All Hallow's Eve
10/29/2008 | Author: RCW
I won't tell you guys whether I am dressing up tomorrow on October 31st...actually I am dressing up. [NO, I am NOT going trick-or-treating. Nothing is tackier than a 19+ yr old knocking on your door asking for candy.] I won't tell you what I am going to be though.... Really I am not telling. Why? In a few words, there would be inevitable judgment cast upon me by some of my fellow Christians. There are a handful of Christians I know who have very little idea why someone like myself would dress up...let alone as a certain fictional character very much despised by hyper-conservatives in the Christian community.

At the heart of it, the reason for my decision is actually because I have a different view of the relationship between Christianity and culture than many of my Christian counterparts. Does that makes sense? I hope that it indeed does...If however, it doesn't, then don't fret; for I am going to try to explain some more anyway. So just sit tight, take a deep breath, and read on.

A few books have come out recently that are rehashing this issue (one of which is by a very trusted author named D.A. Carson whom I had the privilege of sitting under at one time...do look his name up on Amazon.com and see if his titles don't interest you!). These new books are simply revisiting the classic text Christ and Culture, which is over 50 years old now. I, being one who likes to honor the Reformers by going straight "to the source," have to confess that I have not read any of the new "revisits," but have only read the original. Having done so, I must say that I firmly believe Christ and Culture is a must read for any minister...and I would add for any growing disciple who really wants to form a solid Christian worldview.

The book outlines and assesses some of the different ways that Christians allow their Christianity to interact (or NOT interact at all!) with the culture around them. The implications of the book are extremely visible in the way that different Christians react to Halloween. Yes, I just said the dirty word banned from all hyper-conservative Christian dictionaries.

Seriously, there is sometimes no better way to pinpoint how a Christian believer understands the relationship between his faith and the world around him than by observing his chosen behaviors on October 31st. There are any number of choices...

  • there are those who allow Halloween to influence their Christianity (seeing absolutely no conflict between the two and really not viewing or celebrating the day any differently than the non-believer down the street);


  • those who choose to ignore the holiday altogether and hide in the darkness of their home (believing that the day and all who observe it in any fashion whatsoever are an evil abomination before God);


  • still other Christians use a "replacement technique" of celebrating the holiday in an entirely different emphasis...such as a Fall Festival, or my own favorite is Reformation Day (since Oct. 31 is the day that Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to door of the church at Wittenberg).


  • Finally, there are those like myself who believe that somehow, Christianity doesn't have to be always on the defense against "the world." On defense against "Worldliness"? - yes; on defense against "the world"? - no. It grieves me that there are many Christians out there who know that they have been encouraged by the Scriptures to "be in the world but not of it," but they are actually not doing EITHER! Instead, they have chosen to retreat into a small and irrelevant subculture, huddling together and swimming upstream (sometimes just for swimming upstream's sake!). My own opinion is that there is a way in which Jesus Christ can influence and transform the culture around us if we just be authentic Christians--little Christs---engaging the culture, living in the world, being salt and light, like yeast in the dough--spreading Christ's influence throughout all of society in all of our earthly endeavors. I KNOW this truth is paramount for building a healthy Christian worldview. I believe it to not only allow for us to live out our faith in creative and freshly relevant ways, but I also believe it to be THE Biblical choice.



I hope this all sheds some light and perhaps helps you cut to the root of a dilemma that bewilders and divides many Christians...and not just on Halloween.

-RCW
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1 comments:

On November 4, 2008 at 10:28 AM , calorman said...

EXPELLIAMUS!

I loved the pictures of you guys that Erin posted -- you guys are too fun!