30,000 feet over the Rockies, I became aware of my seatmate, Amanda, reading my book over my shoulder. When I finished the book, she asked what I thought of the author. Sharing an interest in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, we chatted about the Inquisition, papal supremacy and the dogma of infallibility. She was completing a post-graduate program in gender studies. Bubbling with excitement, she regaled me with the latest theories of gender identity, fourth-wave feminism and “intersectionality.” She talked about how gender is a social construct—entirely fluid, deeply personal and unquestionable. She spoke with evangelistic fervor. I listened and prayed.
“I identify as a woman,” I interrupted. Amanda paused. “Do you believe I am a woman?” I pressed.
She nodded uncertainly. “If you believe you are a woman, then so do I.”
“Actually, I am a woman of Chinese heritage. Do you believe that?”
Another long pause. “Well, if you believe so, then it must be true.” Silence spread among the passengers around us. They were listening.
“I’m sorry,” I continued, “now I identify as an African grey parrot. I am trans-species. I fight the hate and bigotry of species boundaries. Do you believe I am an African grey parrot, or are you a hate-filled bigot?” The silence around us was now absolute and awkward.
“What do you do?” Amanda asked brightly, trying to change the subject.
“I am a Seventh-day Adventist pastor,” I replied, continuing with a brief thumbnail of the Adventist message and the great controversy.
“Do you believe in demons?” she asked.
“Absolutely,” I said. “I am often involved in deliverance ministry. Jesus Christ has never lost a battle with Satan.” I explained how many today play with the occult and end up overwhelmed by demons.
“I have many friends who are controlled by demons,” Amanda said sadly. “I myself read tarot cards. I am not afraid of the demons I connect with. I control them. They will never control me.”
“Here, have my business card,” I said. “Whenever you want freedom from the demons, call me immediately. I will be praying every day that Jesus Christ will nullify your tarot card readings and deliver you from the Prince of Darkness to serve the Prince of Peace. Only God can bring the peace you seek, and He loves you with an everlasting love.”
Amanda stared at me and then hesitantly put my card into her purse. “Thank you,” she said. “I will remember you long after this flight.”
Every day since then, I have prayed for Amanda. She represents the tragedy of today—a generation increasingly lost in the confusion of neo-paganism and demonic control. Amanda is not my enemy. She could easily be your daughter or mine, and the Good Shepherd came precisely to save every Amanda who will ever live. For such a generation, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8). My hope is that we will all be fervent in faith, steadfast in prayer, unyielding in love, and never cease praying that Jesus Christ will triumph in the lives of those we love and serve. If we don’t pray, who will? Each of us has an Amanda to pray for, and by God’s grace we will meet Amanda in the New Jerusalem.