Oct 30, 2005

to 'ween or not to 'ween

The face Of Jesus... on a pumpkin? I have some friends who don't do Halloween as a family. No problem... there is freedom in Christ and I get and support the motive behind their convictions. And the reality is that there is a questionable history with Halloween we should investigate and not just take at face value.

That aside, though, my wife and I were talking about whether or not we should feel convicted to not practice Halloween, too.

A little context...
  • We don't do anything ghoulish in terms of costumes with our kids. In fact, we avoid most cartoons and books that emphasize this and turn it into a chance for our kids to just have fun from a "fun costume" perspective. This year the boys will be dressed as Batman (and yes, that includes me), whereas last year we had two Dinosaurs, and I think we did Elmo the year before that.
  • In terms of pumpkins, a tradition in our home is to buy three taller pumpkins and carve a cross into each. We light these up as a way of doing something a "little different." We usually get some cool compliments on the design. We also dig into books like The Pumpkin Patch Parable to help share another perspective on the holiday with our boys.
  • We have passed out small pieces of paper (that I design) that thank the kids for visiting our house and inviting them to come check out an upcoming event at our church. They very lightly talk about how Jesus is the "sweetest treat" and are less "tract oriented" and more relationally invitational.
  • However, we do pass out candy, too. I mean... come on.... do you remember the first time as a kid that you heard that on Halloween you got to not only dress up but you also got free candy? Dude... we get the good stuff.

So in my spin, I think we've done a good job trying to redeem the holiday proactively. I know there are "other ways" of getting into the Halloween spirit (no pun intended). For instance, in our neighborhood there's a house with a display of vomiting skeletons and burning-flesh-zombies that makes me get sick to my stomach whenever I drive by (in fact, we've started taking an alternate route so the boys don't see it and have weird dreams).

Anyway... like I said we were talking about it. And I think it's good to talk about such things - especially when it comes to being united as a family around a value. Since we were at a gas station waiting to get some cheap gas (yeah... $2.31 is considered cheap these days), I pointed to the car in front of us and asked, "What makes that car a Ford? Is it the little Ford emblem on it? Maybe the fact that Ford made it? In any event, as it drives around it has an identity that it's been given."

Katie was tracking.

Some car with a lot of Jesus fish on it... must be extra holy or something"What if we were to throw a little Jesus fish on it? Would that make it a Christian car? Or would it still be a secular car? And what's the difference?"

I could tell she knew where I was going.

Christian t-shirt"It's the same thing with a blank red t-shirt. I think that if you print 'Jesus Christ' on it some people would think it to be a more spiritual piece of fabric than if it had some rock band's logo instead. Or the whole question of music... I mean, what makes Christian music 'Christian' in the first place?"

My wife was still with me.

"I think that Halloween is like that... and Christmas, for that matter. They both have spiritual roots that people on both camps have messed with as an attempt to claim it as their own holiday. Witches and pagans have tried to mess with 'All Hallow's Eve' just as we stole Christmas from them to try and celebrate the birth of the Savior."

Somewhere in this I got wordy... and I lost her. In fact, I think I lost myself, too.

"So from my standpoint, I think we're doing a good job at redeeming the holiday. I just love any chance I can take to tell the story of Jesus... whether it's carving three crosses in a pumpkin, inviting kids to our church, or... well, having a t-shirt and blog that says 'Don't Call Me Veronica.'"

What's your spin?

    But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

    It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. (1 Peter 3:14-18a)


bigwhitehat said...

I ate a cheese sandwich today. I can’t find the phrase, “cheese sandwich” in scripture.

Did Paul not demonstrate a working knowledge of Greek superstitions on the Areopagus?

The decision not to do any Halloween activities does not demonstrate spirituality to me. We can pick all types of non-blasphemous costumes. We can stay away from occult practices. So how can one say this is evil?

BTW I am from one of the most conservative traditions. And we had a festival today. We will be trick or treating tomorrow. I guess you can call us ‘weeners.

Tony Myles said...

heh... I like the label. :)

Amanda said...

Hey Tony:

I like the idea of doing the less-track-like church invitation while still handing out candy.

I felt like a bad youth pastor...I forgot to buy candy...all I had were packs of Orbitz gum and South Beach Diet Cookies.


Tony Myles said...

At least they weren't Atkins bars.

John Carnes said...

Hi Tony,
Found your site and this post. Love it. Our emerging church plant went trick-or-treating with my daughter and instead of getting candy (well, my daughter did, but not us) we gave away little bags of peanuts and an invite to our christmas program: A Charlie Brown Christmas. And on the back we had an invite to our Saturday church gathering. We touched 100 families in 1 and 1/2 hours. How many times a year can you go to people's doors and invite them to church without them thinking your Mormon, or worse. Thought you'd like idea.

Tony Myles said...

I do, John, thanks for the idea!