December 13, 2017

iMonk Classic: The Annual Halloween Rant (one of them)

house_on_haunted_hill_poster_02

As October 31st looms, it’s time for true confessions.

I grew up among Southern Baptist fundamentalist Baptists. The KJV-only, women can’t wear pants, twenty verses of “Just As I Am,” Jerry Falwell, Jack Chick, twice a year revival kind of fundamentalist Baptists.

We were serious about things like beer. By sheer quantity of attention in sermons, drinking beer was the most evil act one could describe. We were serious about movies, cards, and something called “mixed bathing,” which normal people would call “swimming.”

We were serious about the Bible, Sunday School, suits and ties, and walking the aisle to get saved.

And we were big time into Halloween.

No, that’s not a typo. I said we were big time into Halloween.

From the late sixties into the early seventies, the churches I attended and worked for — all fundamentalist Baptists — were all over Halloween like ants on jam. It was a major social activity time in every youth group I was part of from elementary school through high school graduation in 1974.

vincentPRICEdoubleWe had haunted houses. Haunted hikes. Scary movies. (All the old Vincent Price duds.) As a youth minister in the mid to late seventies and early eighties, I created some haunted houses in church education buildings that would win stagecraft awards.

The kids loved it. The parents loved it. The pastors approved. The church paid for it!

No, this wasn’t “Judgment House” or “Hell House” or whatever else evangelicals have done with a similar skill set today. It was fun. Simple, old-fashioned, fun. No one tried to fly a broom or talk to the dead. Everyone tried to have fun. Innocent play in the name of an American custom.

And then, things changed.

Mike Warnke convinced evangelicals that participating in Halloween was worshiping the devil. Later, when we learned that Warnke may have been one of the most skillful of evangelical con-artists, lying about his entire Satanic high priest schtick, the faithful still believed his stories.

Evangelical media began to latch onto Halloween as some form of Satanism or witchcraft, and good Christians were warned that nothing made the other team happier than all those kids going door to door collecting M&Ms.

Evangelical parents decided that their own harmless and fun Halloween experiences were a fluke, and if their kid dressed up as a vampire, he’d probably try to become one. If there was a pumpkin on the porch, you were inviting demons into your home, just like it says in Hezekiah.

A general fear of the occult, manifesting itself in Satanic ritual abuse mythology, crept into evangelicalism and took a deep hold on many churches.

Occult ministries exploited these fears, and ministries like Bob Larson found it was profitable and powerful to make rock music, drug use, occult worship and Halloween one big package.

Today, if you want to split your church, divide your singles group, get a fight started with parents or see the youth minister fired, just find some way to have an old-fashioned Halloween event in your church.

In the ministry where I serve, we can’t have fall festivals. Putting out a pumpkin is risky. Any costume other than dressing up like Billy Graham is taboo.

Halloween experts have proliferated in evangelicalism. Where did these people learn all this stuff? Oh yes, The Onion. That’s right.

2c01074f5f3f2b8510a547a6290b34cfThose great, fun, harmless, safe, nostalgic, exciting, slightly scary and completely un-demonic Halloweens of the past? Gone, gone, gone with the evangelical hot air.

Does it bother me? You bet it does. It bothers me that we fall for such lame, ridiculous manipulators as the crowd that made all of those Halloweens past into satanic events.

It bothers me that any lie, exaggeration or fiction will find thousands of eager believers to pass it along.

It bothers me that the Biblical message about Satan would be co-opted by the fear-mongering and manipulation of the hucksters. (Read The Screwtape Letters for some real Satanism.)

It bothers me that such a wonderful part of my childhood and of American life has been turned into an example of evangelical paranoia and gullibility. We ruined something good, and everyone knows it but us.

I know all about the sophisticated responses thoughtful Christians have about Reformation day and All Saints Day. That’s fine, but it’s not the same. I just want my grandkids to be able to dress up in cute outfits and trick or treat without the local church designating them for exorcism.

Shame on those of us “evangelicals” who allowed Halloween to be taken away from families and many communities, all because we prefer to believe that life is a Frank Paretti novel.

