Alright, I know all about the anti-Harry Potter things that are said in the evangelical world. I know that he practices wizardry and that he goes to a school that teaches witchcraft. I know that he rides a broom with great skill and daring. I also know that he drinks magical potions.
In fact, I know pretty much everything about Harry Potter. For, dare I say it, I have read the books! To further my heresies, I even watched all the movies multiple times. Something is wrong with me as a pastor, I know. I could pretend that I read the books in order to root out the plethora of false teachings and dangers in the series, but I confess I read them out of pure enjoyment.
I know that my mentor, John Calvin, whose Institutes I am reading this very day, would probably come and smite me for looking at such literature. Dear Jonathan Edwards, whose "The End for Which God Created the World" I am still working through, would probably be dismayed at how I am going to be spending my leisure for the next for days. I need help.
The new book should be arriving at my house via Owl Post Saturday. I can't wait. It is shameless escapism I know, but I am drawn to the battle between overwhelming evil and the underdog of good. I like it that little Harry Potter constantly thwarts the evil designs of the evil Lord Voldemort. I'd like to think that I am having similar success in my occupation against my incidious adversary.
You see, Harry Potter and I have a few things in common. For one thing, we are both "chosen ones". That is, we are set apart from the rest of the world. Am I being arrogant here? I don't think so. The Bible is clear that I am a unique creation. Not only that, but my heavenly Father, before the world began, set me apart for a special purpose. He elected me for good works that no one else will do. He fashioned me to be a pastor in the bayous of Louisiana. Here, I encourage devotion to Christ, expose the machinations of the Evil One, and I wrestle against the prinicipalities of evil with my closest friends. All I lack is a scar on my forehead. However, I have a seal upon my heart that makes me invincible.
I also have many of the struggles that Potter and crew experience. First, I have sometimes thought that my friends were the enemy. (Who didn't think the sour Snape was an evil villian.) Yet, it has often turned out that those who seem most dour have rescued me from grave peril. Conversly, it has often been the harmless, comedic type who have slandered and destroyed the faithful of God. Especially those who are supposed to be "the defense against the dark arts" teachers.
I realize that there are problems with the Harry Potter books. But, here's a new flash for you, C.S. Lewis' Narnia had a few disturbing elements as well. I've read them twice! You could find trouble in Tolkien if you want. Trust me, I've even read the Similrillion.
Honestly, what pastor has not wished for a wand with which to vanquish evil? In truth, we have such a weapon. If only we could point the Bible at the enemy and SEE the fireworks! But, I can't see it. So, I imagine it. I imagine that everytime I preach, I am hurling spiritual lightnings against the minions of evil. In my mind's eye I picture the Word of God sending the forces of darkness running for the hills. Evil plots are foiled. Marriages are saved. Souls are purified. Angels rejoice to see their age old nemesis cast down through the words of the prophets formed in the mouth of this simple preacher.
I enjoy good fantasy novels for this very reason. There is world which my eyes cannot see clearly. This gives me categories for what may yet be. When I put on the full armor of God, as Paul admonishes, and when I take up the Sword of the Spirit, I'd like to think that as I advance upon the enemy in such rainment that it is not pure metaphor. I'd like to think that in the spiritual world, we Christians look every bit the soldier that Paul describes. I imagine shining Church arrayed in splendor, swords drawn, and the enemy advancing. Oh yes, the odds are incredible and it seems like we won't win.
But we do. The enemny is struck down to his ruin time after time. He retreats to Mordor to lick his wounds. Or is it Fangorn Forest? I can't remember, but I know that it's some dark, scary place that stinks of rot and smoke. One day, we will even assault the very gates of hell, and they shall not prevail against us. God will crush Satan underneath our feet.
So, next week I will read another installment of Harry Potter. If you want, I'll point out all the flaws to be aware of should you read it. But, for the most part, I will enjoy it immensely. Right after I finish the next section of Calvin's Institutes.
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