Halloween Ninja

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, May 5, 2020 4 comments

by Chad Koons

1985 was a great year. I was a carefree 10-year-old who absolutely loved G.I. Joe, the Transformers, and He-Man! I would embody the various characters from those shows and battle the imagined enemy with ferocious abandon. Many a villainous tree fell victim to my plastic swords, cap guns, and sling shot blasts! Of all the characters in those fantastic cartoons, my favorites were the NINJA. The mid-80’s were the era of the ninja: ninja toys, weapons, and movies were everywhere during that time, and we simply could not get enough of them.

Oh, how I ached to be a real-life ninja. My buddy Pete and I would drool over the catalogs that sold all of that super-secret ninja stuff. Those old catalogs had the katanas (ninja swords), sais (ninja stabbers), shurikens (throwing stars), nunchucks (swingy pieces of wood), even those hoods and weird shoes that ninjas wore! How did they get all that cool stuff?! Since we were just poor kids who couldn’t drop $300 to buy it all, we had to rely on the next best thing: flea Markets. Yep, for $5 or less, a kid could buy real ninja weapons all the way from Japan (or was it Taiwan…). So we did what any self-respecting 80’s boys would do: from nunchucks to throwing stars to grappling hooks, we thoroughly armed ourselves.

All of this boded well for Halloween of that year, which was just around the corner. This Trick or Treat would be the best ever, I thought. No more stupid kiddie masks and dumb costumes, not for me! This year I would unleash my inner warrior upon the unsuspecting neighborhood. Donning my brother’s ill-fitting black sweatshirt, a black hood that Mom got me, and old black sweatpants, my transformation was complete. I was finally a NINJA, although it would only be for one night. I felt like a new man, my destiny was being fulfilled, young grasshoppah.

In preparation, I tirelessly practiced my moves in the front yard for at least a whole week, honing every kick, chop, roll, and nunchuck swing to near perfection. In my mind I was Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris (all hail Chuck Norris), and Storm Shadow all rolled up into one awesome, prepubescent package. I was probably the most fearsome 4-and-a-half-foot-tall obese ninja that the world had ever seen! Homeowners handing out candy would fear the wrath of my foam-padded plastic nunchucks, and fellow trick or treaters would respect me.

Trick or treat night had arrived and I took to the streets. The evening had begun perfectly – the kids on the streets were watching me! I met their gaze with steely determination, sometimes going into a crouch to creep past them, other times feigning to fight. I thought I was big stuff! When I got the first house, I shouted, “trick or treat” and threw a high kick as my neighbor opened her door. I nearly fell over from my effort. The homeowner laughed at me. Eh, what did she know anyhow. Moving along to the next house, I rang the doorbell and greeted the homeowner with a furious spinning nunchuck routine! I had a hard time with it though, the mask must have obscured my vision? He laughed at me, too. Hmmm. Maybe I needed to step up my game, so I changed my strategy, I probably just needed more fury or something? So I unleashed the beast upon the next house! That lady never saw such a storm, I kicked, chopped, and delivered piercing ninja screams! She was impressed! “Oh!” she exclaimed with a smile, “We have a little ninja out here!” Wait, WHAT?! A “little ninja”?! I’m a fearsome killing machine, lady! What is wrong with these people?!

The kids weren’t treating me any better either. Do you remember that group of big kids who went around during trick or treat to harass the little kids? Well, they ran into me at the unofficial trick or treat rest stop, the church parking lot. “You’re too fat to be a ninja, kid,” they scolded sarcastically. “Show us what you got, tubby!” Maybe they just needed to see how fast this fat kid could move? I quickly assessed the situation and envisioned what I could do. I decided that I would put on the best martial arts display they’d ever seen, delivering a flurry of impossible kicks and devastating chops before launching myself into an unexpected roll… then popping back up on my feet with nunchucks whirling wildly. Oh, what a great idea! It looked very impressive in my head, anyway. They’d love it!

