harry potter

Harry Potter and the Advent Devotional

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But perhaps the reason why the darkness cannot understand or overcome the Light is because it will not and cannot imagine reducing itself or condescend to be like its enemy in order to overcome it. Scripture describes an adversary who wanted to be like God, but doesn’t seem to understand that God’s very nature is “gentle and humble and heart.” The nature of darkness is not a generous one. It doesn’t offer light or heat or allow other things to grow. It isolates.

Survey Finds British Children and Adults Are Biblically Illiterate

A man reading the Bible in church. Photo courtesy of Magdalena Kucova via Shutterstock

Three out of 10 British children have next to no understanding of the Bible and their parents aren’t that knowledgeable, either.

survey released Friday by the Bible Society, founded in 1804 to spread knowledge about the Scriptures, said most boys and girls aged 8 to 15 years old did not know that Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, or Jesus’ birth were rooted in the Bible.

More than a third of the 800 children surveyed did not know that David and Goliath and the story of the Good Samaritan were Bible tales.

QUIRK: 'Harry Potter Theme' Performed on Water Glasses

Perhaps you’ve tried to circle the rim of a wine glass with your finger to create some high pitched tones (often times I’d be scolded for doing it in restaurants). Well, in this video, you can take a look at a rendering of “Hedwig’s Theme,” one of the most recognizable scores from the Harry Potter series, performed on a plethora of wine glasses. There’s no telling how this person stumbled upon this idea, or what potion lies in the water glasses, but if you’re a fan of Harry Potter and quirky music, do yourself a favor and press play below.   

Reading Too Much In?

Harry Potter is no Gandhi. Though Bill Wylie-Kellermann (“Harry and the Principalities,” November 2011) believes that Harry “never kills anyone,” the whole mission of book seven was to find and destroy Horcruxes, parts of Tom Riddle’s (Voldemort’s) soul.  Harry is not opposed to the use of force, even if it reluctantly leads to his enemy’s demise.                       

Steve Bisset
Laurel, Maryland

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Grace, Magic, and Hard Work

Beyond the typical objections that the Harry Potter books will turn children into Satan-worshipers and encourage them to disrespect authority, one mom complained that she found it inappropriate that at Hogwarts food magically appears on the table at mealtime. Her argument was that she wants her children to have a good work ethic and not to believe that anything in life is free. She wanted her girls to know that preparing meals is hard work and so would therefore be sheltering them from this absurd depiction of people getting something for nothing.

I think at the time I had to restrain myself from asking if she also banned her kids from hearing the story of the feeding on the 5,000 in Sunday school, but it was hard not to think about her objection a few months later as I read The Goblet of Fire and its subplot about house elves. As it revealed, food does not magically appear on the tables at Hogwarts, it is prepared by hardworking elves who in the wizarding world are generally kept as slaves.

Harry and the Principalities

For a decade now, we have read as a family J.K. Rowling’s magical Harry Potter books aloud to one another in beds and cars and cottages. A bookstore friend mailed us the first, which caught and held with our two girls. Except for the last, which she never saw or heard, the subsequent volumes served for us as a therapeutic backstory to my wife’s struggle with cancer. Here was a lively gift of diversion and delight that we increasingly read as rich in themes both biblical and Christian. It was as if the Oxford Inklings (C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dorothy Sayers, and Charles Williams, among others) had hoisted a pint and admitted a new voice to the table.

That itself was an irony beside the early uproar in certain evangelical communities against what was taken to be the books’ witchcraft-laden, dark, and cultic assaults on the faith. Night-fears that the kids in backyard play would lay down their guns and take up wands.

Last summer’s release of the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, and the expected Christmas release of the DVD boxed set, brings down the curtain on this 10-year pop culture love affair with Harry and Hogwarts. Now it seems the burgeoning industry of theological commentary upon it will only grow.

In times such as these, with crises rife and death on the planetary prowl, one pauses deep before spending comment on popular culture. Unless they are all connected.

By my lights, in the final film, J.K. Rowling gave away the gospel store. I say this presuming Rowling had the ability to hold its center through the twisted turns of assorted screenwriters and directors, not to mention commercial powers. (Who knows? I may be wrong there.) But here’s what I mean. In the final volume, of both book and film, after a long wilderness testing (with a portable tent and a light, no less), the more messianic themes come to a head.

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Friday Links Round Up: Cookies. Dads. Harry Potter.

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookiesphoto © 2009 Ted Major | more info (via: Wylio)Here's a little round up of links from around the Web you may have missed this week:

  • The changing face of AIDS.