Halloween 2013: Dying To Self By Killing The Flesh

Ultimately, all Christians must repent of sin no matter how stubborn or headstrong they might be.

Scripture teaches us that if you have been granted the greatest repentance from your unbelief in God through salvation, then, by necessity, you will now become engaged in an entire lifetime of performing the "lesser repentance" that includes turning from those daily sins that destroy intimacy with Christ and intimacy with others.

To put it another way, once you have Repented (capital "R") you continue to repent (lower case "r") until you go to be with the Lord. You'll recall that Martin Luther had a lot to say about this sort of thing.

I believe that Christians should pray for the grace to be able to admit when they were wrong about something they may have said or did when it is proven to be false.

In my case, this has meant swallowing my pride and admitting that I have been wrong about some of the things I used to believe and teach to others as Gospel truth during the "Era of Evangelicalism" that existed for the better part of the last several years in my life.

Now, that's not to say that I was guilty of preaching a false gospel (or guilty of apostasy, blasphemy, and/or heresy), but I definitely gave the impression that "God is clear!" about certain things when, in fact, the Word of God did not specifically claim anything of the sort.

The annual celebration of Halloween is one of those cases where I must apologize, confess, repent, and seek forgiveness for some of the things I did and said in years past.

Of course, the flesh will have you believe that you could never do such a thing, because then "you'll lose all credibility with those people!" and "they'll never listen to a single word you say about Christianity ever again!" so "you should just keep you mouth shut and keep it between you and God!"

Compelling arguments, aren't they? Logical too. Thankfully, Proverbs 3:5 has something straightforward to say about that.

Anyway, do you notice the focus of such fiery darts though? Such feelings and thoughts make confessing the truth and evangelizing all about YOU and YOUR EFFORTS and YOUR ABILITY to convert and save rather than a right and Biblical understanding that it is GOD, and GOD'S WORD, and THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT that is efficacious (a fancy schmancy word that means "the producing of a desired result" as in "Christ's atonement was efficacious; it produced the result of forgiveness of sins"). You might want to check out John 6:44 and Ephesians 2:8-9 for specifics here.

But you can see how easy it would be for a sincere, well-meaning Christian of any kind to think twice about admitting when they were wrong in believing and promoting certain things as Biblical truth. Yet, that is precisely what must take place when the circumstances call for it, and that's precisely what I would like to spend a little time doing here today.

Here's the abridged version in case you're pressed for time:

Happy Reformation Day! A Christian should never be unwilling to admit when they were wrong about something. Well, it is only by God's grace that I can admit that I was wrong about the unwavering position I took in year's past regarding this day. How so, well, in the sense that I was unwavering to the point where I may have caused others to doubt whether or not they were "genuine" Christians unless they shared my perspective. That was wrong. Lord, please forgive me. To those of you I may have hurt in this way, please forgive me. Whether a Christian does or does not celebrate Halloween has everything to do with it being a matter of one's God-given conscience as well as everything to do with the freedom and liberty we have in Christ Jesus. Now, who wants a Tract and where can I find some Tootsie Rolls?

"Perhaps the greatest fallacy Christians believe about Halloween is that by refusing to participate in the day we are somehow taking a stand against Satan. And second to that, is that participation in the day is an endorsement of Satan and his evil holidays. The truth is that Halloween is not much different from any other day in this world where, at least for the time being, every day is Satan’s day and a celebration of him and his power."
*- Tim Challies

If you want the complete, unedited version, then get comfortable and please keep reading.

Halloween 2013. What a difference a few years make! Here's what I wrote over the course of the last few years regarding my perspective on Halloween and my perspective on Christians celebrating Halloween. Pay close attention to the "tone" of each piece.



HALLOWEEN 2010:
I also have absolutely no problem sitting down and trying to explain to people why it is that I feel the way that I do, and I'll cite the Scriptures often because they are what's giving me cause for concern. The way I've explained it to anyone who asks me about my reasons for taking such a strong stand on this usually goes like this...

Simply put, I have some personal reservations with Halloween and can't bring myself to celebrate it. Now, typically, whenever I share that with people for the fi rst time (especially other Christians) it tends to be met with fierce resistance, or it's assumed that I'm somehow "judging" those who do decide to celebrate it each year. Nothing could be further from the truth and I've always told people that if they're curious about why I'm so entrenched in my position year-after-year I would be more than happy to sit down with them to explain where I'm coming from and why (and I can assure you that it's not from some kind of twisted "legalistic" and/or "Phariseeic" place).

