Post Index

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Do you want the Holy Spirit?

Do you want the Holy Spirit? The question can be intended or taken as much as a test of someone’s spirituality or a boast of one’s own. It can also have the effect, even if unintended, of casting the immature of faith into doubt as to the indwelling of deity in them. Where is the Holy Spirit whom you want? What does it mean to ask for the Holy Spirit?

Should a believer expect his/her request for a miraculous gift such as the ability to speak in a tongue/language to be granted?

After all, Jesus said how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him? As if these words of Jesus were not enough there is always this one: The Holy Spirit can do whatever he wants to do. It’s a slogan which may play well and silence many, but it says nothing about one’s understanding as to what the scriptures reveal about the work of the Holy Spirit. It seems a foregone conclusion that the Holy Spirit by that very designation of himself as Spirit is subject to all manner of distractions and imaginations since he is, after all, spirit.

(note: Some believers attempt to create, as evidence of the Spirit in them, a distinction between tongues such as what the apostles spoke on Pentecost (Acts 2) and tongues such as in First Corinthians 14 with special emphasis on unknown tongues or tongues of angels versus [according to them]mere human language, but this is futile. Both words, tongues and languages as these appear in the English text in these chapters are taken from the same Greek word. Furthermore, I would add, that an understanding which is centered on the study or emphasis of single words in isolation is suspect.)

Friday, October 17, 2014

What is Halloween?

Selected (unrelated) reading: Artemis, Pentecost

"Satan's birthday!" blurted out the fifth grader to begin our class brainstorm to my open question, "What is Halloween?". Typically, I would do an overview with my students on calendar holidays to cover the origin, significance and present day observance. My colleagues were aghast at the mere prospect of mention or discussion of a religious point. My response to all was I was not interested in inquiring or imposing respective beliefs. The subject matter, such as Halloween or Christmas, is found in libraries throughout the world. Americans (I do not believe we as a people are unique in this respect) observe religious and cultural holidays with a shallowness with respect to origin and significance.

