Time to continue my look at a small-press 1993 children’s book written by a fundamentalist Christian who thinks Narnia and VeggieTales are a bit too heathen (read part one for the full background). Before I go on, let me share the book’s official blurb:
This easy-reading book for ages seven through twelve helps children recognize and resist the many spiritual deceptions they face in today’s world. Swayed by movies, songs, games, and books filled with occult suggestions, children everywhere are tempted to see God as a universal force and view the cross as irrelevant. To follow God in a world that loves the popular counterfeits, they need to understand the essentials of spiritual warfare and the key truths needed for victory. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, or a Sunday school teacher, you can use this book to encourage your children to love and follow God. And if you are a boy or girl looking for adventure, you will surely find it in the exciting battle between the evil Baron and the wonderful King.
So, according to this, The Invisible War is intended for seven to twelve-year-olds. That’s… quite remarkable; I’d have said that seven was about the upper age limit. Not just because of the limited vocabulary (this is a story where Satan’s soul-corrupting minions are repeatedly identified as “mean”) but also the limited scope of its ideas.
The Invisible War asks readers to praise God for creating fluffy kittens, but never acknowledges that God also made tapeworms and the bubonic plague. It credits Christianity with ending all war and strife, even though this hasn’t actually happened. Had it been intended for five or six-year-olds, that would’ve been forgivable; those kids can move on to the thornier aspects of theology when they’re older. But at twelve, children are prone to ask more questions about the world. I’m struggling to imagine a near-adolescent falling for this stuff. Say what you will about the Narnia books, they give their readers something to chew over, to the point where you’ll find grown adults debating the novels’ theological arguments. The Invisible War, on the other hand, simply expects the readers to take Kjos’ word for it.
But anyway, along with the plot. Molly and her father set off to find Tom and Peter, who have been led astray by the devilish people of Lucidia. Along the way, Molly learns all about the Armour of the Spirit:
After they had walked for a while, Dad said, “Let’s stop and rest again. Then we can talk about the next part of the armor–the Breastplate of Righteousness.”
“The breastplate of righteousness.”
“What does that mean?”
“Righteousness means being good,” explained Dad. “We all know a little bit about what’s good, but to really understand it, we have to learn what the King says about goodness.”
Meanwhile, the missing boys are also learning things. But they’re learning things… of evil. Yes, their new friend Colin is pushing them further into the occult, using such lethal lures as fantasy novels, dreamcatchers and what appear to be She-Ra figures.
“This box is filled with books,” shouted Peter. “Strange books, I’d say, with wizards, trolls and monsters on the covers.”
“This box has books and charts on astrology,” shouted Colin. “Medicine wheel astrology, Babylonian astrology, Aztec calendars…”
“These shelves are loaded with toys and games,” said Colin. “I’ve seen these dolls before. This one with the stars on her head and a magic wand has special power. And these others change into all kinds of animals. We call them shape-shifters. This big beautiful one tells fortunes.” Colin lifted up a big box. “It comes with crystal balls, Tarot cards, charts for astrology and numerology….”
“Numerology. It uses numbers to tell who you are and what is going to happen to you. Just like astrology.”
“This thing looks like a spider web decorated with feathers. What is it, Colin?”
“Oh, that’s dreamcatcher. It has magic power to stop bad dreams. It only lets good dreams and spirits speak to you.”
“What’s this word, Colin? The one that starts with Oui…?” Peter pointed to a big flat box.
“Wow, that’s just what we need! A Ouija Board!”
Colin uses the Ouija board to help point the way to their destination:
Tom felt even more uncomfortable when Colin began to speak words that sounded like a prayer. Who was he praying to? Surely not just to the Ouija Board. It couldn’t hear anything.
Colin stopped his spooky meditation. “When I ask the question, we’ll all put our fingertips on the glass. Don’t press on it or push it. It will move by its own power. Then it’ll stop on top of the letters that spell the answer. Ready?”
“Cool!” said Peter as he rested his fingertips on the pointer. Tom hesitated, then he slowly touched the pointer with his fingers.
“Okay, here’s the question. Should we continue through this tunnel?”
For a moment nothing happened. Then Tom felt a strange sensation. The crystal moved. Was it alive? Tom didn’t think anyone was pushing it. In fact, he had tried to stop it–just to see what would happen, but he couldn’t even slow it down. It obviously had a force of its own.
“See it stopped on Y. I know what the answer is,” shouted Colin. “Keep your fingers on it. It’ll move again.”
Sure enough. the pointer kept moving. It stopped by the E, then went on to the S.
“See? It works!” Colin sounded triumphant. “What do you want to ask next?”
Tom felt a growing sense of danger. “Put it away,” he started. “This force is not the power of the Kingdom. I’m getting out of here.”
Why has this stuff been left lying around? Well, as it happens, the boys have stumbled upon an area being used as storage by the Baron’s people, complete with freight vehicles:
“It looked like a train, but it ran on big, fat tires instead of a track. The engine was pulling six little boxcarts. One was covered; the others were open and loaded with stuff.”
“What kind of stuff?”
“Lots of crates and boxes–like the ones we saw this morning. One had a picture of a weird creature with a long tongue….”
Behold! The Toys R Us of the damned! And when the train’s crew take the kids captive, it appears that the Illuminati is involved:
A big man shaped like a wrestler led them toward a large stone building. He wore a purple scarf around his neck. As the icy wind blew the scarf straight out to the side, Tom noticed a symbol he had seen on one of those boxes in the tunnel. It was a pyramid with a big eye inside.
The burly bloke, it turns out, is named Odin. He is one half of a good-copy/bad-cop team, the other member of which is a new-agey woman named Rama:
The boys leaned back in their chairs, while Rama talked to them. Her gentle words seemed to float on the mystical sounds of the music. She talked about universal love and global oneness, about working together, and about peace between Lucidia and the Kingdom.
She led them on an imaginary trip into a beautiful meadow where they could talk with animals and experience harmony with nature. There, they imagined meeting a wise woman in shining robes who talked to them about living together in peace and love.
Rama, a figure from Hindu belief, is traditionally male. I wonder if Berit Kjos’ decision to make Rama a woman was a dig at transgender people. If so, then she was way ahead of her time. This was 1993, after all.
The stage has been set for the final confrontation between servants of God and the forces of Odin and Trannyrama. Who will win? Find out in the third and final post about Berit Kjos’ The Invisible War!