Archive for July, 2007

finished!

After an entire Saturday morning of reading, I finally finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! The book is by far my favorite in the series and it is, to sum up briefly, brilliant.

But more importantly, this last book will finally shut the mouths of all of the paranoid Christians out there who protest against Harry Potter and ban it from their homes and churches, saying that J.K. Rowling is evil and she drinks goat’s blood inside graveyards at midnight.

If these zealots would actually read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, they would find a staggering number of Christian references, some so blatantly obvious that it makes Tolkien and C.S. Lewis’s epic works seem allegorically tame. Spoilers ahead so stop reading here if you have not finished reading The Deathly Hallows.

Death and Resurrection
The most obvious reference to the Gospel is how Harry willingly let himself be killed, nary raising a wand, by Voldemort for the sake of both the muggle and wizarding world. After Harry’s death and resurrection, Voldemort’s powers are vanquished in the same way that Christ’s death conquers Satan.

Outcasts
Just as Jesus reached out to lepers, prostitutes, and tax collectors, Harry Potter befriends elves (Dobby and Kreacher), saves the lives of goblins (Griphook), and rescues muggles (Ministry of Magic scene).

Crosses
There were numerous mentions of crosses in this book. Harry draws one over Moody’s grave. The Sword of Gryffindor looked like a silver cross to Harry. Harry goes to “King’s Cross” after dying and I don’t think that the location has that name by happy coincidence.

Scripture
Kendra and Arianna’s graves have Matthew 6:21 written on them (where your treasure is, there your heart will also be). Also, on James and Lily Potter’s grave is written 1 Corinthians 15:26 (the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death). Percy returning to his family is a pretty straight forward reference to the Parable of the Prodigal Son and the revealing of Snape’s true identity and purpose is a redemption story.

Temptations and the Hallows
I read this idea here but I wish I had been clever enough to see this on my own but I’ve expanded on the original concepts. The three Deathly Hallows are a good analog to the three temptations of Christ in the desert. The Resurrection Stone corresponds to the “stone to bread” temptation. When the Resurrection Stone is turned in the hand three times, the dead come to life. Likewise, Christ is tempted by Satan to turn the stones in the dessert into bread, which gives life. The Cloak (given to Harry by his father, James) corresponds to the “chuck yourself off the roof of the temple” temptation. Satan tempts Jesus to rely on his Father’s protection just as the Cloak could have allowed Harry to escape from Voldemort and his “fatal” end. Alastair puts it better than I can:

The Elder Wand corresponds to the final temptation (rule over the kingdoms of the world on condition of worshipping Satan). The Elder Wand gives the greatest power in the world to its owner, being the means by which the owner can rule over all others. Jesus is tempted to grasp at rule in the wrong way.

Christian objections to Harry Potter have been rendered flaccid by this last book and for that I am glad. But even more encouraging is how explicit Rowling made these allegories and how many copies of the book have been sold worldwide.

So to all those Christian naysayers who find conspiracy at the bottom of a bag of Doritos, there you have it.

July 28, 2007 at 5:15 pm 2 comments

commute

Sometimes on my commute to work, I like to shut off my radio and just listen.

The gentle hum of my car’s engine, my tires on the rough Philadelphian back roads, horns from road raged drivers, and the occasional bird chirping. I am just another anonymous car flowing in a river of sheet metal, glass, and rubber. My destination is unknown to all around me but I drive purposefully, avoiding potholes and timing my braking and throttle to coincide with traffic light patterns. My knowledge that God knows where I am headed comforts me.

To Him, I’m not just another gray car on the road.

July 26, 2007 at 8:07 pm Leave a comment

drugs

I work 10 hours a day making sure drugs are made properly, testing them for all sorts of microbial contamination and adherence to specifications. Most of my waking life is dedicated to releasing drugs so that somewhere far away, a sick patient will put a tablet or capsule in their mouth and hours later, will have a higher quality of life.

Why is it then that I am so adverse to taking drugs (legal ones)? I’ve been suffering from some death virus this past week or so and the only thing I’ve been willing to put in my mouth is aspirin to ease the headaches and body pains. There is some inherent distrust of medicine that I really shouldn’t have.

Why do humans avoid healing? We say we want it – spiritual healing, physical healing, all different types. Yet we continue to sin and continue to eat chips in front of the television instead of exercise.

Something is amiss.

July 25, 2007 at 2:26 pm 2 comments

233

233.

That’s the number of homicides that have occurred in Philadelphia in 2007, which averages out to more than 1 a day.

Every day in this city, one person is shot and killed. This doesn’t count the people who get shot and don’t die. It also doesn’t count the people who are stabbed and maimed with a less than lethal weapon.

Fingers are pointing everywhere – gun laws, not enough policing, uncooperative witnesses, broken crime cameras, too much trans fat.

Two suspects not mentioned enough are school and proper parenting. I don’t have officials statistics on this matter, but I would be willing to bet on an inverse correlation between a person’s time spent in school and number of people murdered. The Philadelphia school system has long been plagued by low attendance, poor college enrollment for those who graduate, violence, and sub-par reading and math skills. I read once that West Philadelphia High Schools have only about 10% of their students being proficient in reading and 3% in math. I took my maths in high school. 3 and 10 are low numbers in a 1-100 percentile way of looking at things.

I don’t know much about parenting so that might be a topic of discussion for another day (or year…) but I hope to see schooling being brought up more in the news.

July 24, 2007 at 8:22 pm 2 comments

beginning of the end?

good bye xanga?

July 24, 2007 at 7:19 pm Leave a comment


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