So, here's my attempt with dos (2) bits of knowledge, understanding and thoughts on The origin and significance of Halloween. I decided in favor of keeping links and references to a minimum while encouraging all to a survey study of their own. You will likely encounter discrepancies and variations between writings on Samhain/Halloween. My purpose is to do a brief overview of Halloween including, 1) The origin and significance, 2) The present day observance and practice, and 3) The value of observance as between Americans in general and Christians in particular.
The origin and significance of Halloween
Halloween, or "Hallowed (holy) eve", "All saints day" occurs, depending on the religious versus cultural, view on October 31 or November 1. Although it is regarded by some as a cultural event it was not so for its pre-christian practitioners, the Celts of France, Britain and Ireland. Among the Celts it was the learned elderly, spiritual priests of the Druids who presided over the "Samhain" (pronounced, "Sow en", approx.) religious ceremonies.
Samhain represented a day (perhaps two or three) when the lowering of the barrier of separation between the living and the dead, between the end and beginning of the year, occurred. It was a time when, according to Celtic belief, it was possible the spirits of the dead could be reached. All fires were extinguished (creating an opportune moment for the spirit world) throughout the land to be re-ignited with fire from the priests. Families remembered and invoked the spirit of loved ones and would lay out an assortment of treats to welcome their visitation. The danger in calling on the spirits of dear ones was that evil spirits (the aforementioned opportune moment) could make their way through into the real world and harm families expecting a loved one's spirit, also. Therefore, they disguised themselves to appear as evil spirits by wearing frightening attire ( costumes) as though themselves one of the dead.
Although I dressed up our daughters for their trick-or-treat night I have never taken to trick or treating let alone wearing a costume even in my younger days.
"Yes, Mr. Torres, but you're old" pointed out another boy to everyone's laughter.
"Oh! You're so right" I replied. "After all, it was the elderly priests who led the solemn Samhain ceremonies and it was not children going door-to-door asking for treats, right?"
The present day observance and practice
Halloween, from a child's view, is participation, in costume, going door-to-door armed with the intimidation, charm and their battle cry of "Trick or Treat!" Their's is a participation in a cultural event, including pumpkin carvings, devoid of meaning. Some participate in mindless destruction of property. Others flaunt a public display to profess allegiance and worship of Satan. None of this has anything to do with Samhain as observed and practiced by the Celts under the leadership of the Druid priests.
Even the "evil religion" tarnish given Samhain by the church is lost to many people. The Roman catholic church, as she has done throughout the world, acquiesced (as a means to an end: conversion of non-believers) to Celt culture. The church syncretized, that is it, melded or harmonized, pagan and Christian beliefs. Later, the church changed its stance and widened the distance between new converts and their this old pagan holiday. Samhain was distorted and demonized as Satanic worship and human sacrifice. The ignorance has been passed on from generation to generation.
The value of observance
Holidays in America, whether religious or cultural, bear a common semblance in the manner in which they are observed: A day off from school or work, picnics and parties.
Is there value in observing Halloween as a religious or cultural holiday? Halloween, and all religious holidays, are neither sanctioned nor condemned for believers in the New Testament. The problem and subsequent teaching by New Testament writers arose when holidays became a proof-test of faith. A former adherent and practitioner of the Mosaic law and now a Christian would choose, for example, to observe the Sabbath. That was not a problem. The problem occurred when it didn't stop there. The individual and other like-minded Christians decided to impose that as a faith requirement on fellow Christians. They targeted those who shared a similar religious heritage with them. The same problem occurred with former pagans as they decided to participate in their former pagan holiday festivities now that they were Christians. Provided they did not engage in immorality it was alright for them to observe the holiday, but not to expect or require fellow Christians to observe the holiday, too.
The Christian expectation, as set forth in the New Testament, is for the believer to be all things to all men. Thereby, evangelism and the winning of non-believers to faith in Jesus, the Son of God. In other words, the Christian's participation in a holiday such as Halloween is with a purpose and understanding of his/her participation and much more than self-gratification.
Unlike the mere observance of a holiday the practice of calling on the dead carries a strong Old Testament prohibition. There is a instance recorded in the book of I Samuel. The reaction of the necromancer from Endor upon seeing the dead may suggest this was a first time ever and may explain the charlatan's great fright. This is neither a condemnation nor acceptance on the Celtic belief. Their belief, whether or not we agree with it, was genuine. The biblical account inference is that even an attempt to connect with the dead is a prohibited. It is a turning away from the revelation of the word of God. It, not the dead, is where believers are to seek guidance and understanding in matters of knowledge present and future.
It is ironic that Halloween, shrouded in dubious practices and ignorance concerning the dead, should come to be a celebration of significant stature in America. Our communities come alive under the moonlight as we walk with our children through our neighborhoods. Total strangers wait and welcome eagerly the children to hear them blurt out, "trick or treat". Though some have cited Memorial Day as our day of remembrance of the dead in America it is primarily the brave men and women who fell in battle and nothing comparable to Halloween or Samhain. "El dia de los muertos" ("the day of the dead") in Latin America bears similarity to the ancient holiday. However, their observance is influenced increasingly by the American costume and "trick or treat" practice in recent years.
Americans may be hard-pressed to give a simple explanation on the meaning of Halloween. However, the affect in community neighborhoods suggests there is an undeniable significance. Perhaps, it is an opportune moment for us, the living, to ponder the meaning that shapes our lives, a great value in itself while we enjoy the night with our children. The gross perversion of Halloween as a glorious Satanic day by a Satanist such as Anton LaVey and which is so quickly swallowed up by gullible saints in Christ only serves to reveal our ignorance. LaVey's and other people's perverse corruption of a celebration is no different than false prophets like Joseph Smith who proclaimed a perverse corruption of the gospel.

The message of Halloween by the saints in Christ

The Halloween message for the saints in Christ in the community on Halloween is that while the Celts celebrated with a welcome the spirits of their departed dead; we in Christ celebrate life in our Savior Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God risen from the dead.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Holidays: Pentecost and Halloween

(Note: This article neither suggests nor states that these two holidays are alike, related or associated in any way with each other. Read on, please. gt)

The value of holidays
The observance of holidays by adherents of various religious beliefs is an ancient, common practice. Typically, the value of these celebratory observances is to remind the older generation and to teach the newer generations the origin, the significance and the meaning behind those holiday observances. Oftentimes what happens over the years is that the origin, significance and meaning are altered, diluted or forgotten. This may happen either through the abandonment of those observances by the remaining, but fading faithful, or through attempts to make relevant those observances, even at great cost to their faith heritage, seemingly as a way to remain relevant or to maintain appeal in the modern culture.
Holidays are often cited as religious, pagan or political in origin with the last of these being, presumably, devoid of religious content

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Post Index

Here is quick and easy way to find what may be of interest to you. All are welcome to post comments which are subject to review before publication by me. Links without your own substantive comments are subject to being deleted. Thank you for visiting my blog.

