Friday, July 15, 2011

Thoughts on Harry Potter

I haven't been on my Facebook news feed in a few days, and it's always interesting on what is being talked about around the modern water cooler. Almost every other post is about Harry Potter. There are some who are excited about the last book coming to life on the big screen, and there are those who are warning against it. I'll first disclose that I'm not a fan, and even though I'm a born again Christian, I will not be out with my torch and pitchfork at my local theater this evening.

Before all of the hysteria began, someone loaned me the book. I unknowingly read the first couple of chapters, and I knew it was not something I would enjoy. Later, I viewed one of the movies to see what all the fuss was about, and fell asleep. I just didn't get it. I love a good epic of good and evil, but something about Harry and his friends didn't do it for me. My black and white personality  couldn't find the clear distinction between good and evil, which is one of the complaints I hear about the stories.  I admit that I'm a big ring geek (The Lord of the Rings), so I understand what it's like to enjoy a story about enduring characters, self sacrifice and heroic journeys.

There are a lot of concerns with the lure of Harry Potter especially with children. Ever since this popular series has exploded into a huge phenomenon, the acceptance of the occult has brought on a life of its own. I visited my local library a few months back, and I saw a display of about a hundred books on witchcraft, how to talk to the dead, making potions, just to name a few. I honestly don't think this would have been showcased in such a way 10 years ago. I've seen many people fall into the traps of Wicca by the glamorization of dark mystic trialling and seen it tear down families. Needless to say, I will not let my boys watch Harry Potter and they don't have an interest. By seeming indifferent to the series, it has made them disinterested . With that being said, I feel I can share some thoughts on why it bothers me that some of my brethern are getting on the band wagon speaking against this popular series in public forums like Facebook. Also, if you're going to speak out against immoral movies, you might as well do all of them.

I'm going to pick on "The Notebook" for example, because I've seen it "liked" by many churched teen girls and it goes unchallenged. You're probably thinking that it is not a fair comparison since Harry Potter and The Notebook are two completely different genres. That may be true, but that does not mean both can't be an equal influence to a vulnerable mind with mixing moral with non moral elements. Before I knew the content of the film, I thought I would fix me some popcorn and watch an old fashion love story. I was shocked, disappointed and embarrassed at the explicit sensuality and flat out fornication.

The sad part about "The Notebook" it was that the main young couple didn't get along unless they were making out. The message was more on uncontrolled lust more than true love.  What shocks me more, is the promotion of this over the top erotic romance in mainstream Christian culture in "Christian" movie reviews. Even though there was no nudity, it did not leave much to the imagination with its long drawn out and loud sex scene. Some of the parents speaking out against Harry Potter are allowing their daughters watch things that can be just as destructive. The Notebook undermines purity, parental respect, marriage, and they are opposed in scripture as well as sorcery. The message is wrong of its influences that disenchant and distort a young woman's perfect notion of what love and sex really is, which may cause problems in her future marriage. I can mention more movies, but the point is made.

I also want to warn that the world is watching. I hardly think this should be the hill we all want to die on when it comes to glorifying God. I know many will disagree with me, and they are entitled to their opinion. Before I was saved, a frenzy broke out over the film “The Last Temptation of Christ”. My unregenerate heart went to see it out of rebellion, and curiosity. Looking back, it was the most blasphemous flaunt of evil that will remain wedged in my memory. When we speak out against something that is popular and opposes our beliefs, it fuels the fire.

I met a woman recently who, just by looking at her life, did not know Christ. She is a single parent living with her boyfriend. She was in my home and we were talking and getting to know each other. She knew I was a believer, and one of the first things she said is she read The Golden Compass and Harry Potter. I politely said, "Really, that's nice that you read. I don't read enough", and quickly changed the subject. I could tell she was trying to set up a trap for a debate. I was not going to go there. I was going to love her where she was at and hope a door would open to share the Savior. In my mind I was thinking, "You should of seen the books I read before I was saved; Steven King, Danelle Steel..., quit trying to shock me."

Also, when we are speaking against culture, we make less of Christ. It's fine if you want to discuss and warn those within the church, but to make such an issue of it could divide us from unbelievers. "For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges."1 Corinthians 5:12.  “Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:11

Paul Washer mentions the Harry Potter series at the 5:25 mark of this 8 minutes sermon excerpt. He is spot on.