So many know my background prior to becoming a believer and how I got here. In a nutshell I went from being one who religion did not really mean much to, to one day being confronted by God.I had various touches with His word, but not so much Him. When I went through a tough time with alcohol and drugs I went to a minister and asked him to help me. He told me he “did not think God could help” me.
At another time, I fell in love with a girl. Her mom was dying of cancer. I found that white covered bible from my early days in an Episcopal or Congregational church that had been given to me. For some reason I was drawn to the book of John. I talked to her a few times about God(in my limited understanding) and tried to bring comfort to her life. Her mom died, she found another guy and I gave up on God.
It was not the first time I felt like God “let me down.” (This is just one of the problems of giving people rules and regulations, and not relationship(s).) I went through it another time when I was going out with another “religious” girl. I just could not match up.
In the early 80’s I started a business. Jewelry and gifts and what was soon to become so much more. I was going along making a good living. One day while I was gone, a gal stopped by the store and left some of her creations for me to view. What I found myself attracted to was the ugliest ring you could imagine. I put it on and I could “feel” some thing. I found myself ordering things for my store I had never previously cared about.
Soon, books, potions, herbs and you name it, began to fill my stores. 5 of them at one point. What began as no understanding progressed to New Age and more. Never one to just go slow, I went crazy. In more ways than one. Even friends who had worked with me saw. Now people working with me had names like Raven and Princess. I found myself drawn into the darkest of realms. My mind was out of control.
And that brings me to Halloween. So many have asked me my thoughts on things related to this. I have been around long enough to know the many ways the church has dealt with Halloween. I have two thoughts I feel that are important.
One, each one of us is called to handle Halloween in our own way and as God leads. My biggest concern with Halloween is and always will be children. My grandson is 5 and he will do what I do. He tells people he wants to be like me. My over riding concern is the desensitization of children. Some one sent me a photo of a beheaded person a few weeks ago. An honor killing. They asked my thoughts. I COULD NOT LOOK AT IT! And yet kids today, many have no problem with some of this stuff. Cartoons, videos, the internet. The value of human life has been cheapened by the world.
And now the bigger problem. The church. For years we have practiced isolation. Maybe bad theology. Maybe bad eschatology. Maybe no grace. The issue is this. We will never turn people around until we, the church, turn around and turn away. From our buildings, programs and thinking that keeps us from reaching out and seeing the kingdom of God for what it is…people.
Maybe it was 12 plus years of pastoring. Maybe kids and grandkids. Maybe I am just old enough to see love, really does cover a multitude of sins.