No, the Bible does not say anything about Halloween -- in a specifi c sense -- just like it doesn't say anything specifi cally about things like smoking either. Yes, each person is free to make their own decisions on what is "right" and "wrong" for them under the umbrella of "freedom in Christ," or "Christian liberty" according to Romans 14:14 I suppose. In other words, the holy Scriptures do not explicitly say that a person is going to go to Hell for eternity if they celebrate Halloween or go Trick-or-Treating (or smoke, or watch certain violent movies and TV shows, or listen to certain questionable kinds of music, etc.). Ultimately, these things are preferences and partaking in -- and even refraining from -- them does not make one "more" or "less" holy/spiritual.

However, because of what we're told in 1 Corinthians 10:23 (KJV) "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not" there is enough in God's Word to help us make the right decisions about whether God would "approve" or "disapprove" of us partaking in certain individual/group activities whatever they may be. In addition, if we are maturing our faith like we're supposed to, then we should notice a marked di erence between the "old self" and the "new self" because of what we're told about being "a new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17), which means we should start to see new desires, new interests, and new preferences that are more in line with what God thinks about things.

How do we know the will of God and what He think about things in this life? We read His holy Word regularly and let our mind be conformed to Christ. Romans 12:2 says clearly, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Again, just because God's Word does not explicitly say something about His view toward the celebration of a holiday like Halloween, there is more than enough in His Word that should give us a pretty good idea that it's safe to conclude that He wouldn't be celebrating it Himself if He were here with us today. Like Sam Storms once wrote, "Christian liberty includes the right to abstain from otherwise legitimate pursuits if one is convinced in his/her own mind that such is the will of God for them personally. In other words, you may fully believe in the truth of Rom. 14:14a, yet choose to abstain anyway. Christian liberty does not include the right to insist that others likewise abstain simply because you do. Far less does it include the right to judge them as sub-spiritual for choosing a di erent course of action from you." Very true. Isn't it possible that a majority of Christians have it wrong about Halloween though?

Since I'm now referencing other Christians who have weighed in here I think I'd like to share this from John MacArthur: "God's purpose in redeeming men from sin is not to give them freedom to do as they please but freedom to do as He pleases, which is to live righteously." Quick question: Are we "living righteously" by associating ourselves and our families with a holiday that is known for death when Jesus Christ is known for eternal life? I mean, they're two polar opposites! They're diametrically opposed to one another, aren't they? So then what business do we have celebrating something like this?

The Life-Death paradigm is the most obvious example, but we could continue making a list to demonstrate how Halloween's characteristics are anti-Christian in almost every conceivable way (in each case below, I could've picked several verses to illustrate each point).

The tradition of begging for candy; gluttony/greed
WHEN COMPARED TO...
Matthew 6:11 "give us this day our daily bread"; contentment with God's blessings

The tradition of wearing costumes to become a new creation; mockery
WHEN COMPARED TO...
2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."
John 3:3 Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."

Tradition of wild parties with grotesque/sexual costumes; lasciviousness/lust/sin
WHEN COMPARED TO...
Galatians 5:19-21 "Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, ts of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."

The tradition of causing fear by scaring people; anxiety/hopelessness
WHEN COMPARED TO...
Psalm 56:4 "In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?"

Titus 2:13 "waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,"

Halloween associated with witches, ghosts, goblins, monsters; witchcraft/demons
WHEN COMPARED TO...
Deuteronomy 18:10 "There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an o ering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you."

I think the most compelling evidence that proves that a majority of Christians instinctively know that they should not be celebrating Halloween (but do so anyway) is the presence of the "Trunk- Or-Treat" events popular these days with Christian churches and schools. They are universally described in bulletins as "A Fun And Safe Alternative To Halloween," aren't they? Folks, why do we need a "safe alternative" unless the original version that we just can't let go of is already inherently "unsafe" in its traditional form?

The message seems to be that we love candy, and costumes, and decorations, and games, and parties more than we love trying to live obediently to Christ. This is the part of the conversation when most people will say something like, "Come on Jeff ! It's all just harmless entertainment and fun!" Really? Is the Ouija Board "just a harmless game" too? The same argument could be applied to movies and television, right? Most Christian parents have no problem censoring what their kids watch, but why is that any di fferent? See, this is why Occult/Vampire programming is getting so popular these days. It's going way too far and millions still flock to it -- many of them Christians! This is a serious problem.

Thankfully, some Christian leaders have the backbone to buck the trend and say something to sound the alarm and urge caution as they rightfully should. You know this holiday has gotten outta hand when you read about things called "Jesusween" too.

