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June 24, 2004

Go, Go Gryffindor!



I'm from Gryffindor!
Hogwart's Sorting Hat Quiz
made by The Genki Gang

We watched HP3 with the boys earlier this week--in Russian. Hubby recently finished reading it to the boys, so they new the story and we were a bit too impatient to wait for an English copy. I enjoyed it, but was a little annoyed at how many disconnects there were between the grounds at Hogwarts in this film compared to the previous ones. (I like how the new HW grounds look--but miss the spreading, green lawn and the Herbology greenhouse.) Also, Professor Lupin just didn't look right to me--though he acted the part very well.

Does anyone know when the next Harry Potter book comes out?


(Quiz via Andrea)

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No telling when the new HP will come out (perhaps next summer?) -- the best rumour site on the web for both the books and film is definitely The Leaky Cauldron. They will know before anyone else does!

Posted by: kristen at June 26, 2004 07:12 PM

I'm in Gryffindor too!

Posted by: AutMom at June 30, 2004 06:08 AM

TulipGirl,

Great site you have here! I would be surprised if HP Book 6 comes out any earlier than at least July of 2005 as that would be two years since the release of Book 5. I did hear today that JKR has confirmed that the title of Book 6 will be Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Here is a quote from JKR herself via The Leaky Cauldron.

"I shall tell you one thing without making you shift any bricks at all: the HBP is neither Harry nor Voldemort. And that's all I'm saying on THAT subject until the book's published."

Posted by: Kris at June 30, 2004 06:39 AM

Hi TulipGirl, I stubled across your blog today and I have been enjoying reading your entries. I too am a Christian homeschooling mama. I do have one question for you about your interest in Harry Potter. I guess you and your family are reading all the books and watching the movies and do not feel any conviction about that. I am wondering how you have come to that conclusion from Scripture. I did a lot of study on what God has to say about wizards, witchcraft and sorceres and diviners from His word when the movie was first released and to me it seems to me that it is difficult to see entertainment what God calls an abomination. Deut. 18:10-13 says "There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, OR A WIZARD, or a necromancer. FOR ALL WHO DO THESE THINGS ARE AN ABOMINATION UNTO THE LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God." God lumps diviners together with murderers and idolators (Rev. 21:8). Is this good entertainment for those who are in Christ? 2 Cor. 6:14 says, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial?" It makes me think of us Christians being yoked with wizards and witches. I hope you will prayerfully consider my question and take a moment to explain your conviction. I would appreciate it. God bless you! rebecca

Posted by: rebecca at July 2, 2004 09:12 PM

Hi, Rebecca!

I really appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns and what you've studied.

This is a busy week and a crazy month (I haven't posted in ages. . .) and to be honest, I can't summon the energy to type a full reply like your question deserves.

However, I do want you to know I appreciate your boldness and willingness to challenge a sister in Christ over something that you've studied and have strong convictions about.

But, after discussion and reflection, my husband and I are, in good conscience, enjoying the HP books with our family.

Grace and blessings,
Alexandra

Posted by: TulipGirl at July 3, 2004 07:54 AM

Hi Rebecca,

I have a free minute, so I'll explain a bit of our reasoning on this.

The "wizards" in Harry Potter in no way resemble real magicians. If you know anything about the British public schools, Rowling has simply taken aspects of school life and "magicked" it. If she were writing a realistic treatise on magic for kids, I can assure you we would be deeply reluctant to buy it for our offspring.

Just as reluctant, no doubt, as you have been to read Lord of the Rings or Narnia, or to watch any of the countless Disney movies featuring magic, fairies or other things of the sort. Quite likely, you also never read fairy tales or watch Shakespearean plays like MacBeth or Midsummer's Night. And so I applaud you consistency in also coming out against Harry Potter.

