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10/18/2005

GOOD AND BAD NAKED

When a voluptuous blonde with extensions sauntered toward me after a show two years ago I had no idea I was about to learn something. Her breasts sat high enough to threaten air flow, her heels elevated her to over six feet, and her glittered nails stabbed out of long tight sleeves like diamond studded knives. She stretched out her slender hand, broke into a blinding bleached smile, wrapped her other arm around my shoulders and leaned in close for a picture. She smelled good. I signed her CD and answered her questions while something inside me radioed for help, "SOS, something's not right here. Be afraid." And I was.

She handed me her business card. "Stripper for Jesus" it said in large glittery letters that matched her nails and heels and belt. "Paul said that after you find Jesus you should go on with the way of life you were in before so you can spread the Good News to those people you hung out with before you got saved. If you're a plumber you should keep being a plumber you know? Well, I was a stripper so I'm putting it to good use," she explained.

I stood spellbound, my head aimed in her direction but my eyes occasionally casually searching the room for a hidden camera or a giggling friend peaking out from behind a fern in a corner, taking the whole awkward scene in with great pleasure.

Then there's my Republican/NRA/"Growing Kids God's Way"/Southern Baptist friend who, with equally admirable intentions, gets dressed in the dark so that she won't tempt her husband needlessly. She listens only to the bible on CD, teaches her kids that other four year olds who hit do so because they need Jesus, has to find a way to interject "Jesus" blatantly into every conversation and situation and believes that if a conversation or situation cannot be Jesus-ed then it shouldn't be participated in in the first place. If there is not an obvious and intended "Christian message" to a night of fun or a movie or a book she wants no part of it.

The stripper believes Jesus sets no limits for Christians because all things are pure to the pure. My Baptist friend seems to think that some things are plastered with bold faced "THIS IS A JESUS THING" labels and that only those things are safe and everything else is dangerous. If you can't read the label just avoid it, better to be safe than sorry - she says. One lives in a world without walls, the other in a world without windows.

And I see the stripper and the Baptist both when I look back upon my life - or even back upon the last few days. We probably all do. And then, realizing I have both of these people taking turns at the wheel inside my psyche, I'm driven to decide which one to hand the keys to. Which one is good and which is bad? Which should I let take over?

Then I think about being naked. I think about men with pockets full of ones sitting at darkened tables masturbating to nakedness. I think about the fertilizer nakedness in that place douses onto the seeds of reckless infidelity and base self-centeredness in every human heart present. Then I think of my honeymoon, of any night of my married life for that matter, my wife able to stand unashamed and naked before me, me before her, of how sex in that place feels like holy communion, rapturous, selfless and soul intertwining.

Then I think about Halloween. Every year evangelicals fight about it on my message board and at my concerts. The question is inevitably asked, "Shaun, is Halloween bad?" And I think that's a bit like asking if naked is bad. Depends why you're naked doesn't it? In the words of the great prophet Jerry Seinfeld "There's good naked and there's bad naked." Isn't that true?

We need walls sure, but we also need windows. The question I'm asking myself isn't whether Halloween or anything else is good or bad, but rather I'm asking "Do I have enough windows in my life to keep my faith from growing mold and dying" and "Where did this wall come from exactly?"

55 Comments:

Blogger Mark said...

Those are very good questions. I think I have something to think about today. (While fully clothed, of course.)

10/18/2005  
Anonymous Randy Webb said...

this was all... umm interesting..

10/18/2005  
Blogger Nancy Tyler said...

Have I told you lately what a terrific writer I think you are? You are. Shlog by Shlog...

n

10/18/2005  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

Shaun,
You are exactly what I needed today! Your insight and the way you deliver it never ceases to amaze me. I always have to really think when I read what you write and that's a good thing! I must admit, I was waiting for the "friend behind the fern" ending too and was pleasantly surprised. I'm also jealous right now of you and Becky 'cause Scott just left yesterday for another 3 month deployment to the desert! It will be much quieter at night (he SNORES!!!), but the bed is much bigger and colder too.

Beth

10/18/2005  
Anonymous Kat said...

