God Doesn’t Like Harry Potter…He LOVES Him!

Harry Potter fever has hit our home. Tonight begins the journey to the end as the midnight showing of “The Deathly Hallows” part 2 opens. The theater across the street from the Boston Commons will be the venue, lines outside the door forming early, ensuring premium seats for those closest to the entrance.

At one time in Christian circles there was a question of the wisdom of allowing children to read Harry Potter. We were never a part of the discussion so perhaps there still is controversy of which I am completely unaware. But because of this we had a saying in our family coined by my husband “God doesn’t like Harry Potter….He loves him!“. While offensive to some, it spelled out our sentiments of a good story, for if there is one thing the Gardners love, whether truth or fiction but preferably a mixture of both, it is a good story.

Stories are compelling to us as humans. We see ourselves in the characters of stories. We see the same conflicts with which we struggle worked through, sometimes in healthy ways and other times in ways we would hesitate to emulate. We cry with our characters when they die or get hurt, and we rejoice when they find love and redemption. At night as our heads rest on soft pillows we read books taking us to other worlds and often feel like we are going to bed with our friends. We become a part of the story.

The CNN Belief Blog published a piece called “My take: Why we’re drawn to Harry Potter’s theology”. The author,  Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, has written a book called “God and Harry at Yale; Faith and Fiction in the Classroom” and has studied this intensively. She has come to the conclusion that it’s about seeking. Fans who read Harry Potter, she says, are introduced to questions of ultimate meaning. How to respond to evil, is it possible to keep a relationship beyond the grave, most important – is it worth believing in God without evidence of his power to transform? Beyond analyzing, the author speaks to what she found compelling as she read through the series and challenges readers to do the same.

As the film opens and fans lose themselves in the story, sobbing at the end because there will not be another, it is a gift to know that though Harry Potter is ending, as long as the earth is inhabited by humans there will be stories. Stories that detail the human condition and bring about greater understanding. Stories that voice longing, love, seeking and redemption, because God loves a good story.