Re-thinking Convictions – Part 3 of 3

For all those who are still interested, here comes the second ‘shocker’ (no, I don’t like being controversial just to be controversial. In fact, I really DON’T like disagreeing with anyone). Harry Potter is on my book list. That’s not saying I’ll ever get to it, seeing as I can’t usually bring myself to read a novel because I feel like I have so much more I could be doing with my time than reading a novel.
This also came from a conversation at the birthday party. A pull-out-your-Bible and so-what-do-you-think and why-not conversation that lasted for a long time and included Joseph and his cup for divination, Jacob, Gandalf, Eragon, and Hogwarts.
I said before, I like extremes. I like to say “yes” and “no” not “maybe” (but I also don’t like to make quick decisions so I say ‘maybe’ a lot) or “under certain circumstances.”
In the realm of Harry Potter, the extreme was to say that I’d never read them and I’d never let my someday kids read them (this discussion mostly ignored that in the stage of life most of us were in, we didn’t really have time to read novels and when we did we’d rather be reading something else, more theological or a biography. There’s better stuff out there than even Lord of the Rings). Let’s prepare for the future and walk with the wise – and sometimes novels are helpful for that, and other times they need to be left behind. What was helpful with regard to Harry Potter was hearing from Andrew how their family has read and talked about and watched them – keeping a clear line about magic being bad but harping on other points of redemption in them.
I don’t believe there’s such a thing as good magic. In scripture, the word ‘magic’ includes spells as well as divination and necromancy. So to read a book with good magic in it seemed just as bad to me.
But I’ve come to say that while I wouldn’t condone Harry Potter (I wouldn’t, for example, like it on Facebook or put it on my blog Booklist page), there may be a time for reading them. I think you can read them while still having a clear line in your mind that all magic is bad (Gandalf, Galadriel, and Aslan are another story and take longer to explain, but basically theirs is called magic but only for lack of a better word – Galadriel herself explains this).
“Here’s some books, kids, read ‘em!” Isn’t what I’m talking about. It would look more like, “Son/daughter – you have enough discernment to know what’s good and bad in this book, and while you’re reading it we’ll talk about it with our Bibles open.” The same would go for reading books with good dragons (but I think Eragon we’d stay away from, just because there’s so much in there – good dragons, magic, so much taken from other stories, and it’s not the greatest literature). Even so, I don’t think I’d own them or recommend re-reading – because I want my children walking with the wise and reading greater books, like “Through Gates of Splendor” “Alone Yet Not Alone” “To the Golden Shore” – and other books that have much more eternal significance.
Maybe the next question on your mind would be – so what about “Twilight?” The answer to that is a loud “NO!” There’s a difference between having enough discernment to know spell-casting is something God condemns and not causing yourself to sin. Maybe everyone else is stronger, but can I be bold and say that reading things like Twilight – often likened to emotional pornography – will cause me to stumble? I really think there is no time to read those books (or even romance novels in general, even if it is, as the Botkin sisters like to say, “Love comes in a squeaky-clean G-rated manner and in a bonnet.” I want to be grounded in reality, not a reverie of a romantic fantasy, and I want the books I read to increase knowledge, not emotion – for a longer explanation of that, the Botkin sisters recently posted a good article on that.

Those are some things I’ve been thinking hard about lately. I’ve had to say “God, show me where I’m being proud, and where I’m holding fast to Your Word.” I don’t like changing what I believe. But as we’re sanctified, we understand more and more of what He wants, and understand His Word and how to live in a way that brings Him more glory in a fallen world – and often that means knowing the times we’re in, be it through reading some Harry Potter or listening to some rap music so you know what’s going on out there. In all of this, though, the thing I want to keep forefront is before listening to rap or reading Harry Potter, or anything else – it may be lawful, there’s a change in opinion, but just because we CAN doesn’t mean it’s helpful. Harry Potter is on my reading list, but when I get to that part of it I may decide now isn’t the time and read something else. But we shall see…

And for further controversy – not for the sake of controversy but because I wonder – do you think nativity scenes violate the second commandment?


3 thoughts on “Re-thinking Convictions – Part 3 of 3

  1. Lostariel says:

    I remember when I liked Eragon, but I can’t remember why. It’s not even a good story on storytelling terms, unlike many secular books I have no wish to read.
    I’ve got my own report on Twilight coming, NOT because I’ve read it. There are plenty of ways besides that to find out exactly what’s up.
    Er, I’d never thought about nativities being graven images, but my gut reaction is, “No more than a painting of Jesus.” I want to say that no one’s turning either into an idol (of the obsession kind or the bowing down kind).


  2. pen2sword says:

    I’ve been reading all the posts in this series and I find your thoughts very interesting… And I think it’s good to re-think convictions every so often, even if we end up keeping them the same.
    As for books, and music, and basically everything– I think the most important thing is to know oneself well enough to say either “this is OK for me” or not. Which is exactly what you (and me, too) are doing.
    Good thoughts.


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