The Meg is Closer to ‘Jaws’ Than ‘Sharknado’

MOVIE REVIEW When Steven Spielberg’s Jaws opened in theaters in 1975, it took the world by storm. Not only was the movie hugely popular as it was genuinely scary, it actually affected society in a strange way. Audiences began to have an irrational fear of sharks even when swimming at a lake. When Jaws 2 came to theaters three years later, everyone knew the catchphrase, “Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…” Since then, it’s been hard for movie studios to be able to drum up the same excitement with their own Jaws knock-offs. Shark movies became a joke. Even Jaws 3 and Jaws: The Revenge were met with disdain (and with good reason). But sharks are still a popular subject, just not one that we take very seriously anymore.
This brings us to next big shark movie, The Meg which judging from the trailers alone, looks like another campy knock-off movie and while it indeed is campy, it isn’t as much as you would think. When comparing movies, The Meg is closer to Jaws tha…

Halloween: What is a Christian Family to Do?

Should Christian families celebrate Halloween?
It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and I'm outraged. (ABC)
I am not a big fan of Halloween. Never had been. I don’t like the thought of celebrating evil or dressing up my home as a haunted house. I have no desire to play scary sounds at my doorstep. At the same time, I have fond memories of collecting candy door to door with just a simple catchphrase. Some people believe that if you and your kids do anything on the holiday, you are partaking in pagan religion. But is that really true? If one participates in the age old tradition of handing out cavity creators on Hallows Eve, are they just embracing all that is evil?

Ignore the Night: 
People do this every year. Some say that they don’t want to partake in a heathen holiday so they turn off their lights, hide in the back of the house and keep the TV's volume turned down low and pretend that they aren’t home. Yeah. That will show ‘em.

Invite Others to Hell House: 
On the opposite end of the spectrum, some create a “hell house” which is similar to a haunted house where people dress up as zombies and run around with chainsaw and portray acts of violence. The difference here is the this is a display of “Christian" violence. While there are certainly variations of theme and some churches have produced some spectacular tasteful productions, the "original" Hell Houses are a bit much. Instead of monsters and mayhem, guests are treated to see what happens to others who have had abortions, drink and drive, live a gay lifestyle and more. The only monsters here are the demons dragging them down to hell if they don’t repent of their sins. Many who attend end up raising their hands for salvation. I not an advocate of scaring the hell out of anyone, How about you?

Trunk or Treat: 
These started sprouting up a few years back. The idea heare is that a group of people, (usually a church), park their cars side by side dress up the trunks. Each car has it’s own theme and kids go from one car to the next playing a game or collect candy. The event is suspiciously just like traditional Trick or Treating. (I think it’s funny that 364 days of the year, we teach our kids not to take candy from a stranger in a car, and one day where we celebrate it.) I never really understood why some feel that this is a real alternative. It's the same activity in a different location.

Hold a Harvest Carnival: 
I think these are great. It takes the idea of Truck or Treating and boosting it up a notch. Some festivals can get pretty elaborate and they can be a lot of work. Typically, churches hold these carnivals or parties with a focus on harvest themes rather than monsters. The only real problem with these is that the neighborhood kids tend to go to the carnivals early and then leave with enough time so they can go trick or treating back home!

Jesus Ween: 
That’s not a typo - it’s a real thing. It started in Baltimore as an alternative to Halloween. Instead of handing out candy, Christians are encouraged to dress up in white and hand out bibles and other “Christian” gifts instead. If someone had done that when I was a kid, I would probably think that they were creepier than the family down the street that dressed up as the Adam's Family. Now, I think these people have their hearts in the right place, but I think the idea may backfire on them. I think of the Peanuts TV special, It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown,  when the trick-or-treaters compare their loot: “I got a candy bar!” “I got a sucker!” “I got gum drops!” “I got a rock.” “I got a Bible.” Plain and simple - kids go for the candy.

Share the Light:
This year, I’m planning on taking the advice of former pastor of mine. Each year, instead of turning off the lights or leave his house entirely, my pastor would make sure that the porch lights were bright and welcoming. He would carve pumpkins with happy faces and he would have at least one pumpkin lit up with a cross. Nothing too crazy or outlandish.

It’s no secret that Halloween has it’s pagan roots. People used to carve pumpkins to ward off evil spirits. I highly doubt that anyone is thinking about that these days when they dress up their pumpkins any more than we do when we dress up our Christmas trees, which also was a pagan ritual once upon a time.

I don’t plan to wear white or hand out Bibles. I agree that the Bible is something to be treasured, but try telling that to six-year-old in a clown suit whose only goal for the night is to get lots and lots of chocolate. The first year we moved in our current neighborhood, we bought a bunch of full-sized candy bars at the local warehouse store instead of the "fun size." I mean, which candy bar is the true "fun" size? Our goal was to create a relationship with our neighbors. If you neighborhood is like mine, you rarely see your neighbors let alone talk to them. Halloween allows us to meet each child and their parents, even for a brief couple of minutes, and hopefully make an impact. And when you're a kid, what makes a bigger impact on Halloween than a full-size candy bar? 

Instead of ghosts and goblins, I want to dress up my front yard with a Peanuts theme with large hand-painted cut outs of Linus, Sally and Snoopy sitting in a pumpkin patch with real carved pumpkins lined up with them. Maybe even play some of the typical "Peanuts" music outside. We'll see how it goes.

How about you? Do you have an idea you’d like to share? Post it below! Let's start a conversation.


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