Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Harry Potter VBS?

Still an Old Geezer here. Really old, apparently. Those of you who weren't with me on The Matrix will be with me on this - won't you?
A church in Carlisle has decided to use J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter tales in its Bible school. Saint John's Episcopal Church has doubled vacation Bible school enrollment since doing so. This summer the theme is "Wizards and Wonders: The Journey with Harry Potter," as preschoolers take flying lessons on miniature broomsticks at a makeshift Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft. Older students play a game of Quidditch, and more than 100 youngsters get Bible verse in their daily owl mail. A minister said the Bible and the Harry Potter stories have what she calls "a slew of parallel lessons."
Does the church, or for that matter, the Bible, need Harry Potter? Call me "out of touch" all you want....but, no.

On the other hand, a mainline church found a way to grow. So - (ahem!) a very modified, "Hooray!"

Update: My AgapePress column on the topic.

32 Comments:

At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Joey Garrett said...

Just a few short words on this Matt, The Episcopal Church, that should have been what you noticed first.

 
At 12:45 PM, Blogger Marsha said...

This is so wrong my brain overloads.Can they be so blind to the error of their ways?Well, I'm 29 but I guess I must be old too.

 
At 6:13 PM, Blogger chiapett said...

I love Harry Potter. The sixth bood was awesome and I can't wait for the seventh, but I don't know that he "fits" in a VBS anymore than would, say, a "Seseme Street VBS" or a "Teletubbied VBS". Kinda silly, really.

 
At 6:31 AM, Blogger Chaplain Gentles said...

When churches stoop this low we as well close our doors! :(

 
At 12:44 PM, Blogger Mr. Hibbity Gibbity said...

Thing is, don't people realize that the books are a depiction and glorification of witchcraft?

"Oh poo, poo" is the rebuttal.

"You're just intolerant and out of touch with society and the youth of today."

Gee, and Christ was out of touch with the religious "scholars" of His day.

Phillipians 4:8
"Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things."

What these books do is legitimize witchcraft to youngsters. In doing so, it makes it that much easier for them to take the "next step" when they're older.

Oh, and I'm 26.

 
At 8:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, you're not crazy...the church is being secularized, and we need to keep these issues in front of people and do all that we can to keep His Church pure

 
At 9:53 PM, Blogger Chris said...

I believe I have the anger of Christ as he walked through the temple and threw the money changers out! I believe that we need to do the same with this type of VBS. This just breaks my heart -- especially for the kids...

 
At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for speaking out against this VBS..sad and dangerous what they are doing. Jesus Christ died to bring us out of darkness. As a Christian who was introduced to witchcraft as a child, I know how dangerous and deadly it is. It messes up your life. Thankfully, Jesus has set me free. Anyone who thinks witchcraft is harmless is soooooo wrong!

 
At 5:07 PM, Blogger pamers said...

Let me get this straight: Worshiping Satan to glorify Jesus, do I have that right? The HP series glorify's rebellion, disrespect for authority, soccery, and actual casting of spells aided by familiar spirits and there are "Christians" who think this is suitable for Kingdom instruction. There will be more people in hell than in Heaven, because it just seems more attractive if you only look at the smoke and mirrors. Increasing attendance by compromising isn't the answer. Sticking with the truth, even when we ourselves would prefer it to to be different and Trusting Almighty God to work out the attendance the only answer. May God forgive those misdirected people who aren't sure which kingdom they are serving.

 
At 5:08 PM, Blogger pamers said...

Let me get this straight: Worshiping Satan to glorify Jesus, do I have that right? The HP series glorify's rebellion, disrespect for authority, soccery, and actual casting of spells aided by familiar spirits and there are "Christians" who think this is suitable for Kingdom instruction. There will be more people in hell than in Heaven, because it just seems more attractive if you only look at the smoke and mirrors. Increasing attendance by compromising isn't the answer. Sticking with the truth, even when we ourselves would prefer it to to be different and Trusting Almighty God to work out the attendance the only answer. May God forgive those misdirected people who aren't sure which kingdom they are serving.

 
At 5:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My question is HOW are they using the HP series. If they use it to point of the things that are NOT of God then I say go for it. If it was just a ruse to get the numbers up then BOO HISS!