Shaun,
I really enjoy reading your blog because sometimes I wonder if I should. I've always been afraid to ask questions and to let God be God instead of the god that everyone tells me He is. You writings make me ask HIM questions rather than referring to my "Good Little Southern Baptist Girl" manual - which I used know better than my Bible. That's changing I'm excited about what God is in the midst of teaching me. Thanks for playing a part in the lesson.

10/18/2005  
Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/18/2005  
Anonymous Stephen said...

Shaun, thank you for not being afraid of writing about all areas of life.
We need to learn to see all aspects of life through a Christ-centered
worldview. Thanks for teaching that.

Derek Webb mentioned this concept in an interview he did recently with
Grassroots magazine...
"98% of Christian artists only write songs about 2% of Christian
existence. But there's another 98% of life not being covered, that has
everything to do with our sexuality, our politics, you name it. We have the
same liberty to address those issues as Scripture does and yet no one is
writing about it. It's a frustration for me because it causes so many people
to see the Christian worldview as one-dimensional and irrelevant. People
think our worldview is all wrapped up in this mystical afterlife and our
weird language but that's about 2% of the whole. It's also about living
life, raising kids, thinking about the government and a lot of other things
~ Derek Webb

10/18/2005  
Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

Good naked and bad naked...that is just too funny and yet true! Okay I gotta make a confession here and now...I love the bumper sticker that says "Life's short, play naked" Okay confession over.

I've never been able to really understand why we put up walls because there are so many around me who whisper into my ear "walls are good" "no walls are bad" and I just wish someone would decided whether walls were a good thing or a bad thing...and there I go again with the has to be yes or no, has to be black or white, has to be right or wrong arrrghhh *smacks self on forhead* That's why I hate talking about walls because on one hand I say we don't really need walls because if we build to many of them then we've just put ourselves in a cage. Then again, if we don't protect ourself somehow with walls then we're an easy target to hit. Okay I'm gonna go and take a Tylenol

10/18/2005  
Anonymous Sonflower said...

Very wise words well put.

10/18/2005  
Anonymous anna said...

your very unpredictable, i like that. i was expecting the friend behind the fern thing b/c that seems like something i would do. but i think its good you guyz arent living your life in black and white. I like that lady, to me she was kinda thinking outside the box. i mean how many people do you know that would do and say that? i admire her and you for that.

10/18/2005  
Anonymous Bagel_Chips said...

So I was reading the post and thought.
Ummm what if the stripper was prostitute, is it right for her to go back to prostitution ?

Im so confused.

10/18/2005  
Blogger rainey said...

I'll be the first to point out I've got lots of walls, and I consciously cover up windows every now and then.

For the most part, I like to keep the windows uncovered to be informed of and see what's around me and decide whether I want to be a part of it, reinforce my walls, or cover up my windows as well. I shield myself from things I just don't want any part of. I want to be the decision maker of what I want to let in and what I don't. I think it's healthy and keeps my faith at the front of my mind more often.

I think the whole covering of windows and building walls are defense and control mechanisms, whether good or bad.

People can debate it forever, but it's definitely a good thing to talk about. Pointing it out helps me start analyzing which walls might be blinding or unhealthy.

Good discussion.

10/18/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wouldn't you say that both of these women have serious control issues, both using sexuality to garner control over men. anyone who strips will tell you that there is a sense of power that comes with stripping, and any husband could tell you that their wives could use sex as a controling device. for the woman who undresses in the dark, it sounds like she has sex on HER terms and only when she wants it. God forbid her hubby see her take her clothes off and get turned on. turning off the light keeps him in line. man do i feel sorry for the dude. i think id break out the flashlight.

while the stripper still uses the stripping as a way of control even though she is using the scipture as a way of justifying continuing with a lifestyle that she need not repent of or leave the security of constantly recieving attention. i wonder even if her approaching you and giving you her card while flashin some cleave was a way to recieve affirmation.

so with that being said i wonder if the problem with these two women is not walls but guilt.

anywho, i aint no doctor phil and its all speculation on my part.

