Each month, we extend a challenge aimed at teaching us something about ourselves, our community, our faith, or maybe just to amuse us!
How can it be October –the twenty-sixth week of ordinary time–already? I haven’t finished planning my July 4th barbecue, and now the entire countryside is sprinkled in pumpkin spice!
This month’s challenge is one that Mary just might be giddy about. She loves all things October and Halloween and horror.
Me? Well, I have to confess that along with cutting ritual and symbolism in an attempt to be more practical or something, I also knocked the mystical out of my spiritual life. After I had my first child, I found that I had lost my stomach for horror movies and books. Being a mom was terrifying enough for me. That I spent two decades in a Pentecostal church that believes that all spirit beings that aren’t the Almighty or the archangels are demonic, and that celebrating Halloween is courting Satan sort of sealed that deal for me. After talking with Mary, and some other thoughtful, smart, creative people (I’m looking at you Sick Pilgrim folks!), I’m willing to consider maybe thinking about revisiting spooky stuff.
During last month’s exploration of ordinary sacramentals, I was surprised to recognize some thin places between, well, between my coffee cup and the heavens. I think I’m ready to venture a little further down this road, and what better time than the days leading up to All Hallow’s Eve?
Come with me! (And hold my hand, please.)
2 Replies to “A Challenge for October: Head into the Mystic, Try Not to Get Spooked”
So having gone through much of that “church stuff” kind of with you, I get what your saying. (I quit watching horror flicks and reading horror books because of nightmares- you know black horses that fly at night?) So I want to share a thought or maybe 2 that I heard in church this Sunday. Our church leaders had been approached last year about our trunk or treating night, they were told that it was wrong, bad stuff, celebrates bad things, etc. Taken aback, our council and leadership thought, debated, talked about it long and hard. And then we had a missionary come and talk about customs of various peoples and how sometimes you need to really look at the local customs and their meanings before you decide they are “bad” or something offensive. So if you look at the locals-America- and the custom of overriding “pagan” celebrations with “good” holidays, and the fact that a good portion of Americans look at it as more of a treat/fun night with kids and adults it takes away the evil connotations. I dont know if that is true or not and I am not ready to throw up the Halloween decorations any time soon (heck I dont do Thanksgiving, Easter or Christmas half the time), but I think I am ready to relax a bit and enjoy all those cute critters being silly.
Right? I am not ready to dance down to the Gates of Hell or anything, but I am willing to look at these traditions and see them from a new lens. As the Apostle Paul says, “All things are permissable. Not everything is efficacious.” I figure if he’s okay with eating meat sacrificed to false gods (because, duh, they aren’t real, so he’s just eating meat), then I can give candy to kids dressed like princesses and super heroes without risking my eternal soul.