Jesus used common and popular aspects of everyday life in his time to demonstrate God. Can't we be creative enough to do the same?

 
At 2:10 PM, Blogger Tuck said...

It's raising issues like this that makes those outside the Church scoff at us. I am not so sure that HP is the best VBS material, but what does it matter if it reaches some children for the Kingdom of Christ? To compare it to Jesus cleansing the Temple, now that needs more attention than this story.

 
At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a 41 year old father who read his first Harry Potter reluctantly. I loved it! I find it no worse than Lord of the Rings, which I love as well. Or, some Old Testament stories, for that matter. Is the story of David any better than Harry Potter? Also, what "version" of Christianity does Harry Potter offend? Western? Eastern? Greek Orthodox? Faith is a personal matter and it is not for us to "judge" those who find insight through Harry Potter. Jesus taught in parables. Consider this a modern parable that teaches lessons in morality, integrity, sef-esteem, friendship, teamwork, etc. I would consider those Christian values, wouldn't you?

 
At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spoken like a true compromiser.

 
At 7:19 AM, Anonymous Hank said...

I disagree. Just like with Halloween, we should take society's issues and use them to spread the Gospel. If Harry Potter reaches kids, we should use it as a tool to spread the Gospel to them. We may reach children who would otherwise never hear the Gospel.

I'm tired of surrendering to the world. Christ has overcome the world.

 
At 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The apostles didn't use gimmicks to spread the gospel.Jesus didn't use gimmicks. John the Baptist didn't use gimmicks.Sure,why not welcome in Pornography Vacation Bible School.I bet that would get the teenage boys in but hey they would hear the gospel.You don't glorify sin in order to spread the gospel.

 
At 9:18 AM, Anonymous James said...

I think this is a great idea! Indigenizing is fantastic. I just started a porn-based bible study with my men's group.

 
At 4:26 PM, Anonymous Protokletos said...

Let's try again, people. You cannot simply pour old wine into new bottles. Why do you not recognize the teachings of even your own precious Teacher ... or him whom you at least profess to follow?

A new mythology - a new presentation of the ideal of the Hero - comes along, but it doesn't fit the cookie-cutter thinking that conservative churchianity has stamped onto the (much larger set of the) Master's Teachings.

Instead of recognizing the TRUE CHRISTIAN IDEALS (such as: the loyalty of friendship, the cooperation necessary to defeat the adversary in whatever form he appears, the idea that Good dwells within every human heart - even that of a Sirius Black, etc.) ... instead, xians are quite content to self-righteously judge and condemn a new presentation of the Christ's Teachings. A presentation, I might add, which DOES find recognition with the youth of today, and which DOES encourage children to READ - when so much of the garbage of the popular media is corrupting and morally reprehensible. FOR SHAME!

Why not set aside ignorance for a moment and ask yourself - might the lessons found in the Harry Potter books dovetail (a double entendre if ever there was one) with the lessons of the Nazarene? I challenge you - thus to do. Criticize the books if you like, but think in terms of how the author might better have conveyed the lessons that she DID convey.

And if you are still so hard-headed as to spout gospel and thump your bible at me ... then challenge me to design a Sunday School lesson for children that might read Harry Potter in VBS - and I will SHOW YOU further how such books as these bear the mark of the Master.

protokletos

 
At 5:05 PM, Anonymous David Buckna said...

Christian Discernment 202: Pop Culture: Why Bother?
by Denis Haack
http://www.ransomfellowship.org/D_202.html

