What Should Christians Do About Halloween?


Halloween can fill us with warm fuzzies and fond memories.  Countless hours and millions of dollars are spent to persuade children and adults to disguise themselves, march around neighborhoods and beg for treats. Costumes, decorations, and candy consume the months of September and October each year.  But, if we stopped to look at this holiday with fresh eyes and a Biblical perspective, those warm fuzzies might be replaced with horror and shock at what we have been mindlessly participating in, all in the name of fun. Here are some points to consider as you contemplate what to do with this holiday.

First, let’s consider how this holiday began. Many years ago, Scottish, Irish and English priests taught that their god, Saman, would tell the spirits of dead people to communicate and visit with men on earth on October 31. Why October 31? They said that autumn, when leaves fall, is a symbol of death, and winter is the season of death. To keep these evil spirits away, these priests told people to burn animals, saying that the light of the fire would scare spirits away. Then they turned the animals inside-out to proclaim the future and to make peace with evil spirits. If these evil spirits did no harm to a family, the family would celebrate. Parents would dress their children up as ghosts and ghouls to scare away the real spirits, sending them to collect food and treats from neighbors. As the children paraded around the blocks, they would call out, “Trick or treat!” and if they received no treat, they would vandalize houses. People from these countries believed in witchcraft. Witches (women) and warlocks (men) wore dark clothes and were messengers and priests of the devil, Satan. They used his power to make people afraid of them. These innocent people were taught to believe that witches could fly on brooms and together with warlocks could transform themselves into bats, spiders and black cats. Witches’ special day is still October 31 because they believe all the spells they cast in the previous year would come true on that night. They celebrate with noisy partying and cut scary faces into pumpkins.

Why should we celebrate this day? It is filled with evil, the devil, and things with which we should not associate.

Walking through our neighborhood, lawns that just a few weeks ago contributed to a sense of peace and well-being with their verdant lawns now boast skeletons, tombstones and half-decomposed bodies protruding out of the ground. Ghosts, witches and spiders hang from trees. Black cats and ghoulish faces carved in pumpkins grace walkways and front porches.

Why? The overarching purpose seems to be to prey upon people’s fears. Why do we want to celebrate fear? We read in the Bible that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and of a sound mind,” (2 Timothy 1:7). And, “We did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear” (Romans 8:15). Rather, “Perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment” (I John 4:18). If God has set us free from fear, why would we willingly participate in a holiday that seeks to produce fear?

Not only does Halloween celebrate fear, but it also focuses on ghoulish, hellish death. We all will face death someday, but believers look forward to death that leads to life. Halloween focuses on the death that leads to eternal death. Everywhere we on Halloween we see signs of death. The Bible says, “He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24). So, why should we celebrate the very thing we’ve escaped?

Now you might be saying, “Look, the adults like decorating, the children like the dressing up and the candy so what could be wrong? Many people just celebrate Halloween because it’s fun. They think it is harmless. Fun is what everyone looks forward to.” But we have to face the facts. What does the Lord reveal in His word?

  • Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good (Romans 12:9).
  • Abstain from every form of evil (I Thessalonians 5:22).
  • Do not be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2).
  • Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God (James 4:4).
  • Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him (I John 2:15).

I’m not opposed to having fun, but we need to be careful how we implement our convictions about things like Halloween. Fun isn’t more important than showing our loyalty and allegiance to the God who has reached down to save us from the very powers of fear, death and darkness.

With that in mind,  now that we’ve examined the origins of Halloween and its focus on fear, death, and darkness, what are we as Christians to do? The holiday is not going away.

The truth is, while we don’t need to participate in the holiday, there are some advantages to the believer. For example, some of us go door-to-door trying to get an audience for the gospel with the hopes that someone will meet the Savior. But once a year, people come to our door and are a captive audience for the gospel. Why not take advantage of the opportunity? Jesus himself said, “If your neighbor asks something of you give it, and more besides.” If they come asking for candy, have it ready and also a tract and a short presentation of the gospel.

We have an opportunity to counteract the fear with hope, the darkness with light, and death with life. So let’s not participate in what the world has to offer, but instead respond with the gospel the Lord freely offers. We are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ our Lord.



All scripture quotations are from the New King James Version of the Bible

Perry, Bill. A Look inside America:  Exploring America’s Cultural Values and Holidays. Pennsylvania: Mulit Language Media, 2000.

Miller, Toby. What Does Halloween Celebrate? Crockett, KY. Rod and Staff Publishers.



Why and Who Christians Should Judge


The word “judge” has become synonymous with a pretty nasty image. The last thing Christians wants these days is to play into the stereotype of the judgmental religious fanatic who shoves a Bible in people’s faces and gives them a list of reasons why they’re wrong. And why would we? We’re constantly told that no one should ever judge anyone else for any reason. Even the Bible tells us not to judge:

“Judge not, that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2)

So, while we’re studiously avoiding the flecks in everyone’s eyes, with some biblical justification, we’ve made judgment as a concept in Christian circles so abhorrent that it couldn’t ever be good. Far be it from us to ever tell anyone that the way they live their lives is wrong. After all, we’re all sinners saved by grace, and no one is better or worse than anyone else. So no judgement. It’s just wrong, right?

