Thursday, October 2, 2008

Repent or Give Me Candy!!!!

Doug Wilson over at Blog and Mablog commenting on Halloween and All Saints Day:

…the bottom line for us, is that both of these two days belong to the Christian church, and not to the pagans. And the days have been ours for many centuries, despite certain pagan encroachments of late. We should keep the days, and fight off the encroachments. And so . . .

Here are a few things to do: We are encouraging parishes to hold Reformation Day/All Saints Day parties and gatherings. The mood should be festive and filled with rejoicing — an exhibition of our gratitude for the faithfulness of the martyrs of the early church and the martyrs of the Reformation. This obviously can (and should) include kids dressing up and getting boatloads of candy, but I would strongly urge that no one have their kids dress up as members of the other team — witches, ghosts, devils, imps, or congressmen. We do want to urge a high level of celebration, but we don’t want to take our cues from the surrounding culture. So if you take your kid around to grandma’s house dressed up like a red M & M, or like Theodore Beza, don’t have them say trick or treat the same way some ghost or witch would. Of course, repent or perish or sola fide probably wouldn’t work either. Let’s do this differently, and intelligently, and still have fun. So have them say trick or treat the way a cute M & M would.

What to avoid. We want parish parties, not pious parties. So when neighborhood trick or treaters come to your door, I would encourage you to give them more candy than unbelievers give, as opposed to a glare and/or a tract about the fires of hell. We want to behave during this time in such a way that their celebrations are revealed as far more anemic than ours (not to mention twisted and gross). We do not want our parish parties to be a cheesy alternative, a sort of faux-Halloween. It should be a true All Hallow’s Eve, a true Reformation Day blow-out.

When growing up, my church would try this with some sort of lame “Harvest Celebration.” The problem wasn’t the theme. The problem was that Baptists have no idea how to party as Baptists. I’m guessing that more than a few people in that church knew how to party, just not as Baptists. I recall even back then as a high schooler, while attending a wedding reception, that it just did not seem nearly as much fun as it ought to have. It was held in the church gym and resembled an after church coffee hour more than anything else. It was mostly people standing around, eating cake and talking.  I remember thinking "What is wrong with these people? Is this really all there is? There should be music and dancing and stuff."  Of course, I knew that that sort  of thing was simply not permitted, but it just seemed wrong somehow. If there was any time that it would be right to dance, it would be at a wedding. I must say that some of that Baptistness must have rubbed off, as I have been accused of being someone who could stand to learn to party more. 

I’m not really convinced that the Presbyterians have this figured out either, but more power to them I say. 

Even so, the emphasis point of NOT dressing up as the “other team” is well taken.  I believe in our house the current plans lean toward an Egyptian Princess (a la Cleopatra) and Nancy Drew. I tried to interest them in Joan of Arc, but frankly the armor is hard to come by.

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