Thursday, September 22, 2005


We are safe from Rita. I pray God's mercy on the Gulf Coast.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


One of my boys had an emergency appendectomy(removal of the appendix) last night. He was quite anxious. I was glad to be there. I'm pretty tired, though, I got very little sleep last night.

Katherine and I have been house parents for 2 and a half weeks, and we've had one run away, one surgery already. I think we're in for a bumpy ride.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Harry Potter as Christian Literature

I've been working on this article. I will continue to revise it, but here is the first, rought draft:


I would contend that author J.K. Rowling is working hard to promote Christian values in the Harry Potter novels, in the same way that Lewis and his friend Tolkien did in Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings and other novels. I should also note at the beginning that I believe the Harry Potter stories are good for people to read and helpful for their spiritual growth in Christ. However, they are not good for small children. Parents should use discernment with these powerful stories. The author tells us they are not children’s stories, and I completely agree. Some children, however, will be mature enough to understand and appropriate the value in them.

I should also mention that I think the occult is real and extremely dangerous. Any book (or anything else) that leads children (or anyone) to the occult is extremely dangerous and ought to be banned. The real battle for our souls is being waged in the spiritual realm, and I take this battle quite seriously. In fact, this is one reason I chose the vocation I did.

This paper for Christians with two different conclusions. First, some Christians view Harry Potter as anti-Christian on two main objections: magic and morals. They would suggest that Harry and his friends use magic in ways that the Bible forbids and they are bad moral examples. Secondly, some Christians have concluded that Harry Potter has value in its morals, and can be redeemed by thoughtful critique, but is not Christian, per se. They would relate Harry Potter with Star Wars or Seinfeld in this way.

In this paper, I do not wish to address Christians who would say that C.S. Lewis’s Narnia and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings are evil. That would be a different (and good) discussion. I will assume that the reader is at least favorably disposed to these works.[2]

We will first look at J. K. Rowling and her own statements about how her readers ought to interpret her work. Then we will look at the genre in which she writes. Finally, we will look at some specific examples in the Harry Potter literature.

J.K. Rowling

J. K. Rowling is a woman of faith. It is widely known that she is a Christian and a member of the Church of Scotland (a Presbyterian church). Many don’t believe her, and she has expressed her frustration often.[3]


Many say that if she is a Christian, her books do not reflect it (keep reading). Others have suggested that Rowling is offering a manual of witchcraft, or an advertisement for what awaits those who embrace pagan religions. This is difficult for me to understand. Harry and friends ride on broomsticks, have their own government and currency, and interact with dragons, griffins, and elves. True pagan worshippers and wiccan communities regularly are conflicted. On the one hand people seem to be interested in magic and shows “witches” and “wizards” in a generally good light (good for their religion), yet they continue with one voice that the Harry Potter books do not reflect any form of accepted religious practice or doctrine in paganism, the occult or wicca. In other words, Harry Potter is not a “wizard” and does not perform “magic” as defined by their religious practice and standards. Instead, Rowling has redefined “magic” and “witch” to mean something that has nothing to do with any real people who refer to themselves this way.


If the pagan community wants to distance themselves from Rowling, what does Rowling say about her faith in relationship to her books? Max Wyman of the Vancouver Sun asked her, “Are you a Christian?” Her response:

''Yes, I am. Which seems to offend the religious right far worse than if I said I thought there was no God. Every time I've been asked if I believe in God, I've said yes, because I do, but no one ever really has gone any more deeply into it than that, and I have to say that does suit me, because if I talk too freely about that I think the intelligent reader, whether 10 or 60, will be able to guess what's coming in the books.''[4]

In other words, Rowling tells us that those who know her faith know the story of Harry Potter. If that is true, then the story of Harry Potter was taken from her Christian faith. Or, to put it more plainly, the story of Harry Potter is the story of the Christian faith. If this is correct, we ought to see some similarities. Let’s not take her word for it, without investigating if she has done what she claims or not.

