Halloween is a big deal for the Vest family. Our boys have been talking about it for the past 363 days—ever since the day after last Halloween. I’m not kidding—as soon as one Halloween wraps, the boys immediately start talking about the next year. Of course, throughout the year their costume plans change at least a dozen times, but the anticipation is constant.

My wife is almost as bad. She loves dressing up for Halloween. In fact, she typically tries to orchestrate a theme for all of us. She’s only ever succeeded once, several years ago when we all dressed as various X-Men. I have to admit, it was pretty fun, and the pictures were awesome.

It made up for the previous year, when we had planned on all going as Hulks—I’d be the Incredible Hulk, my wife would be She-Hulk, and we’d have a toddler Hulk and a baby Hulk. The problem was, when we went to the store to purchase costumes for the rest of the family—I actually always have a Hulk costume on hand, so I guess that tells you something about me— our then toddler, who was more excited than anyone that we’d be a family of Hulks, ruined the whole thing by suddenly changing his mind and insisting on going as the Red Power Ranger. I don’t think he could have picked a more conspicuous contrast: three green Hulks and one bright red Power Ranger. Those pictures were pretty awesome too, but for a different reason.

This year the family planned to dress up as the Guardians of the Galaxy. The youngest will Rocket Raccoon, the oldest will be Yandu, my wife will be Gamora, and I’m supposed to be Drax the Destroyer.

But this time, I’m afraid I’m the one who is going to ruin the theme. Tomorrow is a big day for another reason, this one 182,622 days in the making. 500 years ago, on October 31, 1517, a 34-year-old monk and theology professor named Martin Luther nailed 95 theses on the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany—or so the story goes. Whether it happened that way or not, Luther’s 95 theses were an invitation to debate the medieval church practice of selling indulgences to reduce one’s time in purgatory. Greatly expanded into all areas of belief and practice in the Western world, that debate has been waged for five centuries.

It has been claimed that October 31, 1517 was a day that changed the world, and it’s true. I think that makes Martin Luther a hero—perhaps even a superhero—so that’s who I’m dressing up as tomorrow. We’ll be three Guardians of the Galaxy and one great Reformer, a guardian of God’s word.

It’s fitting, I suppose, to go against the grain and challenge the status quo—my own little protest, I guess, just like our little Red Power Ranger years before.

John W. Vest

John is a "church hacker" attempting to overcome the limitations of church as we know it. To connect with him and learn more about his work, please visit johnvest.com.

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