[snip]
> Reason #4: Culture Can Be a Point of Contact with Non-Christians
>
> When Paul was in Athens, he spoke to people in three distinct settings: in the
> synagogue, in the marketplace, and at a meeting of the Areopagus (Acts
> 17:16-34). When he spoke in the synagogue, he addressed people who shared some
> of his deepest convictions. His audience there, Luke says, consisted of Jews
> and God-fearing Greeks. We’re not told much about those who met with him in
> the marketplace except that the discussions occurred day by day with those who
> happened to be there. At the Areopagus, however, Paul’s audience consisted of
> people who held convictions very different from his own. Neither the
> Epicureans nor the Stoics shared Paul’s convictions concerning God, the Old
> Testament, or about Jesus and his finished work on the cross. So, when Paul
> spoke to them of the gospel, he found a point of contact with them in order to
> begin the discussion.
>
> Actually, Paul found two points of contact. First, he pointed to the Athenian
> altar to an Unknown God, and said he would make God known to them, identifying
> their “unknown God” with the God who had revealed himself in Scripture and in
> Christ (vs 23-24). And second, he quoted their own Stoic poets, agreeing with
> what Cleanthes and Aratus had said, even though those poets were pagans (vs.
> 28). These points of contact from the Athenians culture helped serve to bridge
> the gap between Paul and his unbelieving audience, helping them to understand
> his message.
>
> When Paul spoke to Jewish audiences, he could use the Old Testament as his
> point of contact. In Acts 13:13-52, when he was in Pisidian Antioch, he did
> just that, and his message there, unlike the one he gave in Athens, is full of
> biblical references and quotations. In Athens, however, his audience did not
> accept the Scripture as God’s Word, so though his message was biblical, he
> found points of contact from their world to help illustrate and make plain his
> proclamation of the good news.
>
> In precisely the same way, we need points of contact with those we seek to
> reach with the gospel of Christ. This is especially true when we are dealing
> with those who are unchurched and who have little or no knowledge of
> Christianity. One rich source to find such points of contact is popular
> culture.

http://www.dickstaub.com/links_view.php?record_id=4604

Faith and Culture: Harry Potter quiz

The Pop Gospel
by David Buckna

===
Harry Potter, Christ Figure?
http://www.beliefnet.com/story/116/story_11681_1.html
===
Harry Potter and the Prophet of Doom
Is Harry really fated to kill or be killed? A closer look at the seer's dire prediction.

http://www.beliefnet.com/story/170/story_17089_1.html

http://www.beliefnet.com/story/170/story_17089_2.html

http://www.beliefnet.com/story/170/story_17089_3.html

The 10 Things That Have to Happen In Half Blood Prince
http://www.hogwartsprofessor.com/home.php?page=docs/MagicFormula
===
http://www.nj.com/living/expresstimes/index.ssf?/base/living-0/1121418388103900.xml&coll=2

Finding Christianity -- in Harry Potter
Author John Granger sees religion amid the witchcraft.

Friday, July 15, 2005

By JOHN A. ZUKOWSKI
The Express-Times
===
Harry Beasts
The animal symbols in Potterdom are powerful pointers to Christian reality.
An excerpt from John Granger's Looking for God in Harry Potter | posted 07/15/2005 09:30 a.m.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/128/52.0.html
---

 
At 6:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree that you can use issues as a point of contact but such things are not proper to have in the church. I think the major message being taught is that witchcraft is okay.I think Paul would have had a double-duck fit if witchcraft was brought into the early church in order to teach about Christ.

 
At 10:58 PM, Anonymous Victoria said...

Paul said that if a man openly spouts a false religion to not even let him enter your house. Yet so many "Christians" are allowing themselves to be pulled in by all of these fictional stories which supposedly have hidden Christian parallels. I think that Christians need to reject stories like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the Divinci Code etc. and stop financing them and trying desperately to find good parallels in them. Nothing good comes out of witchcraft or blasphamy. My daughter is 4 years old and she already rejects anything dealing with magic or witchcraft straight out. She tells kids at pre-school that Jesus does not like magic and she will not listen to any excuses or explanations why magic is Ok. She has an excellent understanding of the fact that Christ came and died, and came back to life for us to set us free, and she tells anyone who will listen. She refuses to even watch a commercial for Harry Potter. I have never clouded her mind with mixed messages and fiction, but to open her mind with the truth of Christ. Children can not pick good little parallels of Christ out of flying around on broomsticks and glorifying a false source of power. Christ is the ultimate source of power and is the only power my daughter puts her trust in.

 
At 2:18 PM, Anonymous David Buckna said...

> Victoria said...
>
> Paul said that if a man openly spouts a false religion to not even let him
> enter your house. Yet so many "Christians" are allowing themselves to be
> pulled in by all of these fictional stories which supposedly have hidden
> Christian parallels.

"supposedly"??? Please!

