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Jesus with His Lights Turned off on Halloween

keepouthalloween
Will is dressing up as a ghost for Halloween. I was shocked. He has his Indiana Jones costume that he wears everywhere. I thought at least he would choose the Storm Trooper costume. I have given up on him being a superhero (Batman, Vigilante, Green Lantern, or any other DC character). Sigh… but a Ghost? Where did that come from?

My Fundamentalist right pinky toe started to speak.

Toe: “You know what is going to happen if he dresses up as a Ghost.”

Me: “No, what?”

Toe: “Satan.”

Me: “Say what?”

Toe: “Satan will have a foothold. You and your family will have compromised to evil.”

Me: “How so. I don’t get it?”

Toe: “Ghosts are demons. Or at least they are demonic. Therefore, your son is taking his first step toward practicing demonology. It is a form of Satan worship.”

Me: “Say what?”

Toe: “Exactly, you have already compromised and you don’t recognize it. Next thing you know, Katelynn and Kylee will be dressing up as witches.”

Me: “To what end?”

Toe: “What?”

Me: “To what end? So what? Who cares?”

Toe: “I want a new master. You can just go watch Harry Potter for all I care.”

Yes, then there is  that. Christians on Halloween. Scared to celebrate. Some with more than their pinky toe doing the talking. You know the ones. They are the only ones in the neighborhood who have their lights turned off. “Oh, here come the kids. They are going to come to our door. If we open it, we will have compromised and, in effect, told them that Satan is my friend, that Satan is my pal. Turn off the lights and HIDE! It is the only Christian thing to do.

Ahem…please. Help us.

I can’t believe I am going to say this but, WWJD? Really, what would Jesus do? Can you see it? Jesus with his lights turned off on Halloween? That would be the Jesus history never knew. That would be the Jesus of western fundamentalism. The one who is not a friend of sinners and tax gatherers. The Jesus that was never accused of being a drunkard. The Jesus who looked from a distance at the wedding of Cana waiting for the sinners to wipe the dust off their feet before he talked to them. The Jesus who saw a child dressed up as a Ghost and said, “I can’t take this anymore. It is not worth it. Give me that stone so that I can turn it into bread.”

Mark Young, my friend and former missions prof at DTS (now the president of Denver Seminary), used to talk about this in his missions 101 class. Oh the shame of all of us students who turned off the light. We left the class crying looking for little witches and ghosts to hug. His thesis: Christians are not Christians on Halloween. Not because they have compromised and participated, but precisely because they don’t participate. The one day of the year where children (“Permit them to come to me…” Mark 10:14) were attempting to come to us and we shut the door and turn off the lights. We left the class in tears and began to plan what we were going to be for Halloween.

Toe (yes, I’m back): “But…but…but…It is not about the lights being on. Its not about giving out candy. Its about participating in the evil deeds of darkness. Don’t you know the roots of Halloween?”

Give me a break. Who have you been reading? Whoever it is, stop. First of all, how many kids do you know that are into witchcraft, Satan worship, or necromancy? What happened? Your eight-year-old was walking down the street in her witch costume and thought to herself: “I suddenly feel myself tempted to say a chant and worship Satan”?

Toe: No, it happens subtly. You know, like with Harry Potter.”

Yeah, that is right. In twenty-first century America, I can see how much satanism has grown because of Harry Potter and Halloween. Witchcraft is the primary thing that young kids are having to recover from. Its not sexual promiscuity, its not our greed or materialism, its not moms and dads who can’t demonstrate commitment and love, its not a compromise of the Gospel. Its witchcraft. Its our kids becoming ghosts on Halloween.

Sorry. Will is going to be a ghost. You can turn off your lights.

(Oh, and one more thing. Don’t just give out tracts…Shame, shame. Give out the best candy in the neighborhood. Let people know that you are the house that is not cheap.)

138 Responses to “Jesus with His Lights Turned off on Halloween”

  1. When I was growing up, we had halloween parties IN OUR CHURCH. My parents helped dress us up and my Sunday school teachers presided. Then, sometime between the time I left childhood (well actually when I got too big to pass myself off as elementary school age on Halloween) and when I got my own kids, some wacko branch of evangelicalism took over.

