Tag Archives: Culture

Do I Have to Carve Jesus into a Pumpkin to be a Christian at Halloween?

Halloween is met with mixed reactions from Christians. Some say that participating in Halloween gives sanction to a holiday that promotes witches, divination, and other occult practices. Others participate in the drunkenness and debauchery that accompany the holiday. And still others create “hell housesjesus-pumpkin4” at their church, attempting to shock young people and scare them into becoming Christians.

We’ve all heard reasons why Christians shouldn’t celebrate Halloween, and there’s no doubt that the origin of this holiday was pagan in nature. But what if, as Christians, we used Halloween well, not celebrating its pagan roots but redeeming it for Christ’s purposes? You don’t have to carve Jesus into a pumpkin to glorify God this year (but props to you if you can do it). Here’s a few ways to think about Halloween: 

Is a Child with Microcephaly Useless to Society?

Read any health section in a newspaper and you’ll find news of the Zika virus and its effects everywhere. Gaining more media attention as of late is the fact that as more babies are born with microcephaly, more countries are having to think about changing their abortion laws. One article in the New York Times made me abruptly pause while reading, surprised and shocked at the words of a major hospital director in Colombia. He was “firm that any woman whose fetuses showed signs of the condition would be offered [an abortion]. No woman, he said, should be forced to carry “a child that, in a few words, is useless to society.”’

But as I thought further, maybe I shouldn’t have been so shocked at what he said, at his view of a child with a birth defect. After all, we are a society that values the powerful, the clever, and the beautiful. We have reality TV shows that exalt the “survivor,” while the weak, vulnerable, and dispensable are mere liabilities. As we age, we do all we can to conquer the enemies of gray hair and wrinkles – advertisers play on our expectations that we can eliminate pain and imperfection. Chronic weaknesses of body, mind, or soul are to be dealt with and quickly moved past or covered up. It’s as if we are saying, to be human is to be powerful and capable and self-sufficient. 

5 Things You Should Know About The Crossing’s College Conference

CCC LOGO DESIGN Announcement slide

  1. Ready your heart for CCC’s theme: Jesus Outside the Lines. The issues of the day are often polarizing, leading to two opposing sides and us-against-them conversations. Who am I with? Who am I against? Where is my line? But Jesus offers those who are tired of taking sides a way forward, because he lived outside of these cultural and religious lines. Each main session and breakout session we have planned hopes to address some of these issues that we see as college students.
  1. Scott Sauls, author of Jesus Outside the Lines, will be our keynote speaker, and you won’t want to miss him. He serves as senior pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and previously was a lead and preaching pastor for Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, where he served alongside Tim Keller. He has also planted two churches, one in Kansas City, Kansas, and one in St. Louis, Missouri. We couldn’t have found a someone better for this conference, and we’re grateful he agreed to speak.

5 Lies We Believe About Our Bodies

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the normalization of plastic surgery in our culture (as discussed in Time Magazine), and a few thoughts on how we are to think about it as Christians. But maybe a larger issue is that we often don’t see our bodies the same way that God does. We breathe in the air of a world that distorts truths about how our Maker has designed us to be – and we start to believe those lies. What if those lies were exposed? What if we told ourselves the truth more often, training our minds to think on what is good and right?  I found this post from The Gospel Coalition encouraging and helpful in beginning to shift our perspective. Here’s an excerpt:

The Fickleness of Our Consuming Hearts

17mastiff_watching-videoSixteenByNine540-v3 In 2013, one of these Tibetan mastiffs was one of the most prized dogs you could buy for yourself in China. The New York Times explains:

“There once was a time, during the frenzied heights of China’s Tibetan mastiff craze, when a droopy-eyed slobbering giant like Nibble [pictured above] might have fetched $200,000 and ended up roaming the landscaped grounds of some coal tycoon’s suburban villa… At the peak of the mastiff mania, some breeders pumped their studs with silicone to make them look more powerful; in early 2013, the owner of one promising moneymaker sued a Beijing animal clinic for $140,000 after his dog died on the operating table during face-lift surgery. But Tibetan mastiffs are so 2013.”

Today in 2015, just two years later, the lucky ones would be sold for less than $2,000 while the unlucky ones would be packed away in small crates and delivered to a slaughterhouse, “where, at roughly $5 a head, they would have been rendered into hot pot ingredients, imitation leather and the lining for winter gloves.” The article goes on:

Parry and Lunge: An Encounter with ‘Light-Saber Theology’

“How about we just watch the rest of the movie, OK? We can talk about that other stuff while you get ready for bed.”

It’s not often that my son makes a sincere inquiry and I decline to answer him, especially when 1) it’s actually a valid theological question (though he wouldn’t know that), and 2) it’s clearly “a teachable moment.” The truth is that I simply had a less-than-exemplary parenting moment. Selfish and tired, I just wanted to watch the rest of the movie; I very nearly missed the opportunity to instruct (Deuteronomy 6:7).

“Your pop-culture theology has made you weak, old man!”


In all fairness, though, Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith had reached the climactic light-saber duel between Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader) and Obi-Wan Kenobi as they jumped around on makeshift platforms in the middle of a sea of boiling-hot lava. Even as the segment at hand clearly demonstrated the limitations of digital effects, I was anxious to find out just how, exactly, the current feature would square with the previous Star Wars episodes that I had already seen.