Just finished The Rite by Matt Baglio. An excellent book, written objectively and very theologically supported. But I'm afraid the movie will disappoint.
btw, is it a fairly quick read?
Yes. Of course I am a slow reader, because I am always underlining things and making notes in the margins. But it is very readable and does a good job balancing the true accounts of exorcism with theolgical and spiritual truth.
One thing I really wish is that there were some modern works like this written from an Orthodox perspective.
Thanks, I picked it up per your suggestion
You might be interested in An Exorcist Tells His Story by Gabriele Amorth and Nicoletta V. Mackenzie. It's by the Vatican exorcist and is absolutely fascinating. But, of course, Catholic, not Orthodox.
BTW, I've been told that it isn't "healthy" to display too great an interest in demons and exorcism, that it actually tends to attract demonic activity to us. Any thoughts on that?
Yes, the book emphasizes this very point, iting C.S. Lewis's famous maxim from The Screwtape Letters
: "There are two equal and opposite errors that the devil wishes to drive us into: the first is that he tries to convince us that he does not exist, the second is to foster an unhealthy interest in him."
The book also quotes a lot from An Exorcist Tells His Story
. I would like to read it.
As to what attracts demonic activity, that's a good question. We know that sin attracts demonic activity, but we also know that the closer we grow towards God the more intensely the devils assail us. The Saints bear witness to this. So, according to these things, one might conclude that it is best to live a moderate life, avoiding extreme sin and avoiding extreme holiness. But surely that's not right! For Our Lord said, "I wish that you were hot or cold, but because you are lukewarm I shall spew thee out of my mouth." [Revelation 3:15-16]
I think that what is meant is that we should not live in perpetual fear of the devil, asciribing every sin and illness to him. We know that he has already been defeated by the Cross, and as long as we are availing ourselves of the Sacrmental life of the Church, then we do not need to cower in fear of demons. Yet, we should always be aware that a life of sin can indeed open the way for demonic possession. One quote in the book that I loved was this: "Don't be scared of the demon, be scared of the sin." [Father Bamante]