When Halloween rolls around next Monday, a group of Christians spread throughout Canada and the U.S. will be celebrating JesusWeen instead. JesusWeen participants will be giving out Bibles and tracts and other “Christian gifts” to trick-or-treaters (“… when someone knocks on your door expecting candy, we prescribe you give a pocket size bible, Christian musical or teaching cd, Tracts, Poems, etc.”). They will also be wearing white “to symbolize Righteousness and the love of God.”
JesusWeen has been around since 2002 but has gotten an especial amount of media coverage this year, and their Facebook page is now up to 3,664 likes.
According to JesusWeen.com, the objective is not to hijack Halloween, as many bloggers and news sources have reported, but to share the love of Christ with kids:
“Every year, the world and its system have a day set aside (October 31st) to celebrate ungodly images and evil characters while Christians all over the world participate, hide or just stay quiet on Halloween day. Being a day that is widely acceptable to solicit and knock on doors, God inspired us to encourage Christians to use this day as an opportunity to spread the gospel.”
I have mixed feelings about this initiative. My first reaction was to laugh. The name is just ridiculous, as is the dress code. My second reaction was to shake my head over the phrase “ungodly images and evil characters,” because it reflects the tendency of Christians to overemphasize the so-called evils of the holiday and to misunderstand the motivations of today’s celebrants.
But I am glad that the JesusWeen organizers do not go so over the top as to denounce Halloween as “satanic” or to condemn all costume-wearers to hell, as some Christians, like religious cartoonist Jack Chick, are wont to do:
No, the JesusWeeners, as Jimmy Kimmel calls them, seem well-intentioned and fairly level-headed, albeit incredibly cheesy, in their approach.
What do you think?
P.S. The video below, produced by the Discovery Channel, gives a good, brief summary of the origins of Halloween, which has both pagan and Christian influences. Of course there’s more to it, but here’s an intro, at least.