Rowling’s Education

The media has portrayed Rowling as a starving single mother, unemployed, writing the first novel on napkins in a small café. These facts are true, but they usually neglect to mention that she has a degree from Britain’s Exeter University in French and classics. She has studied the old Greek mythology well and is well-versed in medieval literature as well.[5] She is a well-educated lady.

Rowling and Lewis

Since I will compare her work to Lewis and Tolkien, I should remark here, too. They way she spells her name, “J. K. Rowling” is reminiscent of “J. R. R. ” Tolkien. But she loves C. S. Lewis even more (again with initials for all but last name). When compared to Lewis, she has said,

“C S Lewis is quite simply a genius and I'm not a genius”[6]

“Even now, if I was in a room with one of the Narnia books I would pick it up like a shot and re-read it."[7]

“I really like Eustace in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis (third in the Narnia series). He is a very unlikeable character who turns good. He is one of C. S. Lewis's funniest characters, and I like him a lot.”[8]

In order to understand an author’s work, we must understand the author’s frame of reference. Three main points are important for this paper regarding J. K. Rowling. First, she is a Christian and says that her books are Christian. Second, she is well educated in classical literature and language. Third, she loves C. S. Lewis and his writings.[9]

Fantasy Genre

We now turn our attention to the “rules” of fantasy genre.[10] I specifically want to draw upon the fantasy of Lewis and Tolkien, but there are other fantasy writers with less Christian-specific messages and many of the same “rules” of fantasy apply. Other recent fantasy writers include Baum (The Wizard of Oz), Carroll (Alice in Wonderland) and Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach).[11] But I believe Rowling is mimicking the Christian fantasy of Lewis and Tolkien which is a more specific genre.


In fantasy, a new world is created and the world must be “magical.” Almost always this magic is mechanistic, not spiritual or relational. The magic is like a new kind of technology. Two hundred years ago, a TV with a remote control would have been considered “magic.” The magic of fantasy is similar. It is almost like a technology which has not been discovered yet. Some fantasy pretends to be exactly like that, we call it “science fiction.” Some fantasy creates mechanistic magic that has no relation to currently accepted scientific principles. Fantasy rarely (if ever) uses the kind of magic scripture forbids (and is practiced in real occultist rituals) such as summoning demons, and channeling spirits. In the rare circumstances in which this kind of truly evil magic is used, it is always used by an evil character, and the narrative lesson is clear that this is a path to destruction.[12]

The alternate world intersects with the real world somehow. For Tolkein, Middle Earth is the long-forgotten history of Modern Earth. For Lewis, Narnia is a country accessible by various magical objects in our world – by stepping through a particular wardrobe, for example, one might gain access to Narnia. Dorothy entered Oz through a tornado.


Fantasy has a great deal of symbolism. We can become emotionally involved with fictional creatures because we see ourselves and our friends in the story. We can all identify with Frodo and the weight of his burden, or with Reepicheep looking for the greatest adventure. We see ourselves in the characters, and so feel what they feel, learn what they learn, we walk in their shoes. Ironically, we understand our own story better when we see it from the outside. This is the power of a parable. Jesus used it often (and the prophets and apostles of scripture, too).

Usually, there is a great deal of symbolic meaning in names, places, events and descriptions. Can anyone doubt that Lewis had the crucifixion of our Lord in mind when he wrote the story of the murder of Aslan? It is no accident that among a fellowship of great warriors, the weakest, frailest creature was the only one who could carry the Ring of Power to Mordor. The message is clear, it is in weakness and humility, not by strength and power that we inherit eternal life. Who can forget the image of the cowering little man behind the “Great Wizard of Oz?” Did we not see that many people who appear to be quite impressive are actually not? The symbols make the truth not only clear to us, but real and meaningful to us. Again, it is the same method that God used throughout scripture (most of the Bible is narrative stories!) and that Jesus used throughout his personal ministry.


Lewis liked to use allegory (similar to Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan). Here, a character represents one thing. Aslan is Jesus, always. Tolkein thought allegory was too simple to portray the complexity of reality. He has several Christ-figures (Frodo, Gandalf and Aragorn chief among them). One of the messages here is that there is a “little Christ” in all of us. Frodo reminds us of one aspect of Christ not seen in Gandalf, just as I can see an aspect of Christ in you, I don’t see in another.