When will we stop believing that the only way for the Gospel to be e ffective is if we make Jesus and His Word "more relevant" to the modern day culture? Total absurdity and blasphemy! Finally, Sam Storms again: "The conscience of the Christian is obligated and bound only by what the Bible either commands or forbids, or by what may be legitimately deduced from an explicit biblical principle." Yep, that's a good overview of how I feel.

What do you think about all of that? Are you at least open to the possibility that you could be wrong about the assumed Christian merits of celebrating Halloween? I've said repeatedly that I am open to someone -- anyone -- making a Biblical case that would force me to seriously reconsider my position here, but I have yet to hear it.

To reiterate, this is not about "winning an argument" or "proving my point" and only about trying to get us to prayerfully consider some things we've probably never thought of before as it relates to Halloween. These next two quotes summarize my feelings perfectly.

"[Many things] are not specifi cally condemned by the Scriptures, and thus we must apply other criteria. For example, would these matters cause us to sin, or harm our bodies, or cause a brother to stumble, or tempt us to fall into a pattern we could not control? Clearly if those things occurred, then it would be wrong for us to do them. If not, then we have the liberty to enjoy these activities."
*- Curtis C. Thomas

"We do need to guard against making absolutes out of personal standards that are not speci fied in Scripture, or assuming that others are sinning if they don't adopt our standards about issues that may not be traps for them. But why are we so prone to defend choices that take us right to the edge of sin, and so reluctant to make radical choices to protect our hearts and minds from sin?"
*- Nancy Leigh DeMoss

HALLOWEEN 2011:


How many Christians who celebrated Halloween last night because "it was an opportunity to tell the world that life after death is possible in Jesus Christ, and therefore, worth celebrating over death" actually did something explicitly "Christian" to promote such a cherished truth -- like pass out tracts, evangelize the lost by sharing the Gospel, or witness to family, friends, and/or strangers about how Christ has forgiven and saved you from your sins?

Christians will always disagree when it comes to celebrating this holiday, but let's keep things real and not deceive ourselves either (2 Timothy 1:14; Ephesians 4:15; Galatians 1:10). Where's the evangelism? The preaching of the Gospel and the message that life triumphs over death thanks to Christ? Isn't that the most often cited reason as to why Christians are "ok" with celebrating this day? Then why was it nowhere to be found last night? Look, I know this is an "uncomfortable" and "unpopular" subject (believe me, if anyone knows that, it's me), but as Christians we are supposed to be lovers of truth in all things, right? That's why I pray, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, family members, and friends, those of you who disagree with me on this, that we can still have an honest discussion about it and admit some hard truths.

The truth is that a vast majority of us who celebrated Halloween last night for the reason I cited above did not do anything even remotely "Christian" (except perhaps exchange pleasantries with neighbors and show them general friendly kindness). If that was the case, if that was you, then I hate to be so blunt about it, but we should be doing that each and every single day of the year, which makes last night no diff erent than any other, right? So, if that was the case, then we cannot use such a "cover story" in the future should we decide to celebrate Halloween again. I hope we can all at least agree on that.

I just look around and I see so many people who I know love Jesus Christ dearly, who say they celebrated Halloween to celebrate Him and what He did for us, but who never spoke a single word of the Gospel to a world that desperately needs to hear it. Instead, all we've done is strip the holiday of it's overtly Occult and Satanic themes and replaced it with a more watered down version for ourselves so that we don't feel so guilty about celebrating it. We can do better. We're "ambassadors" (2 Corinthians 5:20), remember?

May the Lord continue to lead us, but also give us the courage to follow Him fully no matter where He might take us, and regardless of any personal cost to ourselves. Grace and peace to you and yours.



HALLOWEEN 2012:

I have to say that despite my disagreement with family members and friends over the past week's Halloween festivities, it wasn't just them that I believe the Lord was working to change during our interactions over that subject. No, He was most certainly working to change my heart and mind too. It's one thing to "speak the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15) out of a genuine love for your dear brothers and sisters in Christ -- your dear wife even -- but another thing far worse to do so without the grace, love, and mercy that exemplifi es Christ (2 Corinthians 8:24; 1 John 3:18; 1 Peter 2:17; Hebrews 10:24; James 1:19; James 3:17).

Wow! Heavy on the Law and light on His Grace, huh?

Looking back, it's very interesting to me that those were the final words I wrote on this topic until today, because it's emblematic of the work the Lord was performing in my life even if I didn't fully grasp it yet.

