28 November 2005

God's Debris

This book, God's Debris, is (so far) an interesting thought experiment. I can point out several fallacies in just a few minutes, but in an effort to protect copyrighted material, I'll let you read it for yourself. Tell me what you think of it! It's by Scott Adams, the author of Dilbert cartoons. But it isn't humorous. Please tell me what you think about it. It's 100% free and legal to dowload in Adobe format, and you can save it to your computer so you can read it later, too. But be warned-it's rather a hafty document! It's 132 pages, and at the very bottom of the very last page, there's an email address to contact the author.

15 November 2005

I really need your help!

I really need feedback on what I should write in this here blog. I'd like for it to be universally stimulating, but I can't make it that way unless I know what everyone wants. Ok? If I write about stuff you hate, how am I supposed to know you hate it? Let me know! In fact, comment on this post and choose the following categories you'd like me to post on in the future. Thanks!

Pop culture (music, popular sports, in general life today)
And any other category you'd like me to include. I'm sure I forgot something, as this is quite a short post. But if you want me to write about anything and I mean anything, just let me know! I love to know what people think. Comment on any post you want and ask me if I could do more of that type of post or never do that type of post again. I'm counting on you guys! Thanks.

10 November 2005

Definition of insanity

Look at the following pictures.

There are three ways you can react to these pictures.
1. Your stomach might lurch and you might have to look away. This is the classic response.
2. You might say, "Wow! That's cool!" This response is...well, not so classic.
3. You might say, "Hey, who cares?" This response is highly unusual.

1. This is classic because, of course, the pictures are or highly dangerous, high flying motorcylists and bikers. This might well be considered frightening. Certainly, you might never do it! But what does this mean for the people who do?

2. This is not the classic response because most people would be scared spitless of even considering doing this. But even if, at first glance, you think it might be fun, you would be scared if you actually did it.

3. This should not even be considered as a reaction. If it happened to you, then maybe you should try it extreme sports. But that's not the point here.

Anyway, what I'm trying to get at is the insanity craze in America right now. We have extreme sports, like the above pictures, skydiving, and other things. Why do we have this insanity craze?
Here are a few reasons that might have something to do with it.
1. We're bored!
Everyone is bored at one time or another, but the American public seems to be bored a good percent of the time. This is why we read tabloids, watch sports, and play video and computer games. And we thought we didn't have any time! Other nations are filling their time with industrious pastimes, like making things or spending time with family. But we in America have created a "oneness" where we do things on our own, we earn our own money (that's not bad) and in general doing things by ourselves, without anyone's help, thank you. This mentality can get us into a lot of trouble. When we're bored and off in our own little corner, we tend to do a lot more sinful things than when we feel we need to influence people. But that's getting off the subject.
2. When we're bored, we don't do things ourselves, we just watch other people do dumb things because we're afraid to do them ourselves. HOWEVER, tricks like the pictures above can only be done by professionals. We normal human beings have to be content just riding our bikes up and down the road or skateboarding at the park.

The point is, Americans are bored. Therefore, we watch people attempting and possibly performing crazy tricks on dangerous machines or tiny bicycles that have only one gear. It follows sensibly, right? But the problem is when we spend all our time watching other people doing insane tricks on TV, but we never bother to go out to try to learn some of our own, or even ride our bikes to the park. That's why America is so crazed with insane sports: we're bored, and we're not professionals.