Seth

10/19/2005  
Blogger supersimbo said...

whoa thats a great post shaun and man i am right with you on these questions of what is good and bad about certain things..............struggling with that has been part of me for the last few months

10/19/2005  
Blogger FzxGkJssFrk said...

Um, wow. I always thank God for those times when something inside me radios for help, "SOS, something's not right here. Be afraid." I think that's one of the most valuable ways the Holy Spirit works with our consciences. That's almost literally unbelievable, but I guess I'll take your word for it.

I love the analogy about no walls versus no windows. Very cogent.

10/19/2005  
Blogger FzxGkJssFrk said...

Oh, no. I just realized you misspelled the word "peeking"... for some reason my wife and I have noticed all week that no one seems to know the difference between "peaked", "peeked" and "piqued" anymore. Mountains are peaked. One's curiosity is piqued. She peeked around the corner. Everybody got it? Ok, good. </soapbox>

Oh, also, Shaun, how does the first story end? I'm assuming it wasn't a gag. Did you just sort of escape? I probably would have.

10/19/2005  
Blogger Forky said...

Seth, I don't know that it's control issues--I think these women have boundary issues.

I can see where the stripper is coming from to a point...I'm an actor and have come to see the depraved world of secular entertainment as a sort of mission field.

Interesting post.

So...now I'm curious...is Halloween bad or not?? ;^)

10/19/2005  
Anonymous Kris said...

John Stonestreet, a Christian apologist with Summit Ministries, taught at our church a couple of weeks ago about this sort of thing. About the extremes that Christians get boxed into. He said basically there are three ways of responding to our culture, and three responses.
There are those who are offended by it and withdraw, those who are distracted by it and assimilate, and those who are distressed by it and engage it. Now, as for what engaging means, I guess that's maybe where the argument comes from.
But, as a kid raised in a legalistic church with a "rules are wonderful" mindset, I have come to believe that maybe the point isn't about who's wrong who's right and so forth... it's more about compassion, mercy and forgiveness, about finding the lost souls that are beyond our walls, and stepping out from behind them while still living a holy life.

As a completely irrelivent side note, I refuse to have much to do with Halloween at all because I have heard two first-hand accounts fromp eople who witnessed human sacrifices on that night, and I know that neither of them were lying.

10/19/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

So I read once about a guy who boarded a plane with a bomb in his Nikes. And there are doctors who perform abortions. There are insurance companies who cover sex change operations. There are grocery stores that sell alcohol and some people who drink alcohol drive and my sister was crippled by a drunk driver.

So according to the logic of the last comment here, am I to stop wearing Nikes, stop going to my doctor, stop paying my insurance company and only shop at stores that don't sell alcohol?

I'm no sure what my having "a part in" Halloween by dressing my kids up as a butterfly and Spiderman and sending them out to our neighbors to beg for Sweet Tarts contributes to human sacrifices, which, by the way, may happen on other days as well. Unless the knife was bought with Sweet Tart stock profits I'm pretty sure my hands are clean on that one.

All humor aside. If I'm understanding correctly that the last commenter sees a link between human sacrifices and trick or treating that appears to be an example of being "offended" by culture and "withdrawing" from it, does it not? Am I understanding correctly or coloring the last comment unfairly? Help me out here.

10/19/2005  
Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

Sorry but I'm wondering what would you do kris if the human sacrifices had happened on Valentine's day? Would you refuse to celebrate the day simply because of that? What makes Human sacrifice so much more wrong on Halloween than on any other regular day of the week?

10/19/2005  
Anonymous kat said...

Let's go easy on Kris. I realize the point that Shaun and MPP were trying to make, but come on now, let's not speak lightly of human sacrifices. Seriously.

And frankly, I don't think it matters what Shaun or anyone else thinks about Halloween. The problem with the stripper and the soccer mom is that they allowed their surroundings, circumstances and comfort zones tell them what they should do. As believers, we do that too often. Instead of seeking God ourselves, we let others do it for us and then we follow them rather than seeking God ourselves. So if we want to know if Halloween is good or bad, ask God.

I don't think He's a cookie cutter God, either. I think He'll tell some people to steer clear because He knows it's best for them or their children. I think He'll also tell some people to dive in and make sure His love, peace and mercy are known. The worst thing we can do, though, is take it lightly.

