Christians can write Horror?

I have as a guest Rev. Teal L. Gray, N.D., who has recently released a new book, Spirited Tales. This book is an anthology of stories by several authors of whom I am honored to be included. I wanted to share the book with you all, but also share more about Teal and why she wrote and compiled this book.

What do you say to people who wonder how a Christian Minister writes in the genre of Horror and the Paranormal?

I explain that the Horror story defines good and evil very clearly for the reader, often as a cautionary tale. No other genre allows for spiritual and religious content more than horror. We all must navigate through this world and not everything or everyone is good or even honestly represented. You need to be knowledgeable about all the elements of the spirit world you are navigating through.

You wouldn’t go on a hike in unknown territory without familiarizing yourself with what type of animals, insects, snakes, and weather it has there would you?

I want people to put down their own masks and explore what they really believe. Not what they are supposed to or are told to believe. I hope you create a conversation with yourself, your study groups, friends, and family to discuss in a nonjudgmental way spiritual and theological questions. My books have been a way for some people to bring these conversations forward.

What are your thoughts on reincarnation?

The Latin meaning of the word “reincarnation”, means, “entering the flesh again.” I have an example I wrote for my book, Shades of Angels, using ice as a representation of the physical body.

Water can be changed, but it’s never really gone. Think of your physical body as the ice, which is solid and considered physically here. The physical components that are part of your body, are fluid in the sense of being a living, ever changing system, like the liquid that could be seen and touched. Therefore, the ice stands for your body, and the liquid represents everything that makes up your internal and external physical self.

Now, all that reality of form merely changes once more, not making it any less real when it becomes steam, or as your life force (soul), which leaves your body when you die. The difference now, is that it disappeared; we can’t see it. However, vapor or steam is very real. In fact, at the right temperature, it can power a train.

Reverse the steps to return to something you can hold in your hands and call real. How? Well, if you decided to capture the steam in a container, the steam will turn once again into water as it cools. Take a container of water, put it in the freezer, and you are right back where we started with solid, “real” ice. I think this metaphor is one way to think of the possibility of reincarnation.

Do you feel like your education in Theology aided you with writing Shades of Angels and Spirited Tales?

Yes, definitely! Spending years researching all the different belief systems, I have a world view, which I hope proves helpful to the reader.

Why did you write Shades of Angels?

I felt it was necessary to bring the dark angels to people’s attention. I had, especially over the last two years, had many people telling me they communicated with angels. This was wonderful, because the angels were all good and helped the people order their lives. This alarmed me because after speaking with them, I realized they believed only good, well-intentioned angels interact with us.

My hope in offering you my beliefs in the shades of life, is to bring understanding to an area where many only see the lighter side. In fact, there are two sides to everything – two points of view on any given situation, and two sides to every story. I look at life from both sides. Delving into the darker energies, which are around us every bit as much as the lighter. In understanding this balance, you are less likely to fall for a trap, or overlook a helpful intervention.

When did you become aware of Angels?

When I was, young I don’t remember making any distinction between angels and other spirits. I was always amazed by stories about Angels that people told me. Christmas angels and cherubs in my mind, were gentle helpers to humans. Only in adulthood, after encountering light and dark angels and spirits, did I begin to understand the complex and gentle balance we walk between the two worlds, as well as the shades of personalities and intentions of these powerful created beings.

You are also a paranormal investigator, what did you learn about spirits during your investigations?

Generally, they are curious and excited to be heard.

There are distinct types of hauntings: residual and intelligent. Everyone should know there are different entities that you could be in contact with that gives interspecies communication a whole new meaning.
• Departed humans, such as ancestors and loved ones
• Spirit guides, Saints, Ascended Masters and Intergalactic Entities
• Light Angels, who were never human but are created beings, operating on a very high vibration that protects and heals
• Dark Angels are powerful created beings that feed on the negative lower vibrations, and do not have your best interest as part of their plan
So, protecting yourself at the beginning and end of your investigations is essential.

