October 31, 2009 - It's been a long time since I was pointed out the close relationship of Halloween celebrations and occult practices. In fact, the last time the question of whether Christians should celebrate Halloween was put in my mind was in our spiritual warfare class where as a senior in high school we each had to research some... I can't remember what they were called, spiritual strongholds or something. My topic was Halloween.
Anyway, all that to say that as Halloween approached here in Costa Rica, I didn't even notice until I realized our church youth group had scheduled a Talent Show night on October 31st, as a sort of alternative activity to Halloween. As I questioned the wisdom of this decision, I was reminded almost unanimously with rather strong reactions that Christians do NOT dress up or celebrate Halloween. Apparently, this is a cultural difference I have not yet gained a sensitivity to, much like the reluctance of most evangelical Latin American Christians to put up nativity scenes during Christmas. There is a certain sensitivity to the use of images to celebrate Christ's birth, which I'll take a crack at explaining as Christmas draws closer. Actually, without the Thanksgiving marker to indicate the start of the Christmas season, people are already starting to put up decorations. In any case, there was no dressing up or trick-or-treating for our youth group this Halloween.
As a substitute, our youth group did a talent show, together with a group called Funda Vida who we joined for a mission trip a few months ago. Oh, come to think of it, that trip was also a sort of set up like a positive alternative to something as well. Anyway, the talent night involved a lot of song, dance, praise, and lots of laughs. The leaders in our youth group and the Funda Vida teens did a great job of decorating the stage of our church (since we meet in a drama theater), and the whole event really turned out very well. One of my good friends in the group, Priscilla (yes, like Elvis's wife and the anonymous author of Hebrews), persuaded me to put together a breakdancing choreography with her, which is one of my lesser known talents and ironically, one that all the youth group knew about but none of my fellow Sunday-church members had seen. Part of the reason is because I loathe doing anything in front of a crowd of people, but I'm kinda glad Priscilla persuaded me to, cuz after it was over I really enjoyed it.
A fellow MAFer who is planning on joining our team was here in Costa Rica visiting this week, to see what MAF Learning Technologies was all about. I'm not sure this is what he had in mind :) Anyway, he recorded a few videos of the event and posted them on YouTube. The breakdancing clip is above, and a few more videos of the worship are linked to below.