The Scariest Thing on Halloween: Reflections from a trick or treating noob

November 2, 2011


(I’ll warn you: today’s post is somewhat rant-y, with a sprinkling of soapbox.  If you’re allergic to either I suggest you steer clear.)

What is it about us that draws us to disembodied things?

Monday I “trunk-or-treated” for the first time in my life and I have to say it was an odd experience.  About halfway through our walk down an impressive row of trunks it dawned on me: I will never see these people again.  They’d come from all around, other towns even, to come give my kids candy, and they were more than happy to oblige.

Now, is it bad for these people to give us free candy?  No, of course not. They were trying to bless us right? God shows us how to bless (ultimately so in the Gospel), so what could be bad about blessing?  Here’s the thing: God’s blessing always contains a relational element.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I can tell, his giving always either communicates something of himself or is embodied in himself.  At least for us Monday night there was no relational element.  I’m sure there was for other people, but for us there was none.  It was a context-free event with little to no chance of on-going encounter or relationship.

While it may be somewhat easy to point out in a trunk-or-treat, we like disembodied things.  We like context-free things because they’re mess-free.  We go to Bible study once a week for an hour with people we don’t engage life with.  We receive counseling from a professional who will never help us navigate our fears, anxieties, guilt real-time.  We travel hundreds of miles to talk to people about Jesus when we don’t know our neighbors.  De-incarnated things attract us all the time.

Returning home Kate, the kids and I decided to walk our neighborhood for some old-fashioned trick-or-treating.  We met neighbors we’d hardly ever seen before.  People had put together toy bags for the kids.  Others had candied apples for the parents.  People actually came out of their warm houses and talked to us.  Some houses more than others embodied the “scary” of the holiday, but all of them embodied the blessing of the day.

I’m not saying anything about the trunk-or-treaters, but for me at least it is time to ditch the body-less Gospel.  God’s gift and God’s message are contained, are embodied in the person of Jesus.  Its time for the Gospel to be embodied in everyday life. Join me in learning to do this?

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2 Responses to “The Scariest Thing on Halloween: Reflections from a trick or treating noob”

  1. Karen Wulf Says:

    great thoughts you shared here, especially about the neat and clean vs the messy living out life together parts of our lives. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Terra aka Sissy : ) Says:

    Good thing I’m not allergic to either of those things, or maybe I was vaccinated against them… Either way I really liked what you said. It makes sense to have a that relational portion present. Feels greedy or empty without it. A few years ago I took the kids to the neighborhood of one of the girls on Heather’s first soccer team. My understanding was we were going to trick or treat together but that wasn’t their understanding and they had already left their house. We ended up trick or treating in a neighborhood I’d never belonged to. It was my first time trick or treating (ever, like you) and it was really weird! I’d talk with the people answering the door, which was cool, but fact that I’d never see any of them again was odd to me.


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