S.R.Claridge writes Mystery and Romantic Suspense novels. Her work has been said to have the energy of Dan Brown, the mystery of Mary Higgins Clark and the humor of Janet Evanovich. Claridge novels will take you to the edge of your seat, keep you guessing until the very end and ultimately warm your heart. It is on the pages of every S.R.Claridge novel that Mystery and Sensual Suspense collide.

For more information on bookings, interviews and upcoming releases, please visit the author website and Facebook fan page.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Atypical is Fine By Me

I got up this morning feeling pretty good and then I made the mistake of checking my email, wherein I received a note from a woman who does not know me, personally, but only in the virtual realm.  In a nutshell, she blasted me about the fact that I enjoy celebrating Halloween.  Each year my husband and I throw a Halloween party and, I'll be honest, I look forward to it.  In fact, I LOVE it!  Fall is my favorite season and Halloween is one of my favorite holidays (second only to Christmas).  For me, Halloween is about costumes, cocktails and candy.  It's a time to be creative with decorations, to light hundreds of candles, to dress up and spend one evening a year hanging with friends and family in an atypical environment.

The woman who wrote to me didn't take any of that into consideration.  She only focused on the fact that I am a Christian and chose to cast judgment by writing:  "A Christian with a true heart for the Lord doesn't celebrate a pagan holiday because it offends the spirit of God that dwells inside every believer." 

The email was somewhat lengthy because she took the time to share with me why celebrating Halloween is "wrong."  I won't bore you with the details, as a quick Google search will provide plentiful information of its pagan origin.  I do, however, want to point out that in one simple sentence (the one I quoted above), this woman implied that I did not have a "true heart for the Lord" nor that the Spirit of God dwells inside of me.  Wow!  What happened to "Thou Shalt Not Judge?"

There was a time when I would have felt the need to defend my beliefs, but that time is gone.  I don't care what this woman or anyone in the so-called "church" thinks of me.  My "Christianity" is a private matter between me and God.  My love for Him and His for me is personal and cannot be held nor defined by stigma, rules or superficial expectations.  It is atypical and I like it that way.

So, to the woman who wrote to me I would say only this:  Tout your religion elsewhere...because my relationship with the Lord has nothing to do with religious regulations.  And shame on you for being a judgmental 'BeOtch.'  Can you not see that it is people like you that give Christianity a bad name? It is judgmental behavior like yours that causes people to run from God instead of toward Him?  If you don't feel that celebrating Halloween is "right" then don't celebrate it.  That's your choice and that's fine.  But, just because you have made a choice for your life does not mean you have the right to condemn those that have made a different choice for their life.  Christianity is about loving others, not about trying to convince others that your way is the right way and they should all agree with you. When will the typical church wake up and realize that true Christianity is nothing more than love at work in individual and often very private ways?  Touting signs, taping mouths, sending emails, condemnation and fear tactics, etc.... these drive a wedge and cause more damage than good.  Love is the key and love is the answer. 

As for Halloween...or any holiday for that matter... it is what you make it.  Halloween is only a pagan celebration if you honor it as such.  Just like Christmas can either be about Jesus's birth or about Santa Clause and presents.  Easter can be about Jesus's death and resurrection or about a large bunny who hides eggs.  Holidays mean what you make them mean.  There is no blanket judgment that fits all, nor should there be.  It's your heart, your focus, your life and no one has a right to speak into it...certainly not in the name of God.  If God has something to say to you, He'll say it on His own. 

BTW, I'm pretty sure there's nothing in the Bible against cocktails, costumes and candy...so, bring on the Halloween festivities; and if that makes me an atypical Christian, hallelujah!  There is no greater compliment in this day and age than to say I do not belong amid the "typical" Christians.  Atypical is fine by me.   ~