As a generally unhealthy individual, Halloween was a magical sort of holiday, centered, as all magical holidays are, around food. Sure there are costumes, parties, and decorations. Those are cool, and everybody loves them. But the free candy, that’s where it’s at (getting miniature Twix bars in the pumpkin was the epitome of winning Halloween.) As I’ve grown older, I’ve noticed that, well, my opinion hasn’t changed much. I still like candy (Twix.) I just don’t go door to door to get it.
Over the past few years, mainly since I’ve been attending school, I’ve tried to be a little more mindful about how the Church relates to the general goings on of the world. Halloween is an especially interesting day to analyze, mainly because we all seem to take a different stance, and every denomination (or independent church,) approaches it in their own unique way.
Many choose to ignore it, which is fine. I’m all for using every opportunity to preach the gospel. Some churches embrace the holiday, using it as an opportunity to do some fundraising for the church by selling pumpkins, though to date I’ve only observed this at mainline churches. Still others run “trunk or treats” in their parking lots. If you are unfamiliar with this, it’s where members of the congregation dress up their vehicles and invite the community to their parking lot where they can go from car to car, “trunk or treating” in a safe environment, free of the ever looming needles in the tootsie rolls. Trunk or treat. Yes, we in the Church are masters of marketing.
It’s no secret that even in evangelical churches, where even the name presupposes that you’re evangelizing, that we don’t interact with the world as much as we should. However, every time you do, you’re influencing how that person views the Church and Christ. When Jesus was teaching his disciples inSamaria, he told them “I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.” (John 4:38, NLT.) When you’re out in the world, you’re traversing the fields. If you’re not going to do any weeding, the least you can do is not step on the saplings.
What does this have to do with Halloween? Okay, here’s the rub. I’m not trying to change you mind as to whether or not October 31 should be the day that strikes fear into every God-fearing American, evangelical or otherwise. But if you’re planning on leaving your porch light on in hopes you can slip a Jack Chick tract into an unsuspecting neighbor-kid’s goodie bag . . . don’t. Please. Just come inside, turn the light off, and watch TBN. Better yet, take all the tracts you have, throw them away, run to the store, and buy a big bag of Twix. There’s still time to not make us all look silly.
I get a kick outta Chick tracts sometimes. In fact “This Was Your Life” had an impact on me when I was 13. But I’ve gotta agree. Don’t throw them in the candy bucket.
Here’s a twist on Trunk or Treat. Our church had one the other night. While that was going on, some of us set up grills and gave out (330) free hot dogs and drinks in 2 hours. The real treat is giving a meal away to a family that you can tell is hurting. And we see some people show up for free food and candy that we never ever see any other time.
Very cool. Showing the love of Jesus in a practical way is always a beautiful thing.