As much as I believe God is real, I also believe that we have an enemy who is "seeking those whom he may devour."

Heavy? Yes.

True? Yes.

And I don't think his strategy usually involves radical things like human sacrifices. I think his strategy is in the standards we lower in the name of rest, relaxation or entertainment. It's in the small exceptions we make in the name of fun for our kids.

Please hear me. I'm not saying Halloween is bad or good. I'm saying that it's vital that each of us find out what God's heart is for us that day. I think it will be different for everyone.

Maybe some of us will feel that it's important to teach our kids to pray that night. To pray that other children will know God loves them.

Perhaps others will feel that it's important take their kids trick or treating to teach their kids how to have fun and yet be constantly discerning about what is good or bad and to be looking to others. To notice if a child seems scared and to help them or to notice if a child is playing tricks and to decide not to be a part of it.

But, whatever we do, let's be led by the Lord rather than Hallmark or the Joneses (no matter how godly the Joneses may be.)

10/19/2005  
Anonymous Kris said...

No, Shaun. All I said was that I don't have much to do with Halloween. I didn't elaborate, but we don't "withrdaw" on halloween. We hand out bags of candy with tracts in them (I know it's really cliche) and this year I'm thinking about putting out a pumpkin with a cross carved in it. You can call that withdraw because I won'tlet my kids trick-or-treat, but I just don't want to practice a holiday that was designed to practice pagan supersticions and rituals. I understand that there are always going to be things that we are involved in, knowingly or otherwise, that support ubelievers and "bad" things that Christians are against.
Mustard, I would see it as little sacrifice to not celebrate Valentine's day, and yes I am aware of its origins also. What I mean by saying I don't want to be part of Halloween is this: Because I know things that witches do on Halloween specifically because it's halloween, I have decided to avoid celebrating with them in any way. Just like I would on any other day that they were doing the same thing.
I'm sorry if that's incoherant. I can elaborate more if you want, but I'm late for work now.

10/19/2005  
Blogger Amy said...

Good post Kat. I personally believe we do have freedom but that if we are convicted by our conscious about something...well it's better to live in freedom than guilt. (meaning...if you feel guilty for drinking that margarita don't drink it!! you'll be a happier more balanced person!) All of our holidays/cultural festivals have pagan roots. The church certainly tried to clean them up and change the focus, and I'm so glad they did cos I love Christmas, but fault can be found with anything. So let's avoid running to extremes and surrender ourselves to the Lord. I'm all for challenging our ideas, but I also think people can come to a place of decision based on experience and conviction and that should be respected.

10/19/2005  
Blogger Amy said...

blecch...conscience, not conscious

10/19/2005  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

Shaun,
I so knew that Gresham would be Spiderman this year! Does he EVER take that costume off? I'm taking my kids to the "Funanza" at a local school this year 'cause it's MUCH warmer than it will be outside in ND that night! They've been rumaging through the dress up box putting together costumes. My 13 year old is trick-or-treating with a friend and my 16 year old is going with me to help at the Funanza. Anywhere there's children, he wants to serve. He loves working with kids. BTW Shaun, get back on your meds, your sarcasm genes are working overtime today!

Beth

10/19/2005  
Blogger Drew said...

I really enjoyed this post, and the discussion. It's nice to read a Christian publication quoting Jerry Seinfeld, rather than Jerry Falwell (and I can say that cuz I went to Liberty U, lol). Anyway, thanks for making me think.

10/19/2005  
Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

Cool beans kris I was just wanting to know where you're line of thinking was coming from.

Shaun, be the rebel don't take your meds!! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! *runs off with Shaun's bottle of meds*

10/19/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so kris, it is the the things that witches and D worshipers do on holloween that you dont like not necessarily the holiday. Although it may have a sordid history, Halloween represents to most people a time to dress up and take their kids out to get some candy. Their is no doubt that to most americans that holloween has become something else than it used to be. same with christmas. once a pagan holiday that Constantine designated as a time to celebrate the birth of Christ. Early protestants up to Spurgeon thought that Christians should not celebrate Christmas on a date associated with a pagan History. But we do it today and dont think twice about it. The Christmas tree was once a pagan symbol until about 1000 years ago a bishop or a monk (cant remember which) transformed it into something Christian. I guess there is a fundamental difference in Halloween and Christmas so that arguement is not perfect.

