This is the eve of All Saints Day.  In the middle ages, evidently the belief was that All Saints Day was an especially holy day.  The faithful throughout the world would be honoring the Saints and the Saints would be interceding for the faithful, and the powers of darkness would be banished, at least temporarily.  But what about the night before all the folks start praying?  The eve of All Hallows Day (another way of saying All Saints Day) was the devil’s last chance to prowl.

I grew up celebrating Halloween as a relatively benign holiday; a chance to enjoy a crisp fall evening, to pretend I was someone else, and to enjoy gifts of free candy from my neighbors.  Then over the years bad things started to happen–or at least to be reported: people contaminating candy and doing other mean things.  Pranks got out of hand and became vandalism.  It has been a bad problem it Detroit–people celebrated Devil’s Night by setting the city on fire!

Then there were reports of Satanic cults, and concern that we shouldn’t be honoring the powers of darkness anyway.  I live in a pretty quiet small town.  A few trick-or-treater’s go out before dark with their parents to houses they know.  Otherwise not much goes on.  We don’t get to many costumed kids at our house because, well let’s see: I’ve only lived here seven years and not everybody knows me, and I’ve been putting off fixing my porch light for seven years . . .

So tonight I got on my bike and stuffed some candy in my handlebar bag.  I rode around searching for trick-or-treaters and delivered the goods to them–in plain view of their parents, of course.

I’m glad the kids are able to enjoy a mild form of the holiday.  Of course parents are right to be cautious.  But I’m glad they’re not entirely paranoid.

We are about 4 day away from an important national election.  Of course there is reason to be concerned.  But let’s not become paranoid.  Maybe I’m naive, but I’m always a little suspicious of conspiracy theories.  Vote your conscience.  Vote for the candidate you are convinced will do the most good or the least harm to the country, as the case may be.  We have to remain vigilant always–but we don’t need to be paranoid yet.

4 Responses

  1. Hello!

    Just wanted to say how much Todd and I have enjoyed reading your blog entries. We miss everyone from MCC and Zeandale!


  2. Great to hear from you Anna and Todd. Hey, I thought you were at Oxford, how did you end up in Cambridge? How is the dissertation going?

    I’ve become acquainted with Dr. Linder. He told me Todd has a great topic–but I don’t remember what it was.

    The fall issue of the Stone Campbell Review just came out. I have a review of Linder’s reformation book in it. There is also a great article by Ron Highfield about the anabaptists and Barton W. Stone. Is that journal available over there?

    I look forward to seeing you at church one day.


  3. Alterman,

    I’d love to hear from you to see how you are doing. Can you believe it’s been almost a year since we last saw each other? It seems so much longer ago. How was sabatical and such? What did you do? I’m still waiting on your first major work to be published. When it is, at the very least, you know someone will by it–me!

    I’ve just written a little bit recently on what the Bible purports about socialism and capatilism. In particular, some read Acts 2:42-47 and Matthew 19, where Jesus tells the young rich man to sell everything and give it to the poor, as support for socialism. Conversely, Jesus later tells a parable in Matthew 25 that seems to communicate that on some level, the kingdom of God entails capatilism. By no means was the post meant to be exhaustive but just to get us thinking. In lieu of an election just days away, I thought it appropriate to broach the topic. I’d love it if you could take a look at it and tell me what you think. Thanks!

    I miss you brother,


  4. Aaron,

    Email me some time. It’s good to hear from you again.

    I read your post, and tried to comment, but I can’t remember my blogger name or password. But my comments were kind of rambling anyway. Here is one of the main suggestions:

    In Jesus parables he uses corrupt judges, thieves who come in the night, and greedy absentee landlords to represent some aspects of the kingdom of God. The parables are meant to shock us into seeing things in a new light. Obviously God is not a corrupt judge or an absentee landlord–so what is the point?

    When you look at the real history of absentee landlords in the first century, and how ruthlessly they exploited the poor tenant farmers who lived on the verge of starvation–in fact of having their children sold into slavery–you know the point of the parable cannot be an endorsement of the economic system. (Crossan’s The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Peasant-is pretty good on the economic history; though I don’t care for his critical reconstruction of the development of the gospels).

    My own views on taxes and Income redistribution can be seen in posts I have made over the past couple of weeks.

    Let’s keep in touch better.

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