Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The beauty of love through the world of Harry Potter

My undergraduate experience my sophomore year was quite a stressful one if I remember. As a way to deal with all that was going on I decided from a friends recommendation that I would pick up the Harry Potter books and give them a shot. In such a short time I found myself entrenched in the world of wizards and magic. I loved the world I was transported to and forgot all the bullshit of my as I escaped into the world of Hogwarts.

I can say with no shame that I am SO excited for this next book to come out as well as my recent screening of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The movie left me with a few thoughts that tie directly to the church and my theological experiences.

The first thought I had was regarding the horses Harry and Luna encounter after one has encountered death. This is really ecclessial to me. It reminded me of when I saw Little Miss Sunshine with my parents. If one has avoided pain or has not experienced death or the loss of someone the jokes may have not been funny. With Harry Potter it was a reminder of how necessary pain is to experience. Without it we only see what we want or need to see. Once pain is encountered we see life with different eyes. We see life that isn't so visible but there is an underlying understanding to see beauty with a completely new perspective. Beauty needs pain. Life needs pain. We can not avoid and nor should we.

The second was the dual nature of tradition and the essence of truth. So often history or tradition dictates the meaning of life rather than life showing up and letting it be a whole new way of being. What happens to me may not necessarily happen to you so why do we want a universal truth for everyone to have the same, if not similar experiences? The movie (and book) is based on the rejection of the idea that Voldemort could have returned. All these rules and laws are set into place to keep this new truth hidden and the nature without this truth to stay in place. It is very modern in it's nature, trying to claim an absolute when really no absolute (other than God) can exist. I think this whole concept really mimics the church and the problems the churches are facing. We are working out of old paradigms that we are trying to make work in our present day post-modern culture. In the end it fails and we have to face the new truth and move our understandings to the new revealed truth.

The third is the good vs. evil language that is based on the understanding that love wins. Love is so important within the framework of Harry Potter and something that Dumbledore pushes on a continual basis. I think the cultural understandings that we emphasis evil rather than the good. The fact that they call Voldemort "He-who-must-not be-named" gives power to something that really is powerless and ultimately at the end of this movie is rendered powerless because he has never known aspects of love and friendship, something that ultimately holds power. Wow...this sounds quite familiar. The biblical text pushes understanding in community and above all love is the most powerful commandment and the lens faith is often viewed from.

i think Harry Potter is excellent correlation of love and the church, especially the brokenness. I think J.K. Rowling has Christian roots. I know that i might be wrong in this but I know that these things are inherently biblical and if she is not a Christian what does that say about God and how God reveals her/himself throughout our culture. Wouldn't that be a great conversation to have in the future about what it means by revelation, illumination, and common grace.

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