Our annual Trunk or Treat event is October 30th from 6:00-8:00 pm. During Trunk or Treat, members of our community bring cars, candy, and chili to share with kids and families all around our neighborhood. It’s a great time every year.
Once upon a time, folks asked whether people of faith should participate in Halloween. The holiday evokes images of ghosts, goblins, witches, and the like. Aren’t these opposed to church?
As a faith leader, I have pangs of guilt about excess saturated fat and dental damage caused by overconsumption of sweets this time of year. It’s not just Halloween either! Thanksgiving pie…Christmas fudge…you can’t escape it! Then again, modern nutritionists tell us that there are no bad foods, just harmful ways to eat them. A little chocolate, even overindulged occasionally, is good for your health. It’s much better than being constantly frightened of “bad” foods, then developing an unhealthy relationship with them: craving or denying.
Those nutritional lessons apply to faith too. Candy, chili, ghosts, and goblins aren’t good or bad unto themselves. Used in the right way, they can bring joy and togetherness to God’s people. I’ve seen hundreds of families go home smiling and holding hands after Trunk or Treat. I’ve seen zero plotting to take over the world with black magic.
Could these things be used wrongly? I suppose so. But developing an unhealthy relationship with them because we’re afraid they could be used wrongly is no better. Fear and faith don’t mix well. A community that takes a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup out of a child’s hand because it’s potentially evil is, itself, broken. It’s also doing something pretty close to evil: assuming its own standards as universal, making others suffer for those standards, and sending the message that God is a God of anger, isolation, and denial.
Personally I think chili, games, candy, and costumes are far more reflective of God’s Kingdom than a community based on fear. Teaching people not to operate on fear-rather to live life by joy and trust--is one of the most valuable things a community of faith can do.
So welcome to Trunk or Treat! I hope you can participate and share goodness together with those around you. That’s not just the meaning of a holiday, but of every day.