Jesus-ween vs. Halloween {I Feel the Need to Say Something Here}

I wasn’t going to post about Halloween this year.  I just wasn’t.  I did it last year and well, that’s enough.  But no, someone had to get my feathers ruffled once again and so I feel the need. (I know, you people are laughing at me now thinking I could just walk away quietly from this but hey, what would be the fun in that? So here I go.)

It seems there is a Christian group going around and promoting “Jesus-ween”. ugh.  When I heard this a couple of weeks ago I purposely did NOT Google it or check into it any further.  I tuned out.  Mostly because I personally find it offensive that my Jesus’ name is being reduced to something LIKE Halloween. Oh please, don’t tell me you’re in favour of this~ please!!!

Let me play Devil’s advocate for a minute(yes, here, on Halloween of all things).  If Christians really want to make a statement on Halloween, they’re doing it wrong by labeling it Jesus-ween and trying so hard to BE LIKE the world but just putting on a different coat.  I mean really~ if I wanted to be different than someone, I wouldn’t act like them, talk like them and walk like them but just with a different shirt on , would I?? That’s what this is to me~ it’s fake and it’s cheesey and I totally get why we’re the laughing stock of the free world right now.

I’m not going to get into the theology of Halloween or why it exists.  Plainly put, more than 95% of the people who participate in Halloween are doing it to have fun, dress up and get free candy.  As much as I (or other Christians) might like to TEACH them the truth~ they don’t care.  They really don’t.

I took my 2 youngest out trick or treating with a friend tonight.  We  don’t do it every year and after about an hour we’re done. They don’t need bags full. They don’t need to be greedy.  They just want to have fun.  I watched them go to the various houses and I watched other parents.  I watched reactions at doorways and I noticed something.  People are pleasant on Halloween.  People, whose doors are very often closed off to their neighbours, were visiting, smiling and hospitable.    Say what you want and be grouchy if you must, but people in Canada(and the US) love this day.  I don’t care for the gore. I hate the scary stuff.  I find that there is way too much over-kill(pun intended) with the horror movies, murderous scenes, gravestones and evil costumes.  There are definitely better ways to dress up and have fun.

But what are we, as Christians, saying to our neighbours when our lights are off, our curtains are drawn and our doors are closed?? What witness are we being when we are cheap with the treats and heavy on the dogma?   I’m sort of fed up with it.  Do I like Halloween ? NO.  Do I love my neighbours? Yes.  This is a command from scripture: Love your neighbours as yourself. (Matthew 22:39)  Church, we have to get this right.

Now, back to Jesus-ween…ewww, typing it just makes my skin crawl.  I think the intention is good but the execution is sort of off. I have no problem with handing out Christian tracts, stories, Bibles or whatever….WITH candy.  I have no problem with Christians being salt and light(we are supposed to) in a dark world…on a dark street, in a dark culture, on a darkness filled day. I have NO PROBLEM.  But let’s not draw so much negative attention that we actually defeat our own purpose!  Check out this article…we look like idiots:

This Halloween, a Calgary-based Christian organization is asking Toronto households to respond to trick-or-treaters with a simple phrase: Jesus Loves You.

JesusWeen, a non-profit founded in 2002, promotes the distribution of Bibles and other religious paraphernalia to trick-or-treaters. The movement doesn’t intend to deprive children of sweets, but wants parents to also consider doling out Jesus-themed postcards and pamphlets.

The initiative is an “alternative for anyone who chooses not to celebrate Halloween, and especially for most Christians,” according to the JesusWeen website.

For the past few weeks, Toronto organizers have been petitioning churches and canvassing at local shopping centres. Roughly 500 area churches have been made aware of the program, said John Crowne of JesusWeen’s Toronto office. Other grassroots marketers have posted flyers in grocery stores and on car windshields.

The website states that 2011 efforts are focused on Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton.

JesusWeen also encourages participants to forego “evil”-looking costumes in favour of all-white attire.

But anti-JesusWeen campaigners have taken to social media in the run-up to Halloween, criticizing the initiative for targeting children with religious dogma. “A Protest Against Jesus Ween” and “Stop the fascist Jesus-ween movement” are two Facebook groups. Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel spoofed the program earlier this month, calling it “even lamer than it sounds” and depicting conservative Christian children promoting themselves as “Jesus wieners.”

Organization members are wary of being labelled as proselytizers, and instead see their work as an educational service.

“We feel that if kids get a postcard that says ‘Jesus loves you’ it expresses some form of information. They can embrace it or ignore it,” Crowne said. “They can have a choice.”

Jair Guerrero, the Kids Church director at Toronto City Church, which runs its own alternative, non-ghoulish Halloween event, said JesusWeen is an acceptable form of evangelization.

“I wouldn’t think that it’s invasive,” he said. “It’s what we as churches are supposed to be doing.”

Some of the responses on FB to this article were:

“Un-believable. Can’t kids be kids for one day of the year?”

” Give my kid a bible, and you might just get it rammed up your ass…”

“it’s sad when folks actually believe in demons, witches and ghosts”

…and a few others that I won’t bother quoting.

The point is this: we’re not making the point.  The media is all over this and when the media gets  a hold of something it doesn’t much matter if there’s a positive side because they will make it negative.  I suggest, if you feel so compelled to put Jesus on the face of Halloween , you start BEING Jesus: Work with homeless people on Halloween, feed your neighbours, volunteer your time, give, give and give some more. That’s how you make a statement and get noticed for all the right reasons.  Right now, Christians look like candy thieves. 

And as for all the comments that are nasty and very, very offensive to Christians; be forewarned…this is the world we now live in and it will get worse.  We are strangers in a foreign land.  People who do not have the Holy Spirit within them do not understand what we’re talking about.  We have to pray and pray and pray some more.  And we have to show love, be gracious and NOT judgmental.   Jesus was whipped and beaten and not once did he accuse or berate those who took delight in seeing Him suffer.

We  have a lot of work to do to be seen in the same light.