Posted by: Discoshaman at July 3, 2004 08:46 AM

Hi Ladies, Thank you so much for taking a few moments to respond to my inquiry. Discoshaman, I have not read the book or seen the movie, but my understanding is that the school is called a wizard school, that they cast spells and fly. In what way do the wizards not actually resemble those in Scripture? And even continuing with that stream of logic does that mean that other book and movies based on things God calls an abomination- for example homosexuality- would be appropriate entertainment for our families if it was pretend and not exactly like the homosexuals that interacted with Lot? Would you be concerned that exposing ourselves to these types of things would desensitize us to what God calls evil? I guess that would be my concern. That and the fact that I fear God. In Romans 12:9 He tells us that we are to abhor evil. We are to hate what He calls evil. Even as I write this He is convicting my heart of areas where I have blind spots as well and I plan to do buisiness with those. Thanks for the opportunity to interact with you all. God bless you! Rebecca

Posted by: rebecca at July 3, 2004 11:16 PM

Rebecca-

In my experience, the Blue Denim Jumper Homeschool Mafia is the primary source of Harry-Bashing. They are, almost universally, gigantic hypocrites. They go ga-ga for Narnia and Tolkien, have bought their kids everything from Cinderella to Raggedy Ann to the Blue Fairy Book, but then want to strike a pose for justice against the evil Potter readers because it contains "magic."

And so they don't deserve an explanation or justification from the people they're accusing.

If you're not one of these types, and have no Tolkien, CS Lewis, Hans Christian Anderson, Raggedy Ann or Disney in your home, then I'm happy to explain the personal decisions of my family to you. Just let me know. :)

Posted by: Discoshaman at July 4, 2004 08:31 AM

Discoshaman, I'm not wearing a denim jumper (funny) : ) and I do not have Tolkien, CS Lewis, Disney or any of the magic containing items you are referring to. I see the contradiction as clearly as you do and I have been very careful to steer clear from ALL of it. My question is genuine I assure you and I am very interested in knowing how Christian families have come to the conviction to add Harry Potter to their libraries and video collections from Scripture. What Scriptures come to your mind as we discuss this? Just as a personal note, I was raised on shows like Bewitched, The Wizard of Oz (with good witches of all things) and Disney movies. I guarantee it desesitized me and to be honest it opened me up to occult activities in my youth of which I am very sad I was ever involved in. However, once the Lord saved me by His sovereign grace (why oh why I'll never know!!!!) I knew I would never want to expose my children to any of that which could possibly desesitize them to what God calls evil. Maybe that can explain my conviction too. The thing with exposing kids to things is you never know which kid- if any- it will affect negatively. The characters become so likeable and like the kid who grows up being raised by lawbreakers soon they see the lawgivers or police as the mean ones rather than seeing clearly the evil in breaking the law. God bless you Discoshaman. I look forward to hearing more about your convictions. Rebecca

Posted by: rebecca at July 4, 2004 07:47 PM

Rebecca-

Thanks for clarifying. I appreciate your consistency, if not your decision to deny your children some of the best of their cultural legacy as children of Christendom. Not to mention some of the best things ever written for the formation of a moral imagination. . . :)

First, I don't see a need to justify it from Scripture. The burden of proof is on those who would bind the conscience of a fellow believer, not vice versa. Something that many Christians are apt to forget.

As for your homosexuality analogy, I don't see it as consistent. Homosexuality is sexual congress or attraction between two people of the same sex. So if that's in a book, then that's "real" homosexuality in a Biblical sense.

Magic in the Bible, as I understand it, is presented as a search for knowledge and power through false gods or consorting with demons. So unlike with your homosexuality analogy, Harry Potter's "magic" isn't the same thing the Bible is condemning.

You'll likely say, ALL forms of magic have Satan behind them, whether the practioners are calling on him or not. And I'll concede the point for the sake of discussion. At least in real life. But Harry Potter's world isn't real life, but a fictional creation. And in this fictionally created world, Satan is NOT behind it all. Our argument isn't about the Bible, but about the nature of fiction.

I have no problem with many sinful things being in literature. First, because they aren't real. And secondly, because if it was a sin to portray something sinful in literature, Christ Himself would be a sinner. His parables of full of gross sin, things equally condemned with wizardry.

