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Friday, October 27, 2006

I Delivered Quadruplets Last Night

Last night a situation arose that required my direct intervention in the delivery of multiple babies. Four to be exact. Amazingly enough we happened to have had a video camera on hand and my wife caught the whole thing on tape. I have made some edits today so that only the actual births can be seen. Click here to view the deliveries.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Halloween - Innocent Fun or Cultic Tradition???

My wife and I argue every year about Halloween. I think it is a dangerous holiday rooted in demonic practices and she thinks it’s just a fun time for the kids to dress up and get candy. The fact is, in most cases, she and I are both right. We’re not teaching our kids about pagan traditions and howling at the moon or anything so dramatic. It’s a time for their imagination to reach its full potential and for a few hours of one or two days pretend to be whatever it is they dress up as.

Sounds simple enough, but to me it really isn’t that simple. As you’ll read in the coming paragraphs, it is like painting a loaded gun to look like a toy and giving it to the child to play with. If we’re not careful to educate our children and separate the candy from the spirits of the dead, then what lessons are we teaching our children? What are we teaching them about the compromise of their faith; the faith that we are supposed to be instilling in them?

My wife and boys, against my protest, carve their pumpkins every year. They dress up as their favorite superhero and walk the neighborhood begging for candy. I am not saying that these acts alone will corrupt our young. After all, I did it when I was a kid and I ended up on the right side of the spiritual fence. What I am most concerned about is sending a message to my children that witchcraft, demonism, Satanism, and the occult are something fun, entertaining and harmless.

So where’s the line? I guess that is something for every household to define according to their own conviction. My first choice would be to ignore Halloween as if it didn’t exist. However, I don’t always get my first choice so I try to balance it against teaching my children that those things are not something harmless, entertaining, or fun.

Excerpts from The Jeremiah Project:

History traces Halloween back to the ancient religion of the Celtics in Ireland. The Celtic people were very conscious of the spiritual world and had their own ideas of how they could gain access to it - such as by helping their over 300 gods to defeat their enemies in battle, or by imitating the gods by showing cleverness and cunning.

Their two main feasts were Beltane at the beginning of summer (May 1), and Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween) at the end of summer (Nov. 1). They believed Samhain was a time when the division between the two worlds became very thin, when hostile supernatural forces were active and ghosts and spirits were free to wander as they wished. "During this interval the normal order of the universe is suspended, the barriers between the natural and the supernatural are temporarily removed, the sidh lies open and all divine beings and the spirits of the dead move freely among men and interfere sometimes violently, in their affairs" (Celtic Mythology, p. 127).

The Celtic priests, who carried out the rituals in the open air, were called Druids and generally performed their rituals by offering sacrifices, usually of crops and animals, but sometimes of humans, in order to placate the gods; ensuring that the sun would return after the winter; and frightening away evil spirits.

To the Celtics, the bonfire represented the sun and was used to aid the Druid in his fight with dark powers. The term bonfire comes from the words "bone fire," literally meaning the bones of sacrificed animals, sometimes human, were piled in a field with timber and set ablaze. All fires except those of the Druids were extinguished on Samhain and householders were levied a fee to relight their holy fire which burned at their altars. During the Festival of Samhain, fires would be lit which would burn all through the winter and sacrifices would be offered to the gods on the fires. This practice of burning humans was stopped around 1600, and an effigy was sometimes burned instead.

Trick-or-Treat?

Some trace the origins of present day "trick-or-treat" to Samhain, which was the supreme night of demonic jubilation. Spirits of the dead would rise out of their graves and wander the countryside, trying to return to the homes where they formerly lived. Frightened villagers tried to appease these wandering spirits by offering them gifts of fruit and nuts. They began the tradition of placing plates of the finest food and bits of treats that the household had to offer on their doorsteps, as gifts, to appease the hunger of the ghostly wanderers. If not placated, villagers feared that the spirits would kill their flocks or destroy their property.

The problem was... if the souls of dead loved ones could return that night, so could anything else, human or not, nice or not-so-nice. The only thing the superstitious people knew to do to protect themselves on such an occasion was to masquerade as one of the demonic hoard, and hopefully blend in unnoticed among them. Wearing masks and other disguises and blackening the face with soot were originally ways of hiding oneself from the spirits of the dead who might be roaming around. This is the origin of Halloween masquerading as devils, imps, ogres, and other demonic creatures.

Others trace "trick-or-treat" to a European custom called "souling". Beggars would go from village to village begging for "soul cakes" made out of square pieces of bread with currants. The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. At the time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer, even by strangers could guarantee a soul's passage to heaven.

In many parts of Britain and Ireland this night used to be known as 'Mischief Night', which meant that people were free to go around the village playing pranks and getting up to any kind of mischief without fear of being punished. Many of the different customs were taken to the United States by Irish and Scottish immigrants in the nineteenth century, and they developed into 'trick or treat'.

Halloween Comes to America

Traditional Halloween symbols (witches, black cats, pumpkins, candles, masks, parties and pranks) appeared in the U.S. during the late 1800's. In 1848, millions of Irish emigrants poured into America as a result of the potato famine. With this sudden influx of people, the holiday of Druidism found its new home on alien shores. "Proudly Celtic, they called Halloween Oidche Shamhna (`Night of Samhain'), as their ancestors had, and kept the traditional observances" [Common Boundary, Sep./Oct. 1993, p. 31].

The Jack-o-lantern is the festival light for Halloween and is the ancient symbol of a damned soul. Originally the Irish would carve out turnips or beets as lanterns as representations of the souls of the dead or goblins freed from the dead.

