Sunday, October 30, 2005

First order of business - I now have a email address at which you can post all your comments about this blog. I don't mind what you say - you can give it the thumbs down or thumbs up - disagree with me or ask question - put me right, if you like. The email address is Those who know me continue to use the address known to you.

The week that lies ahead of us, contains two rather interesting dates. The first is October 31st and the second one is November 5th. Well I'm sure most of you will recognise these dates to be Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night respectively. While neither of these "holidays" are very significant in Zimbabwe, where I live, I still would like to comment about them and shed some light on why as a Christian, I do not celebrate Halloween.

What is a holiday? - it more than a "day off" - it normally carries with it a certain significance in the case of the two holidays under discussion it does not signify a day off. There is someone to honour (Labour Day - we honour workers - or at least we should, Mother's Day, Father's Day, St. Patrick's Day etc), something to commemorate, that is remember with sadness (Holocaust, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Day of Remembrance (November 11th) Yom Kippur), and now especially in the USA September 11th has taken on a great significance) or indeed something to Celebrate - that is remember with joy and gladness (Independence Days around the world, Christmas, Easter, Pesach (Passover), Purim, Divali, Eid-ul-Fitr). Now it goes without saying that few holidays hold universal significance - with the exception of Mother's and Father's Days I cannot think of any. Christmas and Easter are of significance to Christians. Pesach, Sukkot, Purim and Hannukkah are significant to Jews, Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated by Muslims, Divali by Hindus). While I might take an interest in the celebrations of other faiths, I certainly would not participate in them. In an increasingly Multicultural world, especially in the Western Countries, people object to the open or public displays of religious significance, especially on what is considered "public property." Hence the demand that Public Schools do not have a Nativity Play - depicting the Birth story of Jesus - or "crib scenes" on public displays. Father Christmas's (Santa Claus), reindeer, etc. are no problem as they have no religious significance. Some object to the expression "Happy Christmas" and insist on the more neutral and culturally inclusive "Season's Greetings." The message seems to be Celebrate the celebrations you want to celebrate but don't impose them on those who don't believe as you do.

So we come back to the issue of Halloween. What is its significance? What or who are we honouring, comemorating or celebrating? How did Halloween get started in the first place?

Some people might be surprised that I, a Christian, object to Halloween, after all isn't it a Christian Holiday?The word "Halloween" comes from "All Hallows Eve" that is the day before (Eve) All Saints Day (All Hallows), a day when Christians in this case Roman Catholics, comemorate the Saints - Christian martyrs and people who through their lives displayed particular Christian qualities which in their death has earned them "sainthood". However, we need to dig a bit deeper to find the real significance of Halloween. Halloween has its roots in Celtic Paganism. On October 31st, the Celtics would honor their god, Samhain (The Lord of the dead.) They believed this god had complete command over all of the darkness including that of the winter. This day, evil spirits were able to enter the world of the humans. I quote from an artical I read about Halloween - "Since the origin of Halloween started being a holiday for the dead, it continues to be that way. The Druid priests would sacrifice humans in order to keep the spirits of the dead happy. This is a hard reality to face the origins of Halloween. This means that the holiday that has been celebrated for so many years, really stems from a practice of killing others." ( )

Unlike Easter and even Christmas, whose roots are also tainted with Paganism, Halloween's main significance remains that of death, whitchcraft and the underworld. You only need to look at how people dress up for Halloween or how they may decorate their homes for the Halloween Party to see what Halloween is REALLY all about. Witches, Ghosts, Monsters, Skeletons are seen on every street (in the USA), knocking on doors and saying "trick-or-treat". The Decor may feature a spiders' web with a huge "Black Widow spider inn its centre. What is its significance - clearly DEATH. What is the colour that predominates in Halloween? Is it not BLACK?

It seems to me that people take leave of their senses at this time. Most of the year, we protect children from unnecessary fear, and tell them not to worry about ghosts, goblins and boogy men - they are not real. We will chide a child who deliberately tries to frighten younger children. Then comes Halloween and the same adults turn around and start doing the frightening - it seems to be me to be a real lack of consistency there. I think that what many people do not realise is that this whole thing instils a subconscious fear in people, especially impressionable children. Just as you would probably not let your preteen child watch "Nightmare on Elm Street" or "Friday the 13th" or similar horror movies, deliberately frightening children, in the way it is done at Halloween is, in my belief, psychologically harming. I have not done any studies, and I am not a psychologist, so perhaps I shouldn't have made the last statement, but call it a hunch if you like - that's my opinion. We are all aware that young children find it particularly difficult to draw the line between fantasy and reality. That is why they believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden and fairy tales like Cinderella. Some might say they are gullible - I'd prefer to use the term trusting. They believe that those significant adults in their lives would not lie to them about anything. My contention is that the whole of Halloween has a negative emphasis and contradicts what we believe in and speak about to our children every other day of the year. It often represents a crisis in a child's life when he/she realises that Father Christmas (Santa Clause), the Easter bunny and the Tooth fairy are mythical. Fortunately most people survive the crisis and come through fairly unscathed, but does that make it Okay? IF you were involved in a car accident, caused by a person driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but you were not seriously injured, does the fact that you were not seriously injured minimise the person's guilt or responsibility? Of course, you would say no. Is there such a thing as a "harmless lie?" I used to think so - I'm not so sure any more. You see if one lies, the one lied to may well find out that he/she was lied to, and the result is a loss in credibility or trust. Now put that into the scenario between an adult and a child where trust is so important. The child can be liable to two possible misconceptions:
  1. That the adult cannot be trusted in more important issues.
  2. It's okay to tell lies or to keep secrets.

