Velcome! Velcome! Vone and all! Buwahahaha!
*Cough*cough* ahem… sorry about that folks. My horrible Transylvanian accent is being shoved back in the closet as we speak. Honest!
Anywho, this be the month for Halloween! One of my favorite holidays (right behind Christmas and just ahead of Thanksgiving and St. Patty’s.
I know, I know, it is still a ways off. And yes, I am looking forward to the English Department Halloween Party. No, I am not dressing as Dracula. I am toning it down a bit from years previous (a.k.a. nothing too ambitious) So you won’t be seeing anything like the Tripod from War of the Worlds or the Grecian Urn from Keats’ Ode to a Grecian Urn like the last couple of times.
Now not everybody I know joins in my excitement over this upcoming holiday. As most of you know by now I am an SDA Christian, and while I hold to those truths I tend to have what some might call a more ‘liberal’ view of life. Most of my more conservative friends and acquaintances do not share this jolly approach to life (whatever works for them, IMO.) This inevitably leads to conflicts and debates. Now, first of all I’m going to give a synopsis in this post of where my life is right now, but after that I’m going to post a mini conversation (I don’t really consider it a full blown debate) over Halloween and J.K. Rowling that I had on Facebook. I’m not going to include all of the bits (some of it was just people giving agreement or disagreement one way or the other) but I am going to include the large important chunks. FYI, the conversation ended amicably, for those of you worried about heated internet brawls. Some of the stuff I touch on in my response may be good fodder for extended blog posts later on down the line. We shall see, yes?
But first! Me.
My car and cellphone are going to die on me! The car doesn’t want to start sometimes, or it stops running when it is not supposed to (thankfully it has only been when I’m about to park and one time on an empty road, but it is a bad sign) and my cell turns off whenever it wants despite a full battery or whether I’m talking to somebody or not. That happens especially often when I’m talking to Katie, and it is frustrating as everything because guess what, I want to talk to the woman I love, dagnabbit! …stupid phone *grumble*grumble* I’m seriously thinking about getting an iphone. The only problem is, while I’d only have to pay my mom $5 a month, once I’m out on my own, I’d have to pay for the whole deal, and I just don’t know if I’d be able to afford it (which would make the wondrous iphone useless to me.)
All is well with Katie ^_____^ I is in loves. And no, I never get tired of making people sick over my saccharine-ness.
The family is doing good. However, a friend of mine seems to be interested in my sister. There are a couple of problems with this:
- They are totally wrong for each other. I could count the ways, but I’d still be counting tomorrow, and I frankly don’t have that kind of time.
- And this is the most important one… SHE’S NOT INTERESTED. She sees him as a brother. Loves him as a brother. And right now, he is a super creepy brother.
I’ve told her that she has to be uber blunt with him over how she feels about this, but the problem is, he hasn’t openly said he is interested in her that way. His actions are obvious (trust me, everyone knows, and if I know, if I know, then everybody knows) but as long as his intentions remain unsaid it is hard for her to say “Hey, you’re not trying to court me, are you?” Awkward. She has such horrid luck with guys.
Other than that I think my friends are doing well too. Never talk with Cory much, but that’s the way we both are. I don’t really seek out regular communication with friends and neither does he (we are both satisfied to have friends that will always be there, but aren’t always right there.) When you stack both of our preferences, or habits, you can imagine that we don’t communicate much.
Brandon seems to be doing well, all things considered. He is really doing well artistically, and I love some of the paintings he has done, and some songs are awesome too. Now he just needs to find some professional footing. It would be awesome if he could find a solid career as an artist. That is where his heart really lies.
Steve seems to be doing well, though we haven’t talked much lately, he is otherwise occupied, and I’m too busy to play games with any consistency. I’m looking forward to Starcraft II’s release though, as we’ll probably play that a lot. The lack of lan-play hurts a LOT though (why, Blizzard, why!?!?)
I’m currently sprucing up Jaine for National Novel Writing Month. I’m settling down on who, exactly, my characters are. This is necessary since I’ve adjusted their ages to appeal to a younger audience (I’m not changing their voices or maturity, though. I expect something of my readers. I think there isn’t enough of that in preteen/teen fiction.) In fact the first chapter may very well be going up late Thursday or Friday this week on My Jaine Blog.