    Now even my mother has sent me a little book on the evils of halloween and warned me that nothing makes the “other team” happier than all those kids going door to door collecting O’Henry bars and bags of chips. Even my brother’s wife got my bro to cave in and ban halloween! (homeschooler, go figure). What! have we all become JWs?

    What?!! Did my treat or treating send me down the long dark slide to seances and ouiji board use? Am I now mistakenly taking my children to the local Church of Satan rather than the nondenominational evangelical Christian church (maybe that’s the problem right there: “nondenominational”. Independence is the first step to rebellion against God, and a sure sign of Luciferian influence).

    Since when did evangelicals decide that their own harmless and fun Halloween experiences were a fluke, and that dressing up inevitably leads to cross-dressing and satanic rituals and sacrifices behind the school gym after 3:30? If I had a nickel for every demon that invaded my house because of my jack-o-lanterns on the front porch I’d be rich.

    And what’s with all the new evangelical halloween experts? That alone is reason to pull the plug on the internet and google. Old wives’ tales on the internet, who says culture can’t keep up with technology.

    Since when did our lives become chapters in a Frank Peretti novel? Do people actually think that stuff is true? That Bob Larson was an authority? It really bothers me that evangelicals have turned an evening of fun into a salvation risk. It’s so true, I’m currently a backslidden Christian satanist because I dressed up as Spiderman when I was 10. The next day I was drawing pentagrams with melted chocolate and divining the future by throwing packets of “Rockets” candy on the floor.

    I just want my kids (and my nephews and nieces) to dress up in cute outfits, trick or treat with their friends, and meet their neighbours without having my pastor and elders come to my house for an exorcism and cleansing.

    And please, stop with the “alternate parties”. How lame. Ranks right up their with New Years Eve watchnight services. Not only would I be embarrassed to go (and properly so), but it constitutes the sort of cruelty to children that rates having them taken away by the local Child and Family Services.

    Evangelicals ruined something good, and everyone knows it but them.

    regards,
    #John (a.k.a. Satan’s tool for taking kids out of the “Kingdom” and into the night).

  2. Does that mean I can re-attach my pinky toe now? ;^)

  3. I always thought ghost costumes had more to do with procrastination then a preoccupation with the supernatural or occults. I’d be more worried about laziness, lackadaisical attitude and poor creativity skills.
    A sheet with two holes? Casper? or are you going to totally white him out somehow? At least the third option has some possibilities (thinking of the Scrooge ghosts in the movie from the 40’s) I’m seeing some vasolene and baby powder is this kids near future.

    Halloween’s history and origins are long forgotten. Halloween today= Kids, Costumes and Candy..what could be more fun and family then that.

    If your toe offends you…..put a sock on it.

  4. HaHa John1453,

    I’m glad someone else recognized it was the wacko evangelicals that ruined halloween and not the fundamentalists. It’s not always the fundamentalists that ruin the party!

  5. I must have lived in a pagan neighbourhood growing up. Not only did no one ever do such a dastardly deed to me as giving out tracts; I never even heard of such a thing. Sheesh, my neighbourhood was so naive growing up that I remember getting apples. Hold it!!!! That’s a satanic activity right there. Wow, it only took me 44 years but I finally get it. Satan had such a hold on my neighbourhood that its residents were giving out, and tempting me with, the forbidden fruit. AND I TOOK IT AND ATE IT.

    I’ll ponder the theological and end times implications for my soul another time. Right now I have to go find a Catholic friend to see if penance can help my dire situation. Or dig up an old Bob Larson book; I’m sure I must have one somewhere (doesn’t everyone over 40?).

    regards,
    #John

  6. John, that was classic. Needs to be a post itself! If you have a nickle… great stuff.

    However, an Evangelical by definition, at least in theory, does not have any hangups about halloween. If they do, then they are not longer evangelical, but fundie.

    Either way, great stuff.

  7. Yours was very good, too (especially the sign–it’s a good thing I’m wearing dark pants today because I think I wet myself laughing). Also good were Cadis’ thoughtful tips on how to help your son dress up as a ghost. (Notice how “ghost” has a silent “h”, a letter that is there but not there? Coincidental? I think not. I’m not trying to be alarmist, I’m just sayin’ . . .)

