Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Reformoween or Hallowmation Day?

How do you celebrate Reformoween? I was never allowed to trick-or-treat growing up, because my mother told us that it was "celebrating the devil's birthday". It's da devil, Bobby Boucher!

So I was pretty sheltered. But looking back, it's probably for the better. Think about Halloween decorations. What is celebrated most during this time of year? What most stands out to me are all the images of death. Sure, there are the nostalgic memories (and I'm sure all of you can relate) of the smiley jack-o-lanterns and different cut-outs the teacher would pin up on the particleboard in elementary school, as well as other comforting images of Autumn. And then there's all those Peanuts cartoons and other Halloween movies/cartoons that take us back to the innocence of what was really not much more than "candy day" from a child's perspective.

Then there's the sadness of haunted houses. Each year, for the lofty price of about $12, roughly the gasoline cost of driving your car one mile down the road to Taco Bell, you can walk through a haunted house. I went last year to one called the "frightliner," a cruise boat at Waterfront dressed up like a haunted house, and was quite distraught at the celebration of death. Glorified in every room were images of human bodies being mangled, mutilated, and defamed in numerous dishonoring manners. Again I call to your attention that this is a celebration of the destruction of God's image (human bodies), an apalling thing to celebrate, all for the sake of trying to elicit a "scare" from the viewers.

"Will you escape Dementions, or will you become trapped in torment for eternity as yet another one of its soulless prisoners? Admission is $12.95"
See all of the ridiculous "attractions" that center around Halloween here in Louisville

So for $12.95 you can find out if you'll lose your soul or not. Neat. I'm just glad it's not 13 whole dollars. That would just be too much.

Isn't there a reason that these images are considered "scary?" It bothers one's psyche because it's not the way we were created to exist. We were created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, not to celebrate the mutilation of His image which He's shared with us. It's amazing that people who whine about the bloody scenes in The Passion of the Christ (which are meant to represent the horror of sin's consequences) are the same people who go out and entertain themselves to the greater levels of gore and destruction at haunted houses.

This Halloween, let's make it about the reformation and liberation from the religious audacity of Papal rule. And if you're Catholic or "non-religious," I urge you to at least abstain from finding pleasure in human destruction.

Special Thanks to Jeannine for the sunset
Scary Sounds: Let Loose , Scary

36 Comments:

Blogger bethy31 said...

And the 'judgment houses'..I think those things are awful...scaring people to salvation..I dunno..just not me!

Wed Oct 26, 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

HEY! I got saved at a Judgement House!

I didn't really. And I agree that those are pretty lame. Might as well come at them with a flamethrower and tell them "This is what Hell's gonna feel like!! AAAHHHH!!!" I mean, why hold back if you're gonna use the scare tactic?

Wed Oct 26, 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger bethy31 said...

My roommate was totally scarred by one..and one of the guys with her (who still isn't a Christian) has nightmares about it...

However, I do plan to have people over for chili and handing out trick or treat candy..I hope you'll still be my friend..I promise I'm not trying to celebrate Satan's birthday....I just wanna give candy to kids.

Wed Oct 26, 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Juliana said...

Good thoughts, J. What do you think about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy and all that?

Wed Oct 26, 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger Scooter said...

The best haunted house ever has to be the House of Farts from an episode of South Park. "Dare you enter the House of Farts?"

Anyhoo... People who freak out about Halloween being a celebration of the devil or evil or whatever really make me chuckle. Halloween began as a celebration of scaring demons away, not calling them forth. People believed that on All Hallows Eve demons walked the earth, so they felt that if they wore scary costumes (like a spooky spider, perhaps) then the real demons would be frightened off, or at least think the people were also demons and leave them alone.

However, I will agree that for some people Halloween has become a glorification of horror, just as Christmas has become a glorification of presents. But for me, "horror" as a genre (of movies, books, tv shows, etc.) isn't a bad thing, as long as people realize these things are fiction (and something not to be emulated). Whether they will admit it or not, people loved to be scared. Horror entertainment gives people a rush that makes them feel alive, as long as underneath all that horror, people know that it's not real. (Watching a movie about a madman chopping down someone's door = okay; having a madman chop down your door = not okay.)

I love Stephen King's writing, the horror stuff and the non-horror stuff, and I write horror short stories myself, and many horror fans will tell you that with the good stuff (movies, books, etc.) there is a point to all the violence and gore. In other words, it's not all just gore for gore's sake. There's a point or message or theme or story or whatever you want to call it beneath all the bloody carnage (just as there is in Passion of the Christ).

