Saturday, 17 October 2015

Thoughts on Halloween

It bothers me every year.
And I've already received several emails on 'the dangers of Halloween'
from well-meaning individuals.

Well my name's Karen and I don't mind it.
I'm a Christian, and I've just carved my first pumpkin of the year.
I lead a church and I've allowed my children to go 'trick or treating'.

These are my reasons:

Firstly I love pumpkins!
Pumpkin cake, pumpkin soup, toasted pumpkin seeds if you're feeling virtuous,
What's not to like?

Carving them is hard work.
I recommend a proper pumpkin carver,
after the first year when I nearly lost my fingers using a carving knife.
An ice-cream scoop is great for scooping out the flesh.
I pull the stringy bits out by hand to rescue the pumpkin seeds.

The difference with mine is I do one of two designs:



Or




The carvings speak for themselves.
Jesus, the light of the world.
Or
Carve a heart for World Vision.
The effect is beautiful.
The message clear.

Secondly
I believe in generosity.
What are we saying to the community in general,
the children specifically,
when we are grumpy and refuse them on our doorstep?
It may lessen our impact on other occasions when we want to share what really matters.

By the way
I wouldn't recommend giving them tracts.

Unless they're taped to sweets.
Lots of sweets...

I've just ordered some bags of hope from UCB.
They're free here http://www.ucb.co.uk/bagofhope.
I'll be putting sweets in as well.
The Pound shop is great for these occasions.

How about praying for each child as you close the door?

Thirdly
My boys are sadly past the age of dressing up.
Most of the time anyway.
When they were little we lived in a very close-knit cul-de-sac.
The children used to dress up and visit each others houses.
Not so much 'trick-or-treat' as " Please can I have my sweets."

I know the arguments.
I don't like seeing beautiful children dressed up as demons.
Mine dressed up as something else.

"It's scary for old people to have people knocking on their doors."
I'm not old, but I don't like answering the door after about 5pm either.

Maybe speak to your neighbours in advance?
Or follow Halloween etiquette
which dictates you only knock at a house with a pumpkin visible.

The final argument
and the most important one for many Christians is
"Halloween glorifies and celebrates evil."
It's not something we should be joking about.
It trivialises the dangers of the enemy.

I agree that we shouldn't be trivialising or celebrating evil.
It is alive and well in my community.
The battle of good and evil continues.
Day after day after day.
I also know that there are occult celebrations on this day, and every day.

But for the average person in the street Halloween has nothing to do with this.

And I believe in Jesus.
who's power in us is greater than any the world can muster.

That's why I carve His name in a pumpkin.
And represent His love by carving a heart.

Love wins.

Every time.

These are my thoughts.
I don't believe Halloween is the best time for we who are called to be salt and light
to retreat into our spiritual salt cellars.

You may not agree.
That's fine.
But I offer these thoughts for any whose children don't want to go to their church
'Light Party;'
And are facing their annual argument with their children about Halloween.

Let's spread the love and light to a dark world.



Monday, 12 October 2015

In search of the perfect coffee

Chris and I went for a coffee this morning.
It was a nice little cafe in a place we hadn't been before.
We were pleased to see flat-whites on the menu.
Described underneath as a double-shot espresso with frothy milk.

Perfect.
I ordered a skinny one...
A token gesture...

There was a young girl being trained,
She was told it was a 'bald cappucino' 
with no chocolate or biscuit.

It sounded fairly accurate...
"Except it's double-shot"
I added helpfully.

"Not here it's not.
We do our own version."

I kindly pointed out the menu.
She stood corrected, never having noticed this phenomena before...

When it arrived it was a very strong coffee
with a teeny bit of milk
and what looked like a teeny froth of skinny milk.
I'm beginning to wonder if it was something else entirely
You hear such stories of the practices of disgruntled waiters...

Apparently their version doesn't include a frothy top.
But we had a nice lunch
I even left a tip.

But as I left I was thinking
Can they have such a thing as their own version?
Do my consumer rights mean they have to give me what I reasonably expect?
Or at least what it says on their menu.

After wandering around the town for half an hour 
we went to the place we knew made flat-whites perfectly.
Despite the name of the chain it didn't Costa lot as I had points.

Perfectly made, 
Perfectly free,
Perfect.

The perfect flat-white


We live in an uncertain world.
Things often don't turn out the way we think.
Or hope.
Or dream.

Yet there is a Saviour who died once
for all
for us.

True love perfectly made,
perfectly free,
perfect.

Unchanging
Consistent
Constant
Ours

The LORD is loving and merciful, 
slow to become angry 
and full of constant love, 
He is good to everyone 
and has compassion on all he made.
Psalm 145:8