Wednesday, October 29, 2014

to steward or not to steward...{{a post about serving up grace}}

Halloween, that is...
And that is the question.

One which carries great implication for Kingdom people in our culture and era. 


Does Halloween present common graces?
What about the joys of children in costume laughing and bouncing along together,
parents snapping pictures and stamping their feet to remain warm,
sweet chocolates, carmels and fun surprises plopped into buckets....

can these things be enjoyed to God's glory and all of the context stewarded for gospel love?
Can this holiday, around which we drape so much fear, judgement, confusion and avoidance;
can it be stewarded for a serving up of full joy?

Regardless of what posture you were raised with...
{I sat behind closed curtains with lights down, and recall almost quaking should the doorbell ring; imagining the evil fingers behind goulish masks tainting our door-side button.}

Regardless of where your own parenting has navigated this season...
{we had the best time taking our 11 month old trick-or-treating long before he could formulate any desire to do so, but he was a rotund baby and made a perfect pumpkin, so off we went to retrieve free chocolate. And though our kiddos have yearly enjoyed dressing up in costumes that emphasize fun and hanging out with their neighborhood playmates, our posture towards the day - the mission field that is Halloween has grown, solidified, and clarified.}

This is not a topic to avoid, nor is it one to argue over. 
Christians do much of both, and much of the most dangerous stance of all  - that of apathy....
a directionless float down culture's lazy-river blindly forfeiting this wide open platform for real church doing it's real thing.

As believers, we are the ones - the ONLY ones - completely free of superstition, 
and thereby free to enter into the open door of this season with confident joy and gospel love.
As believers, we are the ones birthed by GRACE, and thereby able to respect one another's 
{often differing} stewardship of this season.
Friends, here is a place where we can chase after unity under the cross 
and truly "spur one another on to love and good works."

Perhaps you're naturally drawn to dressing up, handing out the best candy, and getting your fun on with your neighbors 
{tell me, what other day of the year do they all come out smiling to spend time with you? but do you know why you're participating and for what cause?}

Perhaps you refrain from dress up, but open your doors with yummy sweets and a gospel tract.
{please make sure it's attractive and full of grace and consider that life-on-life is the way Jesus did it.}

Perhaps you remain inside with lights off.
{if so, please pray with love for every shadow that crosses your stoop - for other future opportunities to engage with them.}

Perhaps you are in one of these postures and need to freely and confidently move to deeper form of stewardship?
{ Friend, take heart and consider where fearless, intentional, radical love would take you!}

  • Let us be the hands and feet of Jesus on a day when so many hands and feet come our way!
  • Let us move toward our neighborhoods with feet bared through generous giving.
  • Let us lay aside our desires for approval {from those elusive but ever-present "christian" voices} and move outward following only Christ.
  • Let us model the giving of humble gratefulness before our children when we stand on the receiving end door-to-door.
  • Let us focus not on rushing to gather for ourselves, but in lingering and visiting with people.
  • Let us not be so weirdly obsessed with "witnessing" that we kill the avenues of relationship building.
  • Let us not be laxidaisy {it's not a word, but it's a thing}, but prepared with intentional foresight towards giving the best candy, and initiating productive conversations.
  • Let us purposefully sign up to volunteer at the school classroom party, bake the cute treat, and take the most menial or difficult task.
  • Let us pray beforehand not just for the encounters of Halloween, but for one or two interactions which can be followed up ongoing.
  • Let us have fun in the delight of our children and the joy of our neighbors, because true gospel mission is fun, exciting, and the most addicting pursuit!
  • Let this be our soul's greatest passion and joy, and let us not lie about this to our precious little people.

You can feel the beat of how we here at 6328 seek to steward Halloween.
It is something that we have intentionally pondered, prayed over, and refined as the Spirit leads.

So much of what has shaped this for us is shared here

and more solid wisdom here.

Titles that, while not dealing directly with Halloween, have directly informed our posture and mission with all platforms including that of Halloween:
Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church
Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity
Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture (Exponential Series)

What about you, dear reader of this place?
How can you steward the rhythms of Halloween in your neck of the woods?
What does, or can, that look like for you?
"Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings."

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