Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Friday, October 24, 2014

What Should a Christian Do On Halloween?

First of all, taking your kids trick-or-treating door to door will not condemn you to hell. Nor will gathering with your friends in costume on October 31. BUT... are you doing it for the Glory of God?
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
I really like the autumn, the changing leaves, the smells, fresh apple cider, harvest time... and I like Jack O' Lanterns. Well, maybe I like the candle light from inside the Jack O' Lantern the most, (I love candle light, it's my primary house decoration around Christmas) followed by the roasted pumpkin seeds and my (so far unsuccessful) attempts to make pie from the giant fruit (yes, a pumpkin is a fruit). But other than hacking up a pumpkin (if I carve anything into it, it's an Ichthys)  and pouring an ice cold glass of apple cider or two and a powder sugar covered donut (which I don't like, but it's traditional) that's pretty much my revelry, I don't celebrate Halloween. 

I'm not going to sit here and tell you not to celebrate Halloween or you'll roast in hell, that's legalism, and I get enough of that in tribulation 'discussions'. But since it's my blog, I'm going to explain why I don't celebrate Halloween and invite you along for the ride. To begin with, Halloween has always been and always will be a pagan festival: 

Our modern celebration of Halloween is a descendant of the ancient Celtic fire festival called “Samhain”. The word is pronounced “sow-in,” with “sow” rhyming with cow. The Irish English dictionary published by the Irish Texts Society defines the word as follows: “Samhain, All Hallowtide, the feast of the dead in Pagan and Christian times, signalizing the close of harvest and the initiation of the winter season, lasting till May, during which troops (esp. the Fiann) were quartered. Faeries were imagined as particularly active at this season. 
From it the half year is reckoned. also called Feile Moingfinne (Snow Goddess). The Scottish Gaelis Dictionary defines it as “Hallowtide. The Feast of All Soula. Sam + Fuin = end of summer.” Contrary to the information published by many organizations, there is no archaeological or literary evidence to indicate that Samhain was a deity. The Celtic Gods of the dead were Gwynn ap Nudd for the British, and Arawn for the Welsh. The Irish did not have a “lord of death” as such. (Rowan Moonstone, “The Origins of Halloween”)
 And it's a pagan "holy" day
Many followers of various pagan religions, such as Druids and Wiccans, observe this day as a religious festival. They view it as a memorial day for their dead friends, similar to the national holiday of Memorial Day in May. It is still a night to practice various forms of divination concerning future events. Also, it is considered a time to wrap up old projects, take stock of ones life, and initiate new projects for the coming year. As the winter season is approaching, it is a good time to do studying on research projects and also a good time to begin hand work such as sewing, leather working, woodworking, etc. for Yule gifts later in the year. (Rowan Moonstone, “The Origins of Halloween”)
On this night, the veil between our world and the spirit world is negligible, and the dead may return to walk amongst us. Halloween is the night to ensure that they have been honored, fed and satisfied–and is the best time of the year for gaining otherworldly insight through divination and psychic forecasting. Recognition of the unseen world and the ordinary person’s access to it, as well as the acceptance of death as a natural and illusory part of life is central to the sacred nature of this holiday... Methods of inner communication with divination tools: tarot, palmistry, astrology, dream journaling … (?) archetypes: fairy tales, storytelling the Dark Ages, the medieval era, issues about superstition and eternal truths, skeletons: the skeletal system, organs, anatomy …issues about death, persecution (using the Burning Times as a beginning point for older children), mysteries, the spirit world night: nocturnal animals, bodies of water: rivers, lakes, ocean, ponds … (Jill Dakota, “Halloween: October Festival of the Dead”)
Yes, Jill went there. It's hard to find a neopagan who doesn't use the term "The Burning Times" with undeserved but fervent self-righteousness yet has no clue that the primary target of the Catholic church during "The Burning Times" was Christians for the heresy of reading the bible. Hopefully all Christians know what God has to say about "gaining otherworldly insight through divination and psychic forecasting" and "Methods of inner communication with divination tools: tarot, palmistry, astrology..."
9 “When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.12 For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you. (Deuteronomy 18:9-12)
Halloween is a festival of the dark, it is a "holy" day for pagans, witches, warlocks, and satanists. If I do anything with a pagan, witch or satanist it's to witness to the glory of Christ Jesus, why would I want to do anything in celebration with them? Well, God has that covered for me too
14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 17 “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)
Paul says it all for me, Jesus called Himself and us "the light of the world" and we should let our light shine (Matthew 5:14-16), how can I do that skulking in the dark dressed as a goul? I am a member of the body of Christ, how could I glorify him by reveling with followers of Asherah and Baal? Halloween is of this world, and probably the most worldly day on the calendar, yet I am not of this world, which is why God says “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,”

