It’s been a while since I felt the term “Christian” was an adjective I wanted to apply to myself. Despite my best efforts, that word has come to connote to me many more negative attributes than good, even though I know few, if any, of those attributes are things I would consciously associate with Christ. I’m referring to more than just the rampant, increasingly shrill, and occasionally vulgar anti-gay bigotry emanating mostly from people styling themselves conservative Evangelicals, too. A few of the other attributes that involuntarily come to mind when I hear the word “Christian” are provincialism, group-think, anti-intellectualism, and cultural-fascism. I know people who do call themselves “Christian” and who I personally like, but they are increasingly few and far between.
I never thought I’d see the day when an intelligent Christian literary critic could so eloquently write on Harry Potter. The full article I’m referencing can be read at Christianity Today but here are a couple of highlights:
“Like Lewis, Williams, and other greats, Rowling has written a spiritual allegory of the soul’s transformation to perfection in Christ. Fiction, as philosopher and historian of religion Mircea Eliade explained in The Sacred and the Profane, serves a religious function in a secular culture. Moderns are immunized against sacramental experience, prayer, and worship, yet still long for the transcendent, something beyond the ego. We find it in sports, film, and music, but most powerfully in books, especially in novels in which the heart recognizes its reflection in a character like Harry. We recognize and imaginatively experience our hearts’ end in Christ’s victory over death.
“Rowling did not create the truth of the Eliade thesis, that novels satisfy a spiritual hunger in a secular culture. But her saga has confirmed it spectacularly. Harry Potter revealed rather than created the great spiritual hunger of our time.”