Thursday, November 4, 2010

shameless promotion (2.0), part xiv

Editor's Note: In a renewed attempt to promote the failingwriting career, we present this week's column from the St. Clair Times, which now has a Twitter and — against my will — a Facebook page. As always, feel free to add your own thoughts here in the comments, or by finding my personal Twitter. Thanks in advance for your feigning of interest.
Thoughts on fear and holidays

Standing in line to enter a haunted house a little over a week ago, a teenage girl offered me a detailed explanation for why such a place would be the perfect spot for a serial killing.

“I mean, you go in there expecting to see that stuff, right?” she said. “So if there were somebody and they REALLY wanted to kill somebody, how would you know? You’d think it was just part of the show.”

I like to think she was joking. I like to think that.

The truth is, I was nervous about taking this group of kids — the bulk of whom came from, yes, a church youth group (we’ll get around to that in a minute) — on two levels. First, I have bad ankles/knees and was worried I might twist one of them and have to limp my way through the rest of the week (I’m the same guy who once broke his leg walking the dogs).

Moreover, I feared I might spook and shout some kind of loud profanity in front of this group of teenagers from church. That one would be kind of hard to explain.

“Mom, what’s a (horrible expletive she heard the youth volunteer at church say)?”

“Honey, where’d you ever HEAR such language?”

“Last Sunday at youth group.”

The question of how people of faith should celebrate Halloween has been prevalent for some time now, whether it’s with a “Judgment House” or with various “Trunk or Treat” nights at different local churches. Some even choose ignore the occasion altogether, owing to its rather shady history (exaggerated to death over the years … and yes, the awful pun’s intentional).

The most creative approach belongs to my college friend Bart, a youth minister. He encouraged his youth to celebrate Halloween as a “No Fear Day,” celebrating the words of the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy.

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” (1:7)

Bart also encouraged all of us to observe All Saint’s Day, one of the coolest days in the church calendar. Light candles, sing songs about the service of the saints … celebrate the legacy of those who have gone before.

And then we can talk about one of the most uniquely American holidays that we have: Thanksgiving. They don’t make any cool houses that celebrate thankfulness, though.

(Or maybe they do.)

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