Big Issues

Fantasy deals with the big issues of life.
Racism. The unlikely friendship of Gimli the dwarf, and Legolas the elf.
Loneliness and family. Dorothy is snubbed by her family, alienates herself, and finds herself in Oz where her only desire is to return home to family.
Community. The Fellowship of the Ring is a group of unlikely comrades who need each other to survive. They save each others’ lives on numerous occasions.
Friendship. What better picture of friendship than Samwise Gamgee?
Pain and suffering. Frodo. Need I say more?
Redemption. Aslan the Lion dies willingly for children of Adam and Eve.
Rebirth. Eustace and the Dragon.

Four gifts

In his masterful essay, “On Fairy Stories,” Tolkien described four gifts of fantasy (or “fairy story”) literature: Fantasy, Recovery, Escape, and Consolation.[13]

Fantasy. The author creates an alternate world, a world with different rules and boundaries than our own, yet internally consistent and relatable to our own world. The creation of such a world is no small task. Only a very skilled and creative author can create a world to be detailed and broad enough to be believable. While some think of this sort of literature to be lower, Tolkien suggests it is “a higher form of Art, indeed the most nearly pure form, and so (when achieved) the most potent.” He comes to this conclusion by recognizing that the creation of an internally consistent world demonstrates with such clarity that the creator is in the image of The Creator.

Recovery. “By venturing into the unfamiliar, the reader can return to see the common, the trite, with fresh eyes and new attention. Such reenergized focus leads to renewed health, both in spirit and mind, according to Tolkien,” says Sturgis. “Recovery refers to the gift of childlike – though not childish, in the pejorative sense – perspective.” I am reminded of Jesus statement that unless we become as little children, we cannot enter the kingdom of God. I think the fantasy genre helps to keep us young.

Escape. Fantasy stories have the power to remove us from our petty circumstances for a short time, involve us in a story of real significance and then lead us back to our own circumstances renewed and refreshed. We can, for a time, relax, and escape the mundane and ordinary, which gives us new ability to understand it, spiritually and temporally.

Consolation. The Happy Ending. Fantasy is usually filled with great pain and trouble, but has a happy ending. This gives us consolation that our story (though filled with great pain) will also end happily. In fact, the presence of the pain makes the joy much sweeter. Jesus tells us, “In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart. I have overcome the world.” The darker the night, the more joyous is the coming of the dawn.

Harry Potter

So, where does Harry Potter fit? First, I will show that Rowling intends to put meaning into her stories, and then I will show the content of that meaning.


Based on Rowling’s education, we can assume that references to classical literature and language, when present and properly used are intentional, not accidental. Let’s look at some examples.

Draco Malfoy is Harry’s arch nemesis in school. "Draco" means "dragon" or "serpant" in Latin, while "Malfoy" means "faith in evil" in French. Throughout the stories, the entire Malfoy family puts their faith in evil. His mother’s name is Narcissa; she is a very selfish woman. Narcissa is a character in Greek mythology who fell in love with his reflection.

Voldemort is the real enemy. He is the mass murderer who is responsible for the death of Harry’s parents. Throughout the books, he is trying to escape death (though he is always very near to it). His name means “flight from death” in French.

Peter Pettigrew (also known as Wormtail) is the small servant of the Evil Lord Voldemort who abuses him endlessly. “Peter” means short. “Petty” means insignificant. A “worm” is someone small and worthless. All his life, he has been a follower, first of James, Sirius and Lupin, then of Voldemort. This explains the “tail.”

Argus Filch is the custodian of the school. He enforces the rules and makes sure the students stay where they should be. Argus is a giant from Greek mythology who had 100 eyes and is able to see everything and so made an excellent watch guard.

Severus Snape is the strictest of Harry’s teachers. “Severus” is “severe” in Latin.