01/16/2018  The Father Knows
01/09/2018  The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!
01/04/2018  When Jesus denied that he is God
01/02/2018  Readers, Seekers, and Learners

12/28/2017  The Prophecy of the Good Shepherd
12/26/2017  Isaac, Schrödinger's cat, and Santa Claus: Virtual Reality, Paradox and Myth
12/25/2017  Why I Believe Jesus came in Finality in 70 A.D.
12/20/2017  The Day of the Lord: darkened sun, blood moon, fallen stars
12/19/2017  Is the virgin birth of Jesus a myth?
12/12/2017  The Son can do nothing of Himself
12/07/2017  Jesus: a gluttonous man and a drunkard
12/06/2017  The Only True God

11/25/2017  First Believe?
11/23/2017  Deity and the diversity and unity of one
11/22/2017  The sacrifice of Jephthah's daughter and righteousness
11/16/2017  Yahweh, Lord of hosts
11/15/2017  The Christian's weapon of choice
11/09/2017  Jesus: I lay down my life

10/29/2017  If God Existed . . .
10/29/2017  Why Do Churches of Christ Not Use Instrumental Music
10/03/2017   Eternal Generation of the Son

09/24/2017  And Justice for All
09/02/2017  Serving Tables: The Involvement of the Daughters of God in the Assembly

08/23/2017  How do those who are spiritual do justice?
08/22/2017  Women and the law of propriety and order
08/12/2017  Ezra: Put away your wives
08/03/2017  Why did Jesus not choose any women to wash their feet?

07/29/2017  Parallel objective lessons from Paul
07/19/2017  Principle and Practice, Prophets and Deacons
07/13/2017  Observation and query on Artemis in Acts 19
07/09/2017  Is the Resurrection of Jesus a Falsifiable Prediction?
07/05/2017  Observations and lessons for women and men from Huldah, the prophetess

06/27/2017  Were the apostles baptized?
06/26/2017  Announcements, communion and reading in the assembly by Women
06/21/2017  Spirits now in prison
06/19/2017  Baptism, baptism by fire, baptism with/in the Holy Spirit
06/12/0217  You Can Always Get What You Want
06/07/2017  The Charge of Heresy

05/27/2017  Jesus: The Father is Greater than I
05/22/2017  The Longing Desire of Moses

04/09/2017  A Change of Mind

02/07/2017  Confirmations, charges and other noise makers

01/29/2017  Building a Wall
01/26/2017  The Indwelling of Deity in the Believer

10/23/2016  King Hezekiah and King Hazael
10/19/2016  The Anointed Sinners, Moses and David

09/05/2016  Quietness, Salvation and Women

08/08/2016  The Call for Making Reparations

06/13/2016  The Murder of Homosexuals in Orlando Florida Nightclub

04/10/2016  God: Thinks, Feels and Acts

03/28/2016  Love With All Emotion, Intellect, Subconscious and Strength
03/06/2016  Muhammad as Spirit of Truth: A Christian Testimony Against Islamphobia
03/05/2016  David himself calls him 'Lord'
03/03/2016  Unity of the Spirit and The Shema

02/23/2016  He Has Explained
02/14/2016  Were The Prophets Called Gods?
02/12/2016  They Saw God
02/09/2016  Not All Things Edify
02/04/2016  Worship: With All Your Heart, Mind, Soul, and Strength

01/26/2016  Who Died?
01/22/2016  Was Jesus Ignorant?
01/21/2016  Do You Hear The One I Saw?
01/17/2016  Preexistence: John is Elijah
01/12/2016  Book: The Son of God: Three Views of the identity of Jesus . . . a response
01/01/2016  New Year's Day: Purpose, Fulfillment and Affirmation

12/15/2015  Isaiah 6
12/14/2015  Crucifixion: Blunt Heart Trauma
12/11/2015  T'is The Season
12/01/2015  One In Us

11/27/2015  The Begotten Son
11/26/2015  The Spirit of Truth: With You and In You
11/17/2015  Sin, Righteousness, Judgment and ISIS
11/14/2015  I Opposed Him to his Face

10/31/2015  For Our Instruction: The Past, Present and Future of Israel
10/02/2015  Government and Church

09/23/2015  He called them gods
09/05/2015  Sisters in Christ: Fulfilling the Ministry of Teaching and Preaching

08/28/2015  Image and Power
08/19/2015  Gifts, Ministries and Effects

07/19/2015  What Difference Does It Make?

06/30/2015  God is one: On a Unitarian and Trinitarian debate
06/20/2015  The Image of Racism
06/09/2015  Gender Change and The Image of Male and Female

05/27/2015  In Between Epiphany & Emmanuel sermon: A response to invitation to LGBT
05/09/2015  Debunking Ignorance Concerning Babies and Isaac
05/03/2015  Same-sex, Tradition, and Marriage

04/18/2015  Why I Think Jesus Didn't Exist
02/15/2015  In Between Epiphany and Emmanuel: A response to invitation to LGBT
01/25/2015   Winning Football, Misreading Scripture: New Terminologies and Catchy Phrases
01/01/2015  The Bible: So Misunderstood It's a Sin

