Thursday, October 7, 2010

Halloween: O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?

I have listened to The Flicks That Church Forgot podcast for some time now. Peter Laws, a Baptist minister in England loves horror movies and loves Jesus Christ also. As he puts it, "If God really does exist everywhere why can't we find his fingerprints in the scary places?" Each episode is usually a look at a horror film which Peter then follows up with a thoughtful look at something about Christianity or living a Christian life. It is really well done and always respectful to both Christians and nonbelievers.

He has done three new episodes which are a look at Halloween and Christians: origins, common Christian objections to Halloween, and a response to the top five typical Christian negative takes on Halloween. Again, he is careful to say that he understands the reasons some Christians don't like Halloween, but I think his beautifully put consideration is worth listening to, no matter which side you're on. (We all know around here that I'm a Halloween-lover, so moving on ...)

Here's the money quote that is going into my quote journal which I share to both entice you into listening and also for those who will not be interested in hearing a podcast. I, of course, advise listen to all three Halloween episodes at The Flicks That Church Forgot.
... we can give the supernatural world of evil too much power. I guess it's a case of either the devil isn't real or the devil is on every street corner hiding inside a pumpkin. Surely there is a middle ground where we acknowledge supernatural evil but we recognize its limited power in the face of the power of Christ.

Ironically I wonder if this might have been what home of the Christians were doing when they celebrated All Hallow's Eve and All Saints Day in the past. Those festivities were opportunities to laugh in the face of evil spirits, to dress up as them and sort of mock them, saying, "Hey check this out. These big, scary demons, they're just empty masks. When you compare them with the power of the risen Jesus Christ, they're not up to much."

I wonder if Halloween offers us a chance to affirm our eternal life while looking into the face of death which has actually lost its sting ... For Christians the scariness of death is not scary. Not really. Because we've got eternal life.


  1. I found THE SOUND OF MUSIC terrifying. But at least TITANIC has a happy ending.

  2. God is every where its true, When you scared or feel alone than something is there which protect you or give some energy which we cant describe in words. we always think what where & why so dear answer is GOD there always for us but we unable to feel that spirit.

  3. I think the reason why we find good horror stories so compelling is that within the space of an hour or less we experience the awesome sense of a world unseen behind the scrim of daily life. Of course the Christian mystics did this as well but that requires time, patience and fortitude, all qualities not easily practiced but resulting in a more balanced sense of the unseen and divine. So,I use ghost and horror stories to "jolt" my complacency from time to time. No blood fests or complete grossouts, think Thomas Ligotti (The Frolic) or Robert Aikman (The Cicerones). I admit, it's probably laziness but I love a good scare or even better, a frisson. Love October...

  4. Very true. I don't know that it is laziness but just the love of a good story ... some stories are just scarier than others. I agree completely on not wanting grossness, but reading The Haunting of Hill House or watching something like The Sixth Sense ... so much fun and creepy too! :-)

  5. On a related topic, this is a good essay about the fact that God rarely factors into scary movies these days (evil has ALL the power in recent movies like The Last Exorcism and the "new vampire" stuff, as opposed to classic films like The Exorcist). If you believe in a supernatural power that is good instead of evil, you're considered to be a crazy fundamentalist:

  6. That is one of the things that you will hear Peter talk about in movie-specific podcasts as well. Thanks for the link ... off to read it now.