Pastor Joe Schimmel is a great teacher and he teaches quite well and very convincingly why Christians should not be conformed to this world (as if Romans 12:2 isn't reason enough) in his annual posting on Halloween, but oddly just as I am inspired by good teachers, I'm also inspired by very bad teachers. I had an avowed communist for an American history professor who railed against Joe McCarthy and his House Un-American Activities Committee. I in turn asked him in front of the class "Can you explain to us how SENATOR Joseph McCarthy had anything to do with a HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Committee?" (My term paper "Russian Venona Papers Show McCarthy Was Right" got A+ from the chair of the history department)

That being said, I found a dilly of a bad teacher in Angelo Stagnaro, Ange is a stage magician and "mentalist" performing in Europe and North America and his top act is a print apologist for the Roman Catholic Church. In his article which was printed in U.S. Catholic Ange says "There's no reason to be afraid of the ghouls and goblins roaming the neighborhood on All Hallows' Eve. They're just participating in an ancient-and Catholic-holiday." I don't know about you but right there is reason enough for me to avoid this hellbound holiday. He goes on to say "Halloween's supposed occult connections are superficial and misleading. Halloween is steeped in Catholic theology and piety" Really, he actually went there!

Ange goes on to pooh-pooh any involvement of ancient pagans in the holiday calling Samhain "supposed pre-Christian origins", and he plumbs the depths of ignorance by boldly proclaiming "Despite the protestation of our "pagan" brothers and sisters, witches don't actually exist." Ange's reasoning is quite simple: "I've yet to meet anyone who can actually alter the weather, curdle milk simply by looking at it, or make wells run dry." I'm guessing that whole following pagan false gods, worshiping rocks, and unwittingly selling your soul to the devil doesn't count for anything in the Land Of Stagnaro. 

Ange also chooses to report "Mexican Catholics haven't had a problem reconciling frightening images with profound faith during their celebrations of the Day of the Dead (El Día de los Muertos). The Day of the Dead is their way of celebrating All Saints Day and All Souls Day." This is quite a stretch as there's nothing in reality to back up his claim. The Day of the Dead has been celebrated in Mexico for 3,000 years by the Aztecs. You know the Aztecs, the folks who ceremonially slaughtered thousands of people each year for fun, religion, and possibly out of boredom. They had several Feasts of the Dead, two of which (in our month of August, the 9th. and 10th. festival ‘months’ of the Aztec farming year) bore the names ‘Feast of the Little Dead Ones’ and ‘Feast of the Adult Dead’. 

Then the Roman Catholic Church showed up and steamrollered Central and South America and El Dia de los Muertos moved to November 1 (All Saints Day) and November 2 (All Souls Day)  A Spanish friar (Diego Durán) witnessed these festivities, a few decades after the Conquest, at the time of Allhallows/Saints/Souls in the Catholic calendar (ie when it is now) and wrote of his suspicions that ‘... the feast has been passed to the Feast of Allhallows in order to cover up the ancient ceremony’ He was clearly shocked to find out that a group of subjugated pagans will move their  holiday and cover it up instead of being tortured and killed for their beliefs. Shocking. 

Ange gleefully connects modern trick-or-treating to Guy Fawkes Day which is correct, but probably not something you'd want to advertise in a Catholic magazine. On November 5th 1606 Guy Fawkes was executed for his part in the Gunpowder Plot, the Catholic Church 's attempt to murder every member of British Parliament and the sovereign King of England in one volcanic blast of gunpowder. Not to burst Ange's bubble but Guy Fawkes day is the anniversary of Guy Fawkes execution and is traditionally an anti-Catholic, anti-Pope day. Trick or Treating did grow out of that but it's really not something you'd expect the Catholic church to celebrate.

But in this oddly amusing article  I found the most terrifying quote I've ever read, and NO ONE ever commented on it:
We are all weak creatures, and none of us are holy enough to stand before the throne of God. Thus we need the prayers of others. All Saints Day and All Souls Day are meant to remind us of the need to be humble before God and each other.
They didn't comment becuase this actually is Catholic dogma, it's called the intersession of saints. Sorry Ange, but God has other ideas.
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
And for Halloween;
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forcesof wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:11-12)
 So there's my costume, the full armor of God. and as for me, I'm going to spend the evening doing what ALL Christians should be doing:
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17)

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