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When I was a kid in the 1970s, I did the trick-or-treating thing every Hallowe’en, along with all the other kids in my neighbourhood. For many of us, it was the highlight of the fall season and second only to Christmas on the annual excitement scale. Other than for our masks, our costumes were mostly hand-made by us and pretty low-tech (two hangers taped together at the hooks were angel wings; an upside-down ice-cream container with a rayon scarf trailing from it was Maid Marion’s headpiece; a big cardboard box with holes cut out for the arms was a TV set, etc.), but we didn’t care how ridiculous we looked because, for most of us, Hallowe’en was all about the free chips, candy and chocolate bars. The costumes were just a means to that end.
We saw our neighbourhood homes as dispensers of the free treats we so craved (and considered our birthright on that one amazing night), and for that reason all the houses we intended to hit were considered friendly turf. We didn’t anticipate having any problems when we stomped up the steps with our pillowcases bulging with loot; we didn’t expect to be challenged when we shouted “TRICK OR TREAT!”; we just expected to be given free grub, and we’d be on our way.
But there was this one house in our subdivision that gave me the creeps. Every Hallowe’en, I would go there only because the older kids I was trick-or-treating with would go there, but it bothered me. It was the only house I wanted to get away from as quickly as I could. I don’t even remember whether they gave good treats or not; I just remember that I thought the place and the people in it were creepy.
Here’s why: (more…)
I was on a local bus yesterday, heading into Niagara Falls.
After the driver had stopped to pick up some passengers and was pulling away from the curb, four young women (college students, I think) came running towards the bus, waving their arms and yelling for the driver to stop. The driver shook his head, stepped on the gas, and merged into traffic.
The last I saw of the women, they were standing at the stop, shaking their heads in frustration and staring at their phones.
It reminded me of Jesus’ parable of the wise and foolish virgins.
I think it goes something like this: (more…)
Someone asked today why his life was going so miserably when he had invested everything he had into what he saw as doing God’s will. He attended Bible college, he prayed “three times a day”, he gave to charities, he lived soberly and chastely – and yet, he felt no joy and no connection with God, and now he even feels suicidal and wants to throw it all in.
This strikes at the heart of what it means to be “Christian”. Jesus dealt with this same issue with some of his early followers, as have other prophets over the millennia. Why give everything up for God when all you seem to get back is poverty and abuse? (more…)
It’s that time of the year again when Christians declare war on cute little kids and free candy by turning off their porch light and refusing to answer the door. I covered this topic last year, but it deserves a rerun.
So here goes: (more…)
There are some of you struggling right now with things that you know you need to do, but you don’t want to do. You’re looking for a way out, a way to get around those things, to avoid them, but you know in your heart of hearts that there is no avoiding them, and that you’ll have to deal with them head-on in order to get them over with.
Jesus felt the same way in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before he was crucified. He didn’t want to have to deal with being physically tortured and then crucified. He really didn’t. In fact, he begged his dad (God) to find another way to reach the same end, but there was none. He had to suffer because that was what he’d signed up for, and that’s what the job called for. (more…)
There are only two ways: The right way and the wrong way.
There is no third way.
Something cannot be a little bit right or a little bit wrong: it is simply either right or wrong.
If there is any measure of wrong in a thing, then it is wrong.
If there is no measure of wrong in a thing, then it is right.
A REMINDER FROM JESUS (more…)
That sinking feeling when you realize your time is up. No reprieve. Your bags are packed. Your ride’s at the door. Better not to look around. Better not to savor the view one last time. Better not to let your gaze linger on the cheerful kitchen, the comfy bed. You have to leave. This is not your home. You have to leave… and then it hits you (yet again) that you never really had a home. (more…)