Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween's Intersections

--Today is the actual day in 1517 that Martin Luther nailed his theses to the Wittenberg door. For those of you who expected me to write about Reformation Day, you will not be disappointed. You will just need to migrate to this post on the Living Lutheran site.  It begins this way:

"In the weeks leading up to Reformation Day, I often find myself talking about the Protestant Reformation with people who haven’t considered the implications of Martin Luther’s long ago actions. Most people who have been Lutherans for a while can tell you why Luther’s actions were important for their church. But what do we say to non-Lutherans?"

--While you're at that site, you might want to check out this post that I wrote several years ago about how Christians should celebrate Halloween.  Don't be afraid!  It's not the kind of post where I decry the pagan roots of the holiday.  It begins this way:

"This post will offer no condemnation of witches or wizards. I’m an English major, so I’m not here to advocate banning books. I’ve had fun at costume parties, and I have more than one happy childhood memory of trick-or-treating around my neighborhood. Still, I know that the Halloween holiday poses some interesting questions for Christians."

--Some questions for your Reformation Day:  If you were writing a treatise on how you'd improve the Church, what would you say?  Would you have 95 points?  If you could only focus on one point, what would you choose?

--Some questions for your Halloween:  what do our costumes say about us?  What does our spending say about us?  What monsters do you see in popular culture, and what does that say about our society?

--Many scholars have many different explanations for the development of Halloween, but most agree that our modern Halloween traditions have roots in centuries-old traditions that related to All Saints Day and All Souls Day.  Do you feel that this time (Oct. 31-Nov. 2) is one of those thin places, where the veil between our world and other worlds feels breachable?

--It's Halloween morning, as I write.  We could still have a more intentional Halloween.  We could spend a few moments in meditation as we light our Jack-o-Lantern candles.  We could think about the gloom that we want to chase away.  We could think about the light that we want to shine into the world.  As we give out candy, we could say a silent prayer for each recipient:  "May your days be sweet and your life be sweeter."

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