Someone told me that, nowadays, that the candy being given out during trick or treating has to be tested to ensure that it has not been poisoned. Well I suppose that fits nicely with the theme of Halloween, a few dead children having eaten candy that was trustfully accepted. Excuse me for being cynical, but I wonder why more people of various religious persuasions are not objecting to this holiday. Why can satanists impose their celebration of death on the general public in the form of Halloween when Christians are not allowed to "impose" their celebration of life?

John 10:10 Says "The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Deuteronomy 30:19 Moses wrote: "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life so that you ad your children may live."

It strikes me that since Halloween seems to be about death and the "dark side" - its not a huge leap to say that celebrating Halloween is like choosing death. So this is why I personally would choose not to "do Halloween."

What about Guy Fawkes Night. Well It is not as far as I know as spiritually loaded as Halloween. Basically there was a plot in 1605 (wow 300 yearsago!) by a group of Catholics and led by Guy Fawkes plotted to blow up the houses of parliament. The plot however failed and Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspiritors were arrested. Henceforth the date of November 5th was celebrated as Guy Fawkes Night and traditionally fireworks displays take place on this night. It really is a British celebration, but has spread around the world - especially to the English Speaking world where at some point they countries were under British rule. The only negative is the effect of the fire crackers and fireworks on domestic animals - particularly dogs.

Now as for news. Much as the same as before - I'm over the "tummy bug" that caused me some disruption a couple of weeks ago. Wrote an Exam last Monday and only have three left to write. The play is making progress - the children are learning the words and the actions fairly well. Today was the School swimming gala - it went off quite well.

See Ya next week - don't forget to email me your comments -

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Hi friends,

Well last weeks blog really spoke to me many times through the week as I "busied" myself with the various tasks that needed doing. Minutes after I posted i started getting "comments" only they were people trying to sell arb. stuff. This week i am going to block comments. If you are a friend of mine, and know my email address, (which I have deliberately not posted on this blog ) then please do email me with your comments. It is the only way that I can tell you visited. If you came across this site by chance, well you are welcome to read what I have to say, but unfortunately due to the abuse of some, I will not be able to get feedback from you.

I think we made some real progress in the play this week and I managed to develop it quite a bit. However on Sunday night, I was really very ill. I had Gastro Entiritis (I think that's how you spell the word). I won't bore you with my symptoms, but suffice to say I felt awful.

On Monday Afternoon I went to write another exam. Having not been able to crack open the books the previous day for a final swat, I was pretty nervous going into that exam, apart from the effects of the sickness which were still troubling me at that time. However, I wrote the exam to the best of my ability and now we can only wait and hope for the results.

I also wrote an exam yesterday. That one was on Religious Studies. It was Multiple Choice so we wait and see how it went.

Last night at Youth Group, Chrissie spoke about the lie that Satan tells us that there is plenty of time and we can decide to commit our lives to Jesus Christ later. The truth is, that at any moment, things can occur that can either end our lives, or can incapacitate us completely. We do not know the day or the hour when Jesus will return and will He find us ready for Him when He comes.

The other aspect of this is that God has a real purpose for our lives. As Christians, are we putting off things that God is saying, "do it NOW" and more or less saying, I'll do it, Lord, tomorrow or later. Later may be too late! How often we have regrets - if only.... When I was in high school, I remember I had a strong prompting to go and talk to a certain boy - but he was not part of my crowd, and I was not part of his. I did not do it. That boy committed suicide. If only...

Friend, if you are reading this and thinking, "That's me. I have put off following Christ. I know that is what I need to do." Then my friend, don't let another day go by. The Bible says, "Today, if you hear my voice., do not harden your hearts." Whether you are 5, 15 or 50 or beyond ask the Lord Jesus Christ to be your Saviour.

The truth is, my friend, that everyone needs a saviour. The Bible says : "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Rom 3:23) and later "The wages of sin is death." (Rom 6:23) If you are living without Christ, you are destined for hell. Hell is eternal separation from God. This would be the predicament of every human being were it not for the intervention of Jesus Christ, God's Son, who died on the cross, to take on the punishment of all sin. Jesus is the ONE AND ONLY way to the Father, God. The Bible says that if you believe, in your heart that Jesus was raised from the dead, and you confess with your mouth that He is Lord, then you will be saved.
Talk to Him now, confess your sin to Him, ask Him to forgive your sin, and ask Him to come into your life today. He will. Then follow it up by starting to walk in a different direction. The Holy Spirit will enter you Spirit at the moment of that decision. Join a fellowship of Christians, if you are not already part of one. Talk to the Pastor or leadership and tell them about your decision to follow Christ. If you know me and my email address you can email me (I would appreciate that).