08 November 2005

Follow up to Paul Revere's Midnight Ride

Humor all the poetry. This is really a cool poem, because it so well summarizes just what was going on when Paul Revere rode his famous ride. But there is another Paul Revere, a Paul Revere of the south. Not many people know him. His name was Jack Jouett, and his ride wasn't nearly as easy as Paul Revere's. First, he had no church tower light to rely on. He eavesdropped on the British soldiers in a tavern in Virginia. They were talking about the new development of their commander's-General Cornwallis. Cornwallis' plan was to attack the Virginian legislative assembly, with such notable characters as Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Nelson, Jr. in attendance. Jack, being a military man of only 27 years old, realized the intentions of the British troops and jumped on his horse at 10:30 pm. He planned to ride to Richmond, Virginia to warn the legislators of the danger they were in. He had to avoid the main roads where the British soldiers might soon be marching, so he rode through the thick Virginia vegetation, being terribly scratched by branches and whipped by undergrowth. His horse was very reliably and got him the 40 miles to Richmond in just six hours. Fortunately for Jack, the British troops had stopped for another rest after the left the bar where Jack had first encountered them. Anyhow, Jack roused Thomas Jefferson and his guests at 4:30 am and the legislators escaped with their lives. Then, instead of just sinking to the ground with exhaustion (which he would have been quite within his rights to do!), Jack jumped on his horse again and rode on to Charlottesville, Virginia, to warn the other legislators. Unfortunately, he reached Charlottesville a little too late. Seven legislators were captured, including Daniel Boone. Yet still, Jack's job was not done. General Edward Stevens, who was a Patriot leader, was captured by the British. Jack dressed as a military official and lured the gaurds away from Stevens so that he could escape. Jack outrode the British officers and avoided capture.

That, to me, is really interesting. How come we don't celebrate that? that's far more sensational than just seeing a light in a church tower and riding to warn people, which is what Paul Revere did. Of course, Revere's act is not to be underrated. He did a great thing that night. But Jack Jouett's job was a lot more strenuous!

Paul Revere's Midnight Ride

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,--
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,--
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,---
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,---
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

I Never Saw a Moor

By Emily Dickinson

I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.

I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given.

Simple faith in its purest form. How many of us can boast that kind of faith?

04 November 2005

Overview of music part IV: Classic rock

Definition of musical genre; Classic rock
Rock music anywhere from 10 to 30 years old.

This musical genre can be found prevalently within this culture: Parents who remember it from when they were kids

How can classic rock be good?

In the very beginning of rock history, rock really wasn't as poisonous as it is now. It was just simply a new, different way of singing and songwriting. Nothing evil or rebellious, though it was viewed as that right off the bat. People thought that the beat was simply not Christian and that no one should listen to it. I think that was in the early 40's. Later, in the 60's, it became connected to free love and drugs. However, there was still some good things about it. For instance, there was very little of this crash and burn stuff we now associate with rock. There was a do-your-own-thing attitude, but it wasn't ineherently evil. There was a lot of dreaming involved. For instance, today's artist Nickelback. They're very shallow. Not so then. People actually had things to say when they sang. They didn't just encourage suicide, the songs made you think. Oftentimes the singer or songwriter would recount a memory or tell a story. Other times it was just a warning about someone who had done them wrong. But it didn't-and doesn't-usually encourage rebellion.

How can classic rock be bad?

Like any other musical genre, it has its good and bad themes. Some artists are the pinnacle of precision and tuneful accuracy. Others, however, simply should not be heard by young people. Aerosmith is quite vocal about their one-night stands. Others like Van Halen are simply gritty-sounding, and parents who don't have an emotional attachment or lots of memories of listening to Van Halen may not want their kids exposed to their the-devil-may-care attitude.

My advice:
Be picky about what you listen to. Some have deeper meanings, both religiously and sexually. So listen up for alterior motives, and make sure you agree before you listen what point you'll turn it off at.

Bands to avoid: Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Foghat, and a few others. Of course, if you have emotional links to the music, it's your decision.

Overview of music part III: Hard rock

Definition of musical genre; Hard rock
A musical genre seemingly dedicated to ensuring the rebellion of every teen in America

This musical genre can be found prevalently within this culture: The rebellious teen punk culture, which can be found anywhere.

How can hard rock be good?

Sometimes, all the artists want to demonstrate is an understandable anger or sadness. However, the bad far outweighs the good.