I guess what i am saying is that just because you dress your kids up and go trick-or-treating doesn't mean that you buddy up to devil worshipers. Just like when i put up my Christmas tree (that serves no real Christian symbolic purpose) im not trucking along with the pagans of old and worshiping the tree God. of course this is another one of those gray areas that Christians LOVE to get in a tiff over.

One more important thing to mention.

GO ASTROS!!!!!!

Seth

10/19/2005  
Anonymous Kris said...

Yeah, and I don't remember saying that people who celebrate Halloween are all devil worshipers, either. I don't really care that Christians celebrate it. I don't stand on my doorestep and ask people whether or not they follow Christ before I hand them candy. But I do think that there are a lot of folks who blow off the concern saying, "Well it doesn't mean anything unless I want it to and to me all it means is candy and costumes." But that kind of thinking is dangerous and dare I say ignorant. We don't consider our Christian rituals like communion, baptism etc, as being something anyone can participate in. Imagine if a hooker showed up to be baptized, not because she had been redeemed or had ever claimed to follow Christ, but simply becuase she thought it would feel good to have a pastor dip her under water. I might be stepping out on a limb, but I think that most of us would take issue with it (I know it's not our place to judge, but let's just imagine that she actually told all of the people present that that was her intention). We expect people to put thought into what they practice in church (like worship), but then we refuse to put the same thought into other facets of our own lives (like Halloween).
Maybe all I'm trying to say is not to take either side before you have the information--not just claims from Jimmy Swagart or Marilyn Manson, but truth. Then you can let the Holy Spirit guide you from there.

10/19/2005  
Anonymous kat said...

Well said Kris.

10/19/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Is it worth it to say even one thing I'm thinking right now in response? How do I tell them my internal monologue is broken?

10/19/2005  
Anonymous kat said...

Your response piques my curiosity. We're all just trying to figure everything out so please don't hold back.

10/19/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Oh I'm sure I should.

Hold back that is.

10/19/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

response following the game.

again i say,

GO ASTROOOOSSSS!!!!!!!!!



Seth

10/19/2005  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

Shaun,
Why the sudden reserve? I'm sure it's only because you want to be very certain of what you're saying so it doesn't come across wrong, or you're looking for just the right words, or you're holding back because you remembered your mother's rule; "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all."

Beth

10/19/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i guess what we should do here is maybee set the record straight on what Halloween actually is. Please correct me if i get some of this wrong. Halloween is actually deeply rooted in Christianity. It started out as a pagan holiday, a time to ward of evil spirits, In 43 AD, the Roman Empire conquered the Celts and Celts and Romans found themselves living in the same villages. The Celtic festival of Samhain was celebrated at the same time as Pomona, a Roman celebration of the harvest. As the two cultures lived together, their cultures began to merge. Still the word Halloween has not come into exsistence. 500 years later Pope Gregory replaces the pagan Holiday for good with All Saints Day. To celebrate all Saints Day, young men were to go door to door begging for food for the town poor. To top it off The people going door to door were allowed to dress up in costume to represent a saint. So I guess you could say the first trick-or-treaters were Christans. The pagans still officially celebrated their holliday alongside All-Saints Day unil 1517 when they moved their holliday officially to nov. 5th. in 1517 members of the Catholic Church tried to blow up the protestant parliment on oct 31st so there was a celebration to commemorate the failure of the plot, it was Halloween. Bonfires were lit across the country. People made lanterns from carved out turnips and children went begging for money.

I also found out that Christmas and Halloween are closer than i thought in their history and controversy. It took a while for Halloween to catch on in the colonies because most everyone was protestant. in fact celebrating Christmas in the Massachusetts colony was illegal, punishable by banishment or death.