  8. Sorry guys, but I am going to have to beg to differ with you on this one, at least somewhat. Now I am not saying that Christians should necessarily stay inside with the lights off on Halloween! That is not my point.

    However, since Halloween did come from occultic origins and since much of the celebration even today centers on the occult–withches, ghosts, etc., it seems to me that there is reason for concern for Christians. After all, God made it very clear that the occult was something that was an abomination in His sight. So why do we today think it is ok for us to even pretend to be these things? Seems to me it just doesn’t make sense at all from a Scriptual standpoint.

  9. I really don’t have any feelings about halloween one way or another, except to the extent it teaches kids to disregard superstition, by having them dress up in scary costumes. If you can do that, and see that you and others are not going to be zapped, you can learn to control your fears about things like ghosts and witches.

    I remember when I was growing up if a black cat crossed your path, or you broke a mirror, it was automatically bad luck for 7 years. My Baptist grandma firmly believed in some of those old wives tales, but even devout Christians like her, back in those days didn’t freak out about Halloween. In fact they spent days preparing treats, instead of buying them.

    This present trend must be our split personalities coming from the emerging church. Or, if there is such a thing, (at least according to our evolutionist Christian peers) there’s a possibility that we could see a fundie post modernist movement evolving from the halloween controversy. Wouldn’t that make an interesting costume?

  10. A 10 year old in a spiderman costume and a 4 year old dressed up as a dog is occult? Well I suppose the former is an impermissable mix of organisms, kinda like mixing flax and wool, and the latter could be seen as beastiality, both satanic. To be consistent, I think that we should get rid of Valentines (a debased saint worship), Christmas (pagan festival, not to mention the pagan tree worship), President’s day (idolatry), St. Patrick’s Day (papist, and so an obvious nod to the Babylon of revelation), Easter (pagan, overtly sexual, rabbits demonically laying eggs, fertility festival), birthdays (again, idolatrous), goat farming (just Satan with a camel’s nose poking his nose into the tent of our agricultural activities. Next thing you know we’ll be accepting of goats, then we’ll become dependent on their flesh and milk, then we’ll be putting goats’ heads over our hearths, then sacrificing goats and then, finally, sacrificing our children on our hearths below the goats head (a universal symbol of devil worship from ancient times)).

    I’m just warming up. Next I’ll go after plays, movies, card playing, make-up, dancing, paper money, musical instruments, jewellry, perms for women (and pants), using electricity (I got mennonites in my background), microscopes and telescopes, heliocentrism, a round earth, local floods, oath swearing in court, cream sauces on lamb, nonleather shoes, buttons, zippers, coloured scarves, . . . . [sorry, ran out of breath]

    regards,
    #John

  11. and socks.

  12. Uh, # John, notice I said much of the celebration today focuses on the occult. Witches, ghosts, goblins, haunted houses, etc. Do we really think those things are pleasing to the Lord? I’m sorry, but I just can’t see that they are when He has had so much to say on the subject.

    And please, I have never known you to be quite so sarcastic and mocking of other Christian’s beliefs before. You may not agree, but do you have to make those that disagree with you out to be total nincompoops?

  13. I’m of the same mind with CMP that alternative parties for Christian children at churches is somewhat of an hypocrisy, especially if it is the day itself that is considered occultic.

    Reminds me of an preacher I had when I lived in Ohio briefly many years ago, when the internet first came out. Because the www that we use as a prefix before some websites stands for world wide web, this man claimed that the net was the mark of the beast and anyone who participated in it was receiving it.

    Now guess who has a website for his church?

  14. While we’re at it, we gotta get rid of Christmas lights (related to the midwinter festivals welcoming and praying for the return of the sun, and a ritual used to invoke its return) and weekends. Everyone knows how people just look forward to weekends as an excuse to party, get drunk and have sex (outside of marriage, of course).

    Nincompoops? No, just reductio ad absurdum of the current evangelical cultural paranoia about halloween.