In other writing news, I’ve been having a lot of writing concepts and ideas suddenly popping up in my head lately. This bodes well for future books, methinks.
Work is the same old thing, except that my media meetings are extremely short as nobody but myself shows up for them. This is unfortunate. But what are you going to do, ya? I mean we have one really irresponsible worker and another who can’t meet at the scheduled time because of school. *Shrug* Without solid media meetings the media department feels all stretched out. This will hurt us later.
Still doing solidly in Hebrew, Origins of the Bible and Feature Writing. I’m no longer ahead in Feature Writing (time catches up to people) however, I am on schedule, and I just had an interview this morning that will make the process of writing the article much easier. I just have to contact a few more people now.
I. Can’t. Wait. for The Gathering Storm. I’ve been done wit Knife of Dreams for about a week now, and I’m in Wheel of Time withdrawal. I’m itching to start another book or series, but I know that if I wait all will be worth it come October 27.
One book that has me tempted to read despite my fasting till my WoT buffet, is Boneshaker by Cherie Preist. Not only is it a steampunk/alternate history novel in America with Zombies, but the lady who wrote it went to Forest Lake Academy and Southern Adventist University. I’m sorta proud to see somebody writing cool things coming out of the Adventist school system, and I want to read what she has written! Not only that but she comes highly recommended by John Scalzi. Maaaan, Scalzi, you’ve been getting me to buy so many new books lately. Nobody else has done that kind of inspiring for me. Most books I’m recommended get pushed to the far back burner. What kind o’ hoodoo you be runnin?
In videogame news, I recently got to play another hour or so of God of War. Fun, but I want to move on to other games soon, so I’m trying to push on through. Scribblenaughts is being taken in smaller doses too. It limits the frustration build up (some of the puzzles are ridiculous) and I simply don’t have the kind of time to give to that game to finish it quickly. I am in world 8 though, so that is something.
Brutal Legend comes in the mail soon! ROCKTOBER!!!! Umz… yeah, this may be the next game I play. I’m just not sure yet. I mean there are good games my brother owns that I should play while they are available(I won’t be living in the same house forever.) Besides, Brutal Legend would be an awesome game to have ready to play when I’m living elsewhere and can’t afford new games anymore.
Oh, and Fallout 3 Game of the Year edition for Xbox360 is on its way to Katie. I promised her she would get to play it first. Besides, I’m not ready to get involved in all that new content just yet.
I haven’t watched any other movies lately… oh wait. I have I watched a subbed version of the new Bleach “Fade to Black” movie. It was good, but it wasn’t as good as I was hoping. The trailer was so good and full of ideas that they didn’t capitalize on, and as Katie pointed out to me, there are some plot points that are contradictory to the anime series. Bleh. That said, the anime series (even the current filler) and the manga are both fantastic.
Speaking of Manga, Naruto and Bakuman are also extremely good, amazing even. Naruto is mostly pushing plot now, where it was more in-depth character wise earlier, but it is all good plotting, and Bakuman is excellent for character and an interesting if probably hyperbole-ridden look into the manga publishing industry.
Well, I’ve really yammered on too long now, so I’ll move on into the part I promised at the beginning of the post: The FaceBook Halloween Conversation.
It all started with a status update by Jair Alcon:
Jair Alcon – thought (thanks to a conversation last night) – is Halloween a holiday? And is it a good day to celebrate? Additionally, is J.K. Rowling a Christian?
My Brother answered:
Yes, it is a holiday and just like every holiday it seems, it has pagan roots. I would say, that it is up to the individual to celebrate it or not, but there is nothing wrong with having a bit of fun, so why not? It’s not like your worshiping satan if you dress up on halloween! about the last part, I’m not sure anyone asides from her would know, … Read Morenot too mention, its not our place to judge and basing an opinion off her books would be wrong even if they were christian oriented books! – My two cents anyway…
There were two major following responses:
When you look at where Halloween and all aspects of it comes from, there are no redeeming qualities. At least during Christmas, hearts are somewhat turned to the Savior and there is opportunity to share His love. It is up to the individual, but celebrating a ‘holiday’ that is affront to Christianity isn’t my idea of a good thing.