When the Irish emigrated to America they could not find many turnips to carve into Jack O'Lanterns but they did find an abundance of pumpkins. Pumpkins seemed to be a suitable substitute for the turnips and pumpkins have been an essential part of Halloween celebrations ever since.

Pumpkins were cut with faces representing demons and was originally intended to frighten away evil spirits. It was said that if a demon or such were to encounter something as fiendish looking as themselves that they'd run away in terror, thus sparing the houses dwellers from the ravages of dark entities. They would have been carried around the village boundaries or left outside the home to burn through the night.

Bats, owls and other nocturnal animals, also popular symbols of Halloween, were originally feared because people believed that these creatures could communicate with the spirits of the dead.

Black cats have religious origins as well. Black cats were considered to be reincarnated beings with the ability to divine the future. During the Middle Ages it was believed that witches could turn themselves into black cats. Thus, when such a cat was seen, it was considered to be a witch in disguise.

Witches and witchcraft are dominant themes of the holiday. Witches generally believe themselves to be followers of an ancient religion, which goes back far beyond Christianity, and which is properly called 'wicca'. Witches are really just one side of a modern revival of paganism - the following of pre-Christian nature religions, the attempt to return to worshipping ancient Norse, Greek or Celtic gods and goddesses.

To witches, Halloween is a festival of the dead, and represents the "end and the beginning of the witches year. It marks the beginning of the death and destruction associated with winter. At this time the power of the underworld is unleashed, and spirits are supposedly freed to roam about the earth; it is considered the best time to contact spirits" (Halloween and Satanism, P. Phillips and J.H. Robie, 1987, p. 146).

The apostle Paul said Witchcraft is one of the acts of the sinful nature and those who practice it will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:16-21; see also Revelation 22:15).

Should Christians adopt such practices? Can we borrow pagan customs and superstitions of ancient peoples and "Christianize" them?

As believers, we are called to "Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. [1 Thesalonians 5:21-22] Who can deny that virtually all of the symbols of Halloween are evil? Witches, monsters, ogres, vampires, ghosts, ghouls, goblins, devils and demons all portray evil. Christians are to "... have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." [Ephesians 5:11]

Is Halloween just another innocent holiday that doesn't harm anyone? Is it really just childish fun? Vandalism and wanton disregard for the property of others is common on Halloween night. Even normally well-behaved children are driven by unseen forces to destructive behavior. Police officials everywhere report a great increase in such activities on Halloween. Worse yet, are the horrifying accounts of poisoned candy and fruits booby-trapped with razor blades and needles. Such threats are so real that many hospitals offer free X-rays of Halloween treats in order to prevent children from being harmed. Who but Satan could inspire such monstrous actions?

When America and the world celebrates the Festival of Samhain and the powers of darkness by masquerading as evil creatures or decorating our homes, schools, businesses and churches with occult symbols, Satanic power is glorified.

The sort of practices celebrated on Halloween are what defiled the ancient nations [see Leviticus 18:24-30]. The Israelites were warned against such practices when they entered the Promised Land, "When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations." [Deuteronomy 18:9]

Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God. The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so. [Deuteronomy 18:10-14]

As an alternative to the celebration of evil and death, Christians should rather do what Christians are supposed to do everyday and that is shine the light of Jesus Christ. We should emphasize the Christian influences and strive to make Hallow's Eve a celebration of the acts of God through his people the saints. We should make it a day when acts of charity instead of vandalism and hatred abound. A day that emphasizes the light of Christ instead of the darkness of evil. A day when people meditate on the acts of Godly people instead of ghosts and goblins.

While you may have participated "all in fun," be assured, Halloween is serious business for Satanists and witches. Those who oppose Christ are known to organize on Halloween to observe satanic rituals, to cast spells, to oppose churches and families, to perform sacrilegious acts, and to even offer blood sacrifices to Satan. While some may say, "But we only do this in fun...we don't practice witchcraft," those things that represent Satan and his domain cannot be handled or emulated "for fun". Such participation places you in enemy and forbidden territory and that is dangerous ground.

As evil prevails, Americans have embraced an evil day of Satan, with the pranks of 'would be' hoodlums, combined with 'demon faces' on pumpkins, clothing of 'death' being worn, and calling it fun. When Christians participate in Halloween, it sends a message to children that witchcraft, demonism, Satanism, and the occult are something fun, entertaining and harmless.

Recognizing this pagan holiday gives the false impression that what is actually lethal is innocuous. Some children develop a fascination with the supernatural which later leads them into more sinister occult practices. It's the spiritual equivalent of painting a loaded gun to look like a toy and giving it to child to play with.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

My Son, The Little Man


Joshua's Kindergarten Picture
Joshua has turned into such a little man. We're so proud of the way he is adjusting to school and all that entails. He's also involved, as is Nicholas, with our church Awana's program.

On a side note. I am interning a great deal with the degree program I am in. I will have to maintain a grueling schedule through the end of the year so my posts will be sporadic at best. I encourage you to check out my friends site at www.freespeechforum.net in the meantime.

Monday, October 09, 2006

New Look

Thanks to my friend Zach who put together an awesome little graphic for my blog Title. He has started a new site of his own which you can link to from my favorite links at the side of this page. It is called Free Speech Forum. It's an awesome platform to express safely your view points on many different issues and a great tool for networking. Please check it out and make your voice be heard.
“The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depends on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life” - Albert Einstein