Ok, so we fast forward 12 months, or a full year later, and things have changed significantly! As you could see for yourself, the tone in years past was always,

"What's the matter with you!?! You call yourself a Christian, and yet, you have no second thoughts about celebrating this demonic, Satanic holiday? I'm the 'crazy' one though, huh? Well, you might be 'crazy' for thinking you're a 'real' Christian if you're completely ok with all of this and have no problems attacking me for my decision."

Yeah, um, not good. No "truth in love" spoken there (Ephesians 4:15; 1 Corinthians 13). Now, what I should've said was something more along the lines of,

"I want you to understand where I'm coming from regarding my decision to not celebrate Halloween this year. It's important to me that I don't leave you guessing about what God's Word says and doesn't say let alone important to me that I don't tear you down with my tongue and hurtful words, which I'm afraid I can sometimes do when I get into a passionate discussion like this. Such is the nature of a wretched sinner whose spirit is constantly at war with his flesh. The Bible doesn't say anything specifically about Halloween either for or against it. Honestly, people have made a strong case either for or against celebrating the holiday while using Scripture to support their position. So, ultimately, it's a matter of one's conscience and the liberty we have in Christ, or the freedom we have in Him. With that in mind, please know that while my conscience is convicting me about things again this year, that should not mean there's something 'wrong' with you and your faith if you are not bothered by any of it like I am. Of course, if you would like specifics as to why my conscience is burdened by all of this, then I would be happy to sit down with you and go through some things I've come across in God's Word."

Do you see the MAJOR DIFFERENCE between both approaches?

The first one takes an accusatory and defensive posture while the second is more humble and grace-oriented I think. I wanted to take you through that brief demonstration particularly to communicate (mainly to any family members or friends of mine who will be reading this) that I'm truly sorry if I have ever engaged in a discussion about this topic with you that was more accusatory, defensive, and vulgar than it was humble, grace-oriented, and merciful. I hope that you will forgive me.

So where am I on this issue today and how did I get here? Well, in short, I've done a complete 180! Sure, I still dislike many things about this holiday that I'm sure most people (Christians and non-Christians alike) would agree with -- the fascination with death and the macabre instead of life; the inappropriate costumes; the immoral behavior; etc. However, my conscience is no longer convicted like it was in previous years, which means I do not have an issue with my kids dressing up (as long as their costumes are not demonic and inappropriate) or trick-or-treating. In fact, I'll be joining my family later this evening.

At the same time, I'll still be handing out Gospel Tracts this year since I love the incredible opportunity that such a holiday has created for us to confess the faith to hundreds in just one single night who come right to your door.

Please don't misunderstand me either. The Holy Spirit works as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11) and just because I'm handing out Gospel Tracts to everyone does not mean that all of them (or any of them) will respond to the Gospel. First, it's not because of anything that I've personally done myself, and always an act of God. Second, passing our Gospel Tracts also doesn't make me "more spiritual" or a "better Christian" than you or anyone else (Romans 3:23; Acts 10:34). Plus, Isaiah 64:6 and Ephesians 2:8-9 clears up any notions of grandeur that we might have. I just think it's a good opportunity to confess the faith in His honor and to plant some seeds (1 Corinthians 3:6-7).

In case you're wondering if there were any resources that contributed to my change of heart, then I have to say no, not really. Ok, yes, there some, but what I mean is that I have most of the same information as I've always had, but for some reason my conscience isn't as conflicted by all of it like it once was.

God and God alone must get the credit for any change that has occurred in me. Regardless of your own personal view, I must stress again that no one should never go against their God-given conscience on any matter whatsoever.

If you remain conflicted about celebrating Halloween in any way, shape, or form, then don't do it! What we don't want to do -- regardless of the side of the aisle we find ourselves on when it comes to this issue -- is cast judgment that is too harsh either against the person who wants to celebrate Halloween or the person who doesn't want to celebrate. Both are acceptable perspectives by the grace of God under the liberty we have in Christ Jesus.

Here are a handful of helpful resources that I came across within the past year that will shed some light on some of the common errors that even I, good intentions and all, was deceived by for many years:


Holiness Eve
Issues, Etc. Broadcasts About Halloween

Halloween Fast Approaches


Redeeming Christian Holy Days: Halloween Resources


Redeeming Holy Days from Pagan Lies — Hallowe’en: A Short History

Casper, The Friendly Demonic Apparition

VIDEO: Lutheran Satire On Halloween (Part 1)

VIDEO: Lutheran Satire On Halloween (Part 2)


I hope you took some time to prayerfully consider those resources, especially the podcasts from Issues, Etc. which are spiritual gold!

Also, I don't want to turn into "Legalist Larry The Lutheran" here, but I have to say that I think we should at least think about trying to make Reformation Day/All Saint's Day a more prominent part of our annual celebration and festivities though.

