Christians, non-Christians, Atheists) are fascinated to mysticism. Why is it? Is it because we are spiritual body? Or is it because we’re just rational, curious moral body who are eager to solve any mystery?
In the movie “The Conjuring”, what caught my attention was the word “demonology” mentioned by Ed and Lorraine Warren claiming themselves as demonologists. FYI: Demonography/ Demonism/ Demonology is the study of demons or demonic beliefs. It frightened me at my seat while watching the movie thinking that they were studying demonic practices which includes casting demons. Of course, involving yourself with it means sharing its fate, including its ill effect which oftentimes is so dangerous—dangerous if you only have a little faith.
READ: MARK 9: 14-29
“When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.
“What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.
A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
“O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
“If you can?” said Jesus, “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit, “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”The spirit shrieked and convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
ABOUT THE FILM
Conjuring is a 2013 American supernatural horror film directed by James Wan. The film, starring Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as Ed and Lorraine Warren, is based on a true story, and follows paranormal investigators who come to the assistance of the Perron family.
In 1971, Carolyn and Roger Perron move into a dilapidated old farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island with their five daughters. During the first day, the family moves in smoothly, though their dog, Sadie, refuses to enter the house and one of the daughters finds a boarded up entrance to a cellar.
The next morning, Carolyn wakes up with a mysterious bruise and to find Sadie lying dead outside the house. Over the next several days, various instances of paranormal activity occur. The activity culminates one night while Roger is away in Florida, as Carolyn is locked in the cellar while a spirit that looks like an elderly woman attacks one of her daughters.
Carolyn contacts noted paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren for help. The Warrens conduct an initial investigation and conclude that the house may require an exorcism, though this cannot be done without further evidence and authorization from the Catholic Church.
While researching the house’s history, Ed and Lorraine discover that the house once belonged to an accused witch, Bathsheba, who tried to sacrifice her children to the devil and killed herself after cursing all who would take her land. The property was once 200+ acres but has since been divided up into smaller parcels. They find reports of numerous murders and suicides in houses that have since been built upon parcels that were once part of the property.
Ed and Lorraine return to the house in an attempt to gather evidence to receive authorization for an exorcism. One of the daughters, Cindy sleepwalks into her sister’s room and reveals a secret passage behind a wardrobe. Lorraine enters the passage and falls through the floorboards into the cellar, where she sees the spirits of people whom Bathsheba has possessed. All are mothers whom Bathsheba used to kill their children. Another of the Perron children is violently attacked and dragged along the floor by an unseen force.
Lorraine and Ed take their evidence to the Church to organize an exorcism while the Perron family takes refuge at a hotel. Ed and Lorraine’s daughter is attacked in their own home by the spirits from the Perron house.
Carolyn, who was earlier possessed by the spirit of Bathsheba, takes two of her daughters, Christine and April, and drives back to the house. Ed, Lorraine, two of their assistants and Roger rush to the house where they find Carolyn trying to stab Christine. After subduing Carolyn, Ed decides to perform the exorcism himself, though Carolyn escapes and again attempts to kill her other daughter, April. Lorraine is able to temporarily distract the possessed Carolyn from killing her daughter by reminding her of a special memory she shared with her family, allowing Ed to complete the exorcism, saving Carolyn and her daughter.
In the Catholic Christianity, exorcisms are performed in the name of Jesus Christ. A distinction is made between a formal exorcism, which can only be conducted by a priest during a baptism or with the permission of a bishop, and “prayers of deliverance” which can be said by anyone. (source:Wikipedia)
RELATE: Family ties. Love for your neighbor. Selflessness. Fear GOD not the Devil.
Horror or terror is a natural feeling or reaction from anything our sanity protrudes fearful. Friends, whenever we fear watching or talking about horrible stories, we actually feared the wrong fear. Only then when we start to pray, rebuking the devil, reminding him that God is superior and more powerful, must our fear be cast away. That God’s throne is above all heavens, far above than his (the devil) which is the lake of fire. We are, yes we are more powerful than any evil spirit. God’s strength is our strength.
I wanted to share my own experience. Honestly, it takes lots of guts for me to share this. Though I don’t wanted to dwell in the past, especially to dig that dark past so as to forget that I ever experienced it, I believe and hope that by sharing it could change your perception: whom to fear—not the bad spirits, ghosts, witches, zombies, aliens or whatever our brain could devise as fearful.
Who could have believed that I was almost possessed by bad spirits in my last term in college? Who could have known it could possibly happened to a regular churchgoer, a Sunday school teacher and an active youth member like me? Those years were never easy. It tested my faith in God. Then I reached the point of questioning my faith. Why me? Why did God allow it to happen to me? What would they (bad spirits) want from me? Why did they keep on following me, disturbing me and my family’s peace of mind and worse, wanting to get me, my body to be part in their own world? Was my faith in God that time not enough since I was overthrown by my fear to those who were trying to possessed me? What had happened when my mom told me that she’d invited a Bible study in our house telling me that our pastor and other church members would come up? Do you think it made me glad? Yes! I felt so happy about the news that they’d come up. However, my mom seen it differently. It alarmed me when she started to rebuked me, “In Jesus name!” thrice after seeing my face. I wondered why she did so. She explained after a long pause still staring at me. She seemed doubting if it really was me who she was talking to. She explained still frightened at me but I at that moment admired my mom’s strength. That’s the first and so far the last time I’d seen her brevity. I found out how brave my mom was. Until now, I still wonder how she’d seen my reaction which I really didn’t remember I did. She said my eyes grew wide with my face low lying was so full of anger. She knew it wasn’t me so she prayed and rebuked, calling the name of Jesus for help.
