The Ghost

A number of years ago, in my heroin and alcohol days, I became acquainted with The Ghost. This is what he was called by Latinos affiliated with a certain gang. The Ghost made his way to the Northwest from Los Angeles, and he began to recruit young Latinos, promising an exciting, crime-filled life.

 The strange thing is, The Ghost was white. He never seemed to have any trouble with his street credentials, and brown people began to gather around him. He had a young woman (among others) selling heroin for him on the street, and sometimes his heroin would find its way into my veins. The Ghost intended to drive competing heroin dealers out of business–they would work for The Ghost, or they wouldn’t work at all.

“Ghost, you can’t do that,” objected an indignant Latina. “This isn’t LA.”

The Ghost just smiled. “Ah, but you see, I am going to bring Los Angeles here.”

Who was this guy? Had this red-haired white man really been in a gang in South Central LA? Years later, I came to understand that The Ghost had power–spiritual power.

One night we were walking down a street. As a car drove slowly by, the driver called out the name of a particular gang–a rival to the gang The Ghost was affiliated with. One of the young men in our group answered with an insult, and someone in the car began shooting. One of us was hit.

The Ghost, and the woman who had left her husband and children for him, ended up living in the same house where I was staying.  The woman who owned the home had given me many breaks over the months–and now she was hosting this man who somehow lived this impossible existence.

“He’s a nice person,” she would say of  The Ghost. Because he was likable, all his offenses were excused in her eyes.  

So it is today with several popular heretics. Not that I am calling them heroin dealers, or anything like that. But I think of  The Ghost when I watch their pleasant speeches and strange, spiritual charm. They, too, are such nice people.

No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness… (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)

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