Boo. I hope I scared you.

Comments

  1. First!

    Bwahahaha!

  2. Halloween is this Friday? Time to break out my copy of “Hellraiser” and the original “Night Of The Living Dead”…

    • The original “Night of the Living Dead,” back when zombies didn’t run faster than an Olympic sprinter.

      • And yet 28 Days Later is one of the best zombie films of all time…of all time….!

        • It’s up there. But I like all zombie movies, whether the zombies are slow-walkers or fast-sprinters.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        i.e. the Pre-ZOOMbie days.

        Zombie shticks remind me of a phenomenon from Old School D&D — the “Can You Top This?” school of monster design, an escalating Arms Race situation until you have literally unkillable, undefeatable monsters and all the player-characters can do is die horribly under the Killer DM’s pet super-monsters. Or become as absurdly-powerful as the super-monsters themselves.

        Or maybe the whole point IS There’s No Hope against the Zombies, We’re All Gonna Die Horribly, It’s All Over But the Screaming, Am I Not Edgy?

  3. Vega Magnus says:

    Do we have any Halloween themed pop songs other than The Monster Mash? I’m unaware of any. As a listener of metal, I know PLENTY of bands that would fit the bill, but they’d scare most normal folks. Ghost (Also known as Ghost B.C in the USA for copyright reasons.) have acquired some small degree of mainstream success with their Black Sabbath meets the Beach Boys brand of retro-styled occult rock, complete with all manner of super-theatrical faux-Satanic lyrics and imagery. It’s all complete rubbish of course. They do it to create a memorable image, but I wager there would be a massive outcry if they ever topped the charts.

  4. Looking now, I wonder how anyone could take the likes of Warnke and Frank Peretti seriously. I mean, the perils of the New Age, for Pete’s sake??!! It’s about as likely as being savaged by a vampire sheep…

    But there was a time I took it all seriously – one of the first Christian books I read was ‘From Witchcraft To Christ’ by Doreen Irvine, and I accepted it hook, line and sinker. I guess it took a while for me to work out what worshipping God with all my mind might possibly mean…

    The thing I can’t work out is how much of the paranoia started off as innocent paranoia. One of the experiences I remember about believing the whole satanic-panic-hallowe’en-is-devil-worship thing was the feeling of closing ranks with fellow believers against the darkness outside – and I wonder if someone calculated that spreading stories about witches, druids and demons would draw people perversely together and make them more controllable, whether it was just a religious form of ADHD, or whether the Warnkes and Hal Lindseys of this world were at some point at least partially honest i.e. they actually believed what they were saying.

    • I’ll grant that Hal Lindsey was most likely honest in his paranoia, but Mike Warnke was an outright fraud and charlatan.

      • Yes, I read through Cornerstone’s article exposing Warnke, and the amount of blatant fabrication in his story is quite breath-taking, and the extent to which he has fleeced well-meaning believers to support his extravagent lifestyle leaves me with a very unpleasant taste.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          And the real kicker to this?

          Warnke still gets preaching gigs.
          From churches & pastors who KNOW he’s a fraud and still book him.
          Because SOULS WILL BE SAVED(TM)!!!! and that’s what matters.
          “Fake but Accurate” and all that.

          • Presumably although the information confirming Warnke’s lies is firmly in the public domain, there are still people who would rather cling to the idea that he is innocent and has been stabbed in the back, rather than accept that he has been deceiving people for many years…?

          • As Mark Twain probably didn’t say (but it’s still quite a good line anyway!):

            “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled”

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Presumably although the information confirming Warnke’s lies is firmly in the public domain, there are still people who would rather cling to the idea that he is innocent and has been stabbed in the back, rather than accept that he has been deceiving people for many years…?

            Well, that WAS the spin his fanboys put on it when Cornerstone exposed him. Immediately Cornerstone became full of Satanists and a front for Satanism, in accordance with Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory logic.

