Monday, October 19, 2009

Halloween musings

I believe that Halloween is, for the most part, an innocent excuse to dress up in costumes and for children to blow off steam and get some candy. I know some Christians forbid their children from taking part in Halloween in any shape or form. I think this goes too far. Martin Luther even commented once about how it is fitting that Christians mock death and the devil (of course, I can't find the quote right now - it was in one of Dr. Scott Murray's Memorial Moments a few years back...). And I think there is an element of Halloween that does that.

However, in recent years, Halloween has become increasingly violent, sexual, and occultish. Instead of mocking death and the devil, it seems that many are wishing to pay homage to, and even dabble with, death and the devil. I do not think this is a healthy development. As a Christian and a pastor, this darkening of Halloween gives me great pause.

When I was a young adult, I would join the ritual with my friends.

We had some pals who played in a popular local heavy metal band (U.S. Metal, whose singer actually went on to become the lead singer of the British band, Judas Priest). And so, on Halloween, we would all dress up like them, complete with wigs, spandex, make-up, and 1980s rock and roll accouterments. We would join the thousands of costumed revelers in Kent, Ohio - which is, as most people know, a college town of some reknoun. Of course, our friends who really played in the band thought it was a hoot for us young white collar professionals to step into their personas for a day of fun. There was nothing dark or occultish about it.

Once in a while, we would also visit a "haunted house" - which was basically a series of rooms in which high school kids dressed in werewolf masks would say "boo." There were some scenes of violence, but it was all cheesy theatrical stuff. It was basically just something to do, an excuse for us all to get together. There was nothing diabolical or celebratory of the demonic that I can remember.

But over time, Halloween has gotten darker.

It is as though the thrill and suspense, the fun and silliness, were just not enough. People want gratuitous sex and violence. They want increasingly realistic scenes of death and dismemberment. They want demons and devils and spells.

Here in New Orleans, we have the House of Shock. The pictures say it all. The place is filled with pentagrams, blood, scenes of death and torture, and even a little tribute to "Lord [sic] Belial" - a demon specifically mentioned in Holy Scripture. There is one room depicting a blood-spattered desecrated church. There are blasphemous displays of crucifixes.

And of course, if Christians are offended, all the better. I wonder what the reaction would be if it were a synagogue that were being desecrated, or if someone decided to have a room filled with what appears to be dead corpses and a mockery of Jewish symbols. Somehow, I think it would be received differently.

Of course, the owners all claim to be religious people engaging in a little clean fun. Of course, with tickets costing $25 to $50 a pop, they aren't in it entirely for fun.

I don't think it is ever appropriate, under any conditions, for Christian young people to derive entertainment from representations of desecrated churches, from symbols of Satanism, and from a celebration of the unholy. It is a tough line to draw, but as we move along in these last days, the line is getting increasingly easier to discern.


Rev. Eric J Brown said...

The line is whether something is mocking or promoting. . . whether something is mocking or profiteering off of. And it is a strange line.

There has been in the past view years an increase in horror films as well - I'm not sure if this is cyclical (it seems like there was a slew of them in the early 80s) or if it is an economic thing (good box office yet you don't need to have to pay big stars).

Go, have fun - but remember the Devil and the World will always try to ruin any and all fun Christians might have in this world!

Or it might just be that you see more wickedness because you live in Godless New Orleans instead of Ohio. . . being further from Fort Wayne and all is bound to bring about an increase in wickedness >=o)

Paul said...

my humble suggestion: Reclaim the Reformation with gatherings in country settings with bonfires, harvest celebrations, roasting marshmellows, lusty singing etc.
I'll be in the holy city of Ft. Wayne on the 31st, btw.

Fitness said...

It does seem like Halloween is just an excuse for women to wear Slutty Costumes