“Dragon Seed” by Marty Machowski
It is not typical for any Christian book these days, especially a young adult one, to have as its focal point a particular sin prevalent among its readers. It’s better to remind teens of the inner spiritual power they contain than the evil lurking within their hearts, right? Wrong. The power of Mr. Machowski’s Dragon Seed is its uniqueness. The book aims straight at one issue, proving through gripping allegory the power of pride in young people’s lives. If you believe that pride isn’t that big of a deal, you will be convinced of its strength and given the weapons to stop it after reading Dragon Seed.
Dragon Seed follows Nick, a distant and independent teen, as he reads a family narrative written by his ancestor. This story-inside-a-story starts at the very beginning, with Satan’s first rebellion in heaven. After he is cast down to earth, he, the Lord Dragon, and his dragon minions sow the first seeds of pride into the hearts of Adam and Eve. “From that day, even until today, every child is born with dragon seed already cast upon their heart, ready to sprout at the first opportunity.” The book chronicles the battle of the dragons against God’s promised Savior up until Jesus, the Prince, is born.
From there the story shifts its focus towards Legion, later called Demas, who is spoken of in Mark 5. Corrupted by pride, Demas’s rebellion starts with disdain for his parents, then moves to bad choices for friends, and finally to possession by many demons. But Demas’s story does not end there. Although the dragon seed in Demas’s heart is strong, Jesus comes to him and removes it all, casting the dragons in his soul into the herd of swine nearby. After his miraculous rescue Demas travels to Jerusalem, the Temple City. He is in the city at the exact time of the crucifixion. It is powerful to see the change in Demas from demon possession, to freedom, to despair at the Prince’s death, and finally to joy at the resurrection of Jesus and his victory over every dragon on earth.
While the allegory is comprehensive, beginning before the creation of the world and ending after Jesus has defeated the dragons, it stays focused on the battle between pride and humility. It would have been easy for this tale to morph into an attempt to recreate the entire biblical arc of salvation. Instead, Mr. Machowski retains the book's poignant message with each page, whether it is in the hateful yet nervous conversations between dragons or the pictures of dragon seeds sprouting and being uprooted in Demas’s heart.
While Nick reads this family narrative, we see his hard, prideful heart soften as he begins to recognize his dragons and speak the truth to them. While Demas’s story is powerful, Nick’s journey towards humility hits closer to home. There is great danger presented in this book, but an even stronger response to that danger, a response rooted in Christ. But the story does not end with all problems solved. Nick’s sister Martha is a modern day older brother from the parable of the Prodigal Son. Unlike Nick she is a studious, hard-working moralist who stands in the shadows, judging her brother even after he is reconciled to his family. Martha provides a picture of self-righteousness that many teens can relate to.
The final part of Dragon Seed is a twelve-day study for fighting pride called “The Antidote.” This biblical analysis of pride’s causes and cure is a great help in fighting this sin. Dragon Seed’s narrative side and devotional side balance each other well: the first providing a strong picture of pride in human hearts and the second teaching the reader how to battle that pride.
Before reading Dragon Seed, I knew that pride was at the root of all sins. But now I realize just how deadly it is and how much of the biblical narrative can be explained through the lens of pride. Dragon Seed did not just inform me of pride and its problems, it convicted me of the pride hiding in my own life. I was impacted by day 8 in “The Antidote” where he mentions the pharisee and tax collector from Luke 18. Just like the Pharisee and Martha from the book, I can easily look down on others in pride. I am thankful most of all that Jesus is the ultimate antidote to pride, but I am also thankful that Mr. Machowski has written a book that is such a help in learning about and fighting these dragon seeds in our lives.
Asher Donohue resides in West Chester, PA with his parents and three siblings. He attends Covenant Fellowship Church.