What To Make of Stigmatas, Shrines and the Miraculous?

orthodox.jpgI was at lunch a few weekends back with family and friends. As we were eating someone said “Matt, this might interest you…” Apparently there is a house in Guildford which has bleeding walls and that has subsequently been turned into an “Orthodox” shrine of some sort. My family friend then recounted his trip to this “shrine” with his wife and explained that he was convinced that it was not a hoax.

Now I must admit, at this point my natural Australian male skepticism raised it’s head. I spoke with my friend about Jesus’ encounter with the demon possessed man amongst the tombs (Mark 5:1-20), and his interaction with the herd of pigs called “legion”. Indeed Jesus was no stranger to the spiritual or supernatural. It struck me that my friend was less interested in Jesus and more interested in discussing the spooky and miraculous nature of this story. Even after talking about how Jesus had calmed a storm, raised a man from the dead, and fed 5000 people from a few Bakers Delight loaves and Fish Cocktails — my friend was not the slightest bit interested in Jesus, but wanted to know what I thought about “dripping walls”…

Naturally the conversation changed topics, reverting to politics, the never ending busyness of Christmas and the like. It was a great lunch and I enjoyed it very much, but I got to thinking how do I best engage with friends and family in speaking about the supernatural? Particularly the miraculous and “freaky” things which I would otherwise dismiss as ‘bumpkin’? 

Related to this, the head of New Testament Studies at Moore Theological College, Peter Bolt, has written a book entitled ”Living with the Underworld”. I have yet to read this book, but maybe this will be a helpful first step in working out how I can speak more helpfully with my friends on this topic.

I am happy that we chatted about supernatural things, but I am certain I need to be sharper about speaking helpfully on this subject. How about you? Have you had similar conversations with your friends or family, and if so, what have you found to be a helpful way in approaching this topic?

One Comment

  1. Craig Tubman says:

    Hey bro,
    Sorry I didn’t ‘hit back’ with the christmas question blog - I haven’t checked the blog world for 2 weeks!?

    Hope you had a good christmas. Over in South Africa has been good, looking forward to hanging out when I return.

    Anyways, I just read and posted a quasi-review of Living with the Underworld by Peter Bolt….on the back of this post, you should check it out (not ground breaking…but still a pretty strong link to your post)