Halloween – probably one of the strongest rituals and an important part of the rhythm of life practiced in the American culture – is almost upon us. When I first came the live in the US I could not believe how much emphasis was placed on this night even by churches and many of my Christian friends. The power of the secular culture to overcome the practices and beliefs of our faith is overwhelming to me.
Over the years I have become even more uncomfortable as the horror movies and graveyard displays have multiplied around me. But what really puzzles me is: Why are we so drawn into these images? Why do so many Christians not only practice Halloween but also enjoy the ghoulish images that go with it?
Probably the best reflections on this I have seen were posted recently by Julie Clawson.
At Halloween our modern cultural rituals are a dim reflection of the historical practice of connecting with and honoring those who have come before. We lost the true meaning, but keep the trappings in hopes that we can connect in some way to something bigger than ourselves. We bring out the ghosts, jack-o-lanterns, and black cats not understanding what they mean, but longing nonetheless to grasp hold of a fleeting glimpse of the mysterious. We watch horror movies in hopes that fear, as raw and intense of an emotion as it is, will at least make us feel something beyond ourselves. But these things still remain trappings of a world in which we don’t fully believe. Read more