Wed Oct 26, 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger Jugador de Futbol said...

yeah hah. Do all poems have to rhyme? I think poems that rhyme are stupid. We need to see your poems on here. When are you going to put them up? Especially that "one" about that special person...you know...

Wed Oct 26, 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Bonnie and Bethany: I don't have a problem with y'all celebrating Halloween or having Santa, Tooth fairy, Easter Bunny, Powdered toast man, Shaven Yak or whatever, I never said we shouldn't do that - like Scott said, I just feel that some of the glorification of horror at halloween/presents at Christmas has gotten out of hand, especially in our consumer-driven, selfish country.

Thanksgiving is almost completely ignored because of the fact that there's not a lot of marketing appeal, except that it is a time to "rest up before black friday," a day when people become primal and uncivilized, beating each other down for the best "deals."

Wed Oct 26, 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Scooter said...

I like to go to the mall on Black Friday every year, not to shop but to watch people, like some kind of anthropologist watching a primitive culture. I've actually seen grown people snatch DVDs out of other people's hands and constantly yell things like "That's mine!" or "I saw it first!" Sadly, I'm not kidding.

Wed Oct 26, 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger Jeannine said...

i've never been in a "haunted house"...and i don't like horror movies. i guess i don't like paying to have horrific images put in my head and then be paranoid that someone is about to attack me with a chainsaw while walking home.

but kids dressing up in cute costumes and getting lots of candy...i'm all for that aspect of halloween.

Wed Oct 26, 09:30:00 PM  
Blogger Morgan said...

good post. i am not a halloween fan, except i love pumpkins (and have to agree with jeannine that little kids in costumes can be so cute!) but i agree that this holiday does nothing more than glorify sin. as far as "black friday" (never heard the term despite being an avid shopper) goes while reading this something about "no one can serve two masters" shot through my head...ouch! better think before i buy this holiday season!

Wed Oct 26, 10:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Erin said...

I was never allowed to go trick or treating either. Honestly, I don't fell like I missed out at all, my mom would buy us candy and we had costumes for the fall festival at the church. I mean, I got to play games at church while other kids had to go walk around the neighborhood. I for sure had the better deal.

And no, scooter, not all people like to be scared. I hate it. My friends had a movie night that I didn't join in on becuase I knew they were going to watch scary movies. It's not entertaining to me to be afraid. I especially can't handle movies that deal with the spiritual realm. Excorcism and such....it really brings forth spiritual warfare for me. I don't ever want to put myself in that place on purpose just for the sake of entertainment.

Thu Oct 27, 01:10:00 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

As I sit here and read this- My students in my classroom (A Christan School- Missionary Kid School) are making games for our 'Christian Character Day'. On Friday, the kids will dress up like a Christian Character- real or ficticious- and then at the end of the day we will play games. I was responsible for writing the note to go home to parents about this... the funny part about it was that my director wanted to make sure that the parents didn't think we were celebrating Halloween- but that we are celebrating our Christian Herritage... Last year, during this time of the year- I was training with the IMB at the Missionary Learning Center... we had 'Reformation Day Celebrations' and the kids dressed up and we had candy ect. There is a way to celebrate it and not to 'celebrate sin'.

I now live in Mexico where the kids celebrate Halloween like Americans but also have a thing called- 'Day of the Dead' where they build an altar to their family members who have died- and then if the 'spirits' don't eat the food on that night at midnight- they get to eat all the food and drink all the 'cerveza'... a fiesta... and then Nov. 1st is 'All Saints Day' to celebrate all those who have gone before us. Honestly- it is a little strange to walk down the street or be in the store and see 'candy skulls' being sold ... it is a different culture- however, they tell me they are 'celebrating the lives of those who have gone before them' and it is not 'morbid' or celebrating sin.

It just gives me a different perspective... I too enjoy the kids in little cute costumes and also all they yummy candy!! I hear that the kids come multiple nights to trick or treat here (especially to American's houses)... so I better get lots of candy... Happy Halloween, Reformation day or Day of the Dead... Depending on your culture/tradition.

Thu Oct 27, 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger bethy31 said...

I LOVE Thanksgiving.....