When the potato famine happened in ireland the states were flooded by Irishmen, i.e. Catholics. It didnt take long for Halloween to become a part of the Christian Calender and when the imigrants saw how plentiful pumpkins were in the New World it didn't take long for them to start decorating pumpkins instead of turnips. Again, Christians the first to trick-or-treat, and the first to decorate pumpkins.

Kind of amazing to realize that most of the customs we celebrate in Halloween originate with Christians.

So i say, we join hands with our brothers and sisters in Christ, loose our "ignorance", and take back our holiday from the marilyn mansons and jimbo swagarts and all those who misunderstand our holiday as a time to sacrifice or practice things that resemble Satanic practices.

Three cheers for Halloween!!

Four cheers for the Astros!!

Seth

10/19/2005  
Blogger Drew said...

I love this blog; I always learn so much!

10/20/2005  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

Actually, I got a different version of how Halloween started. People actually dressed up to ward off evil spirits. All Saints Day was a celebration of the dead. All Hallows Eve (where the name Halloween comes from) was the night before and it was thought that all that had died in the previous year would roam the earth looking for revenge. Folks dressed up in an attempt to keep from being recognized by the dead. While it's true that folks would go door to door begging for food, it was the poor who did this, not others.

As for Parliment getting blown up, that was in fact done by one Guy Falks on November 5th. He was actually stopped before he was successful and later hanged. The bon fires lit today across England celebrate that occassion (we lived in the UK for 8 years). Nov. 5th is called "Guy Falks Day." All this to say that celebrating Halloween is a personal choice. I believe the holidays' meaning has changed somewhat over the years. Statistics tell us that the largest age group that celebrates are the 20-30 year olds. They spend the most on costumes, parties, etc. and are the largest participants of the day. Kinda takes the "fun for the kiddies" out of it huh? It is the second largest money maker for stores and card companies next to Christmas.

As a family, we choose not to trick or treat, mostly cause it's so darn cold here in ND that time of year. The kids will attend an indoor funfest. Our local arena also sponsors one so kids don't have to be outdoors. Any holiday is what people choose to make it. As Christians I think it's important to remember that regardless of what we THINK we're doing when participating in any activity, is to remember how it may appear to the unbeliever. We should never cause another to stumble. Proclaiming Christ in church on Sunday and then denying Him by your lifestyle all week is the number one reason why evangelism is so hard. Actions speak louder than word we all know.

Beth

10/20/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

It doesn't matter to me what the history is. Is that naive of me? Help me understand how YOU, only you, specifically take into account the history of any practice when determining whether it is "good" or "bad." I don't know that the history matters, the history of Christian thinking on scripture matters to me greatly, but the history of Halloween doesn't influence on tiny bit my thinking on what I will or will not do THIS YEAR on October 31. Help me understand why it should. I want to learn.

SG

10/20/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

It doesn't matter to me what the history is. Is that naive of me? Help me understand how YOU, only you, specifically take into account the history of any practice when determining whether it is "good" or "bad." I don't know that the history matters, the history of Christian thinking on scripture matters to me greatly, but the history of Halloween doesn't influence on tiny bit my thinking on what I will or will not do THIS YEAR on October 31. Help me understand why it should. I want to learn.

SG

10/20/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

true, true, shaun.

thanks for the corrections. Guy, was aided by many-a-Catholic is what i read. the history was long and involved. interesting for me because i love history. i left out quite a bit.

well, i still cant wait to see my little 2 year old neice dressed up as a lady bug and watch her jump around every time she gets some more candy.

for me, its still about the carvin pumpkins, birthday cake with a spiderweb on it, the kids and the candy.

i doubt there will be much talk about falks, protetstants, and Catholics this Hollween.

peace.


Sethro

10/20/2005  
Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

Maybe we should stop calling it Halloween and call it National Dress Up & Get Free Candy Day that way we can start a whole new history of our own and don't have to worry about the past!!
Ah-Ha! If you don't call it Halloween then you're not celebrating it! So those of you who choose not to participate in Halloween particiapte in National Dress Up & Get Free Candy Day! Just because they fall on the same day doesn't mean they're the same thing!

10/20/2005  
Anonymous kat said...

