So, the plan was to have a nice little rant about another type of fictional villain. However, due to recent events, I feel that it’s my responsibility to rant about yet another book burning.
Now, I have joked about burning books before but that was mainly for comical purposes. I would never burn a book unless it was because my heater died and there was a polar vortex happening. And even then, I would try to find something else to burn. Like unused notebooks or my unused story ideas. Because I have millions of those.
For those that don’t know why I’m suspending my normal rant, it’s because I read an article about a Tennessee pastor holding a “witchcraft” book burning earlier in the week.
Global Vision Bible Church pastor Greg Locke urged his followers to bring whatever they believed is linked to the occult to the event and throw it in the fire. Some of those things included tarot cards, movies, healing crystals, and idol statues.
Oh, and it included books.
“We are not bending to your demands,” said Pastor Locke in a YouTube video he released on Tuesday before Wednesday’s book burning. If anything else, you have to admit that the pastor does stick to his guns. He went on to say that he was preaching a sermon on the deliverance from demons. If you choose to watch his videos, he is confident, passionate, and clear in his message. Plus, he uses the terms “skippy” and “bucko.” I must confess, I gave him some bonus points for using them. “To the Ephesian people, in Acts 19, that they brought their sorcery and their books and their occultic nonsense and they burned it and mightily grew the word of God.”
For those that would like to know the exact chapter and verse, it’s detailed in Acts 19:17-20 stating (NIV) “When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.”
A little precursor, the land of Ephesus was a center for black magic and other occult practices. It was said that people there cooked up potions to give them wealth, happiness, and success in marriage. If you’re a believer in God and study the Bible, then you know that black magic is a temptation and that if you travel down that road then you risk becoming obsessed with it and Satan.
Okay, I must confess something. After doing some research into all this and listening to Pastor Locke, I’m sort of torn on the subject. I am a Christian and I am an author who primarily writes horror. Sorta conflicting interests, I know.
When I initially heard about the book burning, I was angry. They burned Harry Potter and Twilight. Of all the other books that could be burned, they decide to target those specific two series. Like, come on.
As a Christian and hearing Locke’s explanation and then reading my study Bible and talking to some people, I sort of understand what Locke is going for. “I want our people to be delivered,” explained Locke.
As an author and avid reader, I understand why burning books is such a hideous attack. Destroying works of literature, in my opinion, is never the answer. It doesn’t really matter what intentions Pastor Locke and his church have. Because once you decide to go down that road and burn whatever goes against your beliefs, it could start you down another slippery slope. If you’re going to burn Harry Potter and Twilight, you might as well throw in Lord of the Rings, all the MCU and DCEU films, Frozen and all the other Disney princess movies. Oh, and be ready to throw the Chronicles of Narnia in the burn pile too.
And then there’s another problem.
“Our very strength invites challenge. Challenge incites conflict. Conflict breeds catastrophe,” said Vision from the film, Captain America: Civil War (2016).
Sure, that movie would have been burned in that event because it has a character with the code name Scarlet Witch in it, but I believe it’s a relevant quote. Because that’s what exactly happened this last week. Locke stated his church would have a book burning, a bunch of people/news networks/occult organizations rose to challenge the church. What will be the catastrophe? We’ll see soon, I believe.
Here’s my opinion on it. I think that Locke is only concerned with his followers. I get it, they’re his flock. However, at the end of the book of Matthew, Jesus gives his disciples the Great Commission. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you, always, to the very end of the age,” Jesus says in Matthew 19-20 (NIV).
Holding book burnings like what happened earlier this week isn’t going to make non-Christians want to sign up. Remember when you were a kid and your parents told you to do something and you questioned them and they said, “Because I said so”? Teaching people instead of forcing people is the way to go. That’s my opinion. You don’t have to burn books to get people to set them aside.
“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them,” Ray Bradbury said.
That’s just my opinion and this is just a rant expressing my opinion. Until next week, keep calm and write on!