Stop throwing rocks.

It’s that time of year again.  The leaves are changing (at least in the US), the air is crisp, the stores are decorated for Christmas…OK, they’ve been decorated for Christmas since July, but work with me here.

Thursday is Halloween.  Depending on who you talk to, it’s either a day for small children to drive their parents crazy wanting to dress up as the most complicated figure ever (seriously–try turning your son into a Transformer) or it’s the day when all Hell breaks loose–literally.

The blogosphere is humming with post after post, and people, there is no middle ground on this one.  As if the world needs another reason to not want anything to do with Christians, here we are gift wrapping it for them anyway.  And here’s my take on the whole thing.

Whatever side you’re on…IT’S OK.  You are ALLOWED to have your reasons for not wanting your children to participate, and you are ALLOWED to have your reasons for letting them participate.  Dressing your child up as Winnie-the-Pooh and taking him down the block to show him off to your neighbors is OK.  Keeping your children at home and having a family evening with them is OK.  What is NOT OK is treating your fellow Christians like they are the scum of the earth for having an opinion, and doing what they feel is best for their family…no matter which side of the discussion they are on.  And it’s NOT OK to teach your children that they are better than the little kids whose terrible parents allow them to participate in Trick-or-Treating.

Stop throwing rocks, people.

I have good Christian friends on both sides of the issue.  One dear friend simply said “Please respect my wishes not to participate.”  She didn’t give a reason, and she didn’t have to.  For all we know she’s scheduled herself to be painting the kitchen that night, and that’s FINE.  Another dear friend mentioned that all of the creepy decorations made her children nervous when they were little, and so they’ve never celebrated it.  GOOD–it irritates the wax out of me for parents to purposely terrify their children by forcing them to participate in something that they don’t understand.  Don’t want your kids to have all that candy?  GREAT!  Don’t want the neighbors to see that your house is already decorated for Christmas?  AWESOME.

On the other side of the issue are parents who choose to allow their children to participate.  GOOD CHRISTIAN PARENTS who allow their children to participate.  AND THAT’S OK.  This Thursday Patrick will Trick-or-Treat with a bunch of other missionary kids at a bunch of other missionary houses.  Then we will gather back together in a central location and eat hot dogs.  Hot dogs down here are generally so bad that they’re criminal, but they are by no means Satanic. (And before you call me out for having my son only Trick-or-Treat with Christians, please know that this is not an Ecuadorian custom.  We’re trying to give our kiddos a bit of US fun.)

The discussions that I’ve seen on this subject tend to throw the rocks at the moms.  REALLY, PEOPLE?  Like we as mothers need ONE MORE REASON to doubt ourselves as we’re raising these precious kiddos.  We are bombarded from every side from the moment our babies are conceived, and now we’re going to shoot each other over a Perry the Platypus costume and a Snicker’s Bar?

My point is this.  We, as Christians, are called to love our fellow man.  We are called to be salt and light to the world around us.  If people are watching us (and believe me, they are watching us) and see us getting into our verbal playground brawls over things like Trick-or-Treating, WE ARE NOT SHOWING THEM THE LOVE OF CHRIST.  Instead we are showing them our bratty, holier-than-thou attitudes that are the very reason that they don’t want anything to do with Jesus in the first place.

I am not trying to convince you to change your position on the issue.  What I am trying to do is get you to understand that just as you have your feelings on the matter, so do the people around you, and that you all have the right to feel the way you do.  What you don’t have the right to do is use your position on the issue to make yourself out to be some kind of “Super Christian” who is better than everyone else.  If your neighbors ask you why you don’t celebrate, by all means use it as an opportunity to share your faith.  If they know you are a Christian, and they ask you why you DO celebrate, by all means use it as an opportunity to share your faith.  Just don’t use it as an opportunity to try and make yourself look better than them.  Because as a Christian, you should already know better than that, now shouldn’t you.