Neville Longbottom is a friend of Harry and an orphan who is picked on a bunch, but later finds strength in his great weakness. "Neville" means "no village" and his last name is pretty self explanatory, long at the lowest place.

Gryffindor is the name of the house (or family, or team) of which Harry is a part during his school days. "Griffin" plus "D'or" (French for "of gold.") A griffin is a half lion, half eagle; master of earth and sky, the human and the divine. A griffin is a symbol for Jesus, the God-man in medieval literature and art.

Gilderoy Lockheart is a teacher at Harry’s school (for one year only). An hilarious character who (we find out in the end) has discovered a way to make other people’s accomplishments seem like his own. He is a coward who pretends to have had a wonderful and adventurous life. He is the gilded, or false, king ("roi" in French) with a "locked heart."

Tom Marvolo Riddle is the name of the young Voldemort. His name is an anagram for “I am Lord Voldemort.” This plays a key role in the second book.

We have just started looking at the names of some of the characters. We could go on and on. These are not coincidences, but rather, Rowling is pouring meaning into her writing. If we can agree that symbolism is key to the Harry Potter books, let’s look at some examples of what she is doing.

Magical intentions

Did Rowling intend to trap kids into magic as the Bible forbids? She spoke to CNN October 21, 1999:

"I absolutely did not start writing these books to encourage any child into witchcraft," she says with an uncomfortable chuckle. "I'm laughing slightly because to me, the idea is absurd."
"I have met thousands of children now, and not even one time has a child come up to me and said, 'Ms. Rowling, I'm so glad I've read these books because now I want to be a witch.' They see it for what it is," she emphasized. "It is a fantasy world and they understand that completely.
"I don't believe in magic, either," she said.

At the beginning, many Christians were quite sure that children would be drawn to the occult strongly from these books, but this has not happened. Experts such as John Granger[14] are looking for even one instance of such connection, but he cannot find it. As Christians are beginning to recognize this, the Harry Potter books have been dropped from the list of most controversial books in libraries. Folks are realizing that Harry is not harmful. But I think there is deeper meaning than that.


Harry Potter is non-allegorical Christian fiction. As such, there is no consistent Christ-figure. We see Christ in a variety of figures. This would correspond to Tolkien and not Lewis. I personally prefer this type because it relates to my world better.

Christ in Lily and James

The Harry Potter story is about a special, but misunderstood orphan boy. He became an orphan as an infant when his parents were murdered. They were murdered by the evil Lord Voldemort in his (failed) quest to achieve immortality. Harry’s parents (Lily and James) were freedom fighters. Voldemort comes to Harry’s home and kills his father with a very powerful and evil curse. Harry’s mother then runs to protect her first born, Harry. Voldemort kills her, too. When the evil man tries to kill Harry, the curse backfires and nearly kills Voldemort himself (most people in the world think he is dead). The reversed curse leaves a scar on Harry’s forehead to remind him forever that he is “the boy who lived,” as he is known throughout the world. Later in life (at the end of the first book), Harry learns that the reason he lived was because of the great love of his mother. Her love was so great that she laid her life down in exchange for his. This act of self-sacrifice was so powerful, that it gave Harry a protection against any evil that could come to him.

As we follow Harry throughout his school years, he hears adults tell him constantly, “You remind me of your father [or mother].” He learns more and more about his father and seeks to walk in his father’s steps. In the third book, he must identify with is father by calling out “expecto patronus” (Latin for “Expect the Little Father”) in order to be protected (and to protect others) from the soul-eating Dementors.

His parents have left him a fortune in money – resources beyond his wildest imagination.[15]

Christ in Dumbledore

Dumbledore is the wise headmaster who is constantly looking out for Harry. He is, in a sense sovereign over the school – not always present physically, but his influence is never questioned. He has an uncanny ability to step in at the last moment to save the day and ensure that Harry is not harmed beyond restoration.

