4 out of 4 stars
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Sometimes when I'm strolling through my Facebook stream, I come across a post that asks, "If you could sit down and have a conversation with anyone, dead or alive, who would you pick?" I have my faves (Michael Jackson and Albert Einstein, for instance), but funnily enough, I have never picked the devil. In his book, Satan and Me and OBE; An Out-of-Body Experience, author Bob Dowell tells of his real-life conversation with the Big Bad, and I don't mean the wolf!
At the age of twelve, shortly after foregoing an opportunity to go to the altar and give his life over to Christ, Mr. Dowell had his first out-out-body experience. This occasion led to his initial, harrowing experience with the devil. Satan told Bob that his soul was his and that it always would be. Shortly after awakening, Mr. Dowell became saved and never turned away from his walk. Still, his experience nagged him for the next 58 years, and he wished to speak with the devil again, this time as a knowledgeable Christian. At the age of seventy, he got his wish and, following another OBE, he had a prolonged discourse with Satan. It is this discussion that comprises most of the tome.
As a staunch Christian, I rely on the Holy Bible as my human instruction manual. Still, I have to admit that I do sometimes find the reading a little dry, so I love spiritually-based books that elaborate on things in the Word. It was with much excitement, therefore, that I selected this tome to review. In this book, we get to read Satan's take on such things as the war in Heaven, why he tempted Eve, and why he actually thinks he's winning the current war (for souls). So as to keep things in an orderly fashion, the tome is split into sections paralleling the Bible, focusing on events before the Bible begins, the Old Testament, the New Testament, and Revelations.
I was fascinated from the first sentence and spent much of my reading time on the edge of my seat. Even though I know the Word pretty well, I couldn't wait to see what Satan would say about certain things. I was especially interested in his filling in the blanks in some Biblical stories. In this embodiment, he was funnier and much more interesting than I thought he would be. In fact, I daresay that this version of Satan could also be called "Satin" because he was so smooth. I therefore questioned the validity of the author's story. Then it occurred to me that since the the devil comes to us as attractive and desirable, thereby making sin seem fun, his characterization made sense. Even so, I had to laugh at some of the things that he said and some of the ways in which he justified his behavior (he liked to use the word "spin" a lot). Also, since he is the father of lying, I took much of what Satan had to say with a giant spoon of salt. For his part, the author did a great job explaining the Christian side of things without sounding preachy, even though Satan would often accuse him of "sermonizing". I really liked the author's casual writing style and felt more like I was eavesdropping than reading a book, which is just what one wants in this type of tale.
As much as I loved this book, there were a few things that irritated me. For one, I would liked to have had some kind of description of Satan's physical form. While I'm guessing that he wasn't red with horns, a forked tail, and a pitchfork, I also really wanted to know if he still looked like an angel or just a human or even something else. I figure that Mr. Dowell left such details out because the book is more about the devil's words than his looks, but I still wanted to know.
The other things that irritated me were found in the technical aspects. Even though there were a few grammatical errors, mostly in punctuation, with the occasional missed word, I was so into the reading that I had to go back and look for them. One thing that bothered me more was a negative result of writing primarily in conversation style. I sometimes got lost as to who was speaking and had to go back a paragraph or two to figure it out. The parts in question were mostly just sentences that recapped what happened in the Bible, but it still would have been nice to know right off who was talking. At the same time, though, I do realize that too many "he said" and "I said" precursors would have been laborious. Another personal pet peeve was the author's failure to capitalize "Heaven" and "He/Him/His" when it pertained to God. While not technically wrong, it really messed with my sensibilities.
If we could give half stars, I would give Satan and Me and OBE three-and-one-half but since I cannot, I'll round up and go with 4 out of 4 stars; the quibbles I had were more about my personal preferences than real errors, so there's no need to penalize the author by downgrading my score. I wholeheartedly recommend this tome for Christian readers as well as readers who like witty repartee with some debate thrown in. Readers of other faiths may also find it an interesting read, but since it's based on the Holy Bible, those of other faiths may not agree with some ideas that are put forth. Finally, if you've ever been troubled by a little devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, this tale may be for you.
Satan and Me and OBE
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