Here in Bellingham, in the Cordata neighborhood (right down the street from Christ The King church), there is a shop for a company named Spirit Halloween (www.spirithalloween.com). I went in there today for the first time. They have all kinds of products with which one can celebrate All Hallows Eve. From fake eyeballs and severed fingers to all manner of costumes, they have it in stock. They also sell pumpkin carving kits from Pumpkin Masters. (A guy working in the shop told me, however, that he'd be more likely to buy the Dremel pumpkin carving tool sold at Amazon.com, because that unit was powered from the wall outlet, whereas the Pumpkin Masters saws were battery powered.)
They also sell a lot of safety-oriented things like glow sticks, to protect kids from being hit by cars while they are out trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. (See www.halloween-safety.com.)
Some Christians deplore Halloween, due to the roots of the holiday in a tradition going back to the Druids, who worshipped Samhain, the Lord of Darkness. To some Christians, that probably sounds uncomfortably similar to worshipping Satan!
But one doesn't have to dress like Samhain or Lucifer or Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th movies in order to frighten a Christian. Judging by the recent treatment I have gotten from a couple of Bellingham churches, one merely needs to threaten to tell the truth. You know, that thing that ostensibly sets people free!
Brad Howell, from Hillcrest Chapel, told me that I would be arrested if I dared to show up at that church, because I'd threatened to tell people that they had done absolutely nothing to help me when I'd pled with them to find a house sharing situation so that I would not have to stay at the Lighthouse Mission.
Needless to say, I did not appreciate getting that letter from Brad. But I still was a believer, so when Steve Loeppky did some practical things to help me out, I decided to attend his church, Mosaic.
Well, it seems that the more things seem to change, the more they stay the same. The same old bullshit, I mean. Recently, I was banned from attending Mosaic, because I'd audaciously asked a woman to let me know if she would be interested in going out for a cup of coffee in order to get to know me. I mentioned that I was feeling in need of a female partner, and I found her attractive.
Ooooh, scary. NOT.
When I talked about this episode with Fred Sprinkle, who works at Logos Bible Software, he said that he thought my invitation might have seemed "weird" to that woman because I was somewhat older than she. OK, maybe it did. But she is presumably an adult, even if she is younger than I. Since she is capable of sending an email herself, all she had to do was to send me a message telling me that she was not interested, as another woman from that fellowship, Deborah Lutz, had done. (I was disappointed when Deborah did that, but I can take no for an answer and I stopped asking her.) Instead, like a baby, the aforementioned woman went running to Matt Atkins, asking for his protection. Hence, I got a text message on my cell phone, telling me that I would no longer be welcome at that church.
I always thought that Christian ministry was supposed to be about love and compassion. But I've encountered far too many power hungry pastors to believe that that is how everyone sees things. No wonder so many people have turned away from God altogether. They may rationalize the decision to do so by claiming that they can't deal with inconsistencies in the Bible, but really, I think it has a lot more to do with the inconsistencies they see in the lives of people who claim to speak for God.
P.S. In all fairness, I should acknowledge that I learned yesterday, from an email from a fellow believer, that the woman I'd asked out for coffee was only 19 years old. Holy cow! I knew that she was younger than I; that was obvious. But I would never have seen her as a potential partner if I'd been aware that the age gap between us was so large (nearly 40 years).
19 is not legally a minor, and that woman is only a couple of years younger than my parents were when I was born. So I still maintain that it was preposterous for Matt Atkins to call me a predator. (I have never "preyed" on anyone, man or woman, and I find such an accusation to be unjust and insulting.) But I guess that I can understand why she might feel that my written invitation to have coffee with me might have seemed a bit "weird" to her. In retrospect, it seems a bit weird to me too. I really have got to get better at estimating women's ages based on their physical appearances.