Christ in the Unicorn

In medieval literature and art, unicorns often symbolize Christ. Unicorns are powerful, pure, mysterious and precious. Legend says they can only be tamed by a virgin, as Christ could only be born of a virgin. In the first book, Harry and his friends discover that someone has been injuring a unicorn (which is clearly a heinous crime) and taking his blood. Unicorn blood will give life and restore health, but if taken selfishly, it will keep the person alive, but barely. The person will have a cursed life, a soul-less life. This reminds me of 1 Corinthians when Paul warns us that those who drink the blood of Christ (in Holy Communion) unworthily eat and drink damnation to themselves.

Morality in Harry Potter

Critics claim that Harry is immoral. He is a bad role model. He cheats, he lies, he steals, he curses, he is vengeful and vindictive. All of this is true, of course. There are some instances when he breaks rules to obey a higher moral command. He lies to evil people to protect innocent people. I will assume that the critics see this sort of “rule breaking” as good and moral. I am thinking of the many stories of hidden Jews in Nazi Germany.

Secondly, Harry is basically a good guy. If he were not, we would despise him. But we don’t. Nobody wants to be Darth Vader, though he is the central figure in the Star Wars movies, but everybody wants to be like Harry. Harry is generous, kind, compassionate, courageous, loving, truly friendly, funny and smart.

But he is not perfect. He is sinful, weak and broken. He has trouble with selfish anger and rage. As such, he is not a good role model for how to behave. However, we can relate to him much better because of this. We watch Harry as he deals with his rage. Sometimes he handles it well. Sometimes not. We see the consequences of each. We learn with him what to do with insecurity and fear.

The Mirror of Erised

In Harry’s first year at the boarding school, he discovers a very large, grand mirror beautifully set in a carved wood frame in a secret, empty room. In the reflection, he sees himself standing with his parents around him, approvingly. When he brings his best friend, Ron Weasley, Ron sees himself being crowned champion and cannot see Harry’s parents. Harry sneaks away and begins to spend more and more time alone with the mirror, and his parents. Later, Dumbledore, the wise, powerful and benevolent headmaster confronts Harry and explains the mirror:

It shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts. You, who have never seen your family, see them standing around you. Ronald Weasley, who has always been overshadowed by his brothers, sees himself standing alone, the best of all of them. However, this mirror will give us neither knowledge nor truth. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible. . . It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.

In this story, Harry is weak. He dwells on his dreams, forgets to live. But he learns from Dumbledore (in the quote above). And we learn too. We all have dreams, and sometimes we forget to live because we are dreaming for things that may never be. By the way, “Erised” is “Desire” spelled backwards.

Harry’s friendships

Harry friends are consistent – they are the lowly, the weak, the broken. His best friend, Ron is from a poor family. Ron is teased quite a bit because of his shabby clothes and used books, but Harry immediately sees through the poverty and sees the richness of the love in the Weasley home. Harry spends a good deal of time in the Weasley home and it is his second favorite place in the world (the first being school).

Hermione Granger is the third partner in the great trio friendship. She is made fun of constantly because she is a “mud-blood,” a “half-breed.” In biblical terms, she is a Canaanite, a Samaritan. As a result, she receives all sorts of injuries, verbal and otherwise – and Harry never backs away from his association with her, never.

Sirius Black is a man falsely accused and become Harry’s mentor and adopted father. Dobby is a house-elf whom Harry befriends. Harry is kind and generous to Dobby when the entire world (Hermione as an exception) is cruel and mean to elves. Rubeus Hagrid, Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood are all characters despised by most people, but close friends of Harry, Ron and Hermione.

Harry sometimes struggles with his association to these folks, but he is a faithful friend to the end, even when it costs him dearly

Putting it all together

Please allow me a very long quote from John Granger’s book. I think it is
succinct and will help us tremendously.[16] He describes the ending sequence from the second Harry Potter book, The Chamber of Secrets.

Christian morality plays were the first theater in Western Europe. They were almost without exception either portrayals of Bible stories or 'Everyman' allegories of the soul's journey to salvation through thick and thin. Imagine medieval street dramas at public markets and fairs by itinerant players putting onvariations of Pilgrim's Progress and the Passion Play. The finish to Chamber of Secrets, as morality play, is the clearest Christian allegory of salvation history since Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Let's look at it in detail.

