For most conservative American evangelicals, "Reformation Day" is not a big deal. Many, if asked, might think it to be a special emphasis day for prison ministry.

Most of us know the day as Halloween instead (or something closely approximating it), even if we feel a little guilty about that. I'll be away traveling tonight, unable to indulge the trick-or-treaters, so maybe I'll just nail 95 Reese's to the door.

But as one who grew up in a half-Catholic, half-Baptist extended family, October 31st is an interesting time for me. What would Martin Luther have done on that thundrous road if he'd had a background like mine? Invited Saint Anne into his heart as his personal lightning rod? Pledged to start a "True Nuns Wait" campaign?

What I do know is that, whatever your view of the Reformation, it's obvious to see that some of the things that drove Luther to anger (and to despair) are everywhere present, to this day, often even in the most "Reformation-centric" evangelical churches.

Hardened rebels against God rest easy in a prayer said at Vacation Bible School, or a card signed at confirmation class. And guilty consciences stand paralyzed outside, fearful that Christ can only save those who look or dress or speak a certain way. And, through it all, American Christianity has become a vast conspiracy to sell one another products.

The combination of the damning power of cheap grace with the accusing agony of performance-based righteousness before God exists in every wing of the church. That's because it's not a medieval problem, but a primeval one.