Did you even take the time to _read_ this:

(http://www.dickstaub.com/links_view.php?record_id=4604)
Faith and Culture: Harry Potter quiz

Now have a look at this:

Lord of the Rings
(http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=17312)

> I think that Christians need to reject stories like Harry
> Potter, Lord of the Rings, the Divinci Code etc. and stop financing them and
> trying desperately to find good parallels in them.

Why are you lumping the Da Vinci Code in with Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings? The DaVinci Code is a work of fiction which author Dan Brown says is based on "historical facts", which it isn't:

The Da Vinci Code: Separating Fact From Fiction:

http://www.rbc.org/davinci/pdf/q1117.pdf

http://www.rbc.org/davinci/bta_more.php

MART DE HAAN — Been Thinking About: The Da Vinci Code (June 2005)
http://www.rbc.org/td/06-2005/bta.html
---
On the other hand, books like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are written in the _fantasy_ genre, and both have underlying Christian themes (read the book: Finding God in The Lord of the Rings). The use of "witchcraft" in the Harry Potter books is merely a literary device. Nothing more. Can you document even one case of a child, teen, or young adult who was inspired to join the Wicca religion/real witchcraft as a result of reading a Harry Potter book or seeing a Harry Potter movie?

> Nothing good comes out of
> witchcraft or blasphamy.

I agree, if you mean real witchcraft, not the fantasy witchcraft of the Potter books.

> My daughter is 4 years old and she already rejects
> anything dealing with magic or witchcraft straight out.


Well, it's _no wonder_ that she does, because of your influence.

I guess when she's older she'll never watch The Wizard of Oz, which has a "good witch" and a "bad witch", or the movie based on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", because it contains "communication with spirits" (the spirits of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come). Pity.

Dickens, by the way, besides writing other classics such as Tale of Two Cities and Nicholas Nickelby, also wrote "The Life of Our Lord".

> She tells kids at
> pre-school that Jesus does not like magic and she will not listen to any
> excuses or explanations why magic is Ok. She has an excellent understanding of
> the fact that Christ came and died, and came back to life for us to set us
> free, and she tells anyone who will listen. She refuses to even watch a
> commercial for Harry Potter. I have never clouded her mind with mixed messages
> and fiction, but to open her mind with the truth of Christ. Children can not
> pick good little parallels of Christ out of flying around on broomsticks and
> glorifying a false source of power.

It's often only when the child gets older, or grows to be an adult that he or she "gets" the fact that the Christian parallels exist. eg. In the Narnia books, Aslan the lion = Christ (Read "Children's Letters to C.S. Lewis). The Chronicles of Narnia, based on Lewis's first book, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, will be released in theaters this December. [Lewis also wrote the classic book, "Mere Christianity"].

Just as the parables of Jesus concealed and revealed truth simultaneously, so do the fantasy books by George MacDonald, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, and J.K. Rowling.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

'Lion, Witch, Wardrobe' film 'absolutely fantastic'
C.S. Lewis's stepson shares insights on upcoming Narnia film he co-produced

(http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=45754)

 
At 4:54 PM, Blogger Thinking in Ohio said...

I'm not going to weigh in on this whole Harry Potter VBS issue, I just want to point out that is serves not good, and promotes poor dialogue, when we begin blasting anyone with a divergent thought or idea. Friedman has raised a good issue, an interesting topic of discussion, but look over some of the posts...

"I have the anger of Christ..."

"Increasing attendance by compromising isn't the answer... May God forgive those misdirected people who aren't sure which kingdom they are serving."

"Spoken like a true compromiser."

We point the finger at "liberals" for name-calling, when were doing it to each other on a Christian blog... what's wrong with this picture? Maybe we've taken our belief in "absolute truth" so far that we believe our opinions are "absolutely true" as well. This whole mindset that "I'm right and anyone who thinks differently is a "compromiser" who needs to be "forgiven" by God... Sorry, I may not be using this VBS program in my church, I may not even like it, but I don't think anyone needs to be "forgiven" because they think differntly. Good grief! How many of you have actually read even one of the Harry Potter books? Are we judging the content without even reading it for ourselves?