I see it as a meat offered to idols situation. If it offends one's conscience, then one certainly shouldn't read Harry. But I don't see any Biblical basis to denounce it for others.

I'll close by saying that anyone whose children are led off into the occult by Harry Potter or the Chronicles of Narnia needs to be smacked pretty hard, because they're ignoring their covenantal duties to teach their kids both Scripture and basic critical thinking skills.

Anyway, I'm having a crazy week, sorry if I've been rammy on this thread. :)

Yours,
John

Posted by: Discoshaman at July 5, 2004 01:18 AM

Rebecca,

A couple things I noticed in reading over the past few posts:

1) you asked whether TulipGirl and Discoshaman felt conviction over reading HP with their kids, and they've assured you that they have prayerfully considered it, yet still feel no conviction that it is wrong. And because there is no biblical directive to the contrary (there is warning against practicing witchcraft, not reading these books) I think we have to believe that they are not in violation of God's will for their lives.

2) God calls us all to different choices in life. Just as the recovering alcoholic should not indulge in one simple glass of wine with dinner, perhaps you, who used to be involved with the occult, should not read Harry Potter. But just as I, as a non-alcoholic enjoy the occasional drink, so can I the non-former occult practicer enjoy HP. Of course, as Paul admonishes, I wouldn't invite you to come to a HP movie with me, as the weaker sister in Christ, because I wouldn't want to be a stumbling block to you. But if you were at the movies to see something you approved of and saw me going in to the theater to see HP, I would hope you would understand that God has not convicted me of this as sin, and accordingly I do not feel that it is such.

3) I enjoy a good murder mystery novel/movie, do you? The suspense, good writing, seeing how the story's hero unravels the case, clue by clue. Does this mean I approve of murder? No, it's fiction. The same is true with HP. It's fantasy. Most of children's books and tv are fantastical to some degree. Sesame Street features an 8 foot tall canary that talks. Clifford the Big Red Dog is a 3-story high, brick red, talking dog. Unless you confine your children to Little House of the Prairie, which are fine books I enjoy with my kids as well, you can't escape the unreal. (Come to think of it, Caroline Ingalls is a racist, often saying the only good Indian is a dead Indian, so perhaps non-fiction needs some interpretation and discusion before use with children as well.) Take a children's literature course sometime and you'll see that telling fantasical stories is something parents have done with children since time immemoriam. And what would life be without fantasy? How will children develop their imaginations without the richness of fantasy?

4) this is probably the most important point of all. You say that you've not read the book or seen the movie. In that case, how can you say whether it is a how-to in wizardry or mere make-believe? If you've not read it yourself, how can you say that it is inappropriate for Christian families? I myself had no intention of letting my kids read it because of the presumed subject matter but when I heard many Christian families did, good Christian families, not those who let their kids do any old thing and just hope they'll turn out alright, I thought, hm, perhaps I should read it myself and then judge. Sure enough, I read the 1st book and a) decided they would be ok for my kids when they were old enough to understand a plot that complex (my 8 year old is just getting there) and b) that the books were so well done that I read all the rest of them for my own enjoyment! My husband has too. They are better written, I'm sad to say, than much Christian fiction written for adults.

5) I can't speak definitvely for you, as I don't know your whole story, but I don't think Snow White's stepmother is why you became involved in the occult. The Bible clearly says that we are enticed by our own desires, and I think we all are curious about things beyond what we can sense with our physical bodies. And unfortunately you somehow had the opportunity to learn about true evil, beyond poisoned apples and love's first kiss, and you followed up on that opportunity. We all have done things in our youth we regret, some things more dangerous than others. I praise God that you got out of the situation and have devoted your life to following God rather than evil.