@What Ben said: “There’s nothing wrong with having a bit of fun. It’s not like you’re worshiping satan if you dress up on halloween.” That’s like the same as saying, let’s skip church this Saturday and go to the theater instead, it’s not like God’s going to rain down fire from heaven and burn us as He did to Sodom and Gomorrah. It is not required of us to keep the Sabbath, but it’s expected of us.
Halloween is technically a holiday, just like you said. But unlike Christmas and Easter, this holiday has nothing to do with God. Sure Christmas and Easter aren’t historically correct on the dates, but these holidays date back into the old times. Holiday Christmas used to be a different holiday. It used to be the day that the Romans would worship the “sun god”. The people were trying to spread Christianity and thought that replacing the birth of the sun god with the birth of Christ was a start. So that’s an example.
Halloween dates back to the Celtics when they believed the world between ours and the otherworld would rise (the dead) and they were dangerous causing sickness to humans and to crops. They would perform rituals and hold skeleton relics upon their homes.
As for J.K. Rowling it’s not our place to judge whether she is a Christian or not. But I think the real question is what is Potter’s influence on little children and ppl in this world? Bc of Potter, so many ppl are wanting to be witches, some people are forming cults. To everyone, be a sorcerer is one of the most amazing things. They have a longing to play with witchcraft. Harry Potter is witch related, and the Bible tells us to not get involved with those things. Look what the bible tells us.
“When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire [an ancient occult practice], or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination [detestable] to the LORD…”
What’s the point of making books like that if they are only going to draw ppl farther away from God? Is it worth it? It’s the little children that are so naive that they believe almost anything they see. Wouldn’t you rather see them in heaven then burning in the realms of hell when Jesus comes to save us? Just saying. Even though her books are well written, she could be doing more harm to God’s ppl than she may know.
Here was my post, as an answer to both Jair and eventually the commentors:
First, let me answer the questions Jair posed, and then I’ll get to some of the other comments.
Is Halloween a “Holiday.” Depends. Do you use the term “Holiday as it was originally intended? “Holy Day,” memorial day, or day to have fun? And how do you treat Halloween? In other words, do you view it as a religious holiday, or a kick-back and relax one? If you treat it as a holy day, as a day in which to worship the powers of darkness or whatever, then, yes, it’s a bad day. If you treat it as a day to either remember and honor the dead, as suggested above, or treat it as an opportunity to have a fun time and dress-up, then it isn’t.
Any Holiday is what you make it. Christmas or Easter could both be the most Satanic times of the year if you make it so.
And if everything that had a “pagan” root were eliminated, there are many things in church, and I mean protestant churches, that would change. (Did you know, the synagogal system that our church system is based on came from the Babylonians while Israel was in captivity? Interesting, no?
Nothing in this world, NOTHING, is free of the taint of sin, and so even when we’re sitting in a pew we are having to sift the good from the bad. Do the same on Halloween. Take the good, leave the bad. (and follow your conscience. If you really think dressing as a vampire is a sin, then don’t do it. I don’t want to be your stumbling block, as Paul said. Even when I think you’re being silly.)
Now, for what I think of J.K.R.
She’s a Christian. She’s said so herself. Oh, and believe it or not, but it completely shines through in her writing. The mythological and symbolic patterns in her books follow distinctly Christian themes and views of the world.
Here are some of her quotes: “I believe in God, not magic.” she also said that if people knew about her Christian beliefs they would be able to “guess what is coming in the books.”
Indeed, this is true. The books cover such topics as dying to save others, the power of love and kindness, death is not reversible but by God, the nature of evil, and the ability of man to choose good or evil, etc.
Similarly, her “witches and wizards” are hardly that, by definition. Do they use magic? yes. But where does it come from? In her books Magic is like a law of nature or physics. It is just there. Being able to use it is genetic. It’s like being born with long legs. Just as someone born a wizard uses magic, someone with long legs uses them to run fast. Real-world magic comes from gods and goddesses that people worship. That is paganism. That is real “witchcraft.” Harry Potter has none of that.