 
At 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't understand the concept of absolute truth.You don't understand that something can be 100% absolutely wrong.It isn't a matter of opinion.It a matter of God's Word.Namecalling?Where did you see that?I take namecalling to mean when you call someone an idiot or curse-word. Aren't you taking an attack-n-accuse stance also Thinking In OHio?Opinions? Maybe you should read your Bible.Our "opinions" are reflective of the mind of Christ. The "anything goes" attitude is reflective of the world's morals. Which are you exhibiting?

 
At 9:18 AM, Blogger Thinking in Ohio said...

I guess you caught me in my own act of hypocrisy, didn't ya!

I don't necessarly like the HP VBS idea, but I don't see anything inherently evil in it.

Moreover, I see little difference between the magic in the HP films (the books I have not read... yet) and that used in such books/movies as LOTR, Star Wars or the Matrix... all forms of media that many Christians hail. You can call them evil as well if you like... I happen to believe that God can use the arts redemptively in our soceity. George McDonald's fairy tales (many of which I have read) are a good example.

 
At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your right about there being little difference between the HP films and those other films. None of them are an appropriate theme to have for Bible school.

 
At 11:54 PM, Blogger Servants of the Living God said...

I practiced witchcraft, and followed very devotely the pagan religion of Goddess worship for 15 years. All the time i was doing that i denoucned satan. satan to me was a mythological creation of Christans, like santa claus. All the while I practiced I never once believed or supported the ridiculous notion of good witch /bad witch or white witch/ black witch. I fervently reproved any self- proclaiming "good" witch because a witch, is a witch, is a witch. good and bad were silly judgements by christians. It is absolutly true that a witch is a witch, and no matter what "good" that person does, or imagines themselves doing it is always self centered and self promoting. Because that was the best part of witchcraft, I could manipulate the elements and people to do MY bidding for my own pleasure. It was fun. Other wise I probably wouldn't have done it. Following satan is fun folks, that is why we do it. adultry, and sexual promiscuity is fun, idolatry and witchcraft is enjoyable, lying and stealing is profitable. Murder is convienent. Really if it wasn't meeting some desire, we wouldn't do it. Smoking cigarettes and drinking to much alcohol is killing us, but it's enjoyable and fun, so we keep doing it.
But just because it is fun, doesn't make it right.
15 years of blaspheming God, worshipping stones, feathers, and little brass statuettes, and "manipulating" the world around me became a prison. I thought I was free, to do whatever I wished, or desired. All I proceeded to do was tear my house down with my own hands. While my ex-husband was teaching my sons about the true Living God, I stumbled my sons to worship my goddesses. I confused them so much, one of my sons is now plauged with a form of delusional paranoia. After a while alcoholism and sexual addiction wracked my body with sickness, and pain. My magick was fading, the fun was wearing off and I couldn't understand why. I ended up homeless, penniless, destitued and destroyed. I was at the brink of death because satan is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. It all looks fun and it all feels good, till it isn't fun anymore and you are faced with the truth, your in snare, a trap. And your sin is mounted up so high you begin to believe lies that God can not possibly forgive you, you are just too bad. satan wants us to think following him is so innocent and so fun, because if he told us the truth up front, he wants to destroy us, well we wouldn't follow him.
The good news is God got a hold of me and taught me that HE was more powerful than satan, more powerful than the trap I was in, and more powerful than all my sins. His arm was not shortened by my choices or behavior. And if I would but turn away and make Jesus my Lord and ask his forgiveness He would forgive me and set me free from the trap. God is TRUTH, I am free. I shutter at enticing little children with witchcraft to make the gospel of Christ more "appealing". Especially coming from where I come from. Just because it is fun folks doesn't make it of GOD.
Mothers you are the keepers of the home and I praise God for those of you who guard your children and homes from the lion that IS waiting to devour our little ones.
We are so silly. If you are a Christian, do yourselves and your children a favor, stay away from all forms of ungodliness.
To the person that tried to say Paul would have preach Harry Potter for VBS just to get on their level, well here is what Paul really said:

And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
(1Co 2:1-5 KJV)
And Peter says just the facts man, we speak just the facts:

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
(2Pe 1:16-17 KJV)

I am not surprised to see Christians thinking teaching harry potter would be profitable, Balaam has been very succeful at teaching balak to throw stumbling blocks before the children of God. This VBS series is making someone rich. It is justanother way of making money perverting the true gospel of Christ.

