I’m a typical twenty-somethings girl… I “do” or celebrate all the normal holidays of someone raised in Canada: Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, (MY BIRTHDAY), Father’s Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Remembrance Day Christmas and New Year’s… I may have missed a few long weekends, but not ones that generally come with celebrations or specific traditions.
I am also Christian (mind you, I’m a Christian who is not sure she believes in 85-97% of the stuff “preached” at her current religious institution). If you are not sure why me being a Christian conflicts with what I’ve shared above, check out this recent blog post about Christianity and Halloween… but I’ll sum it up for you: Halloween is from the devil and good Christians shouldn’t participate in any of its “rituals”… it is an old pagan festival and has lots of evil spirits, darkness and witchcraft in it.
In some Christian communities this means “Harvest Parties” at the church on Halloween night: a night where you can send your kids, in their cute little costumes, to the church for their fill of candy and “fall themed” games. In my current Christian community, this is seen as a bigger infraction than just celebrating actual Halloween: Christians who do this are being “lukewarm” (perhaps the biggest insult in the Christian world); they’re not taking a stand against immorality and are ensuring that their children don’t miss out on all the “good fun” of this evil celebration.
I personally find this discourse exhausting. And kind of irrelevant.
Here’s the thing about Christianity: there are so any different viewpoints and interpretations of what is acceptable and unacceptable… what Christians or “Christians” do or do not do with their time is really between them and whatever version of God/Jesus they believe in (Cue to Izzie Stevens, Grey’s Anatomy: “If you want to have an abortion because you want to have an abortion, that’s between you and whatever God you believe in. If you want to have an abortion because you think that’s what medicine is telling you… that’s between you and me.”)
I used to live a pretty double life: I used to tip-toe around church wearing one mask and take it off and put on another when I left. I used to keep it to myself that I loved Buffy and Angel, scary movies, scifi… that I read Harry Potter and loved dystopian fiction, that cuss words occasionally (or frequently) slipped (or were consciously forced) from my lips…
Why people who don’t think Harry Potter is acceptable for their children or teens to read because there is so much magic in it, but then let their kids enjoy Narnia or Disney Princess movies completely baffles me. At least be consistent if you’re going to push your morals on other people. Magic is magic and Harry Potter is no different than Narnia… but that’s a blog topic for another day.
The conflict I constantly faced with this double life majorly contributed to me leaving the church for a prolonged period of time. Twice. But when I missed my “friends” and the community so much (it seems church friends are only friends if you’re a part of the same church) that I needed to return, I did return: I just made a very conscious choice that I wasn’t going to live a double life anymore. This has been mostly great… because I am just being me… the imperfect person that I am.
And here’s the thing about that: I do Halloween. I always have. I don’t come from a Christian family, so they always have and always will “do” Halloween (I think “celebrate” is a misnomer in this instance). I don’t generally dress up in death-filled, dark, horror costumes (mostly cuz that is not my style), but if I wanted to, I would. This year, I am dressing up as Little Red Riding Hood with a bloody wolf’s head in her basket, cuz she is badass and killed the wolf (oops, there goes the cuss slip).
I don’t really feel like my salvation is at risk because I decided that it is more important to honour my mother and father and the traditions they raised me in than to honour a church body that can’t even make up its mind about where the line is drawn in the leaves around Halloween. There wouldn’t be a problem if I, with the right attitude, decided not to honour the traditions of my family for whatever reason: I no longer live off white-refined sugar and carbs, and I don’t think Jesus has a problem with that either.
My relationship or lack of relationship with Jesus… whether I actually pray or don’t pray… or talk to him or think that’s silly… or whether I even believe in Him or not… is really nobody’s business but my own. My salvation is between me and Him. No one else needs to be involved in that equation.
Mark 16:15-16 says this: “And [Jesus] said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.’”
If you want to go preach the gospel, fill your boots. I have no problem with that. But once someone has heard and understood the gospel (which I have)… your job, as far as other people’s salvation is involved, is done. Unsolicited interaction after that point is overstepping on someone’s free will.
In closing, there’s this: I have heard, read, had preached at/to me, acted out, been in dramas and plays that demonstrate, sang and lead other people to the gospel. I have full understanding and comprehension of what it means and what the Bible says is expected of me, as a Christian, should I a) believe it and b) expect salvation on judgment day. I’ve even been baptized (twice!)… and I have the intellectual ability to both look into anything I may wonder about or make a phone call to inquire about it. So I don’t need other Christians telling me what to do with this, okay?
And I do Halloween. I dress up. I shop for it. I buy candy for it. The whole shebang.
Stay tuned: perhaps in my next blog I will tackle Christianity and Yoga and discuss whether I am going to hell because I say “Namaste”. I promise, it won’t be too repetitive.