Walking the Walk
How would you like your congregation/parishioners to observe Halloween?
I realize that Halloween can have a dark side, and many Christians discourage even recognizing the day at all. But almost everything in this world can be dark, and our challenge is to be light in a dark world. So on Halloween, I recommend that those who believe Jesus is the light of the world make a concerted effort to shine even brighter. Don’t turn your porch lights out and sit inside and bemoan and howl about the depravity of the little ghouls and goblins begging for candy; they are precious children, excited about dressing up and going door to door, ringing doorbells and seeing what they get.
Dress up, buy extra good candy, light up your home and make it an inviting place for kids to come for candy. For those who decorate your homes, remember many of the children are very young and impressionable, so don’t scare them half to death. Instead show them how fun and loving the world can be by smiling at them and noticing their costumes, use kind and affirming words, and by all means, give them good treats.
Halloween has dark origins, but that doesn’t mean we have to be afraid. Shine bright!
The Rev. Laura Root
New Hope Church of the Nazarene, Princeton
As I continue to grow as a young youth pastor, I begin to notice things differently. When I was a kid, I went trick or treating (mostly treating). I never knew what the holiday represented until I was about 18 or 19, and I feel like as long as we understand the true meaning of Halloween, we can modify how we TREAT it. Costumes in themselves are nothing more than material put together to make something. But when we define what it means, we are creating a new definition of the costume. I think it is OK for our congregation to go out and trick or treat on Halloween. I also feel like it is our congregation’s responsibility to define what Halloween is and remember that we serve God and not ghouls. I think they should have fun, but remember, it is just a costume, nothing more.
Youth Pastor Brian Atwell
Bunker Hill Church of God, Buda
Paul’s admonition in (1 Corinthians 8) seems to have an appropriate application to the Christian’s involvement in Halloween activities. As we maintain close relationship with Jesus, we need never fear being overtaken by evil powers, just as the Corinthians didn’t have to fear the power of meat sacrificed to idols. God has already defeated Satan.
Halloween cannot be called a Christian holiday. But just as Christians in centuries past found reasons for Christian celebrations at the same time as non-Christian traditions, the church can also have activities for its youth and children. Paul’s admonition (Col. 3:17) applies to all our activities.
While some Christians are adamantly opposed to participate in Halloween activities, others see nothing wrong with it. Participation is a matter of conscience, since there is no Biblical injunction against visiting neighbors for friendly contact. The Christian response in both instances — opposed to or in favor of Halloween — is a matter of personal conscience. Parents who do not want their children to participate in such activity should be able to take their stand without criticism, but neither should they criticize those who see the activity as harmless if properly controlled. Likewise, the family that chooses to exercise its liberty should not find fault with those who choose not to participate. In all such choices, our relationship with Jesus should have priority and impact our choice on matters of conscience.
The Rev. Ray Lail
Bureau County Christian Center (People Church), Princeton
What is 'Walking the Walk?'
The role of religion in public life has been under much discussion recently on a local, national and international basis. From problematic issues to benevolent roles ... from churches with 1,000s of parishioners to the tiniest of congregations ... from all denominations and beyond — the church is an important part of many citizens' lives.
Bureau County is filled with communities who are proud of their churches. Clergy, lay leaders and parishioners spend many hours delivering and living the messages of their respective beliefs and churches. Bureau County churches play an important role in many lives in our own backyard, as well as in outreach endeavors.
The Bureau County Republican's feature, "Walking the Walk," publishes on a monthly basis. The three clergy who participate in this feature will answer a single question crafted by the BCR in October, November and December. At the end of their three-month stint, the BCR will ask other clergy or lay leader to commit to do the same — answer one question for three consecutive months.
Clergy and/or lay leaders who would like to participate in "Walking the Walk" can contact BCR Staff Writers Donna Barker at 815-875-4461, ext. 244, or Barb Kromphardt at 815-875-4461, ext. 242. You can also email them at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All denominations are welcome to participate in this informative feature.