Harry, our 'Every Man', enters the Chamber of Secrets to find and rescue Ginny Weasley. He finds her but she is unconscious and Harry cannot revive her. He meets Tom Riddle. He had thought Riddle was a friend and asks for his help in restoring Ginny. No deal.

He learns then that Riddle is anything but his friend; Tom Riddle is the young Lord Voldemort, Satan's 'stand in' in the Harry Potter books, the Dark Lord or Evil One. Far from helping him revive Ginny, Riddle has been the cause of her near death. Harry boldly confesses his loyalty to Albus Dumbledore and his belief that Dumbledore's power is greater than Voldemort's.
The Chamber is filled with Phoenix song at this point, heralding the arrival of Fawkes, Dumbledore's Phoenix, who brings Harry the Sorting Hat of Godric Gryffyndor. The Dark Lord laughs at "what Dumbledore sends his defender" (page 316) and offers to teach Harry a "little lesson". "Let's match the powers of Lord Voldemort, Heir of Salazar Slytherin, against famous Harry Potter, and the best weapons Dumbledore can give him"(page 317). He releases the giant Basilisk from his reservoir and the battle is joined.

The look of the Basilisk is death so Harry, eyes closed, runs from it. The Phoenix attacks the charging Basilisk and punctures its deadly eyes. Harry cries for help to "someone - anyone -" (page 319) as the Phoenix and blind Basilisk continue to battle; he is given the Sorting Hat- by a sweep of the Basilisk's tail. The Harry throws himself to the ground, rams the hat over his head, and begs for help again. A "gleaming silver sword" comes through the hat (page 320).

The Evil One directs the blind Basilisk to leave the Phoenix and attack the boy. It does. Harry drives the sword "to the hilt into the roof of the serpent's mouth" when it lunges for him - but one poisonous fang enters Harry's arm as the Basilisk falls to its death. Harry, mortally wounded, falls beside it. Phoenix weeps into Harry's wound as Riddle laughs at Harry's death.

Too late, Riddle remembers the healing powers of Phoenix tears and chases away the Phoenix. He then confronts the prostrate Harry and raises Harry's wand to murder him. The Phoenix gives Harry the diary and Harry drives the splintered Basilisk fang into it. Riddle dies and disappears as ink pours from the diary. Ginny revives and they escape. Holding the tail feathers of the Phoenix, they fly from the cavern "miles beneath Hogwarts" to safety and freedom above. Harry celebrates with Dumbledore.

Now let's translate this Morality Play. First, the cast of characters, the dramatis personae:
· Harry is 'Every Man'
· Ginny is 'Virgin Innocence, Purity'
· Riddle/Voldemort is 'Satan, the Deceiver'
· The Basilisk is 'Sin'
· Dumbledore is 'God the Father'
· Fawkes the Phoenix is 'Christ'
· Phoenix Song is 'Holy Spirit'
· Gryffyndor's Sword is 'the Sword of Faith/Spirit' (Ephesians 6:17)
· The Chamber is 'the World' and
· Hogwarts is 'Heaven'

The action of the drama, then, goes like this: man, alone and afraid in the World, loses his innocence. He tries to regain it but is prevented by Satan, who feeds on his fallen, lost innocence. Man confesses and calls on God the Father before Satan and is graced immediately by the Holy Spirit and the protective presence of Christ.

Satan confronts man with the greatness of his sins but Christ battles on Man's side for Man's salvation from his sins. God sends Man the Sword of Faith which he 'works' to slay his Christ-weakened enemy. His sins are absolved but the weight of them still mean Man's death. Satan rejoices.

But, wait, the voluntary suffering of Christ heals Man! Man rises from the dead, and, with Christ's help, Man destroys Satan. Man's innocence is restored and he leaves the World for Heaven by means of the Ascension of Christ. Man, risen with Christ, lives with God the Father in joyful thanksgiving.


