Here is my annual Halloween post. Since our sermon topic last week and this week is cultural engagement, it seemed appropriate to post this once again.
What are we to do on Halloween as a believer in Jesus Christ?
Let me say at the outset that I understand that people have different convictions regarding Halloween. And I also know that it is good to be challenged by the Scriptures in those convictions so that we are “thoroughly equipped for every good work”. My own practice of the day (or night) of Halloween is constantly transforming and I would hopefully never say that my way is the right way. With that said, please allow me to help us think together through (somewhat humorously . . . I hope) a balanced approach to Halloween.
Let’s lay out some options:
Option #1: Run/Hide Method
This option, along with option #2, is the easiest option requiring much less thought than the others. You simply turn out the lights, go to the basement, and eat pizza by candlelight until the mayhem is over. Or, you turn out the lights, leave, treat the kiddos to dinner and dessert (you’ll need to appease them with something), and pray no one eggs your house.
Option #2: If You Can’t Beat’em, Join’em, or . . . Ignorance is Bliss.
Just give in and join the masses. The only real decisions here are how much candy to buy and in what costumes to dress your offspring or what to allow them to wear.
Option #3: Quick! Find an Alternative!
This takes a little research, or at least a little church history knowledge. Martin Luther tacked his 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Door in Germany on October 31, 1517 sparking the Protestant Reformation. This is a nice alternative with a Christian twist . . . your kids can dress in monk outfits as you celebrate Reformation Day! Hopefully no one will mistake them for Jawas from Star Wars and strike them down with a light saber.
Option #4: Quick! Find an Alternative! Take 2
If option #3 is more of a “thinking Christian’s” alternative or too theologically-driven, then #4 is a more broadly evangelical approach. The common name is “Trunk or Treat.” The idea is to provide candy from the trunk of member's cars in the church parking lot for all who would participate. Clever. Here, churches typically cater to their own members who have a conscience about Halloween and any on the outside who may have tighter morals. Or they cater to parents whose consciences bother them and they want for their kids what they themselves feel they should do or be. Or, it invites greedy hoodlums who prey on the vast generosity of naive church-types. This option is mildly evangelistic.
Option #5: Quick! Find an Alternative! Take 3
This option is the more overtly evangelistic. Use all of the world’s devices of gore, blood, and terror then claim it in the name of Jesus. Name it something like Hell-House, Hell-o-ween House, or Gehenna for Good. Host it as a haunted house in the church building and then give a fiery sermonette to “scare the hell” out of the kids as you have them dangling over Hades.
Option #6: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
This one requires the most thought and introspection. It demands us to think through our natural sinful inclination to avoid conflict, serve our own wants and desires, and to avoid thinking critically about the day, events, and people around us. This option drives us to reflect on the fact that this is the one day of the year when the vast majority of our neighbors are on our streets, coming to our doors, and asking us to join, share, and celebrate with them. How many times does that happen? It requires us to think through our motives behind the options we have chosen in the past and what dividends resulted for ourselves, our neighbor, and the kingdom of God. It requires us to reflect on what we are communicating, not only to our neighbors, but to our own children about how to relate to our neighbors and their friends. It requires us to be in God’s Word to recognize the grace that He Himself has displayed toward us in coming to us “while we were yet sinners” and to act out of the mercies of God for us as we serve others.
There is no specific program for this option. It simply asks us to love as Christ has loved us. That could take on a thousand different forms depending on our personality, our giftedness, the particular make-up of our street, our children’s personalities, etc.
I am in no way advocating the worship of Satan, witchcraft, rebellion, or evil of any sort. That would be sin. What I am advocating is developing a solid biblically-based conscience toward the kingdom of God and the people to whom He has sent us to be ambassadors for that kingdom. May God bless your efforts toward kingdom-mindedness this Halloween . . . er . . . Reformation Day.