            “If your Conspiracy Theory doesn’t fit the facts, Invent a Bigger Conspiracy!”
            — “Renfro” in Kooks Magazine

            “The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs! We won’t be Taken In!”
            — C.S. Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

            “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled”

            THAT is the key to a successful swindle. Get the marks so emotionally invested in the con that they can’t back out. Because they have put so much of their time, emotional energy, their very BEING into the con that they can’t admit they were conned. So they not only stay in the con, but defend the con man against exposure.

        • MelissatheRagamuffin says:

          I remember when the Cornerstone article first came out going into a Christian book store and asked if they carried Cornerstone, and they were like, “Ewwwwww!” and said, “Did you hear what they did to Mike Warnke” like he was some innocent victim.

      • I doubt Lindsey was really honest. He practically advised the abandoning of planning for retirement, since Jesus is certainly returning before you die, while he invested in real estate.

    • Looking now, I wonder how anyone could take the likes of Warnke and Frank Peretti seriously.

      They did, and my generation suffered. No wonder we all rebelled, lol.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        They were able to spin it all as GAWD vs SATAN and SATAN was winning.
        Unless We Christians MOBILIZE NOW!

        The beginning of Culture War Without End, Amen.

      • “They did, and my generation suffered. No wonder we all rebelled, lol.”

        Yeah, I remember when the Peretti books were first starting to appear in the UK, around the start of the 1990s (at least that was when they were first talked about in the Baptist church in London I attended at the time). There were people who were quite convinced that the books represented a prophetic word to the church. Looking at the reviews on Amazon for the likes of This Present Darkness, a lot of people still do.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Fanboys mistaking fiction for fact is an occupational hazard of fiction writers. Mercedes Lackey used to have an essay on the Web about it, based on her own fanboys-from-hell experience when she discontinued an “occult detective” genre series of hers.

          In his continuing scene-by-scene snarkblog on Left Behind, Slacktivist and his commenters also theorized that Christianese Bubble audiences are unfamiliar with the power of fiction, and when they’re exposed to it can easily mistake it for fact.

          Peretti had a good premise, similar to a type of Chinese genre theater I heard once: Two stages, one above the other. On the upper stage are the Immortals; on the lower, the mortals. Actions on each stage influence the other, but the mortals are not aware of it. Peretti mixed this idea with the tropes of the technothriller and created a new sub-genre, the “spiritual warfare thriller”. (Though it does bear resemblance to the earlier “occult detective” pulp genre.)

          Unfortunately, Peretti’s early stuff (where he made his bones) wasn’t all that well-written. I remember reading a couple of his early novels at a Jesus Junk store way-back-when, and they came across way too heavy-handed. Someone at a WorldCon panel later told me that Peretti was the type of writer who needs a strong editor to shine, and he didn’t get one until much later in his career.

          • Fr. Isaac (or possibly Obed, but definitely not Fr. Obed) says:

            I’ve always had a soft spot for the “occult detective” pulp genre. The Dresden Files are probably the best modern take on it.

          • Fr. Isaac — I prefer The Kate Daniels series to The Dresden Files, although Butcher is a very fun writer.

          • This two stage premise, one above, one below, is used in some epic poems, such as Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad.

          • Has anyone here read “The List of Seven” by Mark Frost (co-creator of “Twin Peak”)? It’s a wonderful occult murder mystery featuring a “fictional” Arthur Conan Doyle, who would then go on to write the Sherlock Holmes books based upon events in this book. It’s a must-read.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      It’s about as likely as being savaged by a vampire sheep…

      Now THAT sounds like something out of Wallace & Grommit.

    • Vega Magnus says:

      Speaking of Christian novels, has anyone heard of Alton Gansky? He wrote a series of books starring this archeologist/adventurer dude who had Indiana Jones-esque (Or perhaps more accurately, Clive Cussler-esque.) adventures, except Christian!(TM) I thought they sucked even when I was an early adolescent. Still, the plot of having a Sumerian cult take control of an Antarctic outpost in order to explore beneath the ice to find an ancient temple to… Tiamat, I think, is pretty original as far as I know.

