TPD pp 110-113: Edith Duster

In this section we meet Edith Duster. We’re told right off the bat that she’s a former missionary and subsists on social security funds; the fact that she’s presented as a positive character despite these things is a refreshing blast from the past. Today’s religious writers wouldn’t dare show such a socialist program as benefiting good, hardworking people, and many of them wouldn’t dare show a female doing important church work outside the home and collecting payment for it. Good on you, Peretti.

Warning: TV Tropes

“Grandma” Duster here is a combination between the Granny Classic  and Obi-Wan archetypes, in that she’s described as elderly, solitary, tea-drinking, warm, and kind while simultaneously having experience Hank can benefit from. Her advice is a little vague; as a grandmother-character, her intuition and dreams are what guides her rather than any sort of logic or experience. She confirms that her illness was an attack from Satan, but feel confident that “it’s all in the Lord’s hands”. Interestingly, she’s been dreaming of our angelic visitors. Unfortunately, we don’t get any more description out of her than from the narration:

“What did they look like?” “Oh, people, but different from anybody else.”

Well that’s useful.

“They’re big, very handsome, bright clothes, big swords at their sides, very large, bright wings. One of them last night reminded me of my son: he was tall, blond, he looked Scandinavian.”

Last timewe had description of the angels, I asked:

Who is taller, the “Towering Arabian” or the “Big African”?Nobody knows. By big, does that mean Armoth is obese, or just muscular? Nobody knows.

Now apparently we learn that, in fact, they’re all both “big” and “very large”. Fantastic. That adds to our store of knowledge quite handily. Oh yeah, then there’s this little bit of… I’m not even sure what to call it:

“I never get dizzy. The only time that ever happened before was in China. My husband and I were visiting a woman’s home there, and she was a medium, a spiritist, and I knew she hated us and I think she was trying to put a curse on us. But just outside her door I had the same dizzy sensation, and I’ll never forget it.”

Cultural sensitivity FTW. But I guess you kind of have to expect that from a book of this nature.

“This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting’. We need to pray.”

So riddle me this, true believers: What happened to the fasting? Nobody fasts in this novel. What, are they afraid of a little hunger? Is their comfort more important to them than casting out the demons that plague this town? No wonder the demons seem to be winning, they’ve already got a toe-hold of gluttony in place.

“[N]ow you need true believers, true visionaries who can stand with you to pray for this town.”

Visionary, as a noun, has three meanings. Usually in this sense we’d refer to the first:

a person of unusually keen foresight.

That’s usually what we talk about in the business world when we say we need a visionary; someone who understands the way things work and has a bold new plan to forge forth and make changes for the better. But that doesn’t really fit here; they’re talking about getting more people to do exactly the same thing that’s already been determined to be necessary. Instead, it seems they’re relying on the second or third meanings:

a person who sees visions. a person who is given to audacious, highly speculative, or impractical ideas or schemes; dreamer.

Now, the former might make sense: someone who sees visions that were sent from the Almighty would be invaluable. But I almost enjoy reading it as the third: we need people who are given to impractical ideas such as prayer rather than actually taking action against the oncoming menace that is the demonic influence in this town.

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5 Responses to TPD pp 110-113: Edith Duster

  1. Jarred H says:

    “and I knew she hated us”

    I suspect “hate” may be a strong word. But yeah, I expect a woman would not look kindly on a missionary who speaks disparagingly of her religious practices to the point of demonizing them. I tend to have the same reaction. Edith (and Peretti) should quit pretending that such reactions are unreasonable.

    “I think she was trying to put a curse on us.”

    Let’s be honest here. Spiritual warfare types are constantly looking for a fight, be it spiritual or more “mundane.” They tend to be aggressive and attacking. Spiritual warfare minded missionaries would likely have stood outside that woman’s home and prayed against her practices in rather strongly worded terms. To be frank, to the woman inside the home, it would sound like they were cursing her.

    She might respond in kind. She might not. But I’d like to suggest that a missionary’s assumption that she is cursing hir is at least in part a matter of projecting zir own confrontational nature onto the woman.

    • Skyknight says:

      I’m not sure if China even HAS a notable necromantic tradition (do not confuse with necrourgic; I’m referring to communing, not control). Well, MAYBE Taoism.

      Or maybe she was a warlock POSING as a Taoist, but really doing work for Murmus, Bune, Bifrons, or some other spirit-manipulating demon. Still, is there a reason why Peretti, LaHaye, et al. can’t conceive of opposing BOTH God and Satanel’s ideals? Or at least, be a dystheist without also being a lover of ruin? I’d expect the nature of good and evil to be independent of God. I.e. they don’t HAVE an author; God is good’s champion, not its creator.

  2. Mau deKatt says:

    > “and I knew she hated us”

    This is actually pretty standard for RTCs and Spiritual Warfare types to say. Since any religion other than Real True Christianity is either delusional or demonic (if not both), and doubly so for a “medium or a spiritist” (after all, the only spirits she would be in contact with would be demonic, of course), then the obvious reaction when faced with The Truth [tm] would be that of hatred. (Because Demons Hate Jesus.)

    Jack Chick plays this to absurd levels in his tracts, but it’s pretty standard for the belief system.

  3. Pingback: TPD pp 154-155: Meet the Strachans | Raven Wings

  4. Pingback: TPD ch 33: In which a whole lot of nothing happens. | Raven Wings

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