November 25, 2020

Internet Monk Radio Podcast #76

podcast_logo.gifRant on Halloween. Rant on Reformation Day. Visit to Celebrate Recovery.

Internet Monk Radio is on iTunes Podcasts for free. Search for Monk. I’ll appear right under monkeys.


  1. I like your description of Halloween as “pre-Mike Warnke”.

  2. Halloween–my kids never knew how cool Halloween could be. Pity. We got real full size candy bars. Not little mini bars that come in bags. We got a whole bar at house after house.

    Michael–Please explore the notion about the willingness to talk about Sin but not about my sins, brokenness and unwholeness. It is so safe and sanitary to theologize. But we are called to the risk and mess of life transformation–ours and others. But of course, Celebrate Recovery can’t really be a work of God because it is not TR in its theology and it was developed by Saddleback and her Purpose Driven Pope.

  3. i appreciated ur thoughts on reformation day.

    i had some friends over to my house to celebrate reformation day by watching the movie “luther”. (i personally just wanted to watch the movie since it’s one of my favorites and didn’t want to go out for halloween. this gave me an excuse to have people over so i didn’t feel like a loser for not doing anything on halloween.) my catholic roomie joined us and i wondered what he thought the entire time through the movie. i would have to say that the movie hit me a little different this time around though concerning the spilt of the church. it seemed so tragic and so irreversible. despite all the good of the reformation, i think we are often too quick to forget all bad that came as result of it as well. it’s only led us down a path that’s snowballed into schism after schism after schism.

  4. Another raspberry to those who “took it away from us.”
    A classic American Halloween was indeed one of the joys of my childhood. I remember Halloween better than I can recall almost anything else about being very young.
    Thank goodness we live in a neighborhood where my sons can still enjoy their (albeit-mini) candy bars, shouting to their little goblin friends on the other sidewalk.
    I have one friend, a wonderful woman I’ve known for 28 years, who doesn’t allow her children to celebrate Halloween. I’m SO sorry for those girls…

  5. Great podcast as usual. Thanks for the CR segment. I look forward to the subsequent posts on that.

  6. Check the “Trick or Tract” blog post over at Evangelical Outpost — especially the comment thread.

    Back when he had one of the best radio talk shows in Greater Los Angeles, Rich Buhler said he could always tell when October rolled around because all the “Is Halloween Satanic?” phone-ins would start rolling in and the on-the-air fights would follow.

  7. Patrick Kyle says

    Cool rant on Haloween. The harangue against Halloween by Christians often comes off as shrill and hysterical(in the not so funny way)
    I took my boys out trick-or-treating, and it brought back many fond memories of my childhood. I hope they will take their kids out trick-or-treating when the time comes. Actually its a great model of how the gospel works–a free gift.

    (P.S. Michael, I sent a couple emails regarding your latest site news post from last week requesting some info. I realize you are really busy, I just wanted to be sure you received them.)

  8. Loved your Halloween rant. I remember those pre-Warnke fun times at the church building. Our church has a Halloween Alternative — a name I’m not fond of. Why “alternative”? Why not just have a Fall party or something? I’m pretty sure that people know we’re not worshipping the devil.

  9. MS,

    I’m glad you have great memories of Halloween. Mine are similar, but as I got older (but still a kid) I experienced the bad side of Halloween. More horrific slasher movies, skimpier Halloween outfits from women at parties, the draw to some of the occult by Halloween, and a celebration similar to the Day of the Dead in Mexico. I don’t think the Christian move for some Christians to do an alternative or not do it at all is all that bad. If some Christians want to do it, that is their perogative, but as for me and many others finding a Spiritual way to celebrate it (Harvest Festival, Reformation Day, General (appropriate) Costume party) should not be looked at as some Fundamentalist freaks. Please don’t project your happy experience and think it was the norm for every American kid.


  10. Ted:



    The American cultural celebration of Halloween is a harmless bit of fun.

    That anyone decided to make it something like you’ve described for their own reasons or profit is unfortunate.

    “Please don’t project…”

    That’s a two way street. My memories are real, not projections and I never implied they were yours.


  11. Listening to this podcast about Celebrate Recovery I decided to go to a meeting of it in a nearby town. I had been to it once before a few months ago and wasn’t overly impressed. I decided to give it another look, so I went tonight (they meet every friday night). This particular group meets in the gym of a church.

    My impression this time was somewhat of a mixed bag. I’ll start with some of the negative aspects of it. Three to be specific.

    1. There was an “altar call” at the end of it. I don’t think it was really intended to be that per se, but some people came up to the stage to pray. I’m not a supporter of the invitation system, but that isn’t really my complaint here. The guy who was leading the music started telling people that they needed to come to Jesus, then he started YELLING it, over and over. I was thinking to myself, “why don’t you say it one more time?” I actually agreed with what he was saying, but I think there was a bit of emotional manipulation, though unintended, going on there.

