Monday, October 31, 2016

ReImagine Halloween (Why we love it)

ReImagine Halloween: Shanna and I have been asked to lead a new church in Colorado Springs. We love it. We are made for it. We are called to it. One reasone we love it is because of our approach. We are not immitating other religious expressions. We are not conforming to some institutional template. We are calling ourselves and others to think inside and outside the box and have embeded this call and the freedom that comes with it, right into the name, "ReImagine". 

ReImagine the Verb: The major theme and name of this new church family is ReImagine. We want to inspire hope and call people everywhere to imagine a new life filled with dreams and hopes and purpose. 

Our process for releasing prophetic imagination...

ReImagine    (Hopes, Dreams, Imagine Again)
ReDiscover   (God, Church, Ourselves, Purpose)
ReDefine       (Truth, Confidence, Direction,)
ReEngage     (Impact, Justice, Leadership, Serving)

Rich Halloween Foundation: As a kid my family and friends had no issue with Halloween. We celebrated candy and costumes and, as far as I can remember, we didn't participate in any negative devil worshiping or abuse of humans of any kind. There were those two teens down the street who made their garage into a scary haunted house. The noises coming from behind the black curtain with dry ice hovering all around was enough to keep me in the road. But, overall, we just had to watch out for razor blades in the apples and poison in the popcorn balls. No big deal. 

Religion & New Family Traditions: By the time I became a breeder of 4 children, my wife and I were living in the religious influence of the Bible belt. We didn't mind the advise to be careful not to teach our kids about Halloween, but the boycott of the day by our fellow church members and church leaders was a little much. You could ID the houses because they had no lights on and were not giving out candy. We just skipped their house. I guess they didn't want to meet their neighbors anyway. The #RamFam dressed up the kids, joined the fun at church, in the community and with all the other kids and stayed away from any devil stuff all together. Our new tradition was simply having fun with friends, and getting candy for dad and mom to eat that night when kids go to bed. 

The Issue of Hallows-Eve and Celebration of Halloween: The fun around Halloween, from the #RamFam is all about fun, costumes, candy, friends and family. We did not teach our kids about the alleged foundation of Halloween, frankly we don't care. We care deeply about our kids, our city and our Christian worldview. That framework empowers me to ignore negative issues that I do not adhere to or live by. That leads to the larger conversation of "Celebrating" Halloween. Bottom line, we do not "Celebrate" Halloween. We have boundaries on costumes, meaning, nothing too violent, bloody, scary or suggestive. We celebrate being together and having fun, and truly have never even mentioned the alleged roots of Hallows-Eve. On Christmas we "Celebrate" the birth of Christ. On July 4th we "Celebrate" the birth of our nation and the freedom we enjoy. Again, on Halloween, we celebrate nothing but the fun of costumes, candy and fun. 

Connect with Friends & Family: We have now been parenting for 21 years. We still have a 10 year old who loves to get dressed up and having fun with friends. We have a great trick or treat community where lots of parents are out to connect and lots of kids running the streets in packs. No one is celebrating Halloween or hallows eve or anything other than candy and costumes. There is that one home around the corner with the scary witches in the front yard, but I just pretend they don't exist and move on to the next house. Over the years, we have enjoyed connecting with friends and seeing all the creative kids coming to the door. We don't try to frighten kids or be too graphic, we just enjoy dressing as pirates or the Rubik's Cube. 

Church alternatives: For years we did Fall Fest at the church. One year we had over 8,000 people with every bounce house in the state set up inside our building, it was crazy fun. It was cold and windy outside, so having an indoor and safe alternative that was family friendly was a great experience. Instead of connecting with our community through trick or treating, we invited them to come to the Fall Fest event. I have nothing bad to say about the alternative. I think any effort to connect with neighbors and get the public familiar with the church people, programs & property is a good idea. 

Take a stance for smart and intentional avoidance: Shanna and I are smart. Our kids are smart. Our willingness to make Halloween an issue we take stances about is not smart. We don't care about a possible negative foundation of Halloween. We care if people have been hurt through Hallows-Eve or other evil activities, we care deeply. We will never "Celebrate" Halloween, however. We intentionally avoid the areas we choose not to teach our kids. They hear what I am not saying, loud and clear. Rather, they get the freedom to grow up being "FOR" stuff instead of "Against" stuff. They are "for" fun, costumes, friends, candy, and family experiences. They will visit a local haunted house once in a while, but they truly do not enjoy the darker side of Halloween. 

Mission Accomplished: As a parent, I am satisfied and thankful. We have enjoyed the 31st of October each year while not leading our kids toward the dark side. Now, they love college and high school fun while being modest and measured while also having tons of fun. Mission Accomplished!!!  


Billy Ramsdell
Lead Pastor