  5. Faulty O-Ring says:

    Halloween celebration in the US subsided in large part because of 1970’s public hysteria over the danger of poisoned candy or apples containing hidden razor blades. (Did anybody really give out fruit instead of candy?) There was a noticeable shift towards having parties instead, or visiting only houses of acquaintances. Warnke was what, the 1980’s?

    • Halloween celebration in the US has subsided? It seems to me to be bigger than ever; it at least involves far more adults than it did when I was a kid many moons ago, and my understanding is that it’s become one of the biggest nights of the year for bar and pub business.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Of course it is big – it is the best holiday of the year. It is not on a Monday [which nullifies most holiday attributes] and it comes with no familial obligations [at least for those without children]. These properties – or lack of properties – makes Halloween a great holiday.

        • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

          According to the National Retail Association, the US spent $6.9 billion on halloween candy and decorations in 2003 (ten years ago). There is a reason it is big, and that reason has Benjamin Franklin’s smiling face all over it.

      • Faulty O-Ring says:

        Today, sure, but there really was a dip. I think trick-or-treating bounced back in the early 1990’s.

        • Fr. Isaac (or possibly Obed, but definitely not Fr. Obed) says:

          My wife’s birthday is on Halloween, so we typically don’t pass out candy and whatnot, but rather go out to dinner. My grandmother told me, though, that last year she had maybe two kids come to her house. My observations in my neck-of-the-woods is that the really high end neighborhoods tend to have lots of trick-or-treaters, and the lower-socio-economic neighborhoods do too (ironically, ’round here it’s the same kids going to both neighborhoods). But the middle-class ‘burbs don’t. Those kids end up going to parties instead.

    • Perry 1967 says:

      I remember people giving out candied apples and homemade popcorn balls. I also remember a Halloween party at the church, every year. It’s good for kids to dress up and pretend to be someone else for a while. It stimulates the imagination, which is something the past few generations have had spoon fed to them by Hollywood and Microsoft.

    • “Did anybody really give out fruit instead of candy?”

      That dentist on the corner the neighborhood where I grew up!

      • flatrocker says:

        And his accountant really loved the fact that the rest of us were giving out candy.

      • They used to give out apples a lot when I was a kid.

        • OldProphet says:

          When I was a kid a nice old couple on the corner would always leave out a box of apples,individually slotted. They left a sigh that said, “please take one”. And kids would. Nowadays kids would take all the apples, the box, the chair it sat on, the note, and rob the house because the couple were elderly. Things are so discouraging now. I loved Halloween when I was a kid. Those days are gone forever!

          • Have hope, OP. On the main state highway near where I live is a farm stand. It offers straw, hay, pumpkins, chrysanthemums, and other produce. It also has farm equipment sitting around as well as furniture and signs. No one is ever there, but there is a metal box with a slot on the top for depositing a payment. It’s been open for years, so presumably it remains worthwhile. I get a lot of things from there.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        “Did anybody really give out fruit instead of candy?”

        That dentist on the corner the neighborhood where I grew up!

        Why am I thinking of Christopher Lee’s backstory-cameo in Tim Burton’s version of Willie Wonka?

        • Cedric Kleinr says:

          Christopher Lee’s most evil role- a dentist who would let his child trick-or-treat, and then make him burn the candy. He’s lucky Willie didn’t become a serial killer. *L*

      • Richard McNeeley says:

        I know a dentist that used to hand out hard candy, he said it was better for business.

    • turnsalso says:

      Heard that one growing up as a reason why Halloween ought to be avoided, somehow combined with the devil-worship, turnip-necromancy, and human-sacrifice fearmongering. Apparently that smiling old lady on her porch with a blanket around her legs in our rural town of 8000, where everybody knew everybody, was really a murderous psychopath, or possibly possessed by the Ouija board in her attic.

    • Halloween celebration in the US subsided in large part because of 1970’s public hysteria over the danger of poisoned candy or apples containing hidden razor blades.

      Both of which can be debunked with a little research. There has never been a poisoned candy or tainted apple scare. There’s one account of some idiot handing out pot brownies to coworkers who gave them to children, another of a father trying to kill his own family after taking out a massive life insurance policy…but nothing like some weirdo is out to kill/hurt a bunch of trick or treaters.

