Friday, October 30, 2015

Vital Way Christian Families Should Do Halloween (In Houston and Beyond)


GOT TO HOUSTON YESTERDAY, JUST IN TIME FOR MORE TORRENTIAL RAINS AND HALLOWEEN.  I have to admit,  Halloween has never been my favorite cup of tea.  But with the Gs,  I buck up a bit.  Anyway, orange is one of my favorite colors, especially with denim. And homemade pumpkin pies are everyone's favorite.

How should Christians do Halloween, if at all? It's a great question which Mike Hamilton asks and answers at PJMedia today in an elegant way:  We do it like we do the rest of life by asking the same important question---Does this celebrate the culture of Life or death? In a culture inundated with death masking as glamor and freedom, this question and the discernment required is not optional.

Some highlights of Hamilton's wise piece:

A critical question that accompanies much of what our kids watch, read, see, and hear–and how they dress up on Halloween–is, “Does this belong to a culture of life, or a culture of death?”

Our reason for asking this question is simply that our family belongs to the former. In many ways our society celebrates that which “is passing away”–things like materialism, lust, and fame. These are hopeless substitutes for people who have hitched their life’s meaning to its own star, which, like every human’s, is fast falling to the grave.

Biblical Christians regard “the grave” not as the next step, but as a step backward–the just reward for sinful creatures (which my wife and I definitely are). As Christ-followers our family celebrates the new life God has given us. On Halloween our culture asks, “Isn’t this dead, hopeless, rotting, trapped, terrified, terrifying figure funny?” Our family instead celebrates life by asking, with the Apostle Paul, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

We don’t assume that every 11-year-old with a “Scream” mask consciously celebrates the culture of death. More likely, he has no idea what narrative he is wrapped up in. Dark though the grave is, it serves as a setting for some of the world’s greatest stories, from biblical truth to Medieval epics to the canon of Greek and Roman mythology, which we delightedly teach our children. The walking dead figure prominently in more recent classics we will read with our kids–“The Chronicles of Narnia,” “The Lord of the Rings,” and even “Harry Potter.”

Over each narrative looms our question: culture of life, or culture of death?

Our kids pick up on these distinctions: “Dad, there was a skeleton on the Magic School Bus today, but it was for science.” Science is good. So is history. Soon our kids will associate October 31 with religious-historical markers, such as All Hallows’ Eve, and the start of the Protestant Reformation.
Meanwhile, we will happily dress them up (usually as heroes), take them begging on Halloween–and talk with them. So leave your light on. 

So, Yes!  Please leave your lights on in West University.  We'll most likely be coming by rain or shine. 

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