18 November 2010

Harry Potter Activism? If you like your apathy, handle stories with care.

"There are so many of us who love Harry Potter and want to do more for our world," Andrew Slack, 31 year-old Harry Potter fan who started the "Harry Potter Alliance" (taken from "Harry Potter: Boy Wizard ... And Real-World Activist?" at the NPR "Monkey See" blog)
Our sanity rests on our ability to make sense of what we see. When we can't, it's helpful, for a time, to retreat into ignorance or another world altogether. Burying our heads in the sand (or the substance of your choice) or retreating into another world can make breathing more tolerable. But, if our goal is to hide, we need to be careful of stories. They'll mercilessly pull us out of our hiding places to confront reality.

Neda Ulaby at NPR has an interesting piece covering the Harry Potter Association, a story-motivated network for social action (listen to it here).  It seems a generation of Potter fans may be seeing a need for Dumbledore's Army to step out of the pages and on to the streets.
"Did you ever wish that Harry Potter was real? Well it kind of is."
Just as Dumbledore’s Army wakes the world up to Voldemort’s return, works for equal rights of house elves and werewolves, and empowers its members, we: Work with partner NGOs in alerting the world to the dangers of global warming, poverty, and genocide. Work with our partners for equal rights regardless of race, gender, and sexuality. Encourage our members to hone the magic of their creativity in endeavoring to make the world a better place. Join our army to make the world a safer, more magical place, and let your voice be heard! - From the HPA website
That's fascinating. Out of apathy, a clear sense of purpose has been awakened... by a story. Now over 100,000 members of the HPA are facing what they see as problems in a real world with a clarifying mantra: "The weapon we have is love."

Reality is even more fascinating. It to is a story. Creatures, bearing the image of their perfect, eternal Creator, have rebelled from that Creator to find a life outside His authority. Being subjective rule makers and opportunists, each of us (the creatures) have brought destruction and death instead of creativity and life. And, for that, justice must be done. But, the Creator, being rich in mercy stepped into His creation and took that justice on His own shoulders, dying so that He might be just and justifier of those who would trust Him. Some call it Good News.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” (Galatians 3:13)
we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. (Titus 3:3-8)
Here, in the Bible, we see the connection between life's narratives and life's motives. Justification, atonement, redemption, regeneration, and sanctification are concepts that come to us, biblically, in narrative form. They are not merely "good doctrine" disembodied from our everyday, they are the thematic elements of our history before God. And so they must be proclaimed. And so they must be received.

Be careful with all this though, you just might chuck your distractions and give up your life (and/or your apathy) for something good...and eternal.


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