As Christians (especially as Lutherans), we need to take these opportunities to remind ourselves and our families of our rich and unique heritage and history in confessing the faith and preaching Christ crucified to a world that needs to hear it even though they'll hate us and persecute us for it (1 Corinthians 1:18-21).

If we truly believe what we say we believe, then how can we not take the opportunity of having hundreds of children and their families (a majority which we have never met and will never meet again) coming to our door as the easiest and perfect opportunity to share the Gospel with them, particularly when we know what the Lord can and will do through His Word according to His perfect will and timing?

Oh yeah, and if you are somewhat cynical about the effectiveness of using Gospel Tracts (and just assume that there's no way that God could ever use them for His glory, honor, and praise despite what Isaiah 55:11 says), then you might want to check out the story of Hudson Taylor.

But be careful! Don't fall into the same trap I fell into when I was a part of the American Evangelical crowd. That is, don't believe the lie that you are not a genuine Christian (or not "radical" enough for Jesus or that you don't show a "crazy love" for Him) unless you hand out Gospel Tracts on Halloween. That is the Law, and that is absurd! This is merely my suggestion and that's it, my dear friends.

QUESTIONS: What does the Scriptures say about evangelism and how should the Christian do it? My evangelical church’s now encouraging members to knock on doors and hand out tracts in public – and seize every opportunity to share the Good News with the lost. What is the Scriptural view concerning this practice?

ANSWER: Salvation is a gift of God’s grace – for everyone! We all receive His Gospel by the working of the Holy Spirit when and where He pleases, which happens to always be where the Word of God is proclaimed in His truth and purity. Whenever Jesus Christ and Him crucified is delivered through Word and Sacrament there the Holy Spirit is doing His thing: killing and making alive in Jesus. That is also to say, calling to repentance and faith in Christ. This work of salvation is entirely God’s work. There is nothing you or I could do to effect the salvation of another. We do not have the power to add or subtract from the number that will be saved on the Last Day.

So what about evangelism? Is it necessary? Yes, but it is not about making Christians as such. We don’t make anything. God does. Always. To “do evangelism” is simply to share the Faith with others because you believe it to be the only Way, the Truth, and the Life. When we do this we do it because we rejoice in the gospel of forgiveness for Jesus’ sake. It’s not a matter of fear or coercion. It’s a matter of faith. We are called to be faithful, to proclaim the hope that is within us, so that others might hear the Word of God and receive the same gifts of God through Jesus that we so enjoy. If someone is numbered among the elect (which the Lord wants all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth) and you don’t speak what is true according to the Word of God someone else will and the Holy Spirit will work when and where He pleases through His Word spoken by another.

When it comes to evangelism we are always motivated by the Gospel, which is to say, we are motivated by the forgiveness of sins for Jesus sake. No amount of laws, rules, guidelines, plans, methods will motivate us. They will only provoke us, but that only goes so far – to force the flesh to work. It changes nothing in the heart. If fact, if left to beat you into submission, the law will begin to calcify your heart, hardening you to disdain proper, God-pleasing, Gospel evangelism which is solely driven by the crucified Jesus and His forgiveness, life and salvation.

So when it comes to evangelism don’t be so concerned with how, but with the what of the Faith. Simply confess what you believe where God has called you to be. Live as if you’re baptized and forgiven. Act as if you are loved by God through Jesus Christ, who was crucified for you and the whole world. Believe what the Word of God says and receive His Sacraments. If you are a spouse, love your spouse and have babies as the Lord blesses and teach them the Faith in which they are baptized.

God grows the Church, not us. Remembering that we repent of our Lording it over Him, we receive His forgiveness and confess our faith in Him wherever we are.

We are faithful to the Word. That’s it.

In Jesus,

Rev. Dustin L. Anderson, Pastor
Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, Carlinville, IL
[Via]

Sorry, didn't mean to get a little sidetracked there.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, for me, Halloween 2013 is about dying to self by killing the flesh (Romans 6:4-8; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 5:24; John 3:3-7; Matthew 16:24-25; Mark 8:34-35; Luke 14:27).

Yes, I will be celebrating Halloween this year, I will be confessing my faith in Him and His power to save and redeem sinners, and I will be suggesting that we try to recapture the proclamation of Christ’s victory over death since this was the original intent behind the Church's festivities of Halloween.

[NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with Lutheran doctrine -- in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word -- so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Thank you in advance for your time and help. Grace and peace to you and yours!]

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with...Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all mature spiritually (myself included) then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!