Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pen Strokes in the Wonderful World of Harry Potter

It seems like ages ago that I first picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone mostly to see what all the hype was about. My sister and I were both in high school, and for those of you who knew Staci and me then, I was far more a bookworm than she was (She's warmed up to books since then.), but ironically it was her copy I picked up. A friend of hers had told her it was a great read, and I had heard through the grapevine of the Potter buzz, so after she had finished it (or maybe even before she finished it...I'm fuzzy on the details), I decided to give this Harry Potter character a try even if it was written for "kids" and would surely be below my (what I thought at the time was a beyond-my-years) reading level maturity. At the risk of sounding completely ridiculous and exaggerated, I had no idea this series would literally change my view of literature.

Before you go thinking, "Here's another one of those crazy Harry Potter nuts," let me elaborate. Undoubtedly, I connect with this series on so many levels (It basically took me one book to realize I AM Hermione Granger haha.), but for the purposes of what I'm planning for my blog in the coming months, I'll focus mostly on the redeeming spiritual themes in Harry Potter. Yes, that's right. I said spiritual themes in Harry Potter, and I'll take it a step further and say there are down-right Christian themes in Harry Potter if you open your mind enough to see them. It saddens my heart to see so-called Christians openly bashing the series for its references to witchcraft and evil. Although most of those people have probably never even READ the books (GRRR...don't get me started on this), my focus will not be to fight fire with fire. Instead, I'd like to discuss how you can actually see glimpses of God in this series.

While I grew up on The Chronicles of Narnia (which is also dear to my heart), I knew it was blatantly allegorical, written by a man who is undoubtedly Christian and intended for the series to draw children (and adults) closer to God, but until Harry Potter entered my life, I had never really realized that you can see God in "secular" literature. The more I delved into the series, the more I found snapshots of God's character and references to the Christian walk. I hope to share those with you here in the coming months, and I hope that you too can start to see Him in literature that is not specifically "Christian" and that you may see a new side of the wonderful wizarding world of Harry Potter.

I may go chronologically through the books, skip around, or focus on characters depending on what I feel like sharing at the moment. I'm currently listening through the audiobooks while I run, so I might end up sharing my latest treadmill epiphany at times as well. ;) I've also read (and have on my to-read stack) a few good books on the subject too. Check this out if you want to do some reading on your own:
  • Looking for God in Harry Potter by John Granger
  • What's a Christian to Do with Harry Potter? by Connie Neal
  • God, the Devil, and Harry Potter: A Christian Minister's Defense of the Beloved Novels by John Killinger

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