This particular line, from a Grateful Dead song, has always struck me as poignant,
Sign the Mona Lisa with a spray can,
Call it Art
- Foolish Heart
As the singer insinuates, the quick and dirty tagger’s label can hardly sanctify a classic work of art.
What is it about the Western Evangelical Church that drives us to acquiesce with the culture we live in and, at the same time, justify said acquiescence as a noble cause?
Take, for example, the manner with which many churches are approaching the upcoming celebration of Halloween. This year Halloween falls on a Wednesday and, as most of you may be aware, many churches hold their “mid-week” services on Wednesday nights.
It seems to me that in times past the church would hardly have blinked an eye at this current conundrum.
“What? Halloween is on Wednesday? Oh well, try to get some ‘trick-or-treating’ in before you show up for Bible Study.”
Yet nowadays the church bends over backwards to accommodate a culture which worships Halloween (in terms of merchandising expenditures) less only than that of Christmas. Do a search on the various churches in your vicinity and my bet is that you’ll find them having, in lieu of their regular Wednesday night ministries, some event geared to provide the community with candy and fun and games and entertainment. Whether or not said event is described as a Harvest or Hallelujah Party one thing is clear, there’s very little chance of having a mid-week Bible Study at the event.
What I find most disconcerting with this whole fiasco is that, with cans of spray paint in hand, apologists for these events boldly stencil on the words COMMUNITY OUTREACH, and then walk away thinking that an event which has replaced the study of God’s Word is somehow promoting the Gospel. In our misguided attempt at reaching a community of non-believers we’ve succumbed to the market mentality notion of keeping the customer satisfied. While we’ve been given a divine opportunity to be truly counter-cultural and shine like a light on a hill in a world of darkness, we’ve taken to dimming said light as we go out of our way to join in the celebration with our culture.
POSTSCRIPT: $370,000,000. That’s how much money we Americans, who happen to be in the midst of the Great Recession, spend on Halloween costumes for our… pets.