This is a post that I’ve been considering writing for a while, but until now it has never come to fruition. I’d like to speak to you a little about the ‘gods’ of the malls.
Many Christians are likely aware of the passage from Ephesians 6:12:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
I wonder, have you ever felt the reality of this passage when wandering the darkened halls of our malls? Ever felt the cloying oppressiveness that these places can evoke in you? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, I’d like to tell you a couple of stories based on my experience.
Firstly, a few caveats:
1) I do not believe that there are demons under every bed. Nope, not at all. Usually, they are to be found under the table around tea-time because they get kinda hungry then and….well….anyway…..
2) This is in a nature of personal experience. It’s subjective, so understand it as you will.
3) Often, I am spiritually aware as the nearest stone. Perhaps God in his rather wry wisdom decided to bring this stone some discernment and sensitivity that cannot in anybody’s wildest imaginations come from the stone himself. Or then again perhaps this is just a particularly delusional stone. Hard to say really….
4) I am not against honest commerce. Nor do I have a grudge against malls. Sometimes a mall is just a mall y’know?
So with all that said, what are these experiences you speak of Peter? Read on, dear reader, read on….
It was the year 2000 and we were in Canada discerning Gods call to this land, and we had just taken a trip up to Edmonton. Edmonton is host to the West Edmonton Mall – the largest mall in the world. We went there. We wished we hadn’t.
I have rarely met a place so spiritually ‘dark’ and oppressive as West Edmonton Mall. The mall itself, physically so bright and airy, felt, quite literally like hell on earth. Not only were we aware of oppression, but active opposition as well. There was a sense that we were most definitely unwelcome visitors.
The trouble with relating something like this, is that I can offer no proof over and above the testament of my wife and I. This place was the most spiritually dark mall I have ever had the misfortune to visit.
When you think about it, it does make some sense. Here you have the largest mall in the world – dedicated to consumerism, greed, avarice, sensuality – you name it, the gods of the western world were well represented. If you accept the existence of principalities and powers, where are you most likely to have a high temple than in the self-styled largest mall in the world?
There was something else too. I do not know whether it is still there now, but at the time there was a large ornamental snake winding its way through the ceiling joists. Perhaps a celebration of Chinese new year or something – I cannot remember. I noticed it, and in my spirit I understood that it was the physical representation of the spiritual nature of the place.
I do not have a theology of this, but it does appear to me that there can be a physical\spiritual interconnectedness that you can sometimes pick out. Fanciful, Peter? Perhaps, I will leave that for you to judge.
Tomorrow, I’ll give you another example and conclude this little thought……