Your new degree certification is in Eco-Art Therapy. What is Eco-psychology Nature-Connected Education? Why is this type of education important to you?

This degree is accredited through Portland State University and encompasses Art, Science, Counseling, and Healing with Nature, which works because it’s done with the consent of Nature, helping us create authentic moments that, at times, go neglected or have never fully been tapped into.

I have countless clients with stories of unfulfilling, hamster-wheel lives lived in office cubicles with no windows, 30-minute lunch breaks and the inability to even go to the bathroom if not within the 2 daily 15-minute breaks.

I know this first-hand. There was a time where my career in business consumed most of my energy. One particularly late evening as I came burned out, it hit me. As I reached the front gate, a voice asked, “How long has it been since you looked up?”

Wow! It had been so long that I could not remember. Weeks, maybe months! This was a major wake-up call for someone who spent their youth outdoors…everyday. This was also the beginning of repairing my connection to Nature in order to assist others.

Thanks, Teal for sharing your book and insights with us as well as the opportunity to be part of the process.

Blessings!

Visit Rev. Teal Gray at: https://tealgray.com/rev-teal-gray-n-d/ and on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/revtealgray/

Spirited Tales is available on Amazon both in Kindle and paperback.
PHOTO: By Tui Snider

Building Your Multimedia Ministry

 You felt moved to minister, now newly ordained nothing can bring you down. Announcing your achievement, you brace for the flood of offers to officiate area weddings, blessing services and funerals. Instead you spend a lot of time answering the question, “Where’s Your Church?”
Ministers without a brick and mortar building are often at a loss for how to begin. If you want to reach a global audience, the task seems even more out of reach without that building.
Unfortunately, there are not enough pastorless churches to accommodate the newly ordained. What option does this leave you? I used inexpensive creative solutions to solve my problem and get my message to the world. I created a multimedia ministry. Could this be your way to connect with your target audience too?
Now you have questions! Where do I start? Is it expensive? What skills do I need? Certainly, you need to develop your public speaking, and writing skills for sermons and scripts. Join a local club like the Rotary, or take continuing education courses at the area community college. Libraries are a great resource for free lectures and books to assist you. With faith and determination, you too can build a global audience that follows your blogs, podcasts and is an interested audience for your books and lectures.
My best tip is to blend trending topics, related historical facts or spiritual practices into your message, and then use social networks to promote your podcasts and build your audience. Also, the easiest guests to book for an interview are authors looking to promote their newest works.
If this seems too daunting, try joining an established ministry, group or charity that fits your message that has the leadership already in place. Early on I was an assistant youth minister with an established church in my area. I helped them grow their youth ministry and I was given the freedom to create a Youth Drama Group. It was a gift to me to see shy teenagers blossom into competitive performers winning competitions and perform plays and pageants that moved congregations to tears, and to place new importance on their spiritual life.
Blessings on your journey,
Rev. Teal L. Gray N.D.

There’s a Spirit in my Spirituality Aligning The Para Into My Normal

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” (1 Corinthians 12:7-11)

We have entered a time of increased power and abilities in our God given gifts.  There are more individuals who are “knowing” the future or catching a glimpse of the unseen world. Along with this, is the increase of questioning; “Is this real, is this of God, am I crazy?”

To begin let’s look at what we are really talking about. Someone who defines themselves as religious may also define themselves as being spiritual, while to be sure, someone who is spiritual does not have to be religious. In the United States, those who identify themselves as religious are the least likely to hold paranormal beliefs. Whereas a person operating from the identity of Spiritual, is very open to the idea.

Most major religious faiths in the world scope, do have a belief in the existence of ghosts of some type or definition. The doctrinal teachings may not say the word “ghost,” but spirits that behave like ghosts are well known within the theologies of most other world cultures.

