Monday, December 23, 2013

A Theology of the Holidays by Chris TerryNelson

My good friend and friend of the blog, Chris TerryNelson (he wrote for both the 2007 and 2008 KBBCs, and collaborated in some other endeavors as well), has written an engaging series of theological reflections on holidays – specifically: Christmas, Halloween, Easter, and Thanksgiving. So, as we are in the throes of a holiday season, I wanted to pass these on to you for contemplation. He has a nice index post up for quick reference, so just surf over to his blog and check them out.

One thing that I really like about these reflections is that he has brought together the more obviously theological holidays of Easter and Christmas with the less obviously theological holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving. Chris’ reflection on Halloween is especially stimulating, I think. He tackles the issue of horror in the world from a pastoral angle, even offering this bit of counsel which I wish was more obvious to more people:
Just a note of caution: if your friend is suffering from something, an illness or some accident, don’t ever say anything like “Don’t worry, it’s all part of God’s plan.”
But that is more of an aside. The main line of his reflection is captured in this compelling sentence:
What we find out in the Bible is that the world is full of monsters, and that sometimes we even have a little monster in us too.
So with Chris’ guidance, the theological point at issue in Halloween is one of truth-telling. It is a practice of recognizing the presence of evil in the world, and in ourselves. This should make us afraid, and we are better off when we face that fear rather than hiding from it in our own perfectly manicured “Christian” sub-cultures (I’m riffing a bit now…).

Thanks, Chris!

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