Category Archives: Entertainment

Harry Potter and the Gospel

I remember when the email came.

I was 12 (yes email did exist, barely, but yes…). It went something like this…

“CHRISTIANS EVERYWHERE!!! Be Cautioned. A Series of Children’s Books, Harry Potter, has been released to the general public.”

The email went on, but it’s message was clear.

If you let your children read these books, you are not only inviting witchcraft and sorcery into your home, you are directly tempting your children in sin and the worship of Satan himself.

My friends, that is a bold claim. Many churches and organizations have renounced such statements especially since the end of the series. However, many Christians still are unsure, and unsettled in whether or not reading them, would be to open the door to sin or at the very least, criticism from fellow church members.

Let us look at authorial intent. If we cannot do at least that, then we are simply being lazy.

I’ll be blunt.

Harry Potter does not support witchcraft or Satanism any more than C.S. Lewis supports the idea that animals talk.

What you have in Harry Potter, is a magical realm, much like in Narnia. The difference, and perhaps confusion in Harry Potter, is that this Magical realm come in direct contact and contains consequences for the “real world”. This, however, is easily understood by reasoning that a “world in which there is also a magical world” is NOT OUR WORLD.

The magic in Harry Potter is clearly neither good nor bad. The author makes that obvious.

So with these things dismissed, we are left with quite what it was intended to be from the beginning

A STORY.

A story, that much like any other is full of suspense and action, love, intrigue. In fact, what will come as a shock to some people, the story of Harry Potter, is much more similar to the story of the Gospel than are most secular works of art. It would take a short essay or book to example out all the ways in which this is the case but I think this particular paragraph will do for now.

There once was a dark and sinful world, in the control and under siege from an evil enemy. Everyone lived in fear. But then, amid the darkness, there was a child born in a small town. The evil one came and tried to destroy him immediately but was unsuccessful. He tempted him later, trying to make the child his servant. As the boy grew, he grew famous throughout the land, and when he reached adulthood he went into an all out battle against the enemy. In the end, he laid down his life on behalf of all his friends, in order that they might live. Somehow, miraculously he came back to life and defeated the enemy once and for all, saving all the people.

Am I talking about Harry Potter or the Gospel?

My point to all this is that we should not be afraid of stories. There are of course things that are inherently evil, and you should not participate in ALL THINGS. However, we should not react in fear of something that sounds suspicious to us. We should at least be willing to interact with it. Augustine taught us that we should “take that which is good from the world, acknowledging that all good comes from our Father”. There’s a reason why Harry Potter reminds us of the gospel. J.K. Rowling was made by the same Maker that we were, and has a mind which cannot escape the thematic elements of our existence (i.e. sin, fear, saving, redemption, sacrifice).

We have a greater story than Harry Potter, but you need not be fearful of it.

In conclusion, read this quote from G.K. Chesterton.

“Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.” – G.K. Chesterton


The Hunger Games

If you have not read these books but wish to, I suggest you not read this post. If you have read the books….

I won’t bore you rehashing the details. These books are fantastic. Intrigue. Love. Heroism. Suspense. Action.

It’s easy to understand why Suzanne Collins (or Aunt Suzanne as I sometimes refer to her) has taken the young adult and teenage readership by storm. The trilogy’s first part was published in 2008, the original 50,000 copies having doubled twice since then.

However, if you have read the Hunger Games Trilogy as a whole, there is something missing.

Book 1 – Leaves you hopeful

Book 2 – Leaves you confused but triumphant

Book 3 – Leaves you despairing in one key fact. Katniss failed.

She does not truly resolve her relationship with Peeta and Gail. Only through her arch enemy does she realize that she’s given control to a government who’s leader is as morally corrupt and power hungry as the last. Even after killing Coin, there is no firmly established government that believes itself to be able to enact permanent change. In fact Plutarch admits he thinks the “fickle stupid beings” will fail again. She is estranged from her mother. Haymitch goes right back to his drunken stupor. Gail’s fate is only mentioned in a line, and Katniss’ reaction to the absence of her life-long friend? RELIEF. All that to end the book with a page and a half long epilogue that declares “but maybe there is good in the world”. But you doubt it…you must…Suzanne has already done her job. And if there was any hope you had left you remember the one thing that destroys that whole philosophy.

Prim is dead.

Katniss failed. The very thing she set out to do, she can’t. She steps in, as a sacrifice for her sister, taking her place. But it wasn’t permanent, it wasn’t enough.

As a reader you should feel the emptiness that this brings. Don’t write it off as someone’s philosophy or personality and try to come to “grips” with it. There is something not right about the way this story ends.

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we know what the problem is sin. Collins’ paints a morbid but accurate picture of sin. But her worldview will not allow her to solve it. Almost unwittingly she presents Katniss as a saving figure. But that figure fails, her sacrifice is not enough.

Praise be, this is not how our story ends. Jesus Christ died, sacrificing himself for us, of his own choice, he took up the cross paying once and for all a PERMANENT price for our sin so that we would never have to die. As believers we have to recognize that people are looking for this solution, the solution of “savior” in everything but Jesus. We must bring them Jesus.

Those who do not have Christ are seeking something. They have the law of God written on their hearts. Deep down they know something is wrong. But they have been blinded. They seek after a savior in pornography, alcohol, government, materialism, until finally they are left with the conclusion that history is doomed to repeat itself and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

As pastors and believers, we need to recognize that this makes the task of spreading the name of Christ so very urgent. When we see the alcoholic who’s lost his wife, what he needs is Jesus. When we find the broken single mother who has just lost her job, what she needs is Jesus. It won’t take you long to convince them that their world is broken…they already know. It similarly won’t take much for them to admit that they’d love for it to be different. They have seen all the elements of the Gospel…Creator, Sin Death, Need to be Saved. The difference is that you have good news. A perfect sacrifice once and for all. You have the truth. He is the one that makes a dead heart beat again. His name is Jesus. He’s the River of Life. They don’t have to be thirsty. The Bread of Life.

They don’t have to be Hungry.