Trick or Treat – an Opinion

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christians, Halloween, Trick or treat, Holiday  Early this morning I came across this post—http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2002/11/Tract-Or-Treat.aspx . It reminded me of how ridiculously out-of-hand and warped our perspectives can become.

When I was a young trick or treater I groveled and grabbed all the Halloween goodies if could. No discrimination, just grab! Upon my return to the warmth of our kitchen to sort out my loot, I found one of those “Chick-Tracts©” among my booty. I glanced at it briefly and dove back in to produce my own delirious, personal sugar high.

Now older I’ve come to believe many Christian evangelistic efforts at Halloween to be offensive. We seem to be quick to condemn this “pagan” festival that was once a Protestant Christian celebration— Reformation Day. But just how “pagan” is it NOW?

In our culture at large Halloween has risen to little less than a dentist’s dream! Our God took a pagan festival and turned it into a candy fest for kids…, ok, and their parents.! Now…, do we have a creative God or what!?!

But for those of you who still want to use Halloween for evangelism, allow me to offer some more appropriate ideas.

1.      Join in the festivities with other parents, freezing together as you trek alongside of your kids.

2.      Gather back at your place for the kids to sort out their loot and to swap their goodies.

3.      Gather the adults in another room for hot mulled cider and cider donuts. Build relationships. Let the conversation flow where it will.

4.      DO NOT use Christianeze to explain your faith! Normal people have no clue what these terms mean— sin, salvation, saved, born-again, redemption, etc. Find culturally appropriate phrases to translate Christian faith into a language people can understand. Like— “We need to reconnect with the God who made us.” or, “Jesus Christ can sustain your life and give it meaning.”

5.      ASK QUESTIONS. Do NOT try to get YOUR point across. Learn to LISTEN to other people’s view on life…, and Halloween…, and criticisms of Christianity.

6.      Shift from mulled cider to wassail. This will deepen the level of conversation. Mostly.

7.      END EVERYTHING in under an hour. Kids gotta sleep; so do we.

One of the criticisms of too many of us Christians, is that we are no fun. Making Halloween an evangelistic event is one more piece of evidence that we are truly out of step with the world around us. Tracts and the like may be good in some parts of our society, but I’d be hard pressed, in this postChristian culture to find the place.

We are admonished to “Be in the world, but not of it.” (-John 17:15-17) So, in all the festivities surrounding Halloween (All-Hallowed-Eve) let us not partake of all its rituals and pagan roots. But, please, be in this world, at least as much as it involved entering a cultural celebration of family & candy. You will surprise your friends, and delight your dentist. Selah.

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

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