Except God is our judge and he is righteous, so there is nothing inherently evil about judgment. We often forget because we think of Jesus as soft and gentle, which he is, but Jesus judged pharisees in a way that many of us today might consider unchristian. He called them hypocrites, broods of vipers, greedy, self-indulgent, lawless, murderers, and hell-bound in Matthew 23. Peter also condemned false teachers in 2 Peter 2, calling them slaves of corruption and saying that the gloom of utter darkness is reserved for them.

We don’t possess the same insight into the human soul as Jesus does, or perhaps even Peter, but we are also commanded to judge, specifically those inside the church who are living in error. In Matthew 18, Jesus commands us to rebuke in private a brother who sins against us.

Paul in 1 Corinthians 5 gives the most clear expectations of judgement for believers. He writes the church that it is alright to associate with the sexually immoral, greedy, swindlers and idolators of the world. Clearly, because Jesus also associated with them. But Paul writes that Christians should not even eat with another Christian who is “guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard or swindler” (verse 11). Paul ends with this charge:

“For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. ‘Purge the evil person from among you.’” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13)

There are right and wrong ways to judge, and right and wrong people to judge. As Christians, we bear a responsibility to judge each other’s actions for the purpose of sanctification. Letting a spiritual brother or sister live a life of sin in the church without consequences isn’t loving. We shouldn’t reprove others for the sins we ourselves struggle with but neither should we allow a sinning Christian to continue in fellowship unrepentant.

When judgement is needed, judgement without love is wrong and so is love without judgement. They aren’t mutually mutually exclusive concepts.

Let’s Be More Open About Our Sexuality


Sex has always seemed nebulous and far off to me. I never got the infamous talk from my parents. Most of what I learned as a blossoming teen came from the cheap jokes of my classmates and awkward presentations in health courses. The media hasn’t helped much either. Throw in some squeamishness from Christians who are walking a hard line to stay pure, and you’ve got a big, boiling pot of confusion.

As believers, we like to challenge ourselves to gain all the biblical knowledge we can. We decipher the original Hebrew meaning of key words to clarify alleged inconsistencies. We fiercely debate predestination versus free will.

Yet, we put sex in the vaguest terms possible and expect people to have a deep and profound understanding of it. When the topic does come up, we act like we just stepped on something slimy in the ocean. As if, by merely talking about it, we’ll be consumed with unholy desires. Song of Solomon is practically a banned book. God intended it for marriage. Keep yourself pure. Wait for the right person. All these phrases do is sweep the topic under the rug.

In my personal experience, this has left me feeling strangely guilty about the idea of having sex. After being told it’s taboo for so long, how can I be expected to shed years of confusion, fear, and restraint when the time comes? Will some primal instinct take over and I’ll suddenly be endowed with wisdom from beyond? I don’t know! No one ever talks about it! It also makes me rather embarrassed that I don’t have a clearer, more godly perspective on such an important part of life. So often, it’s exploited and misconstrued, and I don’t know how to talk about it, let alone defend it. I’d like for that to change.

So let’s be a little more open about our sexuality, shall we? Hiding from it doesn’t develop reverence for it. It leaves us in the dark, making us scared to understand it – and we shouldn’t be scared of something God created for us.

How to Talk to a Grieving Friend


First of all, let me say that I am in no way qualified to give expert advice on this topic. I am not trained in grief counseling. This is just what I’ve learned through personal experience. Hopefully it can help someone.

My dad died two years ago. No one was expecting it. It changed everything about my family. It changed me.

It’s hard to know what to say to someone who’s mourning. Death doesn’t make sense. Separation from the ones we love is the ultimate expression of sin. That’s why Jesus’ resurrection is the ultimate expression of victory. But right now, we still have to deal with death. It isn’t natural, and no verbal expression will ever be enough to eradicate loss. And yet, ignoring someone’s grief isn’t good either.

Even now, I still don’t know what to say to people who are dealing with the death of someone close to them. But I do know more than I used to, so here’s some advice.

1. There aren’t right and wrong things to say.

Some days I didn’t want to talk about I was going through at all. Other days I was dying for someone to ask me how I was doing. There were some people I wanted to talk to and other people I didn’t want to talk to. Sometimes I was overwhelmed by questions, and other times I welcomed them. One day someone might say something to me that was comforting, and the next day I would find the same comment aggravating. So there’s no list of right and wrong things to say. There aren’t magic words that are always going to help, because every person and every day is different.

