So, as I may or may not have mentioned, David and I (and Julie as well, really) have a certain strange obsession with many of the evangelical set-pieces that we grew up with or even that we didn’t grow up with. Hence the Christian movies and me going through the Bible now and any number of other strange bits and bobs.
One of the more recent strange things that I started to do was recap a book for David. More specifically I started to recap Frank Peretti’s book This Present Darkness. For those of you who have no background whatsoever, Frank Peretti is a Christian author who made his name writing Christian horror, essentially, although when it’s Christian it is about “spiritual warfare.” This is part of a two book set, basically unconnected except by themes, This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. They were published in the mid to late 80’s and I think it is fair to say that they depict a lot of the mindset of mainstream evangelicals during that time.
David and I both read these books probably more than once, the first time when we were around 12 years old. I think it is important to mention that because it is more disturbing to look at these realizing I was reading them at such a young age, although I wasn’t allowed to read them until then because they were too frightening. I still find them frightening to this day but for rather different reasons.
As it turned out, I ended up putting a remarkable amount of work into these recaps and I’m sort-of proud of them. I have amused myself a great deal and I decided I wanted more people than just David to read them and then I realized hey! I have a blog! I can do that! So I’m totally going to do that. Because everyone should realize… what these books were.
I’m going to start out by just putting in the back cover description. David had a two book in one set and there is… well, I’ll just put it in. I think it says a lot and it’s a good place to begin.
If you think spiritual warfare is mere fiction, think again.
Frank E. Peretti’s two blockbuster spiritual thrillers, This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness, have opened millions of eyes to the shocking reality of the fierce, unseen battle waged daily between good and evil.
Now it’s your turn.
Set in unremarkable small towns perhaps like your own, both This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness pit ordinary Christians against extraordinary evil at the highest levels. Their vivid portrayal of the motives and actions of spiritual beings – demonic and angelic – and their breathtaking portrayal of the power of prayer will keep you on your knees. Their heart-stopping action will keep you on the edge of your chair.
With contemporary settings, up-to-date religious issues, and believable characters, these unforgettably powerful novels are more than just wholesome entertainment. They’ll challenge you to open your eyes to the spiritual battle that’s raging in your world right now.
I think it is important to read that and to keep that in mind. No matter what Peretti himself had in mind when he wrote it (and we’re going to wrap up with some words from the author which I haven’t read yet so maybe we’ll be illuminated on that subject), these books were being marketed as a legitimate and truthful story, as something that was really happening in America. This was presented as something to cater to the general attitude of fear, to help build the culture war, to convince ordinary Americans that the mundane actions of their everyday lives had eternal consequence. While you can’t understand yet how horrific that is, we’ll start in earnest next week and I think it’ll quickly become clear.
Also, I’m sorry to tell you this now but there is some definitely false advertising here. So far I have recapped 21 of 42 chapters and I have found not a single believable character and heart-stopping action is definitely… nowhere in sight. But you know! Join me! We’ll have fun.