I tried to resist writing this. I tried to reason with myself and two quiet voices inside of me: one saying that it is my own life  I am living and the other whispering that my life is not for me.

Yet the daily verses kept coming and I felt the whispering voice grow stronger.

Couple of weeks ago we celebrated Halloween with friends.543865_10151999702858923_695118045_n

The entire celebration consisted of getting together, sharing food, enjoying conversation, and pretty much the only Halloween element was the pumpkin we carved. Oh, and meat balls shaped like mice.

Yet when I posted the picture of our Jack the Pumpkin, I got a ton of opinions regarding whether Christians can celebrate this pagan holiday.

My first reaction?

I do what I want, and  the more people tell me I cannot do something, the more I want to do it.

I do not worship that pumpkin; we did not have any other ceremonies connected with the holiday; what is the big deal?

But then the other voice I mentioned piped in that reminds  me of a passage in Corinthians we discussed just a few days before Halloween at a small group.

For instance, say you flaunt your freedom by going to a banquet thrown in honor of idols, where the main course is meat sacrificed to idols. Isn’t there great danger if someone still struggling over this issue, someone who looks up to you as knowledgeable and mature, sees you go into that banquet? The danger is that he will become terribly confused—maybe even to the point of getting mixed up himself in what his conscience tells him is wrong. Christ gave up his life for that person. Wouldn’t you at least be willing to give up going to dinner for him—because, as you say, it doesn’t really make any difference? But it does make a difference if you hurt your friend terribly, risking his eternal ruin! When you hurt your friend, you hurt Christ. A free meal here and there isn’t worth it at the cost of even one of these “weak ones.” So, never go to these idol-tainted meals if there’s any chance it will trip up one of your brothers or sisters.

1 Corinthians 8:10-13 MSG

“But… but… but…” The first voice tried to find a foothold.

“But what?”

“But… Yes, you are right.”

I am not saying my friends are weak, and I am oh-so-strong. But while for me, Halloween is just a reason to get together with friends and  have fun, it might hurt other friends I care about.

And that’s the last thing I would want.

What do you think? Do you celebrate Halloween?

  • Randall Gibbons

    I have very strong negative opinions about this celebration, but having a 6 year old, I struggle too because she don’t understand yet and I don’t want her to feel left out, so I gave in again, but I really felt bad about it afterwards. Maybe next year I will be stronger.

  • Susan

    I struggled with that over a number of years. When I was a child, there was no opposing element, and I went out every year at Halloween. By the time I had children of my own, the pendulum had swung 180 degrees among the church-going people. I never took my kids out on Halloween.

    Well, now my children have children, and the pendulum has swung back to where I was when I was a child. My grandchildren dress up and go out to do trick or treat. Several years ago, I began to keep a bowl of candy by the door for trick or treaters in my neighborhood.

    The biggest concern that many parents here in the US have is safety. That wasn’t a problem when I was a kid, but it is now. So many communities where I live have what they call “Trunk or Treat.” People take their cars to a designated place (around here it’s the community center) and in a well-lighted spot they open their trunks and have boxes or containers with treats.

    I have slowly come to the conclusion that engaging with our neighbors and their children helps us to be better able to minister to those in our own communities. We live in a culture where everyone is so busy and running around all of the time. Any opportunity that creates some kind of door that helps build relationships can be a stepping stone to loving our neighbors.

  • Some people need to get a life. i don’t celebrate Halloween because I have no children at home and if i went around in a costume, I would deserve getting fat from the chocolate. Funny, even though we live in a subdivision, we get no visitors. So we just stopped staying at home. On the personal side: I see nothing wrong with it as long as it is not glorifying the “bad side” of the holiday. A pumpkin for crying out loud! Like i said: some people need to get a life.

    • Thanks for the comment, Bill. Guess it’s just something to be careful about… I don’t know.

  • Shiro S.

    This verse is popular and commonly stated in defense of a Christian who does not do something for fear of “hurting” another Christian (or fear of causing anyone temptation). While Paul’s point does make sense, I struggle with the full ramifications of this verse. Should I stop drinking because of the people who struggle with alcohol may know that I do and get confused? Most people’s conscience tends toward, “yes.” Should I stop having sex with my wife because that may tempt the unmarried or sexually addicted? While most Christians today would probably say, “no,” one could argue that Paul (and indeed many ancient Christians) said, “Yes.” In fact, the very chapter beforehand, according to Paul, I probably should not have been married in the first place.

    Contrast this passage with Galatians 2. According to the account, Peter ate like a gentile while with gentitles and yet when more conservative Jewish Christians came, he “got scared” and ate kosher again (my paraphrase). Paul chastised him for his “hypocrisy” (NIV). In Paul’s rallying for gentile Christians to eat pork (and other things), did he never consider that would be a stumbling block for Jewish Christians? (Think of the conversations: “You mean we can eat bacon now? Can we worship Zeus too?”) We will never know.

    For me, this verse (and section in Corinthians) is hermeneutically ambiguous, and one should not define an entire theological stance upon it. What we should glean from Paul (and makes most sense for me) is that Paul wants us to be mindful of what it means to live”freely” in Christ; we need to discuss it in Church, write blogs about it, and/or chat about it over tea (or coffee).

    The question we (including myself at times) need to stop asking is, “Should we stop celebrating/doing __________?” (insert activity here) But rather we should ask, “How are we living to join God in developing the Kingdom of Heaven?” Your description of your Halloween night, “getting together, sharing food,” and “enjoying conversation,” seemed pretty normal (and holy) to me. And if we have to destroy a pumpkin in the process, we don’t do it for magical reasons or to summon spirits, we do it because it’s fun – and I’m pretty sure God invented fun.

    • Thanks, dear Shiro 🙂 I miss our conversations like this 😀 Would you guys like to come over sometime after you’re back from Turkey? 🙂

      Loved the part about bacon. Had it just this morning. (But then, I can do that since my name means “the daughter of Zeus”… right? Kidding.)

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