Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rethinking Evangelical Postures on Halloween

I am late in making my contribution to the latest synchroblog touching on various facets of Halloween. My contribution will be simple. The thrust of my thinking has been presented before in that while many evangelicals view Halloween through the lens of occultism and Paganism there are serious problems with this line of reasoning for historical and cultural reasons. I direct the interested reader to this previous post for my historical and cross-cultural comparison of Halloween with Mexico's Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). I also recommend a review of my post at TheoFantastique on rethinking horror films as many of the arguments there apply equally well to Halloween. In addition, there is the recent interview at TheoFantastique with Jack Santino that considers the perspectives of folklore and festival considerations related to Halloween and other festivals of death.

Beyond my reflections on such topics I'd like to recommend two helpful resources. The first is a book by friend and colleague Lint Hatcher titled The Magic Eightball Test: A Christian Defense of All Things Spooky. This book is a great read, and a wonderful addition to any library. The second resource, and I may be jumping the gun here, has also been spearheaded by Lint, with the cooperation and contributions of like-minded colleagues, and that is a new website titled I strongly encourage readers to review these two resources so that evangelicals might move beyond fear-based and ignorance-based reactions against this marvelous holiday. Perhaps there is more to Halloween in positive ways, such as festival and the spiritual, than many evangelicals have been willing to grant.

Other Synchrobloggers on This Topic:

The Christians and the Pagans Meet for Samhain at Phil Wyman's Square No More
Our Own Private Zombie: Death and the Spirit of Fear by Lainie Petersen
Julie Clawson at One Hand Clapping
Vampire Protection by Sonja Andrews
What's So Bad About Halloween? at Igneous Quill
H-A-double-L-O-double-U-double-E-N Erin Word
Halloween....why all the madness? by Reba Baskett
Steve Hayes at Notes from the Underground
KW Leslie at The Evening of Kent
Hallmark Halloween by John Smulo
Mike Bursell at Mike's Musings
Sam Norton at Elizaphanian
Removing Christendom from Halloween at On Earth as in Heaven
Vampires or Leeches: A conversation about making the Day of the Dead meaningful by David Fisher
Encountering hallow-tide creatively by Sally Coleman
Kay at Chaotic Spirit
Apples and Razorblades at Johnny Beloved
Steve Hayes at Notes from the Underground
Fall Festivals and Scary Masks at The Assembling of the Church
Why Christians don't like Zombies at Hollow Again
Peering through the negatives of mission Paul Walker
Sea Raven at Gaia Rising
Halloween: My experiences by Lew A
Timothy Victor at Tim Victor's Musings
Making Space for Halloween by Nic Paton


Sally said...

Thank you John- I have been pondering how to engage with the feast of All Souls which is in effect a day of the dead- your posst was very helpful - I'd be grateful for more of your insights regarding the conversation I've blogged about.

Anonymous said...

Hi John:
Boy, Halloween is a tough one. But I think it's a holiday worth avoiding. Here are five fantastic alternatives to this very destructive holiday:

I like your musings and point you in the direction of my own Christian intellectual blog: Under God's Right Arm.

John W. Morehead said...

Hello, Colson. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, Halloween might be a tough one for many evangelicals, but it's worth rethinking. Did you read my previous posts on it and related topics, or the other resources I mentioned in this post as a means of reassessing your view that it is "a holiday worth avoiding"? I don't think you did. Why consider an alternative (like the favorite evangelical fall festival) when the real thing is not out of bounds? And to say it's a sin as you do on your blog makes me question just how soundly intellectual and Christian your blog is.

Strongly disagreeing with respect,


Lainie Petersen said...

Um, may want to check out Colson's blog personally.

I think you will find that Colson is just having a laugh. :-)

John W. Morehead said...

Colson, I owe you an apology. When I make a mistake I admit it. I am so used to seeing evangelical rants about Halloween that on my quick glance at your blog article I did not pick up on the wonderful humor. Please accept my apologies, and my tnanks for a great blog!


David said...

Unfortunately I can't remember who it is but there is a Jesus follower producer in Hollywood that does a lot with horror and the dark side of life. The idea being that we should explore all sides of spirituality because if we only make it harps, angles, rainbows, and sunshine, we miss the real world.
And in darkness God is still present. A thin place, even though we may not see it.