Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Hallowe'enHallowe'en (or just "Halloween"). As if we Christians didn't have enough issues to split us into multiple camps as it is: homosexuality, women priests, women bishops, the hymn/song debate, the Filioque issue, robes or no robes, the appropriateness of pebbles in worship... But Hallowe'en is another one, and it's interesting because it seems to create different fracture lines to some of the other issues. Although you can guess where some people are likely to go on it (most conservative Evangelicals would be against celebrating it, for instance, in my experience), others who you might think would have strong views don't. And vice versa.
But it's one of those issues on which people feel that they _ought_ to have strong views, and it's an issue which has been raising its head more in the UK than it did, say, 10 years ago. This is because the retail sector (read "supermarkets", mainly) have realised that there's a big, big buck to be made from selling costumes and food and accoutrements to children and their parents. That and because it's a major cultural event in the US which we've picked up on from their media.
So, why do people think that they ought to have a view on it? Well, for Christians, the view that's been fed by the strongly anti-Hallowe'en brigade is that it's a celebration of darkness and evil which is linked to a pagan past and which is inherently un-Christian. I can kind of see this, although I'd come back with the contention that at least we're remembering a Christian festival here (albeit possibly levered into a pre-Christian consciousness of spirits and animus-worship). All Hallows' Eve is about remembering all those who've died in the faith, and that's a good thing. Looking at the dark side is less so, I agree, and there are dangers there, but for most people - and certainly most kids, and that's where lots of the concern arises, I suspect - the dark side (evil) really isn't what's being celebrated. The best type of "trick or treating" (which most of us in the UK seem to have missed) is about families having fun and bonding with other people in their community in a joint community pursuit - of which, God knows, we have too few.
That's not to say that I'm entirely happy about it, and in particular about the blatant commercialisation of (yet another) Christian festival, but I think that Hallowe'en exists as an education opportunity, rather than as a ranting opportunity, and that's where I'd like to start the debate from a Christian standpoint. I look forward to reading what my fellow synchrobloggers have to say on the subject: I do hope they're not all as woolly liberal as I am...
SynchroblogToday is a "synchroblog" on the subject of "Christianity and Paganism". If you've liked what you read here, or, more particularly, if you didn't, and you'd like to read some other opinions, please visit one of the other participating blogs:
- The Christians and the Pagans Meet for Samhain at Phil Wyman's Square No More
- Our Own Private Zombie: Death and the Spirit of Fear by Lainie Petersen
- Julie Clawson at One Hand Clapping
- John Morehead at John Morehead's Musings
- Vampire Protection by Sonja Andrews
- What's So Bad About Halloween? at Igneous Quill
- H-A-double-L-O-double-U-double-E-N Erin Word
- Halloween....why all the madness? by Reba Baskett
- Steve Hayes at Notes from the Underground
- KW Leslie at The Evening of Kent
- Hallmark Halloween by John Smulo
- Mike Bursell at Mike's Musings
- Sam Norton at Elizaphanian
- Removing Christendom from Halloween at On Earth as in Heaven
- Vampires or Leeches: A conversation about making the Day of the Dead meaningful by David Fisher
- Encountering hallow-tide creatively by Sally Coleman
- Kay at Chaotic Spirit
- Apples and Razorblades at Johnny Beloved
- Steve Hayes at Notes from the Underground
- Fall Festivals and Scary Masks at The Assembling of the Church
- Why Christians don't like Zombies at Hollow Again
- Peering through the negatives of mission Paul Walker
- Sea Raven at Gaia Rising
- Halloween: My experiences by Lew A
- Timothy Victor at Tim Victor's Musings
- Making Space for Halloween by Nic Paton
I have a few creative ideas of my own on that subject...
one last point- pebbles/stones in worship - controversial-- really???? I thought it was now a tradition!
"Woolly Liberal?" I'd love to meet a truly "woolly liberal" out there whether in cyberspace or real time.
For a truly "woolly" discussion/ exploration of the Revised Common Lectionary from the point of view of the theology suggested by Spong, Crossan, Borg and others, see my website at http://www.gaiarising.org. I would appreciate serious discussion there.
I also have weighed in with this synchroblog -- fascinating.
Halloween is still my fave holiday though:-)
What do you do with them?
What arcane ritual have I missed?
Trick or treat I've ehard of, though not seen in practice, but pebbles?
maybe I'll start a stones and tea-lights group on facebook!!!