Wednesday, October 31, 2012


One thing that bothers me about my faith is Halloween.

Specifically, our response to halloween. That it is an evil thing to be avoided at all costs. Because, ew, there are dead things and ghosties and things that are "ungodly" and must be avoided. Because darkness cannot be of God.

As I've been editing Prince of the Gray Keep  I am reminded of the two things I'd have had in front of The Book, if it were a real book and not a self published thing. The first is, of course, something from C.S Lewis:

"The fine flower of unholiness can grow only in the close neighborhood of the Holy. Nowhere do we tempt so successfully as on the very steps of the altar."

IMHO, this cuts to the very heart of The Book. I once sat down and committed the great sin of Literacy, where I tried to find the deep meaning of my own book. Naturally, because I am a Christian, I decided it was Spiritual Warfare of the deepest kind. Because I find my faith so deeply woven into my own work, I find myself forced to balance the scale. If I do this right, you'll find the evils of religion balanced with its goodness. Or, as my personal theology would have it (And God am I about to jump off the deep end here:) the theology of God, and of goodness, splayed against the theology of Oroborous, the closed system, something I define as evil. Evil exists in its purest form when it masquerades as goodness. It appeared in Jonestown, in Waco, in the darkest moments of history.

The second quote, however, is what I think of every year at Halloween.

It is a paraphrase of G.K. Chesterton, but I believe the paraphrase should stand on its own. It is a defense, I feel, of everything I've ever stood for:

"Fairy Tales don't teach children that Dragons exist. Children already know that Dragons exist. Fairy tales teach children that Dragons can be killed."

I think the greatest sin Christianity has ever committed is its choice to avoid any dialogue of evil. Of what it is, of what it might be. We are afraid of it. We fear what Satan might be, so rather than calling it by name, we decide that it is this kind of music, that kind of behavior. So we hedge ourselves around and decide that We Won't Talk About This (Caps required). And because We Won't Talk About This, we lose the greatest defense we ever had against evil itself.

I grew up in a "safe" home. I was educated about drug abuse, so I haven't become a drug addict. I was educated against alcohol abuse. God willing, I will not be an alcoholic. I was taught about anorexia. Bulemia. Codependancy. I know the catch phrases. I know what a twelve step program is.

No one taught me about self harming. It was the unspeakable sin. It was the thing no one could tell me about, because it was too crazy to be mentioned. Surely I was safe. Surely I would avoid that.

I had defenses against everything else. Self injury was what got me.

Evil gains power only when you don't talk about it openly. When it is a secret thing, it gains a terrible power.

Halloween is our chance to take the secret thing into the light. Our cultural haunts, our shadow ideas of evil. We bring them out and show them to each other. In doing so, we see them as the shams they truely are. There is no danger in these things to us, if they are silly costumes we put on and then take off again. And by doing so we distill evil into its truest form. We distill it. We identify it. We open a dialogue about it.

And in doing so, we build our defenses against it.

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