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
(2Ti 4:1-4 KJV)

You now you guys do what ever you like, and teach your children whatever you want, but as for me and my house we shall henceforth serve the LORD GOD and ONLY HIM shall we exalt and serve.
And May the peace of God reign in your hearts and minds till the coming of Our Great Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ

 
At 1:56 PM, Anonymous yolanda said...

Using harry potter in a Blible study and compare it with the word of God is againts his Word. This will lead this kids to believe in all the things that the bible is teaching. I just hope that the church come to understand this. Harry potter its only about power, magic, witchcraft,and all this will cause these childrens to belive that its is alright to do are participate in this things. The church are guidding this childrens in to a very dangeroues territory abd this is to satans terrotory. As christians and belivers of Christ they should know how to identify what harry portter books and movies are leading the kids. as followers of Jesus we should be worrying what our childrens are learning in VBS.
I hope and pray that this church will stop using h.P. to teach VBS>

 
At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DONNA COLE SAID THAT A PASTOR WH0M WOULD LET HIS CHURCH HAVE HARRY POTTER FOR VBS IS NOT THE SHEPHERD GOD WOULD CALL HIM TO BE. A SHEPHERD WOULDN'T ALLOW HIS SHEEP TO EAT POISONIOUS FOOD, HE IS THERE TO PROTECT HIS SHEEP,EVEN AT THE COST OF HIS OWN LIFE,NUTURE THEM AND HELP THEM TO GROW INTO MATURE ADULTS. OTHERWISE HE IS KNOWN AS A HIRLING AND IS IN IT FOR HIMSELF AND DOESN'T CARE WHAT HAPPENS TO THE SHEEP. IF THE CHURCH LOOKS LIKE THE WORLD,ACTS LIKE THE WORLD, WHERE IS HOPE FOUND????IN THIS WORLD THE ONLY HOPE IS JESUS CHRIST
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT SAUL WAS KILLED BECAUSE OF SORCERY AND THE APOSTLE PAUL IN THE NEW TEASTAMENT WAS PUT IN PRISON BECAUSE HE COMMANDED A SPIRIT OF DIVIATION THAT WAS IN A WOMAN TO LEAVE AND NO MORE PROFIT COULD BE MADE FROM HER FOR HER MASTERS.THERE IS NO ROOM IN A CHRISTIAN LIFE OR THE LOCAL CHURCH FOR HARRY POTTER.

 
At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Your Friendly Neighborhood Atheist said...

Hello... I'm probably the least likely person to be commenting on this blog, but in a way I think I can see this from a more neutral viewpoint. I am an highschooler and an atheist, but I have read both the stories of Harry Potter and Jesus Christ and enjoyed both, from a purely fictional standpoint. From what I've read, the story of Harry Potter is an almost perfect allegory of the story of Jesus. To cut a long explanation slightly shorter, the biggest strength both characters have is their ability to love, and eventually each one must sacrifice their lives to protect the ones they love and destroy evil . After which they are both ressurected. Pretty hefty parallels I believe. Perhaps none of you have read the Harry Potter series?

 
At 5:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I am 13 and I think it is wrong! Anybody that thinks the church should not do this isn't old their right. Comeon, a church? They are soposed to be teaching about God not witches and spells. Most preschoolers don't have a firm opinion yet. All this church is putting into their vulnerable brains is that God can't make your tummy fell better but Harry Potter can. No it doesn't diserve captital letters, harry potter. And it sure doesn't diserve a place in church.

 
At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a VBS writer--mind you not the writer of *this* VBS. I do not have any inside info about this particular VBS except what the article above states. Last year, I co-wrote a superheroes VBS. It was specifically about prayer, and the whole point was that a fictional, comic book style superhero is purely fiction (fun, but fiction), but we can be real superheroes because we have the ability and authority to pray to God, who is very real and powerful. It loses something in the summary, but we spent 5 days teaching children to pray, and praying with them, and having them pray, and celebrating answered prayers, etc. It was fun and biblically sound, and NOBODY asked us why we were using superheroes (who obviously have super-human powers to fly with capes, stop speeding bullets, etc....) to teach this. Nobody asked this, but I will answer it. You probably already know the answer, though. We used superheroes to drive our points home because it was something kids could identify with. Try to get kids to come to a VBS called "How to Pray," and see what kind of attendance you get. It's not about compromising the message, it's about finding a way to attract people to actually hear the message. 100 years ago, people didn't have TV's or radios, and for many people, if an evangelist/lecturer was coming to town, they would pack the theater or lecture hall to hear him/her because it was something to do. Today, evangelists not only have TV and radio to compete with, but also iPods, the internet, Playstation 2, and so on. Many churches do not compromise on the message (I know some do, but I'm not talking about them in this post), but they need to find a way to get people to actually hear the message in the first place.

