Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Demon of Thursday

I never knew there was a demon of Thursday. But there it was on a list I found on a demonology website. There was also a demon assigned to Friday. But the other days of the week didn’t have one. Most people think Monday is the day of the week that is most demonic, probably. But then I take Mondays off, so I like Monday.

"I Don’t like Mondays" is the title of a song by the Boomtown Rats and Bob Geldolf, before he was a Sir. Geldolf got the idea for the song from a news report that came across the teletype while he and his band were being interviewed at Georgia State University. Thirty years ago there was a elementary school shooting in San Diego, California. Two adults were killed and 8 children and one police officer were wounded. Needless to say it shocked the nation. Remember this was before Columbine and Virginia Tech. The shooter was a high school student named Brenda Ann Spencer who lived across the street from the school. And the only explanation she ever gave for committing this act was "I don’t like Mondays."

We ascribe the title demonic to an incomprehensible evil. Sometimes it is used as a way to avoid responsibility, which is why many of us are reluctant to use a word like demon when speaking of human actions. But it also reminds us that there are "powers and principalities" that are beyond our understanding. It reminds us that there is evil in the world greater than the total of the evil that resides in human hearts.

Our response to such a realization is either to live in fear and suspicion of everyone and everything, or to stand against such evil with the power of our Savior wrapped up in the community of faith. One of the questions in the baptism ritual asks parents and sponsors, as well as the candidates for baptism when they are able to answer for themselves, "Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?" It is a part of the nature of our faith that we stand against the demonic both in our society and in ourselves.

I don’t intend to focus all our energy on one issue, but there are indications that the vote to allow a casino in downtown Fort Wayne may happen sooner rather than later. I was at a meeting this week with clergy and laity from our United Methodist Churches mobilizing to address this issue. The research into the effect of increasing gambling as a means for economic renewal is overwhelming. I invite you to check out the website for the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling ( for some of that information. There is also another informational meeting being scheduled for later this month and as soon as I have final information about that I will let you know.

It may seem to some that there are more serious issues to face. And it may seem to others that in difficult financial times we need to try all sorts of options to rescue our local economy. It also could be said that it is precisely in desperate times that we need to be even more vigilant against evil and injustice. When you give into despair, all kinds of choices seem less unthinkable. That is when the demonic can begin to seem sensible. When the nonsense becomes sensible then you have given in to evil. Brenda Ann thought it sensible to counter her dislike of Mondays by causing suffering for so many others. And 20 years later Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went to their school to express the pain of rejection with an act of nonsensical violence. And then a year and half ago, Seung-Hui Cho let his fellow Virigina Tech students and faculty know that he was caught by something he couldn’t keep in any more. What other description do we have for actions such as these but demonic? In their broken thinking, these actions made sense to them. Who of us is immune from irrationality? Extremes such as these appal us, and they should, but what might we justify in a desperate moment?

Which just might be why there is a demon of Thursday. That is when we get caught unaware. On just an ordinary day. On any day we too might fall. But by the grace of God any day, whether it is Thursday, or Monday, any day can be an opportunity to make a stand and cast out the demonic.