Monday, October 31, 2011

Yearly Halloween thoughts (amended)

Someone just asked me today if our church did some sort of Halloween alternative activity. I let him know that we don't have a building, so that makes it harder (though not impossible by any means). But I also let him know that I didn't feel there would have been that much interest anyway-as I perceive it.

As I've noticed over the years, Christians in different areas of the nation have different "taboo's": convictions that have been elevated so high that for many they are just understood. I really can't figure it out, but I'm as intrigued as I'm perplexed about it.

I dropped Connar off to his pre-school today in his fireman costume. Most kids dressed up for this "Harvest Party." They'll get candy. Amy is going in today to do some pumpkin activity. This is a Baptist church. Another fairly, or very legalistic church in the valley where women have to wear dresses, say nothing against Halloween and has no Halloween alternative. It's just not taboo in this area.

But in South Carolina, and in parts of Florida, scores of churches had Halloween alternatives. It was understood that Halloween celebration outside the church was not kosher. Or at least that's the vibe I got.

Yet in FL, alcohol consumption in moderation is not taboo. But in my area, for many churches and Christian schools in the area, it is. Although somehow cigarettes and chewing tobacco for some reason isn't.....Other areas Christians consider cussing as "a" or THE sign that you are an unbeliever, while in some parts, it can be appropriate in private conversation.

Christians should have convictions and not just respond as oysters (filter feeders who suck everything in) to the culture. If there are holidays or just any day, where they our communities say, "Let's get naked and go to bath houses," then stay home and keep the lights on. Early Christians were insulted because they didn't go get naked with their neighbors. They really did get insulted for this.

However, we also shouldn't simply respond to the "taboo" mentality of local or state "church culture."And if you do choose to celebrate, and people think you're wrong, it doesn't matter. You don't have to prove that "you're right" and "they're wrong." I just preached on that yesterday. We often have opinions that we hold on too tightly, and by doing so, let real cultural values contrary to the gospel, quietly seep into the church. I wonder if Satan really does like Halloween as much as some folks say, but for different reasons: division, pride, and self-righteousness on BOTH SIDES of the issue.

I'm much more concerned about playing sports on Sundays, and how quickly people culturally cave to whatever the community event it is when it coincides with worship. 

If you choose to celebrate Halloween, and trick-or-treat with your kids, I'm pretty sure no one is going to come up to you and say, "Hey, you're a pagan like me. Awesome, can we talk Druid stuff, or whatever the perceived origins (I stopped counting how many different "authorities" claimed THEY knew the true origin) and how we both are bringing mother nature, or Satan, or someone other than God glory tonight?" You can read about folks like that here. If they do, consider it a blessing to have the conversation and one that is pretty easy to steer that one toward Jesus.

If you do celebrate Halloween, and you haven't yet-our area is incredibly unique (some neighborhoods have already had their trick-or-treat night)- here are some good ways to "bring Jesus" with you as you go to and fro. 

If you choose not to "celebrate" it, that's fine too. You can still care about your neighbors, serve and bless them on other nights. In my opinion, you miss one opportunity; but it is not the ONLY opportunity.

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