Down here in Evangeland, it is the Fall Festival season. This is the time of year when many of our churches, being oh-so-careful not to use the "H" word, trot out their annual "Fall Festival" extravaganzas. Two goals seem to be in play. One is to provide a safe, secure venue for children to dress up, have fun, play games and indulge in some serious sugar highs. This is noble and laudable. The secondary motive is evangelical in nature--to entice families into the church through the children. The thinking is that if the children come, the parents can't be far behind. Frankly, I've never seen this really work, but of course, I could be wrong.
And I have absolutely no beef with any of this at all. What amuses me, however, is the fierce competition among churches within the "Fall Festival" market. A case in point: in my morning drive into the city, I passed a small surburban non-denominational community church (something with "Grace" in the name) that had obviously chunked out a great deal of money on a new, state-of-the-art sign, with bright red streaming video. And this morning, they were advertising their Fall Festival.
PUPPETS!!!! CANDY!!!! TRICK DOGS!!!!
Trick Dogs??? That's it! This church has inadvertantly stumbled upon what has been missing in American evangelicalism all along--trick dogs. Look for it soon in your neighborhood!