      • Truth don’t preach tho.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          “When truth and legend conflict, PRINT THE LEGEND!”
          — The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence

          And Vast Satanic Conspiracy After Your Children, Your Children, Your Children also invokes Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory. As well as the JUICY details of Satanic Ritual Abuse (as retold by ALL the Mike Warnke wannabes with their Recovered Memories) gives Respectable Church Ladies their porn fix (“JUICY! JUICY! JUICY!”).

  6. you say that “We ruined something good”

    can you please explain what was good about halloween celebrations specifically?

    • The chance to dress up in a costume and go out in the night to neighbours houses and yell ‘trick or treat’. Some of the neighbours would dress up and play the part as well. To end up with a big bag of sweets

      The excitement of wondering what friends would dress like-will you recognize them?

      Carving pumpkins with faces and putting candles inside-sometimes to be reused next day to make pumpkin pies

      Bobbing for apples and playing games at the local church.

      It was good, clean fun

    • Can you please explain what was *not* good about Halloween celebrations specifically?

      Is there anything not to like?

      For a kid Halloween is:

      1. a fun occasion to wear a costume
      2. the second or third best holiday, if you measure holidays in terms of loot and access to sugar
      3. a fun nighttime adventure with friends
      4. an occasion to toy creatively with dark or macabre themes, if you wished, and assert your humor and dominance over them, all without adults stressing out

      As an adult it is:

      1. an excuse to give things to cute children
      2. a good cover for buying candy
      3. an opportunity to be a nice neighbor [our house is on 3-4 popular city streets for trick or treating; we go through probably 600 pieces of candy each year]
      4. an excuse to grab a drink on a weeknight

      It’s even great for fundamentalists and other fastidious souls! You can:

      1. prove just how good you are, by not giving things to the children
      2. feel quite sure, for this one day of the year, that the forces of evil are truly after the embattled remnant, and that you are that remnant
      3. assemble your tribe for some kind of counter-Halloween event. (More time in church! Hurray!)
      4. while stressing out over the young ghouls, talk about demons a lot, in grave tones. (Admit it: you like this adrenaline rush! And don’t forget to enjoy your macabre Chick Tracks!)

      • Your last four points are wonderful!!! (Well, so are your first 8, but I like the “benefit” to the Pharisees amongst us.)

        • OldProphet says:

          Adding to my earlier post, there was one couple on my block who gave out home baked cookies and, wait for it;; DONUTS! Yeah, that will never happen again! Of course, there was also that wierd and creepy guy that would give out religious tracts. We never went there

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            I remember some blooger saying “If you’re out trick-or-treating and someone gives you a Jack Chick tract instead of candy, you have my permission to punch them in the junk.” I think this was a posting about some of Chick’s anti-Halloween tracts.

          • Donuts…!!!!!!!!

          • A Jack Chick tract. Now THAT would be scary.

          • Cedric Kleinr says:

            While Jack Chick’s site does recommend giving out his tracts, it also adds to do so while also giving out good quality candy. If Chick knows anything, it is marketing!

          • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

            Well to be fair, HUG, you did yell “Trick or treat.” He chose trick :-/

      • SottoVoce says:

        Heck, I’m an ostensible grownup and I’m going to wear a costume to work. Without Halloween, my opportunities for playing dress-up would be pretty much nonexistent and that would make life just that much more dull.

        • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

          Lol. Me too. We have a costume contest and I almost always show up as Gene Simmons. Complete with platform boots.

    • There’s always one in every crowd.

      “Yes, but…”

      Where the but negates anything that was previously stated in order to preserve the status quo or former opinion.

    • When I was a kid, Halloween was the only holiday entirely run by kids. We designed our own costumes, something I looked forward to all year. (I generally tried to incorporate lots of burnt cork.) We carved our own pumpkins as soon as we could be trusted with knives (or probably a bit sooner). We went out with siblings and friends and dealt with our neighbors without adult intervention. Other holidays were also wonderful, but they were always managed and scripted by adults. Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving gave me a sense of tradition and security; Halloween stimulated my creativity and independence.