My opinion on the HP VBS is---I don't know. I could imagine a way Harry Potter could actually be used to create a good, solid, Biblical, non-compromising VBS (this is what the book says, but this is what the Bible says). Quiddich is just a game, and there is no difference between playing that and playing a game of volleyball. OK, it's played on flying broomsticks in the book and movie, but for those of us who live in the real world, the one God created, it turns out to be just a game. I can also see a way Harry Potter could be used to make a pretty lousy VBS that teaches kids the wrong things in the wrong way, or sends the wrong message. Teaching kids to dabble in the black arts, for instance, would be unholy, unbiblical, and just plain wrong. But, before people pass judgment on the thing, it's important to find out what the thing actually is.

I have read one of the books and I watched part of the movies when it came out on TV. I believe that it is important for Christians to educate themselves on things rather than simply making stupid statements. Yes, I do draw a line on things that are obviously unbiblical (I don't have to go rent a porno movie, for instance, to know if it's right or wrong), but I don't think a fantasy novel based in a fantasy world is necessarily unbiblical by definition, even if it does have a witch in it. I wanted to read it for myself so I would know the truth.

I am also an English teacher at a public school. I will tell you a true dialogue I had with a parent a few years back.

Parent- You have books in your classroom that I don't want my child reading. (The parent was referring to free-choice reading time. I have time in my class where kids can choose from the more-than 250 books I have in my classroom.)

Me- Your child can choose another book. But, out of couriosity, which books do you object to, and why?

Parent- This one.

Me- The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe? Why do you object to that one?

Parent- It has a witch in it. We are born again Christians, and we don't allow our children to read books about witches.

Me- Have you ever read the book? The witch loses! Listen, I am a born again Christian, too. If you have an objection to this book, so be it. But, I think you ought to actually read the book before you pass judgment on it. It's actually an allegory of the Gospel. The lion is Jesus.

Parent- But, witchcraft is evil.

Me- I'm not trying to change your mind, but I do wish you would read the book before you restrict your child from reading it. The author, C.S. Lewis was one of the greatest Christian apologists of the Twentieth Century. Maybe you could read the book with your child and discuss the parts you object to with your child.

Parent- I am here to protect my child from the evil of this world.

Me- OK, then I will make sure that as long as your child is in my classroom, he will not read that particular book. Are there any other books in my library you object to?

The truth is that if I had been that child, and my parent would have restricted a book my teacher had on her shelf, I would have probably disobediently gone to the public library and checked out the book myself, and brought the contraband into my house to read with a flashlight under the bedcovers. And, if I had done that, I would have discovered that the book in question is not really a *bad* book, and that it doesn't teach witchcraft, and so on. So, what else are my parents paranoid about that really isn't all that bad? Sometimes restrictions can lead kids into greater evil.

My seven year old watched the HP movie along with me (we didn't see the whole thing because we tuned in too late). I asked him, "Do you really believe people can fly around on broomsticks?" His answer astonished even me-- he said, "No, mom. Witches are more dangerous than that because they look and act just like us, only they teach people to follow the wrong god." So, we had a discussion about this, and now I can feel perfectly safe letting him go over to a friend's house where he might be exposed to *gasp* Harry Potter movies. He might even be able to use that as an opportunity to lead his friends to Christ, because he had that discussion with me.

So, be careful about making sweeping judgements about things like a HP VBS when you don't know the facts of the situation. I don't know the particulat VBS, and I can't say for sure whether it was good or bad. It raises some serious questions in my mind, but I'm not going to condemn something I know nothing about.

 

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