    2. There was a time period they called “Chip Time.” Briefly stated this was a time when those who were hooked on drugs, alcohol, etc. come forward and get a chip which indicates that they want to be delivered from the addiction by Jesus. I don’t have a problem with this, but I did not like how the speaker described it. He said that taking a chip represented that a person has tried drugs, alcohol or whatever else and now he/she wants to try Jesus. Try Jesus? Jesus is not a product that one tries. He is the Lord and the Christ whom one either humbly submits to or proudly rebels against. Now in fairness I suspect that those involved with CR there wouldn’t disagree with what I just said. I think it was just a poor choice of words to describe it.

    3. This is what bugged me the most. A young lady got up to give a testimony. She spent probably 15 to 20 minutes talking about every drug she had taken and all the guys she had been with. She finally got around to mentioning God a few times at the end of it. If she mentioned the word Jesus at all, I missed it.

    I’ve dealt with the bathwater, now to the baby.

    1. The praise time was wonderful. The difference between a statue of the Virgin Mary and myself is that statues of the Virgin Mary have been known to shed tears. I am not known to do that very much. I did tonight. As we were singing “He Reigns” and “Rock of Ages”(the praise song not the hymn by Toplady) I found myself getting choked up, crying and not able to sing. The emphasis was cleary on the Triune God.

    2. There wasn’t any phony baloney going on. These people have problems and they aren’t afraid to admit it. Ray Stevens sung a song a few years ago about getting ready for church on Sunday mornings. One of the lines said, we get all dressed up to sing Just As I Am. I believe it is possible to be sincere and not be right, but I don’t think it is possible to be phoney and not be wrong. I sensed little if any phoniness with this group.

    3. These people cared about other people. I didn’t see too many Priests, Levites or Elder Brothers there (to allude to the Good Samaritan and Prodigal Son parables). I didn’t see Love in word and speech, but in truth and deed. In some ways I’m recovering myself, recovering from being the Elder Brother, and I’ve decided to come in my Father’s house and join the party.

    So that was my overall impression of it. Some bad, but more good. So, the conclusion is ……. I’ll be going back.

  12. MS,

    Again, I wonder how many people you have dealt with that have had problems or a past with the occult. I think your being a bit flippant to those who choose to stay away from the celebration of those things because of their past. I do believe some Christians can have some freedom in it, but not all. It is similar to Christians who saw the problem with eating meat offered to pagan gods. It is sin to them to go back to something that reminds them of the darkness in their past. I personally choose not to participate in it and when I have kids I will probably have them go to a Church harvest festival or costume party.

    I had a blast serving at this year’s harvest festival at my church and my roommate stayed home and didn’t answer the door to give candy to the kids. Mostly because we live in pretty bad neighborhood. It’s not so much we are scared of ghosts, but scared with the kids with the “real” guns.


  13. Working with thousands of teenagers for over 30 years, I’ve met plenty of kids interested in the occult. I’ve had many conversations with Wiccan students and parents.

    No one I’ve ever met was influenced by the American celebration of Halloween toward seriosu belief in the occult worldview. You’re making the Warnke argument. Or the anti-Harry Potter argument.

    A conincidence of subject matter is not causation. Luther said you don’t give up relationships with women because of sexual sin. You have right relationships with women.

    Ted, scripture says if something violates your conscience then treat it as sin for you. If Halloween is in that category, then that’s the way to go. But telling my grandson he can’t dress like Spiderman and get free candy because of the occult isn’t in order.

    Excess and sin are not always the same as the context they are in. I can eat at a buffet and not be a glutton. I can have a glass of wine and not be a drunk. I can spend money and not be a materialist. I can also celebrate Halloween as a harlmless American holiday and not join the occult.



  14. MS,

    I don’t want to drag this on and it seems like we are speaking past each other. But I just want to make clear:

    I was complaining against your generalizations. Essentially, those of us who choose not to celebrate Halloween are not all “fundamentalist” or legalistic Christians. For many who have had a past in the occult it is a sin to them. I know many of them. Additionally, for me I have had bad experiences and memories with Halloween. Now I enjoy it more with Christ at the center of it.

    Additionally, I go against your generalization that Halloween is totally “innocent” as I also go against the generalization that Halloween is totally “evil.” Especially when the evidence of each view is anecdotal. Even Christmas has it’s bad aspects as a Holiday (the materialistic focus of the Holiday now). The only thing totally innocent in this world is Christ and the only thing totally evil is the Devil. Making false dichotomies on either side is never helpful.

    I do not condemn anyone who want’s to go out with their kids in costume to get candy. However, I personally choose not to do so and would rather celebrate it in a more Christ focused fashion. That doesn’t mean everyone has to do it that way. I think it is appropriate for a Church to seek to place Christ at the center of any Fall Festival and it is those individual parents and congregations members who can chose based on their walk and conscience to celebrate it as they see fit.

    Thanks for the discussion. God Bless.