I really like Shaun's idea that the history of Halloween is perhaps irrelevant. It's almost one of those ideas that I'm afraid to agree with because I've been brought up so to the contrary, but if Halloween and Christmas both have Pagan origins, then maybe the past doesn't make a difference. It's the present that counts.
So this is what my thoughts about it all boil down to:
I've heard (please correct me if I'm wrong) that there are some who seek to curse believers more on Halloween than on other days. So, I see it as sort of a battlefield. There are arrows going back and forth all over a battlefield and here we are sending our "little ladybugs and pumpkins" right into the middle of the battle. Now there's nothing wrong with dressing up or getting free candy, but man, as a mom, I certainly don't want to be passive about the fact that there is a battle happening.

I'm going to be standing guard - very aware of everything around me and intent on descerning what is good and not so good. Other children may not have their parents praying for them so I want to pray for them as well.

Seriously, our children are SO important and precious and innocent. Let's not take lightly anything that may harm that innocence.

10/20/2005  
Blogger Nancy Tyler said...

Hi Kat,

I'm thinking through you last post and was wondering what your own kids do around this time of the year--have they actually gone trick or treating or do they go to church-sponsored alternatives to Halloween like harvest festivals or take part in school parties or anything like that or do they stay home and you all have a prayer time together on that night?

(wow, that's one LONG sentence!)

:)

Thanks,

nancy

10/20/2005  
Anonymous kat said...

Nancy,
Actually, both of my children are 3 and under, so this is really the first year we've had to answer this question. Hence my long comments...

Honestly, with my children being so young, I really just want to protect them until they are old enough to begin to learn how to discern what is good and what is not.

Right now, if my oldest sees a picture of a scary person, she says, "Mommy, I don't like that." I certainly don't want to introduce her to fear, so I think I'll only take her places where I know that there won't be scary costumes and such. Right now, that means get togethers with like minded friends and, yes, avoiding certain aisles in the grocery store.

Eventually, I pray that my kids will be wise and discerning beyond their years and be able to be in the midst of less than godly stuff and bring the hope, peace and love of Jesus to those around them. I certainly don't want them to jump from one "Christian rabbit hole" to the next trying to avoid the world.

Right now though, I'm just desperate to be worthy of the honor God has given me to raise these precious, innocent girls and want to do everything I can to protect and equip them to love Jesus and others more than I ever have or will. So, this year, we'll just eat some candy with friends and pray that all the boys and girls will know the love and peace of God.

10/20/2005  
Blogger Amy said...

Hey Amy (MPP), I actually did hear that it will soon be changed from being called halloween in school to being called a harvest festival or the likes in order to be pc and not offend anyone religiously. i believe it's arizona or new mexico starting this new trend.

When i was younger we went trick-or-treating once or twice, but our church always had a harvest festival on a different day and as a family we watched scary movies and the kids cooked dinner. that meant hot dogs!! those are really special memories and still what i like to do best on halloween. but this year my precious nieces are going to be here from Costa Rica so we're going to the churches trunk or treat alternative. They will also have hot dogs, ;-), and other fun activities. They have requested no scary costumes, which is just fine with my nieces who want to be a princess and a ballerina.
can't wait!

10/20/2005  
Blogger Nancy Tyler said...

Kat,

I think your little ones are blessed to have a mom who's putting so much thought into what they're being exposed to at such a tender age. I'm praying they'll grow into girls who will be able to navigate the rough waters of the world while staying afloat spiritually.

nancy

10/20/2005  
Anonymous kat said...

I really appreciate that Nancy!

10/20/2005  
Blogger Kathryn said...

wow. . i can't believe the huge percentage of comments on the "Halloween" issue!!!! WHA???!!!!!

the post was about the 'stripper for Jesus', sin, selfishness, walls that people put up. . and Halloween was mentioned almost in passing as an example -- and 48 comments??? - most of which had to do with the history of halloween, the "Christian" response to it. . the knee jerk stuff I would expect from Christians - but wow. . i kinda feel like ppl missed the point of this post? got all debatey about something that's become so innocent. Anyone who's into wicca, witchcraft, satanism. . its an every day thing for them. . to be afraid that the devil is somehow magically hugely powerful on Halloween night is a bit naieve. . and that's he's out to get out kids on Halloween night. . so we must shelter them especially on that night? what about at school every day? what about in the home every day? what about in the church? this whole world is the 'devil's playground' each and every day. geez, can Christians kid themselves to that degree? I'm not mocking anyone or putting anyone down, but I just don't understand phobias and paranoia and barriers like this crazy 'hot potato' issue in Christians circles. .