“Uh-oh, this is dead serious…” I told myself. My life was changed then when our pastor with other church leaders visited our house. I couldn’t explain how I felt that time. I expected myself to be happy seeing them, but was not. I knew I am the one they’re looking up to but I’d chosen to lock myself in my room mumbling these words, “…not a perfect timing.” Downstairs I could hear them when they started singing Christian songs, but it irritated me. Then they roamed around inside and outside the house praying, casting evil spirits with loud and authoritative voice. I was so afraid hearing them. Then unexpected thing happened. On my bed, my right ear was hit by my towel. The force was so strong that it hurts so badly. I knew that they were with me inside my room and knowing that it’d be possible for them to physically hurt me, I shouted angrily, “Why are you doing this to me?!” Next, I demanded them to leave me saying that I’m not afraid of them, at all.
Those events were followed by a daily 6 o’clock Bible study and devotional prayer before dinner which was occasionally led by my mom. We didn’t care whether the number of participants were few since “Where two or three are gathered together in my name—that is, to worship me, I am in the midst of them—By my spirit, to quicken their prayers, guide their counsels, and answer their petitions.” says the Lord. (Matthew 18:20)
That event in my life strengthened me and my faith. It taught me to trust God more, to pray fervently without ceasing. My battle was not against those evil spirits but with my faith, my relationship to God. Everything that happened had purpose and whatever that dark past had served me; I knew it was to seek God more. I am delightful to Him who saves me from harm.
It was just amazing how they (the lady in black, the man in white and those tiny black creatures) had totally left me. Indeed, prayers are more powerful than any man-made potion or charms.
ON Whom to fear: What will happen if we don’t fear God?
READ: Jeremiah 5:12-19;
Jeremiah 5:20-29 “The Lord says, “Tell the descendants of Jacob, tell the people of Judah. Pay attention, you foolish and stupid people, who have eyes, but cannot see, and have ears but cannot hear. I am the Lord; why don’t you fear me? Why don’t you tremble before me?
But you people! You are stubborn and rebellious; you have turned aside and left me. You never thought to honour me, even though I send the autumn rains and spring rains and give you the harvest season each year. Instead, your sins have kept these good things from you. Evildoers live among my people; they lie and wait like those who lay nets to catch birds, but they have set their traps to catch people. There is no limit to their evil deeds. But I, the Lord, will punish them for these things; I will take revenge on this nation.”
Jeremiah 17:5-13“I will condemn those who turn away from me and put their trust in human beings, in the strength of mortals. He is like a bush in the desert, which grows in the dry wasteland, on salty ground where nothing else grows. Nothing good ever happens to him. But I will bless the person who puts his trust in me. He is like a tree growing near a stream and sending out roots to the water. It is not afraid when hot weather comes, because its leaves stay green; it has no worries when there is no rain; it keeps on bearing fruit
Who can understand a human heart? There is nothing else so deceitful; it is too sick to be healed. I, the Lord, search the minds and test the hearts of people. I treat each of them according to the way they live, according to what they do.
The person who gets the money dishonestly is like a bird that hatches eggs it didn’t lay. In the prime of life he will lose his riches, and in the end he is nothing but a fool.
Our Temple is like a glorious throne, standing on a high mountain from the beginning. Lord, you are Israel’s hope; all who abandon you will be put to shame. They will disappear like names written in the dust, because they have abandoned you, the Lord, the spring of freshwater.”
Jeremiah 6:10-15 “I answered, who would listen to me if I spoke to them and warned them? They are stubborn and refused to listen to your message; they laugh at what you tell me to say. Your anger against them burns in me too, Lord, I can’t hold it in any longer.”
Then the Lord said to me, “Pour out my anger on the children in the streets and on the gatherings of the young people. Husbands and wives will be taken away, and even the very old will not be spared. Their houses will be given to others, and so will their fields and their wives. I am going to punish the people of this land. Everyone, great and small, tries to make money dishonestly; even prophets and priests cheat the people. They act as if my people’s wounds were only scratches. ‘All is well’, they say, when all is not well. Were they ashamed because they did these disgusting things? No, they were not at all ashamed; they don’t even know how to blush. And so they will fall as others have fallen; when I punish them that will be the end of them. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
A prayer of thanksgiving
It is you Oh God, who is my shield, my comfort, my helper in times of need.
In your presence I know no harm; no evil can ever attack me.
I am so confident that by calling out your name, we’ll be saved.
I am so confident that your providence, grace and love is never ending.
Create in me a pure heart and renew a right spirit within me.
I choose not to fear anyone but you.
Lord, always call us to seek more of you if we’re weary or lost.
I thank you for the courage you’ve given me.