6) I understand your perspective. My mom is one of those who, as a teacher/director at a Christian preschool, would not allow any books videos, etc that featured any supernatural power other than the power of the Holy Spirit. This is a very conservative choice, but it was hers to make. (Of course, she did allow for talking animals, etc, just not witches, etc, therefore a bit hypocritical.) So I understand that her desire is that no one be tempted by anything supernatural other than the Holy Spirit, and I don't think her students were harmed by the lack of fairies, etc in her classroom. Other than missing out on some really good literature, your kids will not be in any way deprived if you choose not to allow them access to HP. And of course, as adults they will be free to choose for themselves if they want to go back and read them at that time. I appreciate the good intentions of those who avoid them to be "on the safe side" as it were. But know that there are parents who have considered it prayerfully and have found it not to be harmful, and surely such parents having called up on God in earnestness would have received a clear direction from him to avoid it had it been one of those things that is wrong for everybody.

Until then, I would chalk it up to one of those "meat sacrificed to idols" questions. Some Christians would not eat the meat of an animal that had been sacrificed to idols because they felt that doing so would have been showing implicit approval of such practices. Others said, "Hey that statue isn't the true God, it has no power, and therefore this meat from an animal offered to that lifeless statue is just as protein rich as the next burger, so I'm gonna eat this for the wonderful hunk of lamb/beef/chicken that it is, and not worry about what the previous owners did to it." Paul said if you have a hang up about it, sure, avoid it, but if you don't, enjoy your steak without guilt. Paul clearly stated that those with the hang up were the weaker brother in Christ, for whom we should look out, but he did not say that in our protection of the weaker brother we had to abstain ourselves.

I hope someday, if you feel safe doing so, you do read them so as to make an educated decision for you and yours because they really are great stories and they could open up great discussions.

Posted by: AutMom at July 5, 2004 01:45 AM

OK, apparently Disco and I were typing at about the same time cuz now there is an answer from him that wasn't there when I started mine. And of course, it makes a couple of my points redundant. Sorry.

Posted by: AutMom at July 5, 2004 01:49 AM

Autmom!

It's good to see you, pal. :)

Your points defintely weren't redendant. They were worthwhile, if for no other reason than that they were better written and a lot less grouchy than mine.

See you in September!

Your friend,
John

Posted by: Discoshaman at July 5, 2004 04:35 PM

Thank you both so much for your responses. I appreciate you taking the time to prayerfully consider the many Scriptures and examples I brought up.

I will continue to prayerfully consider that this may be an issue of liberty as you have mentioned and that I may be the weaker brother.

As I have mulled over the responses I have received I do feel that I have a clearer understanding of Christians who are in favor of Harry Potter. Thank you for that clarification. From your representation I see that Christians who are for Harry Potter base their family decision on 1. a feeling (or the lack of feeling; ie. that you don’t “feel” convicted) and 2. a single verse regarding Christian liberty.

I was surprised that no one wanted to discuss the verses I referenced regarding witchcraft and how God wants us to feel regarding what He calls evil (Deut. 18:10-13; Rev. 21:8; 2 Cor. 6:14; Romans 12:9). It causes me to thing that you are unable to justify your position based on the whole of Scripture. Rather, in lei of Scripture, you appeal to a general need for fantasy while not distinguishing good fantasy from bad fantasy. In my mind there is a fundamental difference between an “8 foot tall canary” and a glamorized spell-casting wizard, but I appear to be the minority in this opinion. : )

I was also surprised to find that another justification for your allowance of Harry Potter into your homes is based on other outside ideas such as 1. the people that you feel oppose you are hypocrites (seems a little harsh) or 2. because you like a “good murder mystery” (is there such a thing?) this too is ok or 3. because Harry Potter is “some of the best of their cultural legacy” (as if men rather than God should be the Christian’s standard of what is good cultural influence).

As I read your responses the verse that came to my mind was Galations 5:13-20 which says:

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies…”

It is interesting that so many Christian families- good Christian families- as you have stated find “works of the flesh” (a.k.a. sin) enjoyable to watch or read. It seems that when Jesus saw sin His response was “go and sin no more”. I don’t see that He found it entertaining or something that should continue for His viewing pleasure.