I'm more intrigued with how someone can be a 'stripper for Jesus'. . its . .i don't know what that is!!!! I think its great that this woman wants to be on Jesus' side. . i wonder how she has become affiliated with Jesus? she's mixed up, probably. . . but i'm mixed up sometimes too - maybe not in that particular way - but sure i might sometimes do something really wrong and think i'm doing something right.

10/22/2005  
Blogger Nancy Tyler said...

Hi Kathryn, I'm also more intrigued with the part of Shaun's post that didn't have to do with Halloween. The piece would have been powerful without one word about Halloween--might be more so without it, even. But Shaun went and used Halloween as the example at the end so there ya go, we all responded to it and to each other. :)

I applaud people who are trying really hard to think through a response to things they encounter in life and things their kids will experience. I think if I were a mom, I'd have to re-evaluate an awful lot of what I do in light of having an impressionable little person following me.

When I'm deciding to do something, I guess I don't think as much about the history of the practice as I do whether it's a biblically-defined sin, what impact my participation will have on others influenced by me, if it will do me harm or cause regret, and if it's a good way to spend my time and money.

I haven't found any evidence yet to lead me to believe that people who follow Christ are in increased danger from spiritual attacks by going door to door filling their pillowcases with funsize Snickers bars on Halloween. I know that there is increased experimentation among kids with things like witchcraft and ouija boards around Halloween time. But I wonder if the church and families might be able to help kids learn to be discerning as they're in the world rather than pulling them out of it to protect them in the Christian subculture's careful parallel universe.

n

10/23/2005  
Blogger Kathryn said...

well said, n. I wonder if Shaun wanted to 'stir the pot' with that particular example? it worked!!!!

I especially found your last sentence to be very well put, extremely well put!!

10/23/2005  
Blogger Paula said...

halloween isn't a big thing here in australia. I think I've had 1 trick-or-treater come to my house in 24 years.

10/23/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Pot stirred.

Excellent comment, Nancy. You have the gift of brevity and wisdom - a rare combo. Thanks for being here.

I have a similar post formulating in my brain that will make no mention of Halloween. It's something I said this weekend to the College Sunday class in Clinton, TN. It's concerning the use of "Christian" as an adjective. I hadn't planned on saying it, never said it out loud before, but it seemed to stick and provoke great thinking and perspective change for a few folks. I think, because it has applications to this "parallel universe" of ours you brought up it might be worth sharing with the rest of "the class" here as well.

Coming soon.

SG

10/25/2005  
Anonymous kat said...

Nancy,
"The Christian subculture's careful parallel universe" - That's priceless. I agree that the last sentence in your post is really spot on.

Perhaps this will be addressed in Shaun's coming post, but I'm really interested to know what people think about that "parallel universe." I don't have an answer, but I've been wondering lately, if it's good that there's "Christian music"...."Christian movies"...."Christian breathe mints" What do you (or anyone else who's reading this) think?

10/25/2005  
Blogger Nancy Tyler said...

I had a pack of those Testamints for years sitting in my cupboard. My mom put them in my Christmas stocking and thought she was doing a good thing but I was so creeped out. It's like those chocolate crosses they sell at Eastertime. Just repulses me.

And there isn't a fish on the back of my vehicle. I just don't need to be shaming the Lord with my
Mister Magoo-style driving. :) I don't do Christian message t-shirts or nick nacks either. I'm not judging people who like them, but I think those things in their cuteness would push away the people I'm seeking to influence for Christ at my job, in my neighborhood and throughout my life. I'd like people to "know we our Christians by our love" not by our kitsch.


Opinions, too many. Lunch break, too short. ;)

n

10/26/2005  

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