How can hard rock be bad?
Hard rock speaks to the rebellion inherent in every struggling teenager. It can push a teenager contemplating suicide over the edge, and it can bring a normally happy and submissive teen to rebellion or depression. It includes drugs in its total dismissal of all authority. It commands attention, or else. My personal taste has nothing to do with this. If you listen to hard rock, you will have negative results. If you live your life like they do, you will regret it. Some of the horrible practices encouraged include witchcraft, satanism and demonism.

My advice:

Avoid hard rock under all circumstances.

Bands to avoid include Korn, Staind, Disturbed (the name should be a warning), System of a Down, Seether, Nine Inch Nails and A Perfect Circle.

Do you think hard rock is not as bad as I say it is? Please let me know. Leave a comment and I'll try to look into it.

Overview of music part II: Country

Definition of musical genre: Country
A style of music with a distinct flavor of patriotism. A generally light-hearted style of music generally without electric guitar, but with fiddles and other traditional American instruments.

This musical genre can be found prevalently within this culture:
The American "redneck" culture. As a country artist once said, "both rap and country are about the streets. Except in rap, the streets are paved."

How can country be good?

Country can be very upbeat and encouraging. In fact, much of country is sung by very upright, moral artists who hold onto the core values that Americans should possess. They are patriotic and romantic, sometimes in the same song.
Country is never suicidal, only sad. Many of the artists place great faith in the human spirit and getting through tough times.

How can country be bad?

When country appeals to the more crass "redneck" side of America, things can get a little ugly. Country is somewhat of a feel-good genre...even to a fault. Some songs encourage crazed abandon of all morals and drinking until you pass out. Drinking songs are unfortunately more popular than they should be in country. Female country artists are more likely to encourage promiscuity.

My advice:

Be selective in any country you listen to. It can be influential in all the wrong ways. However, if you're looking for patriotic, easygoing music and upbeat messages, I would say that country is a great choice. This is probably the largest and most popular music genre that has managed to remain so non-sexually oriented. Just watch out for all that alcohol!

Bands and artists to avoid include Gretchen Wilson, Shania Twain, and some of Toby Keith's songs. Gary Allan also put out one horrifying song, but managed to redeem himself with a better song.

Check out this cool free internet country radio station. Click here.

Overview of music series part I: Rap

Definition of musical genre; Rap
Rap is a distinct musical genre combining voiced lyrics and a strong, heavy beat.

This musical genre can be found prevalently within this culture:
The streets of large cities and the people who live on the streets. A large part of rap springs from gangs, drugs, and other negative elements.

How can rap be good?

Some rap can be encouraging. Like rappers who have realized that life is more valuable than street cred, and have turned their lives around or are trying to turn their lives around. This is good, but all rap does not fall into this category. Curse words outnumber words of hope 30 to 1 in rap. There is precious little hope for this musical genre.

How can rap be bad?

Rap has many negative aspects. It has its ups and downs. Unfortunately, its downs are far more prevalent than its ups. As mentioned before, the culture rap springs from is far from nourishing. There are drugs, guns, alcohol, and prostitution involved in many of the most popular rap songs on the charts today. I don't want to go deep into the bad end as far as lyrics, so I'll spare you the details. The point is, rappers don't care for morals as far as I can tell. That may be stereotypical, but for the most part, rappers are only interested in showing off their "street cred," as it's called. Street cred is any combination of criminal misdemeanors. Criminal pasts are nearly always praised. Misdemeanors are good, and the worse you are as far as the law goes, the better material you are for a rap song. If you have dealt drugs in the past, you are that much more popular in this culture. Promiscuity is promoted and applauded.

My advice:

This genre of music is not only disagreeable as far as the ear is concerned, but it is detrimental to core values every Christian should hold. Avoid it like the plague, or it will plague you.

Artists to avoid include Eminem (avoid at all costs!), 50 Cent, the Black Eyed Peas, Ciara, Missy Elliot, Pretty Ricky, Chris Brown and Sean Paul.

If you disagree with me on anything in this article, please let me know.

03 November 2005

If by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream -- and not make dreams your master;
If you can think -- and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings -- nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run --
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a man, my son!
I really like this poem. On the whole, this poem is based on some important biblical principles.