  15. Maybe it depends on where you’re located; in my region, the decorations in people’s front yards range from bloodied skeletons hanging from trees to corpses climbing out of graves, and all manner of gruesome things in between. These are not “good, clean fun”, they are macabre and creepy, and they really bother the heck out of my kids, to the point where, whenever they see anything Halloween-related as we’re driving down the street, one of them will warn the other not to look at it. They do this completely on their own, with no conditioning from us whatsoever. They just intuitively know that this isn’t happy, fun stuff. My objection to Halloween, and the reason my kids don’t participate, is not out of concern that donning a costume will lead to Satanism — it’s that Halloween involves a lot of disturbing imagery and subjects that do not belong in children’s heads. I can’t ask my children not to be bothered by things that legitimately bother them, and I won’t ask them to endure things that disturb them simply in the name of having fun; there are plenty of other ways that fun can be had.

    I think that questions about how to be in the world but not of the world are genuinely challenging when it comes to holidays like Halloween, Christmas, and Easter, and I think the condescending tone of the original post and some of the follow ups don’t really engage the difficulty of those questions in a productive way. Christmas and Easter are tough, since popular culture has completely co-opted them and turned them on their heads, but at least they retain their Christian heritage for us to point to. But I don’t see the obligation for a Christian to celebrate a cultural holiday like Halloween. No one complains that we don’t celebrate, for example, Purim, which has a similarly celebratory and “fun” observance and has the additional benefit of commemorating an actual Biblical event. I don’t see a need for ire to be directed at the Halloween-abstainers. Although I did think the conversation with the toe was pretty funny.

  16. Giving out tracts instead of candy is like leaving one for a tip. The action speaks louder than the words!

    I’m not a fan of Halloween, in part because of the God-dishonoring aspects and in part because of personal preference. I begrudgingly participate anyway, helping out at our church’s Halloween alternative. I think it’s a great opportunity to show our love for our neighbors as they willingly come to us.

  17. We WANT people to come to our door. So much that I light up our driveway with a halogen worklight so that people can safely make it to our door. Yes, there will be tracts distributed, but these will accompany good treats and other little goodies that my wife has ordered.

    How many times a year do the neighbors come knocking on our doors?

  18. Christmas and Easter were co-opts (coopts? cooptings? cooptions?) of pagan festivals. So the original heritage was pagan. Rather than retreat, perhaps it is better to “take back” from the festivals from the modern corruptions of them by avoiding the gruesome and focussing on fun, on non-gruesome costumes, on the treats, etc.

    Adults layer on all kinds of meanings and problems onto things like halloween that just don’t exist for kids. Kids like to have fun, dress-up, scare each other, eat candy, be up late, etc. Isn’t that all we need to do to adequately participate in a cultural halloween?

  19. “However, an Evangelical by definition, at least in theory, does not have any hangups about halloween. If they do, then they are not longer evangelical, but fundie.”

    How do you figure this? ?? what? You can identify an evangelical or a fundamentalist by their Halloween practices? I did not know this :) Why do you always shove the legalists onto the fundies as if there are no legalistic or moralistic evangelicals. I’m not saying that steering away from Halloween equates to legalism or that there is no good reason to refrain from Halloween, but making it a standard or a law involving an entire church, even by way of peer pressure does equate to legalism and has little to do with Fundamentalism.

  20. OK, if a tract comes with candy, I can handle it. As long as it’s not one of those gruesome “Chick” tracts that I grew up reading (if anything pushed me away from Jesus, that might have been it).

    I’m with Cadis on halloween and evangelicals. I don’t think fundies ever went in for Larson and the casting out of demons. I don’t think fundies even read the verses about demons. Fundies carve some of the best pumpkins. It was evangelicals that went hole hog for the satanism stuff, and used their dough (they’re usually richer than fundies, kinda like the economic presbyterian / catholic divide of days gone by) and cultural influence to make it a big issue and thereby brought the attention of the unsaved onto their wackiness.

    However, I do think there is a masters or PhD thesis in there somewhere, as regards identifying christian subcultures by their Halloween practices. Hmmm, I may go back to school . . ..

  21. I totally agree with Jake Blues, well said…. I also thought the toe conversation was classic Michael :)

  22. The “rightness” or “wrongness” is not the paramount issue here; the important issue is that of each person’s conscience. If one person feels free to eat meat sacrificed to idols, let them eat; if another does not feel free, let them not eat.

    Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Halloween and kids dressed up as little devils. But I’ll stop short of castigating or ridiculing – or in any way trying to pressure – others to do what their conscience does not allow. That is causing another to stumble.

    We’re free to indulge or not indulge and don’t need others looking down on us. People that don’t indulge can pray for those of us who do; those who do indulge can pray for those who don’t.

  23. @#John,

    If you are somehow able to make all of my neighbors take down their gruesome decorations, you might have a point, but absent that, there is no possible way I would take my kids out to trick-or-treat. I’m not inventing problems for my kids that don’t exist — they are bothered by disturbing, gruesome images that have become part and parcel of our culture’s Halloween celebration. I would go so far as to say that theirs is the proper reaction.

    I think that if you view “abstention” and “retreat” as synonymous, there’s probably little hope that you can be persuaded to see the other side’s viewpoint, but I would simply request that you, Michael, and others not allege fuddy-duddiness of those who have objections to non-Christian cultural practices like Halloween.

    As to your suggestion to focus on fun, non-gruesome costumes, treats, etc: I don’t understand your objection to the notion of a church holding a Halloween alternative, particularly if non-believers are welcomed. A local church here has held a huge annual event with games, pizza, costumes, and a time of worship music and presentation of the gospel message. Our kids have gone to that for the last couple of years — it seems like an acceptable way to let them have fun (and thus not feel that their parents are squares forcing them to miss out on all the fun) yet to avoid the negative aspects.

  24. Points made and taken regarding the meat for idols principle. However, what others and I were getting at is the component of evangelicalism that deserves to be mocked because of its unbiblical paranoia of, fascination with, incorrect theology of, satan and halloween and the lack of principled basis and actions regarding halloween rejection (avoiding halloween bedcause of its so-called pagan origins does not, in my books, count as a principled rejection).

    Jake Blues has an approach to halloween that is based on his kids sensitivities and not simply halloween avoidance, and in which case a separate party for his kids makes sense.

    My kids, on the other hand, from the time they were 3 and 4 wanted me to walk them around the neighbourhood pre-halloween so that they could see the displays. They walk past some amazing ones on the way to school everyday. Since most kids can’t avoid the displays in their neighbourhoods on a daily basis prior to halloween, it makes little sense to avoid them on halloween. Just walk past them, have fun, dress up, get candy and don’t go to the scary houses. Or go to them if its fun.

  25. Cadis: Let me enlighten you to the distinctions between a fundie and evangelical:

    How do you tell the difference between an evangelical and a fundamentalist? Ask if they like Billy Graham. (This is a classic one as Fundamentalists do not).

    How do you tell the difference between an evangelical and a fundamentalist? Ask if a Roman Catholic can be saved: Fundamentalists=all Catholics will burn in Hell. Evangelical=yes, they can be saved.

    Finally, How do you tell the difference between an evangelical and a fundamentalist? Ask if they celebrate Halloween. You know where this one is going.

  26. CMP, we need a blog thread devoted entirely and only to jokes about evangelicals, etc.

    Q: How many neo-evangelicals does it take to change a light bulb?

    A: No one knows. They can’t tell the difference between light and darkness.

    Here’s one on emergents:

    Q: What’s the difference between a mouse and a man in an emergent church?

    A: The mouse has hair on its chest.

    And homeschooling fundies:

    Q: What’s the difference between a fundie’s daughter in the kitchen and a fundie’s kitchen garbage?

    A: The fundie’s kitchen garbage goes out once a week.

    Q: what’s the difference between a fundie scholar and a conservatiive evangelical one?

    A: The evangelical knows how to properly footnote his Moody Monthlies.

  27. I like this discussion. It’s funny how I was planing on doing a cartoon for this week based on this discussion. I’m actually proud of the above commentors as there reasonable discusion on thier disagreements and while it could have gotten heated it didn’t. I guess there is some maturity on the site. From a personal stand point I only remain confused on all these labels we Christains use and it seems we must stand in these tight little roles based on doctrine. I try and avoid these labels muchliek I do in politics. In my politics it depends on the specific situation and not based on some narrow system I’m trying to fit in to.

