You read it right – that’s what I’ll be doing this week. Let me explain. There are several friends in my life that I’ve been building relationships with over the years who either wouldn’t consider themselves Christ followers or aren’t actively involved in a church. They’re not “projects” of mine. They’re my friends. I try to live the life of Christ in front of them, listen to their story, occasionally invite them to our church, and just be a regular guy and a reliable friend. Several of them have either had bad experiences with church or have very negative perceptions of Christians.
As many of you know, I perform a lot of weddings. Years ago I met a photographer who asked me if I would be interested in doing some weddings for her. She also coordinates weddings. I said, “Yes” and thus began our relationship. It’s not like we’re “best friends” or anything, but I see her quite regularly, especially during the “wedding season” here in Charleston. She tells me that I am her favorite Minister to work with – that I don’t come across as fake or phony. She is a phenomenal photographer. She also grew up on James Island. She’s a wife and a mom. Over the years we’ve talked about everything from parenting to the economy to religion. She and her family don’t attend a church. I’ve invited her to our church. She hasn’t come – yet.
Well the other day, before a wedding, she was telling me all about the preparations she and her family were making for a huge annual Halloween party they were getting ready for. And then she stopped dead in her tracks, turned and looked at me and said, “Chris, you’re not one of THOSE Christians are you – who think I’m evil for participating in Halloween?” I assured her I wasn’t and gave her my two cents worth about Halloween.
On a side note, let me say I’ve never really been “into” Halloween. As a child, we always dressed up and “trick or treated.” As an adult, believe it or not, our kids dressed up and we took them “trick or treating” in our neighborhood. We pass out candy to kids in our neighborhood. Now, I realize for many I’ve just opened up a huge can and there are some who not only now doubt my calling into ministry, but my salvation. Let me say I believe in Satan and evil. But I also think that when we minimalize Satan and evil to a day of the year, it’s not God who wins a victory. I also see no difference in Christians who take a strong stance against Halloween dressing up and going to their church’s “Halle-boo-jah” or “Fall Festival” where they are passing out candy and my family walking around my community with friends and neighbors passing out candy. Actually, I see it as hypocritical. “But we’re dressed up like Angels and Bible characters!” Oh please.
I understand that we as parents must make personal decisions for our own family. I just think this is one of those areas where we can agree to disagree and have different opinions. But just be careful not to vilify the very people we are called to reach, the object of God’s love. Colossians 2:16-23, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.” Now obviously Paul wasn’t talking about Halloween. The context is Jewish legalism. But the principle is there just the same. Christians get wrapped up in self imposed outward rules and regulations. Vs. 23 in the NLT says this, “These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, humility, and severe bodily discipline. But they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires.” My point exactly.
Back to my story. My friend then said, “Chris, you HAVE to come to our Halloween Party!” She told me that it’s a costume party (prizes for best costumes), no children allowed, and that there will be drinking. I told her, “Count me in. I’d love to come!” The party is this Saturday night. So after our Island Day Adventure, I’ll be dressing up and heading out to the party. I’ve been thinking about what to wear. I want something cheap and funny. I decided to go as “Joe the Plumber” of the election fame. I borrow a tool belt, some plumbing tools, but what do I do about the “plumber’s crack”? The thought of wearing my pants low and showing my crack all night is not very appealing (although that would be pretty scary). But guess what? Party City and Hokus Pokus sell an attached butt crack for just such an occasion!
My son Christopher has been ragging me out about the party, telling me not to drink and drive. He’s soooo funny. I assured him I won’t. But I also told him that I was pretty sure that this party is exactly where Jesus would be. Hey – here’s a thought! WWJW – what would Jesus wear? I’m not sure, but later today your Pastor will be buying some butt crack.