Don't look now, but it's possible that the person sitting near your desk at work believes he is in contact with an alien spaceship that's headed this way. It's also possible that your next-door neighbor is drawing comfort and spiritual energy from crystals and "healing stones." Some of the people you pass in the grocery store or at the mall might identify themselves as Wiccans, neopagans, witches or Goths. And your teen-age son or daughter may sit next to a vampire in algebra class.
Yes, folks, this is America in the year 2001. Welcome to the weirdness.
This kind of quirky occult spirituality used to be found only on the fringes of our society. But today, many normal middle-class professionals are embracing New Age religions, attending pagan solstice festivals and enrolling in conferences to learn how to commune with extraterrestrials. The paranormal has gone mainstream. The twilight zone is all around us.
If someone is looking for occult resources, all kinds of strange vibes are available on the Internet: an all-female church in Boston that worships the goddess Diana; an organization that teaches people how to travel through space in their dreams; a support group for modern Druids; or a group of New Agers in Tehachapi, California, who believe that a giant crystal underneath a nearby mountain is sending a distress signal to another planet.
Those people in Tehachapi are expecting someone to come from outer space to save them. And while they are staring expectantly at the stars, most of us Christians are securely hidden in our sanctuaries while we preach our sermons to the choir. We're out of touch with our culture, and we find a perverted sense of security in our isolation. We don't venture into the darkness to rescue those who are truly lost because we are intimidated by their deception.
Or are we really just afraid they will infect us?
In our cover story this month on America's eerie underground UFO subculture (page 46), Charisma's Andy Butcher quoted a woman who believes aliens implanted some type of computer chip or communications device in her brain. She is waiting expectantly for further contact from these interplanetary visitors. They have become her gods.
Would you be ready to share about the love of Christ with her if she told you her strange story?
And who is going to reach the teen-age punk rocker with the metal stud in her tongue, or the homosexual warlock who wears a black cape and mascara to school, or the Wiccan priestess who orders her life by the phases of the moon? These people are not going to wander into our isolated Christian environment. They think we hate them. I want to prove them wrong.
Many Christians I talk with today are tired of being confined in their restrictive religious orbit. They know the gospel can't be contained, and that it must go to the outer limits. They're longing to take the message of Jesus to the fringes of our culture where it is needed most. And they're willing to do whatever it takes to rescue those who are trapped on the dark side of the universe.