Sunday, October 30, 2011

JesusWeen?

I heard about the JesusWeen movement a few weeks ago and immediately laughed. Not just a sarcastic snicker, but a true guffaw.

According to the official website, "Our mission is to ensure that JesusWeen becomes a global phenomenon. We have and will continue to share the word of God in love and by doing that, we seek to encourage a culture whereby Christians, regardless of their denomination, reach out to the world around them with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Okay, that's not bad, promoting evangelical ecumenism and what-not, but why on Halloween? Again, back to their site, "Join us in making Jesus the reason why millions will celebrate every October 31st. Get involved, Donate; Partner with us and Volunteer for JesusWeen - “World Evangelism Day”." 

Oh! So Christians of all stripes should band together to co-opt this dark and grisly day for the purpose of shining the light of Christ and such. Well, that's... what we're supposed to be doing the other 364 days of the year, too. While their goal is admirable, I'm cringing that they've stuck it with such a cheesey cornball name and that they felt the need to hitch it to the Halloween wagon. I mean, come on! JesusWeen? So hallowed be the Father's name, but not the Son? Augh!

It also reminds me of the "Jesus Is My Homeboy" type within Christianity. You know, the folks who have a "store-brand" Christian version of the "real" secular product. They won't actually wear Ed Hardy, but will flock to the local Christian bookstore for a tee that borders on copyright infringement, replacing skulls with crosses. Now, I'm not against Christian products. And full disclosure- I rocked a "Jesus Is My Homeboy" tee back in '04 proudly (I did because, well He is, but also I knew it was kitschy). I just don't like when Christians go out of their way to copy secular things in an attempt at appearing relevant or cool. We just seem like Oateeos to their Cheerios.

But I am okay with flipping something that is secular for the good of God. That is how we got Christmas, after all, when the Roman Catholic Church Christianized a pagan holiday. I like how John Mark Reynolds puts this flip in "Thank God for Halloween": "Christians are good at taking wicked old customs full of fear and turning them into good and joyful events. If a cult worships a mountain and names it for a demon, Christians will ignore the old backstory and name it after a Christian hero. What we never do is ruin anything good about the old ways. We save what we can of them." 

He continues: "Of course, All Hallows, the day before All Saints, does not need much saving at this point. We made it our own and as a Christian, I refuse to let the pagans have it back. Halloween taught me some good lessons as a child. Halloween reminds me that death is part of living and I too will die. In my grandmother’s day, funerals were major social events and the undertaker had fewer abilities to pretty up the corpse. Ancient Christians worshiped in the catacombs amongst the tombs of the righteous dead. Christians were not afraid. In most villages entering church meant passing through the churchyard. You knew that someday you would join those that had gone before you in resting in that sacred ground. A man was baptized, worshipped, was married, and finally buried in his church. He knew that several times a year, such as All Hallows, his church family would remember him. This is good for the living and a comfort to the dying."

Good points all. I like what my church did last year. Take the emphasis off Halloween and on to All Saints Day, encouraging kids to dress as saints they look up to. I think a lot of Protestants have dropped the ball on dropping this holiday.

No matter how you choose to celebrate, or not celebrate tomorrow, just remember to be safe. Especially for all my fellow Northeasterners who got hammered with snow this weekend. How's that for a trick? Because digging your pumpkins out from under the white stuff is definitely not a treat. :-/


2 comments:

A work in progress said...

WELP! you certainly went IN on this post.. #thatisall

Alisha De Freitas said...

LOL! Yeah, my husband was saying how sarcastic I am... and, well, yeah.

I love that you wrote, "Welp"! My Daddy use to say that all the time growing up in church!

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