halloween or not?

Any thoughts on how Christians should view/participate in Halloween?

From a Christian perspective, a celebration of "dark" sides of spirituality seems to counter our call to separate ourselves from things that go against God. Add to that the excessive partying and overly-revealing costumes (as seen on Granville street Friday night), and I've often wondered if there's anything good about Halloween. Why bother? And as Christians, perhaps we shouldn't bother...

This morning I came across a reflection by songwriter/storyteller Steve Bell. Bell contends that instead of fearing Halloween, Christians should engage in the positive aspects of the celebration such as "generous neighborliness." Hence his title, "Keeping Christ in Halloween." Bell closes his post with these provoking thoughts:

It seems to me that we could be out participating in the wider culture; joyfully, cheerfully, confidently handing out ’sweets’ in the various cultural arenas: politics, arts, education, science, festivals etc. We need not do this in the defensive, combative spirit we’ve become famous for, but with a caring neighborliness befitting the character of the Christ whom we worship. And we need not be concerned that we will be tainted in our efforts. For we do not draw from a shallow well, but the inexhaustible Christ who gave himself entirely so that all would know that the organizing and redeeming principle of the cosmos is not self-securing fear, but self-donating love.

Well, when my temptation is to withdraw from Halloween, often in a "self-securing fear" as Bell describes, I find myself challenged to reconsider how I engage with culture. And in particular, aspects of culture that Christians often demonize as evil (no pun intended:).

BTW: We couldn't resist dressing Landon up for Halloween.


Darren said...

That is a great quote from Steve Bell - I really agree that we are not doing ourselves any PR favours by employing standoffishness and a smug moral high ground on issues like halloween. I struggle with the evil imagery of halloween but also see the whole thing in a general light of being inane and stupid. On the other hand, having kids helps me to see it through their eyes as innocent fun and a community building event. It's still stupid, but lots of things we tolerate for our kids benefit are kind of stupid.

I really like Steve Bell's statement that we needn't worry about being "tainted" by the whole thing and that caring neighbourliness is more Christ-like than isolationism.

David Warkentin said...

Thanks Darren!

I think a good question Christians should ask in light of your comments is this: how can we redeem what's stupid?

Steve Bell seems to be on the right track...

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