      I’m sorry that nowadays Halloween seems to involve a lot of expense, time, and energy on adults’ parts. It’s become something else.

      • Yes. It became another chunk of days on the calendar year in which stores could “make money,” so stores began promoting it to adults, too.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Back in the Eighties, talk-show host Rich Buhler said he could tell it was October 1st because that’s when all the “Devil’s Holiday” phone calls would start.

          Four days until the Devil’s Holiday hysteria gets traded in for the War on Christmas hysteria.

          • Don’t remind me. I’ve already had one person last weekend correct me by saying “it’s spelled CHRISTmas”.

            I skipped the Greek and history lesson. Just not worth it.

          • “it’s spelled CHRISTmas”.

            Well, shucks, since this is so hard to spell, I figure I’ll just go with Happy Holidays!

      • I read that wrong and crossed myself.

      • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

        Ok, I give up. What is burnt cork for???

    • Neighborly giving, stepping outside your persona and enacting archetypal patterns, mystery, candy, facing the bogie man unscathed, one day a year of getting free stuff from strangers just for using the special code words. I’ve noticed Halloween being ritually embraced of late by some non religious adults, some friends, with great vim and vigor. My theory is that for some it becomes an avenue of expression for the mystery and the spirit within them which never quits but is otherwise given short schrift. They go through two to three weeks every year to create the haunted house. I don’t read too much into it but I can’t help finding some nugget of deeper meaning.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      What was good? … People having fun. Hallowean was great as a kid in the sticks, my friends and I would hike for miles house to house.

      • I’m sure a sermon series could be preached about parents getting more lovin’ if they’d just let their kids wander around town for miles for hours.

        That’ll preach?

  7. Steve Newell says:

    Many American “evanglicals” are ahistoric in their understanding of Church history. October 31 is Reformation Day since Luther knew that many would be coming to church on November 1 for All Saints Day so that is way he nailed the 95 Thesis on church door (the internet of his time). Since most American churches do not observe All Saints Day, they may not appreciate the timing of the start of the Reformation.

    So Happy Reformation Day!

    • I love the scene in the original B&W movie bio of Luther where he saunters up to the church door, tacks the theses to it and walks off. Two parishioners waiting for mass walk up and look at it.

      “What is it?”

      “Dunno. Something in Latin…”

  8. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Oh, and the Vinnie Price illos at the top:
    The Original HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL!

    With it’s William Castle gimmick: EMERGO!

    “When originally released to theaters, House on Haunted Hill was accompanied by one of those gimmicks so beloved of producer/director William Castle: the gimmick was “Emergo,” and it involved a prop skeleton that “emerged” from the side of the screen at a crucial moment to frighten the audience. Like most of Castle’s best films, House didn’t really need the gimmick, but its presence added to the fun — especially when second- and third-time viewers responded to “Emergo” by bombarding the skeleton with popcorn and empty soda bottles.”
    — AllMovie.com

    • OldProphet says:

      This will totally date me HUG, but I saw that movie in the theater as a kid and saw that skeleton. It came out of a curtain on a high wire, lit up, and went all the way across the theater and then back. It was when the skeleton came out of the acid tank. I’d. Forgotten all about that

      • I was a little late for all those gimmicks, but I was around for the gimmicks of Sensurround (Earthquake, Midway) and the first attempted re-emergence of 3D (the western “Comin’ At Ya”).

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        William Castle, King of the Movie Gimmicks — Emergo, Percepto, Illlusion-O, Cowards Corner, and (dum dum dummmmm…) Horrifying Hypnovision!
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Castle

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Did you try to knock it down with soda bottles?

        • OldProphet says:

          Nah, I was a little kid, not as devious as I am now. I just also remembered that there was a movie called The Tingler with VP that they had rigged up these buzzers that buzzed during the scary parts. That was fun too.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Same Guy. The Tingler’s “Percepto” was his most famous gimmick.
            “SCREAM! SCREAM!”

  9. Fun with Halloween:
    this Protestant Pastor turned Papist Youth Minister will be chaperoning the areawide Catholic youth dance this week dressed as Martin Luther, with my wife, if all goes well, as Katie Luther, barrel and all.