The reality was something altogether different, however. I came alive before my accusers, my hands and feet went flying, every fat roll jiggling uncontrollably while I fumbled through an embarrassing array of awkward gyrations and jabs before a botched attempt at my ninja roll, which wound up being a crude hurling of my pear-shaped body headlong upon the pavement, tucking my head underneath as I flung forward, something akin to a forward roll being performed by a small hippo. My portly frame was not cut out for such gymnastics, as my rather large stomach proceeded to bring my momentum to a screeching halt, just as my legs had folded up over my head. I laid there stunned upon the parking lot, bent completely in half with my head and shoulders pinned under the remainder of my considerable girth, butt to the open night sky as the weight of my lower body slowly crushed the breath from my lungs. The silence was broken by a merciless peal of laughter from the acne-laden crowd of big kids, who probably still tell stories about it to this day. Oh well, at least I didn’t hit myself in the face with my nunchucks (which happened a lot during ninja practice). Turns out being a ninja requires more than just halfway looking like one.

I’ve done the same thing as an adult Christian. Not dressing up like a ninja (thank you, Jesus), but playing a role that I could not live up to. How many times have I overestimated my current state of affairs as a Christian? How often have I thought too much of myself, only to be found lacking? Have I thought more than I should of my maturity? My knowledge? My relevance? My faith? My ability to reach the lost? My ability to counsel someone in need? My appearance to the world around me? How many regrets have I endured because I had deceived myself?

I’ve thought of myself more highly than I ought. Have you?

Beloved, it’s not time to get ready. It’s time to BE ready. “God opportunities” and divine encounters will come my way. The tests will come, also. They will come whether I am prepared for them or not. How will they find me? We need to be on our game, having studied well, possessing a powerful readiness to answer those who ask.

People don’t need to see another casual Christian. They’ll sniff you out in a heartbeat and move on with yet another bitter taste in their mouth. But when somebody encounters the real thing, a true son or daughter of God who has a deep relationship with Jesus and truly knows the Word of God, you know what I’m saying; the world is starving to experience the real thing!

It’s time to lay aside who we think we are and come to terms with who we really are. If we need to repent of sin, then let us repent with flowing tears. If we need to build our knowledge, then let us study and grow deep roots. If we need to work on our attitude, then let’s pull out the mirror and allow the Lord to change us. If we need to develop our prayer life, then let’s make time to seek God for our very lives. Who are you right now? What has God called you to? Are you where you need to be? It’s time to prepare; don’t wait one minute longer! Do you have what it takes or are you just dressing the part?

This is a call to drop the pretense and get real. Growth is available, but only when we get real with ourselves. The big kids are watching; go show them the real thing.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Jason said...

Wow this is so powerful and hilarious at the same time. Your imagery of your botched ninja demonstration had me laughing on the floor. I think because we all have experienced a version of that ourselves. I can point to many times in my life where I was lacking. I can also point to many times in my life where I was prepared and achieved victory. I want to have this victory in my Christian walk. There is not a more important victory or battle out there. Examining ourselves is extremely important and we have to be real with ourselves.

Debby Hiester said...

First, your illuminated description of your ten year old self enables us to really know who you were at the time and gives us a peek into your formative world. It was equally humorous ("acne-laden crowd of big kids") and sad to me because of both your self-perceptions and the cruel reaction of others to you. There are many underlying commentaries on that alone that give me pause to reflect.

I really appreciated your use of your ninja experience as a springboard to your powerful theme of questioning if we are, in your words, 'casual Christians' or the 'real deal.' It inspires very interesting meditative prayer.

Thank you for the inspiration and the honesty test.

Stacey Rijo said...

This had me laughing but also feeling a bit sad for the chubby ninja lol The message is clear and also familiar. There is a sting involved with getting to this place but it's necessary. Great word.

Pete B said...

Very nice. I was a please to read about us and relive some of those wonderful and painful moments that carved our paths. Extremely nice job getting the message across. Thank you