Thursday, November 3, 2011

Speaking the truth in...laughter!

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. Eph 4:15

You've probably heard the above verse about speaking the truth in love. Well this week someone spoke the truth to laughter!  It seems my pastor was stalking me on facebook reading through the scrolling timeline on facebook, and saw I had commented on a video entitled "Should Christians participate in Halloween?" The video talked about how our culture is becoming desensitized to evil, and I commented, "The desensitizing toward evil (vampires particularly) is already happening or happened."

Seeing my comment, my pastor watched the video. He commented how the most interesting thing about the video was the "Elvira" beside it.  I was confused.  I had watched the video but I hadn't seen it.  "Not in the video, beside it," he laughed.  After I moment, I realized he meant me!  Embarrassingly enough, I had changed my profile photo for Halloween to one of me in 1998, where I'd won a costume contest.  This is the photo:

When I realized what he was talking about I couldn't help but laugh. He was laughing too, and said he literally laughed out loud at the irony.  He than said jokingly, "Hypocrite!" I laughed too, but indeed he was speaking the truth (in laughter).

As I mentioned on my blog on Monday, I am conflicted about Halloween.  My pastor (who readily admits to being a hypocrite as well) made a great point that if we turn everything over to the devil for evil, then evil abounds.  But if we reclaim and redeem things, we can make them for good.  Halloween is a controversial subject, and I certainly do not have all the answers!  But I am thankful for a pastor who speaks the truth in laughter.

It is a delicate balance to be in the world, but not "of" the world. To be a light to the darkness, we have to step toward the darkness. But we cannot become the darkness, but rather shine the light of God there. And as Christians I think we sometimes get so stuck on Oct 31st, that we forget the evil that is happened the other 364 days of the year. Even in looking at my own life, dressing up for Halloween is one of the least sinful things I have done. I am thankful for a God who redeemed and reclaimed me!

So, when do we stand and fight? When do we redeem? When do we boycott? All we can do is pray for wisdom in our decision making, and mercy when our decisions are wrong.

How do you balance being in the world, but not of it? And who can you gently speak the truth to today, perhaps even in laughter?

Chatty Kelly

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween: Trick or Treat?

My kids - 2009

Get together a group of Christian moms and ask them about Halloween and you'll get as many different answers as there are women. Some adamantly are against it as the devil's day. Others don't trick or treat, but do alternate "Fall Festivals" complete with costumes and candy. Finally, there are some that say "it's all in fun" and anything goes.

I don't know where I fall. On one hand, I trick or treated as a kid. I loved it! I love Jesus a lot and don't see how I was scarred by trick or treating. At the same time, the bible says to avoid every kind of evil, and that witch craft is evil.

This is one of those gray areas. Another is shows like "Wizards of Waverly Place" and books like "Harry Potter." They are about witchcraft, so I don't let my kids watch them. But I watched Bewitched as a kid, loved it, and played wiggling my nose to create magic spells. It was fun and pretend. Of course, we also pretended to smoke, complete with candy cigarettes! But today I am a non-smoker (and have never smoked). So where do you draw the line?

Some churches recommend using Halloween as an evangelism tool, giving outChristian tracts along with candy. Remember what is meant for evil, God can turn for good. My friend Sharon shares what her family does here. While Susan participates in a reverse trick or treat. You can read about that here.

Finally, I encourage all of you to read Romans 14. It is an excellent example of folks believing different things in Christ (some eat meat, some don't). I believe you could insert "celebrate Halloween" in these verses to get the same result. Verse 13 sums up the chapter when it says "Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way."

This is a controversial subject. I'd love to hear what your family does in conjunction with Halloween. What I encourage everyone to do, it not to judge their neighbors decisions to participate or not. Listen to God's prompting for your family life, and make your decisions accordingly.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 -- Avoid every kind of evil.

Chatty Kelly

This post originally ran Halloween 2008.