12/20/2014  Matthew 24 & I Timothy: power and salvation in Rome and Artemis
12/07/2014  Fourth Avenue Church of Christ: A commendation with exhortation
11/29/2014  Jesus' Marriage to Mary the Magdalene is Fiction
11/23/2014  The Indwelling of Deity in the Believer
11/09/2014  The work of Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the disciple
11/03/2014  What is truth?
10/18/2014  Do you want the Holy Spirit?
10/17/2014  What is Halloween?
10/13/2014  Holidays: Pentecost and Halloween
09/17/2014  BCV and context
09/10/2014  Disproving Christianity: Jesus is a LIE
08/13/2014  Suicide and mistaken notions
07/29/2014  Suffer the Children: American & Christian response to the immgrant children crisis
07/14/2014  all Israel will be saved: Replacement Theology
06/01/2014  Jesus and Zacchaeus
05/22/2014  The Singularity
05/10/2014  Transcript: Nearing the End - A Conversation with Theologian Stanley Hauerwas
05/02/2014  Real things, unseen things
04/26/2014  The Muslim fear of death
04/11/2014  How God did not become a man, but took on the form of man
04/06/2014  Do you eat Halal?
03/25/2014  Jesus and Paul: concessions for the divorced, abandoned and unmarried
03/08/2014  Led by the Spirit / Walk by the Spirit
01/23/2014  The Cult of Artemis and the Royal Priesthood
01/22/2014  The Righteous Who Live by Faith
01/18/2014  Does this offend you?

12/25/2013  The Righteous Shall Live By Faith
12/19/2013  The Indwelling of Deity in Jesus
11/02/2013  Jesus: Love & Hate
10/27/2013  What is Halloween?
10/22/2013  Melchizedek, priest of God Most High
07/05/2013  Why Millennials Are Leaving the Church
07/31/2013  Glen Beck is playing prophet
06/17/2013  The belief of childbearing in I Timothy 2
06/06/2013  The Cult of Artemis and the Royal Priesthood
06/02/2013  The Homosexual Right to Worker Benefits
05/30/2013  Weightier Matters
05/09/2013  Jesus Unscripted
04/30/2013  Walk in the Spirit
03/15/2013  Application principals on same-sex benefits from a parable
02/23/2013  Purity
01/14/2013  Searching for the Baby in the Bathwater --- a partial response
01/10/2013  Out-gunning the un-gunned
01/01/2013  Human sacrifice at Moriah and Egypt

12/14/2012  Our Responsibility as a Society
11/07/2012  This Mystery is Great: Unity and Marriage
09/08/2012  The Mystery Satan Did Not Know
08/12/2012  Sound bites in politics and religion
07/22/2012  110% Proof Jesus is not God - - a response
07/20/2012  The problem with fundamentalism, part 2: Religious fundamentalism - - a response
07/01/2012  The Problem of Paul - - a response
06/07/2012  Christianity Unmasked
03/03/2012  Rush Limbaugh: The mockery of mockers
02/21/2012  Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus - - - a comment
02/17/2012  Christianity and Gender - - - a comment
02/04/2012  The unwearied human body
01/06/2012  Father, Son, Holy Spirit . . . heart, mind and soul

12/26/2011  Christmas and holidays
12/18/2011  Serving Tables
10/27/2011  When the perfect comes
09/21/2011  The Submission of Jesus
08/20/2011  Spirit and truth: The Samaritan woman and Jesus
06/29/2011  In the Spirit
06/28/2011  The Lord's Supper
05/30/2011  Ahamd Deedat Explain who is the Holy Spirit
05/08/2011  Is Jesus Both God and Man? - - a comment
05/07/2011  The Trinity Delusion: a response
05/01/2011  The Wedding
04/30/2011  Judging Others
04/10/2011  A Properly Baked Cake
04/07/2011  Khalid Yasin: What Jesus said about Muhammed
03/05/2011  Royal Priesthood
03/01/2011  Book sparks charges of heresy
02/05/2011  Sorcery and Rebellion: One coin, two sides
01/31/2011  I Am Amazed
01/23/2011  If There Is A Prophet
01/21/2011  One Way to the Father
01/02/2011  One Year Bible

12/22/2010  A Most Wonderful Day in Eden
12/11/2010  A Christmas Moment
12/10/2010  My Birthday
11/09/2010  Humanists launch huge "godless" ad campaign
10/25/2010  What is Halloween?
10/01/2010  22 days
09/16/2010  Our moral code is out of date
08/31/2010  Stumbling Over Things We See
05/26/2010  The Human Jesus: a response
05/07/2010  God is (not) dead
04/29/2010  Father, Son and Holy Spirit
04/20/2010  Marks of a Spiritual
04/03/2010  The Resurrection of Jesus