To start out with...
This poem shows some of the Biblical pronciples that we really need. At the beginning, where it mentions not dealing in lies after other people do that to you. That's an importantfactor. Matthew 5:39 says But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. This is what might be assumed is implied here. Don't return evil for evil, but rather overcome evil with good. I don't know what verse that is, but I know it's in the Bible.

Kipling also makes a point of admonishing vanity in the verse
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise

The next segment reminds us not to make every whim that comes along our goal in life. I'm not saying education is a whim-I know it isn't-but you can't make it your goal in life. Your goal in life should be to honor God and share the good news. Not even education can compare to that!

The last stanza shows the importance of guarding your heart. If you can protect your heart from your best friends and from your worst enemies, you are doing well. Of course, this isn't saying that you should never trust anyone-on the contrary, I would say that it is encouragement to give your heart to God so that man can't hurt it.

That's about all the Biblical principles I can wring out of this one. If you think I missed some, feel free to comment at the end of this article.

Laser tag!

Last night we had a blast playing laser tag in Denver. At least, I did!
What a weird concept. I mean, it's really dark and there's fog and stuff, and there are blacklights, so your teeth glow. It's easy to see people, because they glow if they have the slightest trace of white on them, or if they have dust on their clothes (which everyone does, whether you can see it or not). But the weird part is that you run around shooting people and trying not to get shot. You're really not supposed to start a team, but you can have a mutual understanding that you won't shoot certain people and they won't shoot you. I don't think that's cheating. I hope not, anyway, because that's sort of what I did. Anyhow, if you've never played laser tag, I would highly suggest doing so!

01 November 2005

Halloween essay

I know this is a little late, but hopefully it will be informative. This article makes more sense than mine does, so I'll put it up here, too. I don't remember where I got it, but I give great credit to whoever wrote it!Implied: I didn't write this.