2. Don’t feel pressured to let them know that you understand what they’re going through. 

Well-meaning people, thinking that it will help the grieving individual to know that other people have also experienced grief, will talk about the loved ones they’ve lost. I didn’t appreciate it at all. Some people who grieve may, but I felt like anyone who tried to compare my grief to theirs was trying to “one-up” me. I would talk about what I was going through, and instead of receiving sympathy, I would instead have to listen to someone talk about their own grief. Again, let me say, some people who grieve might appreciate knowing that they’re not the only ones who’ve ever lost someone, but I felt like what I was going through was being trivialized.

3. Let them know you care.

There aren’t right and wrong things to say. But if you’re unsure about whether to say anything at all, I think it’s better to let someone know you care about them and are aware that they’re going through something really hard. Even if I wasn’t receptive to discussion at the time, I still remember which friends tried to talk to me and which friends didn’t make any effort at all. I didn’t want other people to ignore the fact that I was going through something that consumed all of my heart and mind, even if it was painful for me to talk about at the time. So, if you’re unsure, speak up. You won’t regret letting someone know you love them.

4. Tell them you’re praying for them.

Of course, make sure you actually have been praying for them. But if sometimes you don’t know what to say, this lets them know they’re on your heart. Our greatest helper is God, who comforts the brokenhearted and knows what every person faces.

5. Don’t forget.

Time passes, but grief doesn’t pass so quickly. It can be easy to forget what our friends are dealing with, but chances are, they haven’t forgotten. Don’t bring it up everyday, but every once in a while, it’s nice to ask how they’re doing. When you’ve lost someone, it can feel like everyone else is going on as if nothing happened, while the whole world looks different to you. So it helps to know that someone remembers.

That’s all. Be compassionate to one another.

Why I Dropped Out of College


In the fall of last year, I was enrolled in the opticianry program at my local college. It was a promising program that boasted of an immersive learning environment that would prepare students for a stable career. My friends and family were proud of me for taking such a huge step, and I felt that it would be a challenge I would come to love. I bought the books and tools and buckled in for a crazy, but presumably rewarding semester.

And then I hit the brakes.

Okay, so my decision to withdraw wasn’t a sudden screeching halt – it built up over the course of a few weeks and through a lot of prayers and tears. But you get the idea. The deeper I got into the belly of the beast, the more I realized how much I didn’t belong there. It came to a point where I didn’t want to get out of bed because I dreaded studying the material I couldn’t bring myself to care about. But the biggest issue was that I knew I was running away from the interests and gifts that God had given me in order to pursue a sense of stability.

I received mixed reactions when I shared the news. Some were “concerned”, giving me shrugs and passive remarks. Some gave me encouraging smiles and pats on the back, respecting my choice and wanting me to be happy. Some high-fived me and called me brave, applauding my defiance of the system. In between all these things, I tried not to blame myself for taking a different path. I had to learn what it means to put my trust in God’s plans when mine fell through.

I spent my gap semester working, saving money, and researching career options. By the end, I had decided to take a leap of faith and go back to school for communications and marketing. I was always drawn to the broader fields, anyway. I still yield to uncertainty at times, but God is quick to remind me of His great provision. I’ve met some very successful graphic designers and media specialists (one of which I had an interview with recently). God used them to show me that I can use the gifts He’s given me in a career, and that His plan is not infeasible.

I suppose this means I’ve surrendered my title of college dropout, but the sentiment still remains: college isn’t for everyone. Just because a career path is stable, it doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for you. You could make all the money in the world, but if you’re pursuing something that God hasn’t called you to, you’re pursuing a false sense of stability.

Stop Celebrating Apathy


People who care too much about movies, television, and video games, we call fans, nerds, and geeks. If someone works too hard in one area of their life for our liking, we assume that they’re insecure about that area. If people are too religious, we call them fanatics, zealots, or extremists. Caring a lot about working out makes you a meathead, caring a lot about musicals makes you gay, caring a lot about work makes you a workaholic, and caring a lot about following rules makes you a goody-two-shoes (not that anyone uses that label anymore).

Chances are, you have passions you don’t share with other people because you’re afraid they won’t think you’re cool. Cool people don’t get excited about things. They don’t try too hard at anything. They don’t care what other people think of them.

Cool people are apathetic people. How messed up is that?

Understand that there is a place for balance. There is a point of unhealthy obsession. We, however, are not always qualified to judge where that point is for someone else. We shouldn’t feel better than someone else because we care less about doing well in school or impressing guys than they do.

We are commanded to love one another (John 13:14), which will require us to care about one another. We are commanded to work hard (Colossians 3:23, 2 Thessalonians 3:10), which will mean trying hard at something. We are commanded to live in peace with one another (Hebrews 12:14), which will mean caring to some extent about what other people think of us.

Let’s not make someone feel stupid for caring about something or someone else, no matter how stupid we think it is. Though we often are passionate about things that aren’t good for us, God has given us things that we care about for a reason. Passion, directed towards things that glorify God, brings about his purposes. And that’s what’s really cool.