I was in the mood to listen to Dave Matthews Band's "Halloween" this morning. It took me a while to get used to Dave's growling, but I like the percussion breakdown in the middle.
There's a church here that does one of those Judgment Houses...you know, a scary alternative for Christians except it's all about your immortal soul. I had a conversation recently with the church's pastor since we wound up at the same calling hours. After I described my only experience at such a house (which included graphic depictions of a car accident and Satan yelling at me), he said "it's not one of the scary ones." Apparently the one here follows a girl as she disobeys her parents, gets drunk, questions her eternal state. "There is a heaven/hell room, but it's not like what you describe." Well, I've never gone to this one (and won't), so I'll take his word for it. There's a pretty decent documentary about another such house, called Hell House. Most of it made me cringe, but there are some pretty earnest moments, too.
A while back I wrote about the movie Saved! And writing about the above is conjuring those same uncomfortable feelings. New topic!
Internet Monk has an essay entitled The Great Pumpkin Proposes a Toast. It's pretty good. You should go read it.
So yeah, it's Halloween. It's not the pagan holiday that lots of people think it is. Tomorrow is All Saints' Day, today is All Hallow's Eve. The Pope made this happen centuries ago. Yeah, there are some pagan roots mixed in, but why do you think we celebrate Christmas on December 25th or Easter after the first new moon after the spring equinox? So throw out that excuse unless you want to throw out everything. Today offers great opportunities to be creative and to be together with others. I went as a poser this year. I had the wristbands, the stupid flat-billed cap, the oversized polo shirt, the baggy jeans. Someone pointed out to me that I wasn't wearing Timberland boots. I'm not shelling out money for those, though.
Don't let the imagination-stifling of a few ruin it for everyone. Enjoy it.
And while you're at it, raise a glass of German lager to our boy Martin Luther. He did a pretty big thing today, too. On Sunday I preached on how he put the Bible in the hands of the people and gave them permission to read and argue and discuss and ask questions on their own, without the religious muckity-mucks hanging over their shoulders. It was a big deal. Now we have bookstores stocked to the ceiling with Bibles in hundreds of different translations and featuring different footnotes and dictionaries and things. And a lot of us are STILL relying on the muckity-mucks. Ah well.
Happy Reformation Day/Halloween.