  28. As for halloween costumes, I must ‘fess up. I think CMP is a liberal, or at least a wannabe episcopalian. He allows ghost costumes, whereas in my household such costumes are “verboten” (as I said, I got menno’s in my background. In fact, I got sent to German school on Saturdays when other kids got to watch evil cartoons. If it weren’t for the fact that my father was unsaved I wouldn’t know who John Wayne is. but I digress.), as are ghouls, vampires, witches, werewolves, etc., you get the picture. Yes, my childhood was deprived of those things so I visit my bitter disappointment on my children. I could, I suppose, live vicariously through them by allowing them to wear a ghost costume, but then I would be treating them as a means rather than an end in themselves—quite immoral.

    One year we let our kindergartner hang his tissue paper ghost that he made in class in the front yard tree. We made up for that by laying hands on him before he went to sleep and then getting up a half hour earlier the next day for quiet time.

    The only decorations we allow are spiderwebs, spiders, and bats (all created by God and pronounced “good”). No bones (though truth be told, my uncle and grandfather for years kept a milk pail full of human bones that they dug up when extending their cellar beneath their dirt floor. My Uncle used to try to scare the bejabbers out of me in the evening by sticking an arm bone through the railing on the second floor landing. But again, I digress). and no blood, witches, zombies or tombstones (the later would be okay, because they’re churchy, but we can’t justify spending the money to buy one. (Maybe one year we’ll make cardboard ones, because my Scot and Mennonite blood cannot abide spending money when we can make a tacky version ourselves. But once again, I digress).

    CMP, I thought that this was a truly conservative website, but now that you’ve admitted to ghost costumes, I’ll have to reconsider. I’ll still pray for your soul, though, especially now that you’ve abandoned your complementarian responsibility to shelter your household from demons.

    As I write this, I’m starting to feel like I should be taking that fundie test. You know the one: “you might be a fundie if . . . “

  29. Actually, there is a functional relation between many “pagan” celebrations, like Halloween, with Jewish and other religious festivals. They were originally, HARVEST festivals. The Jewish “Festival of Booths” is the holiest day in Ancient Judaism; it just ended for example. And it was also a harvest fest. As are many holy days, this time of year.

    It’s also the root of a lot of spirituality. In harvest festivals, the general principle or idea, was to consume the massive harvest surplus. But more than that, share the harvest with others. Especially poor people. To help them stock up for the deadly winter, when not much food would grow.

    In Christianity today, we have forgotten our roots. We speak vaguely of being Christian, and “giving,” and it all seems so abstract. But it was all extremely concrete, and real, in ancient subsistence economies. Where poor people depended on such distributions to survive the winter.

    Other festivals are surprisingly related. Even Christmas – which to be sure, which is not a harvest fest – did have to do with re-distributing, “giving” food to the poor, in the most critical moment: in mid-to-late winter, when food was in very short supply.

    So in a way, even the “pagan” festival of Halloween, relates to ancient Jewish, “religious” festivals. And helps explain their meaning, in a very concrete way.

    Remotely, these holidays ALMOST continue the ancient functions: lots of ordinary kids probably still rely on the shopping bag full of candy, as their entire supply of candy for the winter.

  30. Michael:

    Your list and litmus tests for who is and who is not a fundamentalist sounds like it was written by a fundamentalist.

    It’s all about Us and Them. Not We.

  31. Yeah Mike, that is why it works. It WAS written by a fundamentalist!

  32. Excellent point Renton, I love the fact that I can get in touch with my Jewish roots by ridding myself of my excess harvest of sugar through sharing it with the poor kids in my neighbhourhood. I’ll also throw some in the bushes to foster gleaning. But like student loan applications, the kids will have to show their parent’s last income tax receipt so that I can tell if they are truly poor, or just conning me. (I’m not mocking you, Renton, just riffing on the topics you brought up).

    Anyone else have kids like mine? You know, one hoovers up his entire bag(s) of candy before 1 a.m., regardless of how high he raises his barf quotient factor, and the other one misers it out so that it lasts past Christmas, whereupon he supplements his hoard and gets it to last to Easter, with the occasional one lying in a forgotten corner of his dresser until mid-summer.