Should everyone read Harry Potter? Of course not. Some people simply don’t like this sort of literature. We all have our own tastes. Our likes, our dislikes. Some people can’t get into it. That’s ok. But Harry Potter is a terrific piece of art that can be used for the same function as the stained glass windows in medieval cathedrals. For the glory of God, he has given us artists who help to explain the Christian story of redemption in pictures that are parallel to the real story. They help to explain and to connect our story to the story of Christ. Didn’t Jesus do the same thing? And the prophets? And the apostles?

[1] The Reverend William Sofield is a chaplain at Baptist Hospital of Miami, ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America.
[2] The novels of Tolkien and Lewis never mention church or Jesus or other religious language, but the testimony of thousands of people have convinced most that their fantasy works certainly bring readers to a closer understanding of what it means to be a follower of Christ.
[3] Jerram Barrs, “Harry Potter and His Critics,” Perspectives, Covenant Theological Seminary, 2003.
[4] Wyman, Max. The Vancouver Sun. " 'You can lead a fool to a book but you can't make them think': Author has frank words for the religious right," October 26, 2000.
[5] Reid, T.R. "All Aboard the Publicity Train; Yielding to PR Plan, J.K. Rowling Hops On The Hogwarts Express," The Washington Post, 9 July, 2000
[6] Williams, Rhys. "The spotty schoolboy and single mother taking the mantle from Roald Dahl," The Independent (London), 29 January 1999.
[7] de Bertodano, Helena. "Harry Potter Charms a Nation." Eletronic Telegraph, 25 July 1998.
[8] Barnes and Noble interview with J. K. Rowling, March 19, 1999.
[9] Although it is quite well known that she has not read all of The Last Battle. This rather confuses me, but I will take her at her word regarding Lewis and the Chronicles unless she gives me reason otherwise. Perhaps she did not like the last in the series, just as I do not much care for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe even though I do love the series as a whole.
[10] For those unfamiliar with the concept of genre, here is a brief introduction. All writing is in a genre. Each genre has “rules.” For example, in poetry, punctuation is at the discretion of the author. Poetry must normally be lyrical, using various forms of word plays (assonance, alliteration, onomatopoeia, etc.) as well as vivid imagery and significant repetition is common. Prose, on the other hand, has strict punctuation rules but loose rules regarding content. A personal letter must start and end in a particular way. With in the broad category of stories, fantasy stories is a particular genre and has certain established rules, which is the subject of this section of the paper.
[11] One can trace fantasy writings through history to include Beowolf, Greek mythology, African animal stories, etc. Defining the fantasy genre is difficult. I would suggest that Tolkien’s “On Fairy Stories” is a good place to start for those who would be interested. You can find the essay in any collected short works of Tolkein.
[12] This is the same way the Bible treats such magic. We see examples of it, but always it is something to be avoided.
[13] Amy H. Sturgis has a tremendously helpful summary and discussion on Tolkien’s essay in “Harry Potter is a Hobbit: Rowling, Tolkien, and the Question of Readership” published in The Bulletin of The New York C. S. Lewis Society” Vol. 35:3, May-June 2004.
[14] Author of Looking for God in Harry Potter (Tyndale, 2004).
[15] However, Harry rarely uses his money. When he does it is almost always in the aid of others who need money. Most notably, he gives a great deal of money to the Weasleys who are not only the recipients of his great generosity, but family he most closely aligns with. He chooses to spend his time with the poor, not the rich, and he helps them in very strategic ways, not by just giving money indiscriminately.
[16] From chapter 12 of John Granger, The Hidden Key to Harry Potter: Understanding the Meaning, Genius, and Popularity of Joanne Rowling's Harry Potter Novels. Zossima Press, 2004.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Mark Driscoll

I've heard of Mark Driscoll before. Mars Hill in Seattle, Acts 29 Network, etc. But I finally downloaded some sermons -- a 17 sermon series on Ecclesiastes. I listened to the first one this morning on my way to work. Wow! That's good stuff. He has the potential to become one of my favorites. For a link to his and many other good sermons by good preachers, check out the "Good Listening" link under "Articles" on the right side of this page (or the front page).