Saturday, October 30, 2010

Some thoughts on Christianity using Harry Potter Similies

Describing Christianity using Harry Potter? Bear with me, because if you've read Harry Potter, what I'm about to say will totally make sense. I was reading some Harry Potter, and all of a sudden these comparisons popped into my head.

Harry was 11 years old when he found out about magic. When he entered into Diagon Alley/the wizarding world for the first time, he was amazed. He was constantly in awe of things that most wizards took for granted. His friend Ron grew up in a wizard house, and magic was old hat for him. Ron knew how daily life works in the magic world. What Harry saw as amazing, Ron just took for granted as business as usual. People who have just become Christians are like Harry. God is new to them, and they're often super excited about church and the Bible and God in general. People who grew up in a Christian home, or who have been saved for years tend to lose that initial spark. They take a lot for granted. I take for granted all the Bible verses I learned as a kid. Because I grew up in the church, I have lots of general Bible knowledge that new Christians don't know yet.

Christians can be like Harry Potter in another way. Wizards who grew up in the wizarding world constantly stand out like a sore thumb in the muggle/nonmagical world. They don't know how to dress, they don't know how muggle money works, and things like electricity and telephones are complete mysteries. Once muggle born wizards (wizards with non-magical parents) are in the wizarding world for awhile, they can move easily between worlds. There are people who are so immersed in Christian culture, who are so separate from the world, that they stick out. They can't navigate in the secular world, and sometimes they look like freaks. I've known people like this, and as a kid I was terrified of being one of those outsiders. New Christians can have the opposite problem, where they don't understand the Christianese lingo and have not yet completely shed all of their sinful ways.

We hear all the time that we are to be IN the world, but not OF the world. It's a tough balance. We don't want to be indistinguishable from people who are not Christians, but we don't want to be so different as to be unapproachable. I haven't figured out where I draw the line for myself. It would almost be easier to just seclude myself from all media and limit my social interactions with non-Christians. Maybe some people are called to a life that strict, but I know I'm not. I think too many Christians think they've figured out the one-size-fits-all solution to this. I don't think there is such a solution. I think we need to use common sense, listen to Christians we trust, pray about it, and listen to your own convictions. I have a hard time not judging people that I think are unnecessarily stricter than I am, or who are less strict than I am. I tend to want people to be just like me, but that's wrong. Everyone is different, and I think it's really important that we try to respect people's choices about things on which the Bible is not specific.