  33. Ha Ha man John! your on a roll today :) funny stuff.

  34. I’m dressing up like a fundamentalist for Halloween. Just to fool with Michael’s head. :)

  35. Hmm, I feel convicted about an accidental lie. My grandfather did not have a dirt floor in his second house, the one with the cellar. I meant that the cellar was simply a hole dug in the dirt. Did a good job of storing the potatoes (Which my mother insisted in growing in the suburbs after marrying a non-mennonite city slicker, even though I pointed out that one could buy them in a store for cheaper than they sold bags of garden dirt. Yes, I’m digressing again but the whole cellar-potatoe-storage-thing brought up horrid memories of picking potatoe bugs after school).

    My grandfather’s first house, where some of my aunts were born, had the dirt floor. It was a great summer playhouse, with lots of sharp things that were verboten in the City. And consequently I got the real life stories of walking backwards uphill both ways and through snow banks all year round to school stories. My mom and her siblings had to carry their (one) pair of shoes to school so as not to wear them out, and lard sandwiches were standard fare (and yes, for the curious, I have participated in my share of farm pig butcherings. That kind of blood is OK, but the halloween blood is not–did you hear that, CMP, you liberal ghost permitting and thus quasi post evangelical that you have now revealed yourself to be).

    Further true story. My mom had a pet goat growing up. One day she came home from school and it was missing. Two weeks later they found out that the poor family two farms over caught it, butchered it and ate it. Back then there was no counselling for that sort of thing and the emotional wreckage it caused has continued to be visited upon the second, and yea even unto the third, generation. It’s no wonder, with a screwed up childhood like that, that I became a lawyer. Hmmm, I better rethink that ghost costume issue, I don’t want my kids growing up to be lawyers.

  36. Cadis, for your fundie costume, make sure you wear your most starched and stiffest underwear. You don’t want any extra and unnecessary flexibility.

  37. Kim (Cadis),

    Whoa. Head spinning. Is that like the question, “Can God make a rock so big he cannot pick it up?”

    Its either self-absurd or a paradox. Either way, brain short circuited upon reading.

  38. Cadis, if you need any Chick tracts to complete your costume, I can fed ex you some.

    But just promise you won’t go to C. Michael’s house for treats. I know he pledges that he’s got the best candy on the street, but we can’t afford to have him laid up with a stroke after he sees you–where would we go to post and blog? We’d be cast out and forced to blog among swine and quasi-intellectuals.

  39. Seems to me that everyone should do what they are led to do without having to hear condescending responses. I will go with my sister to take my neice trick or treating and feel okay about that but I also agree with Jake in visual imagery being so powerful. That is why I stay away from many movies, not because I’m a legalist, but because when I see certain things I truly wrestle so much internally and it just isn’t good for me. Doesn’t allow for the transformation I’m after. Romans 12:2.

  40. C. Michael, as part of your halloween post, can you put up the picture with half your eye brow missing? Do it in close up if you can, maybe a self portrait using your arm stuck out to hold the camera. To be seasonal you could have a scary frown. Sheesh, and I thought I was cheap by getting my wife to cut my hair (actually, only when she was my fiancée, once she was my wife . . . .). But the 1/2 eyebrow, please, you know it’s killing us who follow your tweets.

  41. lolll. It is actually almost grown out to the point where you cannot tell.

  42. C. Michael. When you do your blogging on dispensationalism, can you include a blog on that late 1970s comic with the Christian young people on the cover that are being raptured? You know the one, they are wearing flared disco pants and there is a psychodelic swirl of colour following their ascencion from earth. I know that it’s acceptable to discuss such worldly things as comics here, because you’ve admitted more than once (including in this thread’s lede) that you like DC superheros. In my sheltered childhood we were not allowed worldly comics until the Christian versions came out. And only because Jack Chick paved the way with cartoon tracts. You obviously had a much more worldly upbringing. And more fun. Woah. Christians have fun too. We sing hymns at our alternative to the culture substitute parties. Nothing beats a good hymn after bobbing for apples. Our Jesus is not just against drinking, he’s against culture too. (ever notice how the Greek word for wine, “oinos”, is like a pig’s oink? Coincidence? I think not.)

  43. John,

    That was absolutely great! Thanks for adding to Michael’s already wonderful perspective.