I don't know..my Mom was really clear about what things were and were not acceptable. I've never seen a horror movie and I've never been to a haunted house. I never wanted to really..but that was a rule of our house. We also were not allowed to do anything that involved evil spirits (whether it involved magic, ouiji boards, tarot cards, etc.) However, we were allowed to go out for Halloween dressed as a bunny or cat or whatever and trick or treat. We had Santa and the Easter Bunny but none of those every overrode the reason for the season - Jesus Christ. Those were always what we talked about...and Santa and the Easter Bunny were on the side kind of things...

However, my Mom is also a huge fan of creativity and whimsy..so that was part of it...

Ok, enough said...

Thu Oct 27, 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

Jonathan - you never addressed Del's post: 1) You write poetry? 2) You have a "special someone"?

ARE YOU HOLDING OUT ON ME??

...and I thought we were friends.

Thu Oct 27, 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Scooter said...

My family always celebrated Holloween, so I didn't know what to expect when one of my friends invited me to a "party" at his church one Halloween when I was about twelve. When I showed up, everyone there was dressed like a Biblical character. I, on the other hand, had dressed up like Billy the Kid, complete with cowboy hat and six-shooter. Surprisingly, I won $5 for having the best costume there.

Thu Oct 27, 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Scooter said...

And, by the way, Jonathan does write poetry. I've read a lot of it.

Thu Oct 27, 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

I dont know what Del was talking about. If my single status changes, you'll know. Suddenly my blog posts will have flowers and hearts all over them.

That's awesome, Billy the Kid. Ha ha that's funny - the story you told me makes me think of a bunch of Rod & Tod Flanders running around, although I think as adults it can be fun to dress as characters from anything, including the Bible. Specifically, I've thought about dressing as Martin Luther King, Jr. because so many people around here are probably going to be dressed as the original Martin Luther.

There's a costume party here tonight I was invited to - any ideas on how I should dress up?

Thu Oct 27, 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

just blog surfing... i enjoyed your post, and I agree with you.

Thu Oct 27, 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Scooter said...

Go as the devil, like you did for that college Halloween party several years ago. The one where I went as Indiana Jones. Or you could go as Britney Spears, like Amy (and a thousand other girls) did.

Thu Oct 27, 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger Jeannine said...

since the studliness of calvin has already been declared, perhaps he would be a good choice...

or you could go the secular route and dress as mr. incredible. that would be fun.

Thu Oct 27, 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger bethy31 said...

You could borrow Brad's Tiger suit and go as Tony the Tiger from the Frosted Flakes Box..and say, "THEY'REEE GREATTTT!"

Thu Oct 27, 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I too survived my entire childhood without Halloween... but I feel so UN-deprived. My brother and I got to take the afternoon off of school (sweet!!) because our classes had Halloween parties, so we'd come home, eat candy and pizza, roast marshmallows in our fireplace, and sit in the basement and watch movies and play board games (which is why I'm so amazing at Taboo to this very day). At some point, mom and dad would set aside a time to talk about our relatives who had died before us, leaving a legacy of faith for us to follow. That was really cool, and fulfilled the original purpose of the day, All Hallows' Eve, just de-Catholicized a little.

And I HATE scary movies. I once watched People Under the Stairs at a slumber party, and no lie, just thinking about it creeps me out to this day. Ugh. But I scare SO easily... does anybody remember that episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show where Laura Petrie has eyes in the back of her head and the sofa-bed unfolds itself? I seriously couldn't sleep that night!

Thu Oct 27, 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

And Bethy, judgment houses. Seriously... because people don't have bad enough opinions of Christianity as it is, right?

Thu Oct 27, 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Baconlover said...

Jonathan, are you considering putting on black face for a Halloween party? Andrew Silver would be ashamed of you.

What you should do is wear a box with two boob-shaped holes cut out in the front and write "Free Mammograms" below the holes. That'll get you some action.

Thu Oct 27, 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger Baconlover said...

I always loved celebrating Halloween as a kid - it was one of my favorite holidays! My favorite part was coming home with a heavy bag full of candy and just smelling it. If you walked into our living room on Halloween night, you'd see four children with their heads stuck in Trick-or-Treat bags just sniffing to their hearts' content. Then Brad, Amy, Jenny, and I would dump our candy on the floor, separate it into different categories: chocolate, hard candy, "big" candy, fruit, etc. and do our yearly Halloween candy trade. Jenny was the best to switch with because she'd take five pieces of crappy candy (butterscotches and peanut butter kisses)and give us one piece of good candy (peanut butter cup, pack of skittles).

