Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why I Like Harry Potter

Stay tuned for more great posts written by three fantastic and inspiring women. Two weeks of vacation for me means two weeks of fresh content for you. Enjoy! (And don't forget to comment and let these ladies know that what they write matters.) See ya soon.

My Facebook tells people I attended the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which of course I didn’t because it’s a fictional school in the world of Harry Potter created by J.K. Rowling.  Apparently this is not obvious, because I’ve received messages from people who are concerned my immortal soul is in danger because I’m learning to be a warlock of some kind.

Social misconceptions aside, I find the story of Harry to be hugely relevant in this day and age, and especially in my personal life in recent days.  For those who aren’t all that familiar with HP, the basic rundown is a boy, Harry, is faced with the choice to be good or to be evil.  It sounds simple enough, but as the books go deeper you begin to see that there is a very strong part of Harry that wants to be evil.

Like our sin nature.  We have this internal drive to be self-serving, to do what pleasures us with no regard for the consequences.  And it is often far easier to give into that then to step outside of ourselves and look to what is right, to what is good.  Despite the fact that it makes so much sense to live a God-centered life, it’s just so natural to live a self-centered life.

I like HP because it conceptualizes something for me that I’ve struggled with.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!“ ( 2 Corinthians 5:16-18)

This makes it sound so easy. I’ve been reborn in Christ, my sin nature is defeated in him, ergo I am now free of its influences.


If you skip back a little, you’ll see that this chapter starts out with Paul discussing the differences between our existence in this world and our future existence in perfection, and he makes it clear that we’re still stuck here in these naked bodies, aching for the perfect wardrobe. Then he launches into this conversation about being new and displaying the righteousness of Christ, where we get the old and new comment.

I think where we go awry is when we skim the surface of this with fluffy smiles and nods.  We immediately remind ourselves that we’re new creations and we don’t have to act the way we used to, so don’t.  Like if you get a new car. Why are you driving the old beater to work when you’ve got a brand new car to drive?

Makes it sound so easy.  So simple.  Except it’s not like a new car at all.  It’s more like going on a diet. You crave chocolate, chips, candy, whatever your snack of choice is. You want it.  You love it.  It’s soooo good.  Admit it.  You’re hungry now.  But you know that stuff’s not good for you.  Oh sure, there are lots of tasty foods out there that are healthy and good for you, and you know you should eat those instead, but is that a box of Honey Cruller Timbits???

Being a new creation doesn’t erase our sin nature.  We still fight with it, we still war with it.  We’re not slaves to our sin nature anymore, but it still influences us.  That old creature is lying right beneath the new and poking at the surface to get attention.  It’s hard to say no to it.  I think that’s what Paul is saying by pointing out that we’re naked and longing for heavenly clothes.  I think he’s saying, “Hey, this is tough, living on this planet.  This is hard.  It’s going to keep being hard until we’re fully restored.  But the great thing is that we are new creations and now we’ve got God.  So reach out, hold onto him and live new.”

Harry Potter has to battle with this in a very literal sense.  As his story unfolds, we see that the evil inside him has a strong connection to the antagonist, Lord Voldemort.  The more depraved Voldemort reveals himself to be, the more you see the darkness Harry is struggling with.  Eventually this culminates in a showdown where Harry has to sacrifice himself in order to destroy that internal evil and ultimately through that is able to defeat Voldemort.

Paul’s words used to bother me. I felt like there was something wrong with me that I wasn’t able to just automatically jump into that new car and drive off.  The saga of Harry Potter made me go back to that passage and re-examine it in a new light.  There’s a lot of hope in acknowledging that something is hard and that I need God’s help to rise above it.

“Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” – Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter, in The Goblet of Fire.

Faye Polson is a single 30 year old nerd who loves hanging out with kids, thinking about stuff, public speaking and web design. You can find her on Twitter any day of the week.

Ironically, I think Faye and I have "talked" more since I moved than we did when we lived in the same city. I always enjoy reading Faye's funny (and sometimes gross) Facebook statuses (or is it stati?), and I knew she'd have something thought-provoking to share.

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