I understand this questioning and yearning to make sense of what is referred to as a paranormal event of prophecy, and seeing spirits and other entities. I have struggled with it since my earliest memories can recall. I have “known” things that come to pass. I have seen what I believe were Angels. One was of light the other darkness. I have seen ghosts. I have been given messages from the dead that I could not have known myself, and many were for complete strangers. But all the messages were not only true but detailed and some were deep hidden family secrets. Who was I really seeing? Who was I getting these prophecies and all this knowledge from? I don’t know, is the true answer. I still do not know. I pray to God and ask mostly not to know or see, but it persists. I ask only to interact with God or his good Angels or messengers. But can I tell you who, no. So when I say I understand it can be a confusing and frightening to experience and that is compounded by not feeling able to share for fear of judgement, I am telling you my truth.

So why all the judgement? Well as a society we are taught if not by our families, certainly in the earlier decades in school that there is good and evil and things are black and white and there is no in between. If you experience knowing something that comes to pass, you must be some sort of witch. If you see a ghost, it must be a demon because

So even those seeking answers in the Bible are confused by the different versions and terminology. They are referred to as spirits, fantasmas, ghosts, familiar spirits, which are not one in the same. For example, let’s examine Luke 24:37-39.

In Luke 24:37, 39 King James Version, the Lord appears to his disciples after his resurrection. It’s recorded that they were terrified and supposed that they had seen a spirit. Jesus said “Handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have.” The New International Version and Holman say: “thinking they saw a ghost, and Jesus then says “a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”  In other bible versions the vary in the usage of ghost or spirit.

Another passage concerning ghosts, is when Christ was walking on the water. His disciples thought he was a ghost stated in Matthew 14:26. Suggesting even Christ’s disciple’s experiences and teachings allowed for ghosts. Christ never corrected this in any following passages. In Matthew 14:26 it says: When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear.   Commentary from Adam Clarke states, it is a spirit – That the spirits of the dead might and did appear, was a doctrine held by the greatest and holiest of men that ever existed; and a doctrine which the cavaliers, free-thinkers and bound-thinkers, of different ages, have never been able to disprove.  Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible that, they were troubled – They were afraid. The sight was remarkable. It was sufficient to awe them. In the dark night, amid the tumultuous billows appeared the form of a man. They thought it was a spirit an apparition. It was a common belief among the ancients that the spirits of people after death frequently appeared to the living.

Now that being said, the term familiar spirit is completely different in perceived origin. The word familiar is from the Latin familiaris, meaning a “household servant,” and is intended to express the idea that sorcerers had spirits as their servants ready to obey their commands. Those attempting to contact the dead, even to this day, usually have some sort of spirit guide who communicates with them.

Every instance of prophecy and visions of the dead or other entities must be answered by discernment. First Thessalonians 5:21-22 tells us of our responsibility to be discerning: “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” The apostle John issues a similar warning when he says, “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world”, and in 1 John 4:1 from the New Testament, discernment is not optional for the believer-it is required.

I have known very credible Christian people that have experienced what is referred to as paranormal encounters with spirits in person, on film and through hearing voices or receiving messages. Each has made their own conclusion about the experience. Some believe the message was directly from God to them. Some believe the spirit they saw was not a demon or lost soul, but actually their beloved family member or loved one. Others think a spirit captured on film was a glimpse into a parallel universe just a thin veil between us. I believe for my part that is has been a mixture of divine interaction with messengers of God. Other experienced I firmly believe were low level energies or possibly demons. Interestingly enough, I have never seen the spirit of any of my family members that have crossed over. None. Several ghosts that I have seen appeared to be going about their business without even knowing I was there. The Angels I encountered, I believe came from different sources due to the fact that one passing was natural and happened the morning of the appearance, the other was foretold a murder that came to pass three days later.

It is a vast subject and we only lightly touched on several possibilities here. I wish you peace and I hope this has helped you make sense of what you have possibly encountered.

Blessings,  Teal L. Gray