I often hear Christians say they don’t feel conviction over things the Bible calls sin. It makes me wonder if we put too much credence in our feelings and not enough emphasis on the black and white dialog from heaven.

Thank you so much for your time and patience. I am sure it is difficult to have an outsider seek to challenge what you believe based on Scripture. I have been so curious about this Christian-Harry Potter connection and have been wondering what I am missing from Scripture in order to understand this point of view. I now see it is not a matter of Scripture at all. Thanks to those of you that have been so humble and transparent in our interactions. I feel that I have learned a great deal from this dialog. And I thank our merciful God that He is able to make each of those He calls His own able to stand in that final day.

In His love,
Rebecca

Posted by: rebecca at July 7, 2004 06:55 AM

Rebecca-

"From your representation I see that Christians who are for Harry Potter base their family decision on 1. a feeling (or the lack of feeling; ie. that you don’t 'feel' convicted) and 2. a single verse regarding Christian liberty."

You forgot this other observation about us -- '3. Have little tolerance or time for busybodies.'

I likewise have little patience for people who use ostensibly 'honest' questions as a vehicle to drag out their personal soapbox. I have neither solicited nor taken any interest in your opinion of our family's reading habits.

Equally annoying are people who mask patronizing, superior attitudes in pious language. You thus represent something of a hat trick when it comes to annoying blog posters, managing to busybody, patronize and soapbox simultaneously.

"I am sure it is difficult to have an outsider seek to challenge what you believe based on Scripture."

You seem to really want it to have been a 'challenge', so I'll let you assume it was a great struggle for me to wrestle with your deeply scholarly exegesis. These were completely fresh and original points you made that I had never seen on any of the previous dozen Harry Potter threads I've been on.

See you round the blogosphere.

Posted by: Discoshaman at July 7, 2004 11:11 PM

Dear John,

Well, this seems to have become a personal issue between you and I.

First off I want to assure you that this has been a completely honest inquiry on my part. I had an honest question- which you and others answered completely for me. It was my desire to discuss this issue in light of Scripture- as I stated from the start- and I was hoping for more discussion regarding God’s Word and what your thoughts were on various verses that always come to my mind regarding this topic. I am sorry that you were not prepared to do that.

My ideas may not be fresh and original- but then of course my points were from God’s Word and I guess that is not so new. : ) But again I am in clear conscience and I hope for your sake you will be able to believe me regarding my motives. I don’t normally have a soapbox and I do not frequent HP threads as you do so I apologize if this conversation was repetitious for you. It was not for me. It was my first real discussion with believers on this issue and I rather enjoyed it until your last post.

I am disappointed that instead of discussing the issues at hand you decided to turn this into a personal attack against me- judging my motives and attitudes as though you are in a position to know those things. Just because others have a differing opinion from you I hope you will not continue to assume the worst of them (or me). Not all ladies in denim jumpers are so bad in my experience. ; )

I apologize if I was in any way harsh with my arguments and offended you brother.

God bless you.
Rebecca

Posted by: rebecca at July 8, 2004 02:02 AM

Whatever. :)

Posted by: Discoshaman at July 8, 2004 04:43 PM

Rebecca,

You are right when you say it is not about Scripture at all, because the verses you quoted dealt with practicing witchcraft, which reading Harry Potter is not, and associating with mediums, which J.K. Rowling is not (I believe she is a Presbyterian).

If you'd actually read the books, you'd see that the only character who professes to practice divination (Trelawney) is a mockery because she is a fraud. But I suppose you probably don't ever read books where anyone lies, as that is not a fruit of the Spirit. And as for your earlier question about if there is a such thing as a good murder mystery, I'll throw a couple of classics out there - Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes. As for not reading anything that deals with the works of the flesh, have you never read The Scarlet Letter? If we cannot read about wrath, hatred or strife, then I suppose the newspaper is out... What DO you read?