Halloween is celebrated by millions of people as a fun time for kids, putting on costumes, and going door-to-door to get candy. But it is also known as a time of witches, ghouls, goblins, and ghosts. On one hand, some see Halloween as a harmless time of fun and on the other, a ghastly and demonically inspired night to be avoided.
As Christians, there is a lot of debate on whether or not we should participate in Halloween. Is it alright to go trick-or-treating? Can we dress our kids up in costumes on that day? If we do any of this, are we celebrating an evil holiday?
The word Halloween is derived from the term "All Hallows Eve" which occurred on Oct. 31, the end of summer in Northwestern Europe. "All Saints Day," or "All Hallows Day" was the next Day, Nov. 1st. Therefore, Halloween is the eve of All Saints Day.
Apparently, the origins of Halloween can be traced back to ancient Ireland and Scotland around the time of Christ. On Oct. 31st, the Celts celebrated the end of summer. This was important because it was when animal herders would move their animals into barns and pens and prepare to ride out the winter. This was also the time of the crop harvests. This annual change of season and lifestyle was marked by a festival called Samhain -- pronounced 'sow-ane' and means 'end of summer.' Sow rhythms with cow.
There was much superstition associated with this time of change including the belief in fairies, and that the spirits of the dead wandered around looking for bodies to inhabit. Since the living did not want to be possessed by spirits, they dressed up in costumes and paraded around the streets making loud noises to confuse and frighten the spirits away. In addition, the new year began for the Celts on Nov. 1. So, the day of Samhain was believed to be a day that was in neither the year past or the year to come. Since it was in between, chaos ruled on that day. Often, people would pull practical jokes on others as a result.
Later, around the 5th century, as the Catholic Church developed and moved into the area, instead of adding a new day to celebrate, it took over the Samhain celebration. Nov. 1st became "All Hallows Eve" where all the saints of the Catholic church were honored. A later custom developed where people would go door-to-door on Nov. 2, requesting small cakes in exchange for the promise of saying prayers for some of the dead relatives of each house. This arose out of the religious belief that the dead were in a state of limbo before they went to heaven or hell and that the prayers of the living could influence the outcome. This may have been the precursor to Trick-or Treat.
The Jack-0-Lantern apparently comes from Irish folklore about a man named Jack who tricked the devil into climbing a tree. Once the devil was in the tree, Jack carved a cross on the trunk, preventing the devil from coming down. The devil then made a deal with Jack to not allow Jack into hell after Jack died if only Jack would remove the cross from the tree. After Jack died, he couldn't go to hell, and he couldn't go to heaven. He was forced to wander around the earth with a single candle to light his way. The candle was placed in a turnip to keep it burning longer. When the Irish came to America in the 1800's, they adopted the pumpkin instead of the turnip. Along with these traditions, they brought the idea that the black cat was considered by some to be reincarnated spirits who had prophetic abilities.
So, it appears that the origins of Halloween are a mixture of old Celtic pagan rituals superstition and early Catholic traditions.
What does the Bible say about Halloween? Nothing. But it does speak concerning witches, the occult, and paganism, as in Exodus 22:18, You shall not let a witch live, or as in Deut. 18:10-12, "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,(11) or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. (12) Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD…."
The Bible definitely speaks negatively about cultic practices, spirits, and witches and condemns not only the practice but also the people who are involved in it. As Christians, we are to have nothing to do with the occult. Tarot Cards, contacting the dead, séances, lucky charms, etc., are all unbiblical and can harm a Christian's fellowship with God and open the Christian to demonic oppression. Most Christians know this and avoid these activities. But, the question still remains. Since there are ancient pagan connections and present cultic connections, what should a Christian do?
Can a Christian celebrate Halloween? The answer is simple: Yes and No. Let’s look at the negative first.
The Christian is not to be involved with or support the occult, witchcraft, demonism, or any other thing that uplifts the occult. To do so is to contradict God’s word, dabble in demonic spirits, and invite judgment from God. If a Halloween celebration is centered on demons, devils, spirits, etc., I would say don't have anything to do with it.
On the other hand, it isn't wrong to dress up in a costume and go door-to-door saying 'Trick or Treat." Provided that the costume isn't demonic, I can't see anything wrong with this. It's just fun for the kids.
Take a look at the Christmas tree. It was originally an ancient fertility symbol. Yet, it has become a representation of Christmas and the place where gifts are placed. Are the Christians, then, paying homage to an ancient pagan fertility god? No. Not at all. They do not consider it pagan at all and are simply joining in on a cultural event and giving no honor to anything unbiblical.
In the Bible in 1 Cor. 10:23-33, Paul speaks about meat sacrificed to idols. This meat was often sold in the meat market and the question arose, "Should a Christian each such meat?"
Paul said in verse 25, "Eat anything that is sold in the meat market, without asking questions for conscience' sake." This is most interesting. He says it is okay to eat the meat bought in the market place even though that meat may have been sacrificed to idols.
Then in verses 28-29 he says, "But if anyone should say to you, 'This is meat sacrificed to idols,' do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience' sake; 29 I mean not your own conscience, but the other man's; for why is my freedom judged by another's conscience?" (NASB). Paul is saying that if you find out the meat was sacrificed to idols, don't eat it -- not because of you, but because of the other person. In other words, eating that meat won't affect you. But, it may affect the attitude of another who does not understand the freedom the Christian has in Christ.
Is it any different with Halloween (or Christmas)? No. Even though Halloween has pagan origins, because of your freedom in Christ, you and/or you kids can dress up in costumes and go door-to-door and just have fun. However, if you are not comfortable with doing this, then you should not. If you know of a person who would stumble by doing it, then you shouldn't either.

Ideas needed for interp speech!

I'm going to be writing an interpretative speech, which is where you take a piece of classic literature and interpret it. I think I'll be doing the scene in The Hobbit where Bilbo is doing riddles with his dark friend, Gollum. I'm not doing any of the Lord of the Rings series because there are movies on them and I don't want to be compared to professional actors. But I needs some ideas. What other books are good and easily dramatized? I'll accept any suggestions!