Brad and Jenny would usually eat all of their candy within the week, and I'd eat mine within two or three weeks. Amy could make her Halloween candy last until Christmas. She'd torment the rest of us by pulling out her Halloween candy in December and eating it.

Jonathan, remember when my family took your brother and sister trick or treating and your mom got mad?
Ahhhh, the good old days.

Thu Oct 27, 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

ha ha yeah, and I remember when me and Jess came up in 7th grade and stayed with y'all, I got a free WBBQ radio card (augusta, right?) and that's when I met so many people from your church. It's crazy how in one weekend I made so many memories that I'll never lose. That was the weekend i met Sara DuJung (spelling?) and the weird kid named charlie with the backwards black leather golf hat, and Daniel got onto us for "eating Jesus" when we stole the communion wafers.

Laura - are you sure that was a Dick VanDyke show and not a dream you had? I like what your family did for Halloween. Sounds like it was good bonding time for your family!

Thu Oct 27, 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

oh and just so everyone knows, I'm not going to the party... I wussed out. I'd rather go exercise and not have the pressure of dressing up. Thanks to Scooter for motivating me to get extra healthy and fit.

Thu Oct 27, 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger Nunzia said...

hmm... my comment seems to have disappeared. have i been deleted?

Fri Oct 28, 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger bethy31 said...

Are you just avoiding writing the promised post...enough about Halloween...

Fri Oct 28, 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger The Flying Dutchman said...

We've been slowly fading Halloween away from the kids for a couple of years now. My youngest is okay with it because she doesn't remember. My oldest is having the same fond memories as you guys (and me.) However, this is our first year going to a Reformation Day celebration rather than a harvest festival or whatever Halloween replacements that most churches put on. This year the theme is the Scottish Reformation. You want scary? Picture a slightly overweight 40 year old man in a kilt.

Boo!

John Knox is probably turning over in his grave.

Fri Oct 28, 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

This almost entirely off topic (but not really), I just have to say that I love kilts. What an excellent Reformation Day costume! Speaking of kilts on 40 year old men, my dad has always threatened to wear one the day I get married. How is that for scary?

Question: Why in the world do the Scots throw logs?

Fri Oct 28, 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

Flying Dutchman - that is hilarious. I'm sure your kids will love it.. way to turn the tide for Oct. 31!!

Lisa - the idea of your dad in a kilt makes me laugh even harder. You DO realize that if he does wear that kilt to your wedding that everyone will be looking at his legs instead of you as the beautiful bride, right? :)

And why DO Scots throw logs?

Jonathan - I echo Beth's request: where is that blasted post you promised? DAG NABBIT!!! ;)

Fri Oct 28, 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger j.wo said...

My family always celebrated "harvest" (since we became believers that is...).

I LOVE this time of year.

If you get a chance, come see me at the caf on Monday for "Reformation Day." It'll be worth it. ;)

33. :)

(PS - I'm SO GLAD you mentioned the Shaven Yak!)

Fri Oct 28, 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

NUNZIA - no I haven't deleted any comments from you... are you sure that you left them on this post?

As far as the "promised post", I've actually been working on it for a week. It's a really tough topic, sorry it's taking so long, but it will be good! And soon!

Fri Oct 28, 11:05:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

has anyone listened to the "scary sounds" links at the bottom of the post yet? Recognize it?

Sat Oct 29, 03:36:00 AM  
Blogger Julianne said...

Growing up I never went trick or treating, but some years we would pass out tracts to the neighbor kids. Sometimes we would go to a church thing...fun times. Last night a group of us went out to the craziest city here and street evangelized. It was a trip. It's like a high-concentrated place for so many who need Jesus. We had some good conversations and passed out a bunch of cheesy tracts, and we had the pleasure of being used by God to reach His Elect. Those are really good times.

Thanks for commenting on my blog, Jonathan. When I was about 15, my uncle preached a sermon on Romans 9 which got me thinking about God's role in salvation and so I just started reading all sorts of books. I couldn't read the Bible without seeing God's providencial hand in it all. Anyways, that just fueled my passion for seeking the truth in all matters. Now theology books are like an addicting drug. I have to read "Knowing God" by Packer every so often to get back to what the whole point of theology is; to know God. How about you, what's your story?

God bless

Tue Nov 01, 09:45:00 AM  

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