When I’m out on my walk I sometimes listen to the Paranormal Podcast. It’s a secular podcast about all things spooky, spare and strange. I say “All things” but I’ve been disappointed that the host never deals with anything Christian and supernatural. He talks about Bigfoot but not Eucharistic miracles. He talks about flying saucers, but not flying saints. He talks about zombies and mummies, but not about incorrupt bodies of saints. He talks about ghosts and seances but not the Resurrection or the Shroud of Turin.
Michael Brown is the guy behind Spirit Daily website–a super popular Catholic blog aggregator. He draws together all sorts of stories of the supernatural and paranormal, but he takes a Christian and Catholic viewpoint on them. Over the summer Michael sent me his latest book —Lying Wonders Strangest Things. It is a collection of the odd, the weird and the sometimes scary events that are on the edge of our awareness. I contacted Michael and said some of the stories would be perfect for my Stories of the Unexpected podcast channel.
In his introduction Michael says he believes we are living in a transitional time when the tissue between this world and the next is very thin. Certainly this would connect with what I have been saying about the Catholic Church entering a tumultuous time of upheaval and change. My podcast The Future Church is unlocking a future for the Catholic Church in this 21st century that is one we could hardly have predicted. In fact the whole world and the human race is going through a time of transition in many ways, and the uncertainty, fear and bewilderment that many feel is symptomatic of this transition.
In history when there has been a great time of transition–a shift in the way we think and the way we respond to events–there is also a kind of psychic and spiritual upheaval. We are disturbed as individuals, but we are also disturbed and upset as a human family. These times of uncertainty are often accompanied by outbreaks of the paranormal–signs and wonders of all kinds.
We live in a time that is upside-down, a time of great deception, a time when what had been invisible–including the netherworld–is becoming manifest, a time in which we must be cautious about where our curiosity leads, a time in which the veil thins. Many such instances are included in the following pages…”legends” that may be more than legends and more precarious.Can the devil haunt and taunt an entire area? Are certain locales like portals for the “shadows”? How is sighting a “bigfoot” or a remnant dinosaur (like the alleged one at Loch Ness) similar to a UFO–or spirits at a seance? Might the enemy be behind certain new and very strange ailments? Could it be that there are links between phenomena that for centuries or even millennia have been treated as unrelated? Let us be deceived and perplexed no longer.”
I like Michael’s approach. He’s interested in these things, but he doesn’t get carried away. He always brings the story back to our Catholic faith and the certainties of faith which ground our prayer and action. So why spend time on such stories? Because, if you’ve read any of my ideas on this blog, you’ll know that I am convinced that “Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism” means the death of Christianity. This is Christianity without the supernatural. It is an ideology dressed up as a religion. A religion is about the supernatural for goodness’ sake! That’s what religion is.
Being nice and good and making the world a better place –on its own–is not a religion. It’s a set of table manners.
Telling some stories about “the stranger things” and doing so from a Christian perspective is a good reminder that religion is our interface with the world beyond, and our Catholic faith is the stairway to heaven and the portal to the other side.
The other reason I think this is important is because the rest of the world are spending loads of time on this content, but without the Christian angle. How many TV shows, movies, books and mass media are out there all dealing with the supernatural, the strange, the bizarre and the paranormal? Loads.
But we religious people feel that is too foolish to talk about and too embarrassing to admit as interesting.
So I’m going to stand things on their head a bit more and record some more of these stories for us to think about and talk about.
Michael’s agreed for me to use the content from his book on my podcast. I’ll be posting some of the stories at BreadBox Media, but most of them will be reserved here on the blog for Donor Subscribers. The ones that are posted at BreadBox will be abridged versions. The full length version of the stories will include some extra discussion and analysis and relate the odd events to our faith. The full length versions will be for Donor Subscribers
Then if you want to listen to the new ones free, watch out for their arrival at BreadBox and follow the blog because I’ll be providing links to BreadBox when they’re posted. If you use another podcast provider, the guys at BreadBox will be posting the stories on those providers too.
If you want to listen to the nine stories already posted, and have access to all the new ones as they are produced, you can sign up as a Donor Subscriber to my blog. There are five levels of Donor Subscriber–“Podcast” is the lowest which gives you access to all the podcasts on the blog-website. At $5.95 a month that’s less than twenty cents a day. Pretty good value! Most people sign up for the Premier level which gives access to all podcasts plus much more. Go here to learn how to support my work and gain access to the podcasts and extra content.