Halloween in Greenwich Village in NYC is a cultural happening. Lower Manhattan literally shuts down during the parade. Imagine MardiGras, but with costumes and candy, and where the temperature is hovering right above freezing.
It is something you just have to experience.
This is my first Halloween in almost seven years that I’m missing the big Halloween parade. I just got back to Ohio for a shoot tomorrow. So I will be passing out KitKats and Reese’s Cups in the suburbs.
I think that makes me officially an adult.
Ugh. Say it ain’t so.
Oh well. Over the weekend in NYC, I got carded at the liquor store, and the guy goes – “I could have sworn you were 16.” — I’m hanging onto that with a death grip.
Anywho. Just yesterday, my mom and I were listening to a podcast in the car, and it was one of those Christian-motherhood podcasts. You know the type. Very…I don’t know…peppy. Sunny. Everything is…amazing. And they always feel so blessed.
Annnywho…the topic of the episode was about Halloween. And it was all about how they weren’t going to be partaking in trick-or-treating with their kids because it wasn’t “Christian.” How they didn’t want to expose their kids to something so secular and borderline satanic.
And I got done listening to the episode, and I was almost angry, thinking…wow, that is a really extreme stance to take.
Later that night, we watched an interesting documentary called One of Us, which is an eye opening exposé about the alleged abuse inside the Hasidic Jewish community in New York City.
This extreme religious sect has largely closed themselves off from the world, and have created a insular community, with its own Hasidic police force and ambulance system, and private school and bussing system. They’ve created a life where nobody from the outside world gets in, and no one inside the community gets out.
And watching the credits roll, I couldn’t help but draw an eerie similarity between the podcast and the closed off life of Hasidic Jews.
It raised the question:
How do you navigate the secular, godless world as a Christian?
How do you raise your family and keep your faith in a world where God is nonexistent?
Do you close yourself off and forbid your children from partaking in a fun, community tradition of dressing up and carving pumpkins, and hayrides and getting candy in the neighborhood with their friends?
How are we to live as Jesus followers, in a world that disregards Him?
Because I just don’t think that an existence of extreme religious seclusion is what Jesus called us to do.
Be in the world, but not of the world.
I think this quote draws a fine line in the sand, that keeps blurring and fading as time goes on and faith gets pushed further and further out of mainstream culture.
The world isn’t going to nurture your faith. It’s going to lead you to the altar of money and power and selfish advancement.
And sadly, a once-a-week church attendance, and even a christian education isn’t going to foster a fruitful faith life.
Faith starts at home.
Because anyone can teach their kids to share, and be a good person, and tell the truth. Those universal “goods” are true in every family, Christian or not.
For followers of Jesus, it’s the why behind it.
Why are you being kind to others? Why are you helping those less fortunate or befriending the kid sitting by themselves at lunch?
Why? – Because we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus on earth. And the fact is, He demonstrated how to love one another. And it’s our job to respond.
So — does that mean that we board up our windows and deny children the joy of candy and dress up with friends?
I don’t think so.
Because, in my opinion, another hallmark of living a Christian life in a godless word, is finding the good.
And there’s a lot of good to be found with Halloween. I know a lot of people think it is the “Devil’s Night” but frankly, I think that’s just a bunch of poppy-cock.
And frankly, the real thing people should be upset about is the sexualization of little girls with hoochie-mama Halloween costumes that should make their fathers blush. But I digress.
Halloween is simply fun. Kids can dress up and foster their imaginations with costumes. You get to mingle with the neighbors and partake in a community-building activity.
The fact is, I think a lot of Christians can get so caught up in consciously removing themselves from secular activities that, if we’re not careful, decades down the road, we can find ourselves in an reclusive existence that doesn’t look too different from the Hasidic Jews.
Christians can get so up in arms about being counter-cultural — and yes, there is good in that, but as with everything, it shouldn’t be taken to the extreme. Faith needs to be attractive. If you’re going to bring anyone to Jesus, it needs to be appealing.
Not stand-offish. Not “too good” or “too holy” for a little pumpkin carving fun.
People need to see and feel the joy that comes from being a Christian and the way you live. And make it something that people want to be a part of.
Where does that joy come from? Answer: Jesus at the center of your life.
I don’t really have any answers here – And obviously, I don’t have any kids, so what authority, really, do I have on this topic.
But it just struck me, and I thought I’d share with you, and see what you all thought.
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