Tonight is Halloween. I think of all the holidays on our calendar, this one could probably be most easily removed. However, I know how much joy it brought to me as a child -- and continues to bring to kids today.
Sometimes I wonder what the proper response to issues like Halloween should be. I know of churches and preachers who every year remind us of the evil roots from which Halloween began. Yet it seems to me that such a reaction only builds walls between us and our communities.
When I was studying Greek in college, my professors often referred to "root fallacy." This is the mistake of going back to the root meaning of a word in order to determine its usage in a passage. As my professors would say, "MEANING IS DETERMINED BY CONTEXT!"
Isn't that somewhat true of Halloween? To trace it back to its roots may make us look smart. But I don't know anyone (especially the kids dressed up like "High School Musical" characters or Batman) who attach any meaning to calling up spirits or having seances or worshipping Satan.
I know I sound somewhat inconsistent, since I am on such a crusade about us being countercultural people. But I think we need to be wise about picking our battles. And bashing a night when kids dress up and go around to ask for candy is not a hill I want to shed blood on. I think it makes us look like radical extremists -- with no connection made to Christlikeness.
I am not saying that to discourage Trick or Treating is wrong, either. This is very much a Romans 14 kind of issue.