I recently hosted a book club for Safely Home. Most people really enjoyed it, and it seemed to give everyone a lot of food for thought on Heaven. But the one complaint I heard several times was the part about the Buddhist monk who appears to be demon possessed. People said they felt it was too forced and bizarre. Can you give any insight as to where that scene comes from? Randy, did you know of a particular event like this?
Yes, this scene was inspired by an account told to me personally, in China, by a highly respected leader, who is also the director of one of the most well-known missions groups in the world. This man is a steady and serious believer who is not given to exaggeration or overreaction. He told me of a previous trip to Tibet, in which he had stood outside a Lamaistic temple. A monk walked out of the temple and spoke to him in a completely other worldly voice, what he was certain was a demon. It was clear that he was being singled out, and this monk, or rather the one possessing the monk, was identifying him as a follower of Christ, and hence a threat to that false religion that holds people in bondage.
Of course, I made up the secondary parts of the story in Safely Home, as fiction authors do. But that true event, which knowing this leader I don’t have the slightest doubt concerning, was what inspired it.
In the West we rarely experience such things, and even Christians tend to minimize the unseen world, but to believers in the more remote parts of the world, who have experienced a lifetime of obvious demonic presences, this story would not be even slightly incredible. Nearly all of them have seen equally “bizarre” things in their lifetimes, and many have seen far more amazing things.