One more point.  I am well aware of the history behind Halloween.  I am well aware that witchcraft and demonic activity are alive and well in our very messed up, fallen world.  What I DO NOT BELIEVE is that allowing a child to Trick-or-Treat contributes to demonic activity, any more than I believe that letting my children read Harry Potter means that I am going to find them in the back yard boiling bats and casting spells.  If you believe that your child is dabbling in the occult, you need to intervene, and quickly.  Just please don’t blame it on Halloween, because that is most assuredly not the problem.

A Different Kind of Christmas…

The View from the Mountaintop

A Different Kind Of Christmas

“The lights around the Christmas tree don’t burn as bright
And all around the world it isn’t a silent night
Outside I hear the voices sing the sweetest sounds of caroling
But somehow there’s a sadness in the song
In our hearts we know that something’s wrong

It’s a different kind of Christmas
In a different kind of world
Even though it looks the same

Everything has changed
It’s a different kind of Christmas…”

 

I love Christmas.  It is hands down my favorite time of the year.  As I type this, it is the 27th of October, and by the end of this week at least one of my Christmas trees will be up, the mantel will be decorated and Christmas music will be playing all day (at least until the Sweet Hubby gets home.  He’s Scroogey.)  I love the lights and the decorations…

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Back in the game.

The View from the Mountaintop

Yesterday, for the first time in probably 7 years, I attended the weekly kid’s club at the dump.  One of the drawbacks (among the MANY blessings) of working at the Alliance Academy was that it kept me out of the ministry loop, other than the yearly Christmas parties.  During the last several party weeks, I have found myself very disturbed at the fact that I was essentially just like most of our team members–coming in for the week of the parties but not having much involvement throughout the rest of the year.  Working full-time drained what little energy that my fibromyalgia consented to give me, and left me too exhausted for much else.

At the start of the 2012-2013 school year, Dan and I did a lot of talking and praying about whether or not it was time for me to resign from the school and become more actively involved…

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Sometimes it’s just a little too easy.

Yesterday Dan and I had to go downtown to get a copy of our marriage certificate and a copy of his birth certificate.  When you live overseas, especially in our crazy little neck of the woods, this kind of thing can be panic inducing/marriage wrecking/therapy requiring.  I was understandably apprehensive.  🙂

It ended up taking us less than an hour for BOTH documents.  Ordinarily I would entertain you with a recap of what actually happened, but since it took less than an hour, I’ll change it up and tell you what didn’t happen instead.  Quito friends, be jealous!

-We didn’t have to prove that we were married in order to obtain proof of our marriage.

-They didn’t run out of the correct size paper to print the document on.

-The printer worked.

-We didn’t have to walk five blocks to a bank and stand in line for an hour to pay for a fifty-cent document and bring the receipt back so that they would give us the fifty-cent document.

-No one glared at us.

-We weren’t made to feel guilty because we were asking someone to do their job.

-Dan didn’t have to produce 17 forms of identification and a sacrificial squirrel to get a copy of his birth certificate.  He told them who he was and they BELIEVED HIM.

-There were No.  Lines.

-People SMILED.

-We did not have to give anyone a single copy of our passport.  Not a color copy, not a black and white copy, not a copy printed ONLY on A4 paper…not a single copy.  Our beloved over-copied passports just rode around in Dan’s back pocket and enjoyed their leisure time.

-I didn’t blow my testimony after someone had looked at me with a blank stare for the 90th time and told me that I needed a signature from their supervisor who-should-be there-by-9-but-might-be-there-by-10-and-i-can-only-be-first-in-line-if-no one-else-shows-up.

-They had ink pens for us to use to sign the document.  Said ink pens were not attached to the desk by a 3-inch long piece of masking tape.

-No one cut in front of us.

-There were no screaming children.  No one tried to sell me gum, candy, windshield wiper blades or sunglasses.

Frankly, it was a little boring.  Since I’m me, and I can’t ever let anything be boring, I ended up spicing things up a little bit by tripping over the curb in front of approximately 9,457 college students and stumbling across the sidewalk like a drunken circus clown until I could regain my balance.

You all really wish you could have been there, don’t you.