Last time I checked, our Lord said the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls and minds, and the second is like it - to love our neighbors as ourselves. All the law and the prophets can be summed up in this. Further, by Christ having atoned for my sin, and my having accepted his sacrifice, I am no longer bound to the Mosaic law, but am, under grace, bound to Christ's fulfillment of the law, which I elucidated at the beginning of the paragraph. And I see nothing in what his summation of the law that would keep me from reading HP, but I do see that it prohibits me from arguing with a sister in Christ over an issue that is not crucial to the salvation of either. So on that note, I will exit the conversation.

A good friend once told me that despite the fact that we often think we *know* the right course of action another should be taking, we have to allow others to have their own inspiration. That is, we cannot claim to, with Bibles in hand, speak directly to another from God short of exercising a prophetic gift. We should save our energies, I feel for arguing the cause of Christ to the unsaved, rather than exhausting ourselves infighting. It is unattractive to the world to whom we should serve as a Christlike example.

God bless!

Posted by: AutMom at July 8, 2004 06:55 PM

Hi AutMom,

I agree, as I stated before, Christ is able to make each of His own stand on the final day- whether we agree on this issue or not. Personally, my convictions have changed over time and I am sure yours have too. It seems the more I read His Word the more I find to change in me. Doesn’t God continually works in those that are His? Videos and computer games we used to think were ok in our home we have since thrown away and replaced with things that we feel glorify Christ. I am sure there is a continual weeding process going on in each of us in various areas.

I hope you did not truly get the impression that I was trying to bind you to the Mosaic law. You mentioned something about that. I was careful to include both OT and NT verses. I was trying to understand how you work all those verses together and come to your conviction.

I agree, I too do not want to waste energies with infighting. The verse I included from Galations included that idea- the idea of biting and devouring one another. Doesn't the way in which we discuss things (humbly vs. biting) makes all the difference? It doesn't seem that using God’s Word to discuss an issue would equal infighting. It would be our attitudes towards the discussion and one another that would be the problem. 1 Tim 3:16 says: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” It doesn't seem that using Scripture to discuss how we live on a daily basis would be unloving in itself- that is what Scripture is for. If I was unloving in my delivery I apologize, but I don't see from God's Word that challenging one another alone is unloving.

You and I disagree on a fundamental level again that I must have been unclear about. While we might read a book that included lying my point is that we would not read a book that glamorized lying and made liars the people we would root for. We would not want to root for the adulterer or the fornicator, the liar, the witch or anyone God would condemn.

It seems we also disagree about who determines what is a “classic” in our minds. Many people tell me various works are classics from the world’s point of view, but if it does not exalt Christ should I esteem it in my home?

You asked what do I read. Our family greatly appreciates books by Keepers of the Faith (www.keepersofthefaith.com) as well as resources from Rod and Staff, those sold by Timberdoodle and others. They offer a nice selection of books that are truly wholesome and consistent with God’s Word. Keepers includes a two page description of how they choose a book in the front of their catalog. They are very careful which attitudes they introduce to their children. The books are very interesting and heart moving. Stories like Bernie’s White Chicken and Little Faith are valuable reprints and help children to see what giving their all for Jesus is really about. I don’t think anyone would be disappointed to add these to their family libraries. The Miller books (Wisdom and the Millers, Storytime with the Millers, Prudence and the Millers etc.) are also very engaging and teach respect, responsibility, obedience, kindness and humility from God’s Word. Our bookshelves are crammed full- we need more shelves! There is definatley not a lack of good materials to read. You just can't buy them in stores.

I appreciate what your friend had to say about sharing our convictions with others. I have prayed about this and will continue to. Did she base that on a specific verse of Scripture? While it is true that we are not the Holy Spirit, doesn’t God’s Word say “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.” 1 Peter 4:11 Meaning using “the very words out of God’s mouth.” I think that’s exactly what we were trying to discuss- Scripture. : ) Sorry if my delievery was rough around the edges and kept you from hearing my points.

Thanks again AutMom and take care.
Rebecca

Posted by: rebecca at July 9, 2004 05:33 PM


 
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