Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween As A Christian

Last year I wrote an entry where I defended Halloween from a Christian perspective.  It was the first time I really sat down and made my thoughts coherent and even did a little research on the origins of certain holidays.  Recently I went back and re-read that post, and I have to say that I agree with myself even more.

If you know me or read through this blog, you'll know that I am a conservative, born-again Christian who believes in the truth and infallibility of the Bible.  I believe that faith in Christ is the only way to get to Heaven and the Bible outlines this path.  I have very mainstream Christian beliefs, even if I am quite a geek.

My involvement in the ministry of Fans For Christ has shown me that God loves people that the average Christian would probably turn away from.  In merging and balancing my love for Jesus with my interest in comic books, sci-fi, movies and so on I have learned that God's love envelops more people than most Christians probably realize.  Christianity is not a single outlook and can include many different "types", even while not straying one word from the Bible.

And that brings us to Halloween.  

I think that many Christians are unintentionally ignorant.  Someone tells them that Harry Potter uses real Wiccan magic and they then condemn the books as being anti-Christian without ever looking into it themselves.  Someone tells them that Halloween originated as a Satan-worshiping celebration and they take it as the truth, never checking out to learn that it was actually the opposite.  There is often a lack of real discernment amongst mainstream Christians.

So as a Christian I do celebrate Halloween.  My kids trick-or-treat, and we have pumpkins and decorations around our house.  Our concession to other Christians is that we avoid decorations that might seem "evil" or demonic, even though we personally see the separation between fun and what God tells us to avoid.  

I don't think it's wrong for a Christian to have fun with Halloween.  After all, in modern times that's all it's supposed to

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The End Of Civility?

It's political season here in the US and our presidential election is only weeks away.  That means the mud is slinging on both sides of the political aisle.  I'm always open for a good debate on politics, religion, or just about anything else, and so have gotten into a few discussions on Facebook.  Sometimes I get good, reasoned intellectual stimulation.  But more often I see "u suk!" kinds of comments.

It's not been limited to political discussions.  In the four years I've been blogging I will from time to time get hateful comments on posts.  Few of them have been bad enough for me to delete, but some are particularly judgmental without knowing anything about me.  As I stated, I enjoy debate and am willing to go point-to-point on most issues.  But the hateful insulting statements simply are uncalled for.

Where is civility in today's society?  Why do discussions have to quickly devolve into insults and name-calling?  Heck, I've seen many of them start that way!  I honestly don't understand it.  I can disagree with someone's views and beliefs and not hate them.  I have strongly different political views than my father and we often debate the subject, but despite those differences I really love him (hi, Dad!).  While I am very politically conservative I have friends who are quite liberal.  Though I disagree with them I can also see past those issues to appreciate who they are otherwise.

I see so little of these better attitudes nowadays.  People seem unable to disagree without hating.  And they seem even more unable to express their opposition without insults.  I was in a discussion with someone of liberal leanings on Facebook and he kept making quite rude and hate-filled comments.  I challenged him to make one salient point without an insult. He responded by insulting me and other conservatives.  He was literally unable to do so.

When did this happen?  I shouldn't be surprised, though.  It's part of human nature and people are often of very strong opinions which they defend with passion.  I've heard a dramatization of campaign advertisements from John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and they are even more directly insulting than anything you'd see in modern politics.

Even so, I'd love to see a return to civility.  Disagree without insult.  And when you're talking to a stranger online, be very careful about the assumptions you make.  It's impossible to really know someone just by reading their words on a computer screen (even when they write over 800 blog entries like me).  

Sometimes old adages are indeed best.  "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

Monday, October 8, 2012

Easier Said Than Done

I know that we've all said it.  "I'm going to focus on God more."  "I'm going to pray more."  "I'm going to read the Bible every day."  With all of our best intentions we plan to focus more on our relationship with God.  It might start out good, but pretty soon it tapers off to our old habits of "nothing".  At least, this is the way it happens if you're anything like me.

Why does it have to be that way?

We are flawed, imperfect beings that are constantly having to fight against the influences of the Devil.  One of his most potent weapons is to distract us from being closer to God.  The less time we spend with God the closer we are to forgetting Him.  Satan doesn't have to make us turn towards him, he just has to make us turn away from Christ.

Be warned of this (and I'm warning myself here).  Making the decision to study the Word and spend more time in God's presence is a spiritual battle and puts you on the front lines of such warfare.  Gird yourself and stand firm in the decision to be with the Lord.