Now for the commentators:
@ Mr. Landelius: You seem to be more levelheaded in this, so I will answer simply that I respectfully disagree on the grounds that just about everything man does can be an affront to God based on man’s intentions. If a man went to church on a Saturday with ill intentions, it would be just as potentially sinful as somebody celebrating Halloween with bad intentions and as potentially beneficial with good intentions.
@ Mrs. Bankston: While I appreciate the fact that you didn’t resort to insulting anybody, your answer definitely felt more heated, and provoked a bit more of an emotional response in me than I would have liked. After all, anger is not the solution to disagreements.
But as to your assertions:
1. your metaphor, comparing Ben’s statements to going o church is a poor one. For a metaphor to work, you have to compare similar things. Those are not similar. Saturday is a God-mandated Religious holiday. Halloween is having a party with friends. Comparable things to Halloween are other times of fun (football games or barbecues in the backyard, or other holidays like Christmas or Easter. They all have similar purposes. The Sabbath is a far cry from those things.
You start with the assumption “Halloween = bad” and thus, Ben’s saying that there’s nothing wrong with having fun must sound to you like there’s nothing wrong with smoking or premarital sex. You must first establish if Halloween is truly bad or not. I have of course come to the conclusion that it is what you make of it. If to Ben it is merely an opportunity to relax and have fun, then your assumption is false, as is your metaphor.
2.As to the original meanings of Holidays, if you believe that those meanings stick to the Holiday no matter how you celebrate it now, then on Christmas we should be celebrating the Sun, or Yule and the Wild-Hunt, or worshiping Odin (depending on ethnic backgrounds.) Easter would be a celebration of Fertility to the goddess Eostre, from which its name derives. The fact is, we make of Holidays what we will. How and why we celebrate determine it’s negative or positive elements.
3. Did You Know: The word for “Witcraft” in Greek could also mean Pharmaceutical? Beware the Pharmacists! http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G5331&t=KJV
Seriously though, even when it truly means “Witchcraft” it means the practices of magic and such that comes from pagan gods. That, as I’ve said, is different from that n Harry Potter.
4. As for the Books leading people away, I would argue that people are led away who are willing to be led away. Next time you read of a mother who killed her children because “God told her to” ask the question: “Did God really tell her to?” The answer is no, of course, but the factis, she allowed herself to be led astray by something she believed was from God. Even Christianity has been the source for evil! Misguided Christianity, yes, but what does that matter to an outside viewer?
Similarly, Harry Potter has many good elements that reaffirm the truths of Christianity. The fact that people misunderstand this is not the books fault, any more than the murderous mother is God’s fault.
When dealing with children, Harry Potter, like all stories, biblical ones included, should be an experience guided by the Parents. If the parents aren’t there to introduce stories at appropriate times, and don’t talk about the meanings behind the stories with their children, then those children can come up with all kinds of false messages from them. Even Bible stories can be misread by children. Does the story of David and Goliath promote killing? No? then the parent have to tell the children that. What if they go and start throwing rocks at Bullies, shouting “The Lord is on my side!”?
Parents need to be Parents. In a good situation, a Parent can talk about the good underlying messages of Harry Potter, along with the realities of what Harry Potter Magic is (fantasy) and what real-world magic is (religion), and how to tell the difference. Of course it doesn’t help if the parents don’t know the difference either, but that is another problem altogether.
5. Fantasy books with important meanings underlying them are very useful. Much like the parables of Jesus, a story, even (or especially even) a fantastical one can serve much the same purpose. Fantasy stories connect the reader with the characters and protagonists emotionally and mentally. When those characters discover love and goodness, so does the reader, when they experience happiness or sadness, so does the reader. If the parent is there to connect the experiences a child has in a fantasy story with the truths of Christianity, then it can be an extraordinarily powerful tool to bring people to God. Much as Parables connected people’s lives with what they viewed as distant abstract thoughts.
That is not nearly all I have to say on the matter, but it will do for now. I hope most people who read this come to the end., and don’t skip it all.
That was the conversation, or at least the big important parts.
Of course even though I waxed long upon the subject, there is surely plenty more to be said, and my points might be better made even in short form, but there it is.
Until next time!
– Edward L. Cheever II~