Yet another Harry Potter movie opens and stirs the imagination of a whole generation.
As usual with this series, I have a yellow light flashing in my spirit as I watch the news reports of people camping out overnight to see it.
Please hear me, I am not a prude. Not a monk. Not advocating a bunker-oriented faith that never engages the world. Not trying to rid my life of every shred of anything non-Christian. I read broadly. I don’t worry whether or not my cat is Christian enough.
But there is this check in my spirit with the Harry Potter stuff.
Granted, the author is gifted and skilled. As a fiction author myself, I would like to meet her. Seems like a prevailing person for whom high end academia led to low-paying jobs and poverty. Made it through the tough loss of a parent and clinical depression. On her second marriage and seems to be a faithful church goer in the Church of Scotland who struggles with her faith at times.
But I don’t celebrate her series of stories. And I am almost never a buzz-kill type.
Because the stories revolve around the cultivation, in an organized school, of witchcraft. The target readers are indentifying peers to the students in the Hogwarts school.
Young people (and all of us, for that matter) identify with protagonists. They are role models. We dream about being like them.
Some basic thoughts, with which you are free to disagree:
1) People have trouble separating non-fiction from fiction. The line is not as clear as you think. Even in your own mind. People suspend disbelief during a good movie and the line fades away. Here in California, there IS NO LINE between fiction and non-fiction. Trust me :-). There is a Disneyfication of our world going on all around us. Imagination is a great thing, and it blurs everything. As does Faith (trusting in those things not seen). This trouble navigating the difference is ESPECIALLY true for children and teens, the very targets for the book.
2) People keep telling me it’s not a big deal. That I should focus on something else. But the minds of young people, very impressionable, simply are a big deal. I don’t hate Wiccans any more than God hates Wiccans. God loves Wiccans and everyone else. But I don’t believe that Wicca and Christianity are, at any level, compatible world views. Last I checked, the fragile beach-head of the Christian world view is tenuous, at best, with our young people. Even with the church kids. We don’t need to add something else to the other end of the balance.
3) People keep telling me “it’s just a story.” Stories are mega-potent. Certainly the word “just” doesn’t belong with a potent story.
4) In my mind, God forbids witchcraft in strident terms (Deuteronomy 18:9-14) because it’s bad for us, not because he’s a spoil-sport. The first commandment and monotheism are not good things on which for Christians, Jews, and Muslims to hang asterisks. Precognition (remember the nasty results of time travel for Marty McFly?) robs us of our very-present humanity. Communication with the dead creates a dog and pony show, painted on a compound spiritual canvas that takes our focus off of the very Source of everything.
5) Part of the fascination with the supernatural that is finding its way into Wiccan, vampire, and zombie channels is due to the fact that we have dropped the ball in teaching a whole generation the potency of Western Spirituality. The New Testament is full of magnificent signs and wonders. Jesus teaches that this activity is open to all of us (John 14:12) but we have changed the church into a head-born theological debating society with no spiritual punch. Many churches are some of the spiritually driest places in the towns where they are found. Small wonder that our kids have looked elsewhere.
6) People use false parallels (Wizard of Oz, CS Lewis, Shakespeare) to justify witchcraft in the HP series. None of these other works glorify witchcraft as a central theme of their works, or have all the identifying protagonists involved in the organized cultivation of it.
Not in favor of banning or burning anything or getting all strange. But are we entitled to any no-fly zones in our lives? Or do we have to celebrate a boundary-free culture? Good boundaries make for good health.
Do you have any non-negotiable no-fly zones?
There are certain words I never say. Certain things I never touch. Certain things I never watch. Not once, in my memory, have I taken something that isn’t mine. Hope you have the same kind of “lines” you don’t cross.
But are there, for Christians, also spiritual “no fly zones” or is dabbling in or getting fascinated with every spirituality, especially if the writers/characters are winsome, OK for Christians?
If you don’t agree with my boundaries, which is fine, do you have boundaries of your own? Or are there really no lines?
Orthodox Jews shouldn’t have to celebrate pork (a no-fly zone for them). As a matter of conscience, I shouldn’t have to celebrate the Harry Potter series.
I think that Wicca is a no-fly zone for Christian kids. Just sayin’.