I came out of a closet on FB:

I posted a status about my family going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

It should not be a surprise; it’s listed first under the “books” section of my profile, but I guess people don’t routinely check those when they friend you on FB. Instead, it seems they assume because you count yourself a Christian that you automatically carry all the same viewpoints they do.

I was not lashed out at personally, per se, (people are usually passive-aggressive about this sort of thing because it’s much easier than engaging in actual discussion) but I saw some lashing occur.

And I only have this to say about it:

Secular entertainment is secular entertainment. The world of Harry Potter is not a spiritual one. There is not God nor in there satan. There is magic. There is good. And there is evil.

And while J.K. Rowling most likely didn’t set out to make it as such, Harry Potter – like Chronicles of Narnia, like Star Wars, like Lord of the Rings, like, yes, even Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is an allegory for the Gospel:

There is the world that needs rescuing.

There is an evil force trying to destroy it.

There is a figure willing to die to save it.

Harry Potter is  many things: a hurting boy who grows into a thoughtful young man, a brave, selfless soldier, a loyal, protective friend. Unlike Jesus, he is flawed. He makes mistakes. But unlike a lot of other figures in our culture, he takes responsibility for his mistakes, he works to fix them, he learns and grows.

Not a bad role model for kids… way better than  lot of athletes who drink, smoke, swear, fornicate and yet seem to get amnesty amongst the same Christians who find Harry Potter a gateway to damnation.

I get that people are going to think what they will.  However, I do take issue with uneducated opinions and I especially take issue when “brothers and sisters in Christ” accuse others of some sort of wrongdoing for participating or enjoying something they’ve decided is a sin. The fact is, the Bible gives us guidelines, but many, many things in the world require us to consider and discern. And sometimes, we will come out on different sides.

I happen to dislike the Oprah show immensely. I haven’t watched it in years, but nothing about Oprah herself or the particular ideology she subscribes to and promotes seems remotely Christian to me. Yet, I have a lot of Christian friends who watch the show faithfully. Do I think that means they are any less Christian? Um, no.

When the first Harry movies were coming out years ago, I did some research for a Christian website I was writing for. I came across Connie Neal’s What’s  A Christian To Do With Harry Potter? I went back to this reading today, and was particularly struck by this thought:

It’s one thing to see how two people can look at the same work of literature and see two different things. But how can two Christians use the same Bible and come to opposing positions about what is right and still both be right with God. There is a biblical explanation for this covered under the heading of disputable matters (found in Romans 14-15 and 1 Corinthians 8-10, which I will address momentarily). In such cases, where cultural, personal, and spiritual issues overlap, individual Christians must finally agree to disagree. Sincere, Bible-believing Christians, who seek the Lord with all their hearts, can be led by the same Holy Spirit to opposing conclusions. This is not relativism nor situational ethics. This is not compromising our commitment to godly conduct under mere social or political pressure. Instead, this is a personal decision about the appropriateness of disputable conduct. Yes, the Bible does allow for such cases.

…the issues raised over Harry Potter don’t lead to a single “Christian position.” Reading Harry Potter is a disputable matter because we are not debating whether it is okay for Christians to practice witchcraft or cast spells. The Christian position on that is clear. We agree that we should never participate in or practice anything listed in Deuteronomy 18:9-14 (see chapter 7). But reading Harry Potter is not the same as practicing witchcraft or even – as some assert – promoting it. However, some can take it to mean just that. Therein lies the disputable part of these issues that Christians debate in earnest.

I can’t really sum it up any better than that. But I will add to it only by saying: There are other kinds of secular entertainment or temptations I stay away from, things that might attract me to sin or something potentially harmful to me. Some of the types of shows I used to watch led me to feel unpleasantly distracted or even depressed. I no longer watch them. For the same reason, some music I used to listen to no longer finds its way to my ears. As I have grown in my relationship with God, it’s become much easier to identify what is harmful to me and what is not. Harry Potter, not for one single moment, has caused me to question God’s sovereignty or what is good and pure versus evil and demonic. Another Christian suggesting as such, without having read Harry Potter and especially without knowing my heart, is misguided.

I simply don’t see the value of ignorant and blanket criticism of pop culture. I don’t see how it builds relationships, nor do I see how it invites unbelievers to view Christianity as something attractive to them. I do see the value of educated and sensitive discussions. I see the value of sharing experiences in order to learn from each other. And, I see the value of a few hours spent in a movie theater with my family watching something that not only entertains us, but gives us a huge secular foundation for many conversations, including important spiritual ones.



  • Tomh1138

    I completely agree with everything you say in the article. But where was the “lashing” that you were talking about? All I saw were people leaving messages of support and love. Or did you delete the “lasthing” comments?

    Send me a private message on FB if you don't want to post about it here.

    • kellyburton

      I said it wasn't directed at me :) Someone made it her own status… Another of my friends was deleted and blocked. Ridiculous! Have you seen it yet, BTW?