Competing Spectacles by Tony Reinke, Free for CAPC Members
Reinke wants to help readers not be manipulated and enthralled by the spectacles of our media age. Instead, he shows that we see the greatest spectacle of all in the Cross.
Just in case you were unaware: October 31st is an important date for Protestants, and it has nothing to do with Halloween. October 31st is known as Reformation Day. It was this day in 1517 that Martin Luther, a Catholic monk, nailed his 95 Theses for discussion to the church door in Wittenberg. What resulted over the course of many years was a massive reformation of the Christian church.
Many Christians, in an attempt to offer an alternative to Halloween, celebrate Reformation day on October 31st. It is, indeed, a great day to celebrate, but some who celebrate it in response to Halloween really make protestants look ridiculous. So I would like to propose a few tips for hosting a fun Reformation Day celebration, while at the same time avoiding some of the common mistakes that other Reformation celebrations tend to make:
1. Use Halloween as a template, not as a target.
Even if you think Halloween is some morally/spiritually evil holiday (see my article “Is Halloween Sin?“), don’t make your festivities about bashing a nationally recognized holiday. For one, it simply sets a bad tone for your party. At this level your party becomes a “how-can-we-be-better-than-those-who-celebrate-halloween” party, which not only doesn’t sound inviting, but in fact simply sounds arrogant. Secondly, it also limits those who are willing to come. If you use the Halloween template, however, and simply invite people over for a Halloween type party that focuses on also celebrating the Reformation then more people will want to participate.
2. Don’t Lecture Everyone About Luther.
While it is important to remember history, it’s also important to remember that some (many?) of your guests may not like history to the same degree as you. Furthermore, not many people really like to be lectured at while partying.
3. Themed Parties Can Be Fun, But Don’t Overdo It.
Most people just like hanging out with friends while at a party. They don’t need to or even want to play “Pin the Theses on the Church Door” or “Calvinst Crosswords” etc. Keep that in mind as you plan your party. You can dress up like Luther and have fun with the theme, but there’s a point at which dorkiness and goofiness can become obnoxious. Know where the line is and don’t cross it.
I hope your parties are fun this weekend, and remember that above all else remembering Luther won’t be nearly as important as serving your friends and spending time with them. Jesus is more concerned with your love of your neighbors then your remembrance of the Reformation.
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