Well, now that the seventh book has released, the world can see that all the Harry Potter controversies have been much ado about nothing. Let’s see, there were the plagiarism complaints. If you have ever read the fabulous graphic novel “Books of Magic” (If you haven’t go buy the first book today!) you can see why some people have a problem with Rowling’s “innovative” ideas. Then there were the feminist groups remarking on a lack of strong female characters. Their argument being that where Harry Potter and Professor Dumbledore show limitless courage, bravery, and wisdom, their counter parts Hermione and Professor McGonagall show frailty. In addition, of course, there were the concerns from religious organizations that the Harry Potter universe of witches and wizards would lead the youth down a path of wickedness.
Everyone can relax; you’re not going to go to Hell (if you even believe in such a place) for reading the Harry Potter books! Well, at least according to the Church of England. Diocese of Oxford Bishop John Pritchard was quoted in The Christian Post (Click Here for Story) as saying, "Jesus used storytelling to engage and challenge his listeners. There’s nothing better than a good story to make people think, and there’s plenty in the Harry Potter books to make young people think about the choices they make in their everyday lives and their place in the world.”
Owen Smith, a youth worker at St. Margaret’s Church in the United Kingdom, has written a book called “Mixing it Up with Harry Potter”. The Church of England’s publishing company is publishing it. The Church’s press release states, “Using film scenes in which the characters make tough decisions to prompt discussion about moral choices and extracts from the books that demonstrate the power of words and their impact on others, the resource has creative ideas for using the Potter books as a basis for Christian teaching.”
Smith has also written “Mixing it Up with the Simpsons”. According to Globe and Mail (Click Here for Story), “Mr. Smith started writing the book 18 months ago when pre-teens at the Sunday school where he teaches told him they were far more interested in The Simpsons and Harry Potter than Jesus and apostles.”
It’s nice to see a religious body recognizing that there are moral lessons to be learned in stories, not just traditional Bible stories. There are many good moral lessons to be found in the television show “The Simpsons” and they’re in the Harry Potter series.
Personally, I’ve been working on the “10 Moral Lessons of The Family Guy.” I’m at five and counting….
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