    Unfortunately, however, Michael’s eyebrow doesn’t look nearly as bad. Otherwise I was going to suggest he go as Vanilla Ice.

    By the way, I am Michael’s sister.

  44. Okay, I’m probably going to open a HUGE can of worms and receive a sever tongue lashing (as well as enticement by my toe) from this comment but I feel strongly about this subject; not that I look down on those who let their children dress up and go trick-or-treating, because we went when we were kids. My family does not choose not to participate in Halloween simply because we think it is wrong but we do not participate because we do not feel it is Christ-honoring. And I disagree with you severely on the fact of WWJD.

    But I will say this: Some kids are extremely prone to spiritual activity–I was. And it was something that I was willing to explore at a deeper level.

    I remember being very young and so fascinated by the supernatural. It eventually led to other things of which I will not discuss. I would simply like to give this warning: once it gets hold of you it is hard to let go. Only by God’s grace was I set free in my mid-twenties and even after, there was several years of consequences to those actions.

    So Michael, while I am certainly not trying to push my own convictions upon you and your family I would certainly caution that you at least watch and see how obsessed he may become by these things.

    I hope you don’t take offense to this but again it is something I feel strongly about. Thanks, and God bless.

  45. Vanilla Ice! Awesome! (also, I’m glad to know someone else besides me has deep cultural knowledge that predates the previous decade. CMP’s blog has a mature readership, so I’m sure that I’m not the only one that will catch the significance of the name). I know C. Michael can break like nobody’s business, but can he rap, too? Talk about a well-rounded theologian. I expect Michael would be all over your idea like white on rice (except I expect he’d want a cape so he could be Super Vanilla Ice with an SVA on his chest). You go girl!

  46. As it’s halloween, it’s quite apropos to be lashed with a severed tongue (your typo). On a more serious note, each has to be sensitive to his/her own past and journey. So, no, I don’t think Steve is opening up a can of worms. Being thoughtfully sensitive to one’s own experiences and journey is far different from being a dumb sheep and unthinkingly banning halloween because of jack ‘o lanterns and what some one on the internet said about them.

  47. Thanks Steve Long,

    You took what I said a step further. I have read similar things elsewhere.

    I really don’t know why we as Christians find it so hard to believe that when we dabble with occultic things that the Bible has clearly told us are an abomination to the Lord, we may get hurt.

    When I was growing up I went trick or treating too. Back then witches and ghosts and goblins were thought of as purely imaginary or superstition. No one seemed to be aware that there are very real spiritual powers out there that can cause people harm.

    I have also read repeatedly that Halloween is the high holy night for witches and wiccans at the present time. The occult appears to be growing in this country all of the time. Those who participate in these things obviously don’t think of Halloween as just a fun and games time.

  48. Harry Potter = cool stories about wizards and magic and good overcoming evil.

    Lord of the Rings = cool stories about wizards and magic and good overcoming evil.

    Anyone condemning Harry Potter and NOT condemning Lord of the Rings has some explaining to do.

    As for Halloween, yes, it originated with a Celtic Pagan holiday.

    And Christmas originated with A pagan holiday lined up with the winter soltice and we still see many elements of that pagan holiday that has survived even after the Christians took it over for the celebration of Jesus’ birth (hint: evergreen trees were sacred to ancient Celts).

    And Easter was co-opted from a pagan Spring celebration . . . etc.

    Yes, there are still flavors of the pre-Christian pagan celebrations in all of these, but we don’t fret about it too much because we have morphed them into something harmless and fun. I am not worried about my children becoming Satanists at Halloween any more than I am worried about them being tempted to worship the holy pagan evergreen tree at Christmas.

  49. To follow up:

    Anyone who prevents their children from Trick-or-Treating should also not have a decorated Christmas Tree or color any Easter eggs, since those were also pagan religious rituals. Seriously, I don’t see how you could condemn the one while still indulging in the others.

  50. I’ve got the perfect solution to split the difference: A Bible-based Halloween night.

    Goliath with a severed head and one serious frontal lobe fracture.

    Sisera with a nail through the skull.

    Take your pick of any apostle (with exception of John).

    Dare I say Jesus?

    The possibilities are endless…and it’s perfectly holy!

    ;)

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