Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Harry Potter in Sunday School?

I know, I know, last week I asked why can't we all just read Harry Potter and have fun rather than condemning it as a gateway into the occult for children or using it as an evangelism tool. (By the way, I finally am reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but you still are not allowed to spill any secrets to me until I finish.) However, what about discussing Harry Potter with kids and even adults who are fans of the books at church? I think I'm for that, just as I'm for engaging popular culture in general at church.

I haven't been able to gauge the interest in Harry Potter among folks here in St. Joe, but back in NY, every kid at church knew Harry Potter better than they knew the Bible. You'd discover this fact when teaching them Bible stories and they would naturally draw comparisons to events that happened in the book series--which sort of speaks to the Christian influences that Rowling naturally seems to stick into her narrative. I had no choice but to engage Harry Potter in order to communicate with kids, just as I engaged rap and hip-hop with the youth group in order to speak to them. I know a lot more about Harry Potter than I do about rap--as the kids in the youth group would constantly point out to me.

Apparently, the Church of England has a study guide and resources for using Harry Potter at church. That works for me, since I'm a big fan of the book series, and just as I enjoy book clubs, movie watching, etc. with church folks, I'd also enjoy discussing Harry Potter.

Terry Mattingly has another column on Harry Potter and its reception among church folks. I found interesting the comparisons between Rowling and C. S. Lewis' Narnia series. Although I loved Narnia, I have to say that the Potter books are a lot more fun--Lewis' allegory grew a bit weighty for me even as a kid.

Grace and Peace,


P.S. If your up for an irreverent pardy of the Religious Right's reaction to Harry Potter, check out the fzux Potter protests at the make believe Landover Baptist Church web site.

1 comment:

Jacob said...

We teach a seven week series on the Harry Potter books, open to anyone in 6th grade or above (we had huge adult turnouts). Connections between current literature (or, for that matter, the classics as well) and faith are crucial. I've often thought it would be enjoyable to have a class that focused on a different book every two weeks.