Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween, Judgement & Contempt... Oh My!

It's been interesting to catch the undercurrents (via the wonder of BookFace) of the Great Halloween Debate raising its contentious head once again. On the one hand, you might be tempted to think: AGAIN?!? ¿En serio? (seriously?)

When will (depending on your point of view):
  1. Christians get over their silly superstitious paranoia?
  2. Christians start taking spiritual warfare seriously?
But on the other hand, it's always healthy to pause, reflect, think, puzzle, and discuss (even debate) how we as Christians are to engage the culture around us. So, seeing this debate making the rounds once again is not necessarily a bad thing.

And I found several blog posts that suggested that the church alternative of "Harvest Parties" is fooling no-one. As one writer cleverly put it: "Unless you're a farmer or have a grow-op in your basement, this isn't harvest time." It was a funny line, even if I don't buy his/her argument.

Here is a line that I think should be enforced:
"Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
"One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God." (Romans 14:1-6)
By all means, be fully convinced in your own mind about your participation or non-participation or alternative to Halloween. Think long and hard about it. Know why you believe what you believe. Hold your convictions firmly.

But leave contempt and a judgmental attitude at the door. And please, don't give either of these attitudes away to any of the children.


  1. I think there is a big difference between having whole cities overpowered by millions of plastic ghosts, spiders and spider webs, toothless witches, dismembered bodies, cut hands, legs, heads, demons, living-deads cursed to hell, etc. Despite the best efforts to turn this day into just another party, it's never going to be a Toy Story holiday. At the core, our whole world feeds horror through its media, even Google's doodles show exactly what this is about. The reason most Christians try to pacify this day doesn't seem to be to engage the culture, but a realization they can't fight the allurement - "if you can beat them, join them..." - and so it's more of a compromise in my opinion. Having addressed the issue for years, I have never read anything convincing that we, as believers, should make light of this day and its core theme. Lots of "fun" is had by many, but is that really good enough for disciples of Jesus? Asking the question "Would Jesus and the first disciples celebrate Halloween," is different than asking "If Jesus was invited to a Halloween party, would He go?"

  2. This is a tough one. I very much like your description of the dilemma: silly paranoid superstition vs. spiritual warfare. I know families who hide in their basement with the lights off and others who go all out decorating their homes for Halloween and don't understand why you don't allow your kids to go out. Fortunately we lived in the country when the girls were little, and our Christian school didn't celebrate it, so for us it was a nonissue until we moved into town. Then we agreed that handing out candy is a good way to be involved in the neighbourhood.

    It is a rather schizophrenic culture that we live in, where we celebrate both Halloween and Christmas. Kind of like worshiping two masters.