Our pastor, Martin Moore, is what can only be described as an understated weapon of mass deconstruction. He’s not flamboyant. He doesn’t rail. He quietly serves truth.
In a wait, what? kind of way.
You know I like to challenge stagnant religious thinking. So, when my pastor took on Halloween, I sat up.
I love Halloween. My mother made elaborate costumes for us and I continued the tradition with my kids. The costumes accumulated with the toys under the stairs. My son wore a cape every day for two years. We dug dress-up.
So, I never fully understood the attitude toward Halloween in the region in which we live. It doesn’t made sense to me that a pagan tree at Christmas is o.k., but a Dark Wing Duck costume at Halloween is frowned upon.
For me, intention is everything.
It’s super interesting to me that a lot of Evangelicals embrace fall festivals in lieu of Halloween. A quick google search by the laziest of Christians will reveal historically, fall festivals were pagan. So, we aren’t going to take part in Halloween because it’s pagan. Instead we’ll have a fall festival…which is pagan. When the pastor took these and Hell Houses on, I was ready to fist pump.
He noted the paganization (apparently, a real word) of Holy Days (holidays) such as Valentines and St. Patrick’s Day, by God-fearing Christians in one breath and their fear of paganization (still a word) in the next.
Of course, he didn’t slap you with paganization when he said it.
All Saints Day originally celebrated the martyrs of the early church and grew to include the saints (believers) that died before us. A perfectly lovely holy day preceded by the mix of a night vigil honoring Christian martyrs and Celtic religious traditions. There’s the rub. Naughty Celts.
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. – Colossians 2:16
When Pastor Moore moved into his bigger point, I felt like I was at game six of the World Series (I believed in you, Astros). He spoke of Saint Paul and how often he quoted pagan literature, because he was speaking to pagans! He quoted what they knew to spread the Gospel! He met them where they were.
“God uses things that are His opposite in order to undermine and subvert them, and defeats the dark powers by absorbing their brutality on the cross. So, the Christian church survived and flourished within a pagan culture because it had a better Story to tell; a hopeful and true one. The Gospel Story exposed the emptiness of the pagan stories. . . Do some of the rituals connected with Halloween (and Christmas, Easter, etc.) have pagan backgrounds? Of course, they do! How could they not? But that’s not an indictment of their worthlessness. It’s a testimony to the power of Christ in overcoming the dark forces that ruled the ancient world!” – Martin Moore
When he went on to ask if we were going to throw out our calendars, I about fell out of my chair. See, just this week I got a call from someone dear to me. She asked what I would have said in a situation she had been involved in that day. Someone asked her if it bothered her to do poses that were named after Hindu gods. My response was quick because I have had the same question asked of me a dozen ways, a dozen times.
“Does it bother her when she writes the name of the month when filling in a check? Does it bother her to buy Goodyear tires? Using FTD to send flowers? All Roman gods.”
MM took it a step further by breaking down the meaning of the days! We basically live in a pagan society, because we live in the world! But, good news: Christ abounds =0)
I am a firm believer the Lord repeats things for emphasis. I know my personal calling in the church is to challenge fear and empower faith. We can be lazy or we can be intentional. I am convinced when we are intentional, we walk in a faith that is not only alive, but robust and revelatory.
So, don’t be lazy. Know your why.
Oh, and lighten up on Halloween.
“(Christ) has disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. – Col. 2:15
The English words for each day bear remnants of Roman tradition, but they have been filtered through centuries of Germanic and Norse mythos. The Germanic people adapted the Roman system by identifying Roman gods with their own deities.
Sunday comes from Old English “Sunnandæg,” which is derived from a Germanic interpretation of the Latin dies solis, “sun’s day.” Germanic and Norse mythology personify the sun as a goddess named Sunna or Sól.
Monday likewise comes from Old English “Mōnandæg,” named after Máni, the Norse personification of the moon (and Sól’s brother).
Tuesday comes from Old English “Tīwesdæg,” after Tiw, or Tyr, a one-handed Norse god of dueling. He is equated with Mars, the Roman war god.
Wednesday is “Wōden’s day.” Wōden, or Odin, was the ruler of the Norse gods’ realm and associated with wisdom, magic, victory and death. The Romans connected Wōden to Mercury because they were both guides of souls after death. “Wednesday” comes from Old English “Wōdnesdæg.”
Thursday, “Thor’s day,” gets its English name after the hammer-wielding Norse god of thunder, strength and protection. The Roman god Jupiter, as well as being the king of gods, was the god of the sky and thunder. “Thursday” comes from Old English “Þūnresdæg.”
Friday is named after the wife of Odin. Some scholars say her name was Frigg; others say it was Freya; other scholars say Frigg and Freya were two separate goddesses. Whatever her name, she was often associated with Venus, the Roman goddess of love, beauty and fertility. “Friday” comes from Old English “Frīgedæg.”
As for Saturday, Germanic and Norse traditions didn’t assign any of their gods to this day of the week. They retained the Roman name instead. The English word “Saturday” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “Sæturnesdæg,” which translates to “Saturn’s day.”