"Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies — so the living should take this to heart," Ecclesiastes 7:2
I think Halloween is a holiday Christians have often failed to recognize as an opportunity to engage the mind and heart of people in our culture. It's been overused as a crowd gathering tool for building numbers at "alternative' events that hope to provide opportunity to meet new neighbors. It's been converted into a scare tactic with evangelistic campaigns that use the shock of trauma and drama to provoke eternal questions in hell house type events.
But in the end I always feel like we end up looking like insincere opportunists instead of genuine members of humanity that have a need and a sincere interest in the themes that such holidays revolve around. I wish we 'fishers of men' could do better at listening to the hearts and minds of our culture and join them in walking and talking about the matters of evil, darkness, suffering and death.
“Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten," G.K. Chesterton
Here are some questions I think about during this holiday season:
- What is it about facing the macabre and the ghoulish that fascinates so many people?
- Why do we want to be scared?
- What cathartic payback comes from being frightened and yet survive?
- What lessons can be learned by all the material in the bible that touches upon the otherworld, ghosts, demons, dragons, the dead coming to life, unearthly powers and events?
- How can we speak to the joys and jitters of Halloween without commercializing deep concerns and convictions of issues that have eternal importance?
I've never forgotten the advice of the great story teller and thinker C. S. Lewis when discussing these issues:
"Those who say that children must not be frightened may mean two things. They may mean (1) that we must not do anything likely to give the child those haunting, disabling, pathological fears against which ordinary courage is helpless: in fact, phobias. His mind must, if possible, be kept clear of things he can't bear to think of. Or they may mean (2) that we must try to keep out of his mind the knowledge that he is born into a world of death, violence, wounds, adventure, heroism and cowardice, good and evil. If they mean the first I agree with them: but not if they mean the second. The second would indeed be to give children a false impression and feed them on escapism in the bad sense. There is something ludicrous in the idea of so educating a generation which is born to the...atomic bomb. Since it is so likely that they will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker."
So in conclusion, I guess I'm probably most like one of those movie characters that peers into the basement black and decides to go down there with a match to 'check it out" but I'm not ashamed to admit it. I want answers to my questions and fears about the unknown, the eternal and the monsters that lay out there in the moonlight.
I know that many religiously conservative people choose to turn out the lights on the 'darkest' night of the year, I guess, I am more the type to turn on a light
Read what other SpokaneFAVS writers think about Halloween on this week's Viewpoints panel.