Start to live differently than you have before. Turn your back on those things that brought you down before. If you are dealing with an addiction, friend, seek help. God does not want you bound up like that. But most of all, my friend rejoice. Be exceedingly happy because, the most awesome thing has happened in your life.

If you made, or are making the decision to follow Jesus, I can direct you to a website that will help you.

If what I have written above has offended or upset you. I am sorry you are upset by it, but I hope that you will give careful consideration to what I have said. I sincerely believe that it is only through Jesus Christ that a person can experience Salvation. You of course are free to believe differently, and to post a blog publicizing those convictions. Some day, we shall all know who was right or who was wrong.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Last week, I asked what the common theme to my quotations was. Did you get it? I’m sure you all did, it was really rather straight forward - enthusiasm.

This week I would like to start with three quotations that come from the Word of God, the Bible.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” – Colossians 3:23 –24

“Then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all things to the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. - Ecclesiastes 9:10

Over the last few weeks, I have been very busy. Selling a car, studying for exams, working. It’s easy to get into a flat spin. I have been reminded that all this activity is useless if it is not for the Lord. One can be so easily distracted from what’s really important by so much activity. I think of the story of Jesus' friends, Mary and Martha. I must confess that sometimes there is a bit too much Martha in me and not enough Mary.

I could do an exegetical analysis of the texts above, but I don’t think that that would add anything to what we read in the plain English. I draw three lessons from these texts:

1) “Whatever you do” – What is it I am doing? Is it God-honoring? If not I should stop.

2) “do it with all your might” – I understand to mean, I should do my very best at it.

3) Remember who it is I am serving – The Lord Jesus Christ. Let everything I do, bring glory to God.

Wow – that is hard, and we all fall far short of that high standard – but the fantastic thing is, that if we ask God for help, He does. That is why He deserves the Glory not us.

I have seen signs around the place that have the initials A. M. D. G. – They stand for a Latin phrase – Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam - To the greater glory of God. People with those letters on their business signs are declaring that their business is for God’s glory. I hope and pray that my life can have A. M. D. G written on it.

Not much in the way of news this week, I have to admit. Briefly I have written 4 exams since Monday. Our musical at school is making progress. The teachers involved in its production had a good meeting on Thursday. Friday was “Half-term” – a day off, and I got a lot of things accomplished, and did a lot of cycling.

May God bless you all in the coming week. A.M.D.G.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

It’s blogging time again.

First of all, I was rather perturbed by a person whom I do not know posting comments to the effect that my blog is not a blog. Well, I beg your pardon – I am sure I bow to your superior knowledge on this subject, but my family and friends who visit this site don’t mind a bit and so I think I will keep on as I am. I do not want to buy any products so please if you do not like it, no-one is forcing you to look at it.

Secondly – last week I was sharing with you the crisis of no music teacher. I am delighted to report that he is back. Our musical is starting to take shape.

I wrote my first exam on Thursday this week. It was on Multicultural Education. I hope I scraped together the 50 marks needed to pass. It is amazing how you can read something a hundred times and yet you are asked for it, and it suddenly vanishes from your memory.

1 down – 10 to go.

Here is another inspiring quote for the week: See if you can guess my theme.

"We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about."

Charles Kingsley 1819-1875, Author and Clergyman

(Correct me if I’m wrong, Mum, but didn’t he write “The Water Babies”)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Well, what to blog this week? I know, that sounds very reluctant. Someone might say: “Why bother?” It’s just that I have decided that I will try and do a weekly blog and Saturday is the day I have nominated to do it. I’m still new at this thing.

Thanks first of all to all my friends who have emailed me about my blog. One person emailed and said I looked handsome. Wow! That made my day – actually it’s made my month. Especially since the commenter in question is a lady. (It wasn’t a relative.)

I start writing exams this week and continue until 10 November.

I remarked to a colleague that after riding to and from work all week, I was now “feeling my legs” – her dry retort was, “Well as long as no-one else is feeling your legs.”

We move forward with plans for our musical at the school I am working at. I am directing it and this thing is big. Our music teacher left us this week, and we are not sure as to whether or not he will be returning. Nevertheless as the old saying goes, “the show must go on.” I am a trifle nervous, but there are things that are happening that allow me to be optimistic.

"Your enthusiasm will be infectious, stimulating and attractive to others. They will love you for it. They will go for you and with you."
Norman Vincent Peale
1898-1993, Pastor, Speaker and Author

Well I have no shortage of enthusiasm, so Mr. Norman Vincent Peale, I hope you’re right.