    At least I found a use for my old preaching robe.

    • Fr. Isaac (or possibly Obed, but definitely not Fr. Obed) says:

      That’s awesome. And the way that some popular Roman Catholic Apologists talk of Luther, you might be the scariest thing in the room! For our anniversary, my wife got me a replica of the crucifix ring Katie gave to Martin for their engagement. It’s very neat. Unfortunately, James Avery is phasing it out.

      • Christiane says:

        well, a pope, now Pope-Emeritus, once said this about Luther:

        “To be just means simply to be with Christ and in Christ. And this suffices. Other observances are no longer necessary.
        That is why Luther’s expression “sola fide” is true if faith is not opposed to charity, to love. Faith is to look at Christ, to entrust oneself to Christ, to be united to Christ, to be conformed to Christ, to his life. And the form, the life of Christ, is love; hence, to believe is to be conformed to Christ and to enter into his love. That is why, in the Letter to the Galatians, St. Paul develops above all his doctrine on justification; he speaks of faith that operates through charity (cf. Galatians 5:14).”
        http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/on-st-paul-and-justification

        seems to me that people are making an effort to understand different points of view by re-examining them within a wider context . . . and sometimes that can lead to clarification that brings needed healing to the Body of Christ

        • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

          Yes. One of the results of the success-driven immorality of evangelicalism in America has been tougher scrutiny on doctrine. The major difference between Luther and the 1,000 years of reformers before him is that he based his critique on doctrine, rather than practice. He may have had a point, but I think we are now beginning to see that orthodoxy cannot be divorced from orthopraxy.

  10. Joseph (the original) says:

    amen…

  11. Christiane says:

    seems to me that ‘be afraid, be very very afraid’ is a mantra that runs all through far-right extremism . . . and that the purposes of those behind it are to be able to control and manipulate those who become entangled in that fear

    • And hate those who aren’t afraid anymore.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Actually that mantra runs all through extremism on both sides. Far-left extremism is also afraid of the right-wing types; remember the USSR and its Third World Dictator imitators for 70 years with their conspiracy view of the Capitalists and Imperialists? Hillary’s “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy”? Be Very Afraid of those Bible-waving Religious Fanatics with trying to take away all your rights and establish The Handmaid’s Tale? And the Other you find both left and right extremists set against — the Jews?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      It’s a mantra that runs all through extremism of both sides:
      Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid of The Other.

      “Fear has pulled more triggers than hate.”
      — David Drake, “Old Nathan”

      • This is a fun game: Get the fund-raising letters of both sides and put them side-by-side.

        Same difference.

        • Christiane says:

          and the ‘tactics’ of extremist fundamentalism show up both in Christianity AND Islam . . . especially in the treatment of women . . . quite startling when you explore the core of fundamentalism in both for what is similar to both

          now Christians don’t ‘stone’ women, but Jewish law permitted it according to sacred Scripture and the story of the woman taken in adultery . . . an ancient Middle Eastern custom?

          how far back do the similarities found among extremist fundamentalism in diverse faiths go?
          and out of what dark origin did it evolve ?

  12. Hmm…I just thought of a good Halloween costume. As a Protestant, I’ll go dressed as a Catholic. (Will I be judged harshly if I do…?) 😉

  13. Vega Magnus says:

    Random thought, but if anyone here is a Lego fan or knows someone who is, I highly recommend Lego’s Monster Fighters theme. It has early 1900s steampunk adventurers battling all of the classic Halloween monsters. It was released in 2012, so it is discontinued and may be difficult to find, but every set is quite brilliant, especially the magnificent Haunted House.

    http://brickset.com/sets/theme-Monster-Fighters

  14. “Can you help an old altar boy out, fadda?”

  15. If one wants to celebrate the reformation I am all in. If you want to celebrate witches, demons, gobblins, mayhem and extortion that’s fine but I will pass. Warnke is a non-factor for me as I never really paid any attention to him. I am not on any crusade against Halloween. I just choose not to participate.