So I picked up a “Harry Potter” book. Couldn’t help it. Once I learned JK Rawlings was richer than the Queen of England, I had to take a gander.
Then I read about the preacher burning her books. Want to be famous? Hold a book burning. You may be the most insignificant person on the planet, but Time magazine will feature you if you burn some books.
But like I said, I bought the book to see what the fuss was about. I mean, if JK Rawlings holds the secret to $450 Million, I want to know! And if it’s so bad it should be burned, I want to know that, too.
A THOUSAND PAGES
Now I must confess – I haven’t finished “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” – it’s close to 1000 pages long. In my opinion, the only people who can get away with writing thousand pages novels are Russians – 19th century Russians at that.
I mean, lets say you’re stuck in Vladivostok for the winter. What are you going to do? It’s dark. It’s cold. It’s cold cold. It’s very coldy cold. There’s no TV. There’s no movie house. The lakes and rivers are frozen. The mine has shut down and it’s not fishing season. You’re low on vodka. What do you do? (Besides that!) You settle down in front of your coal fired stove, pull out “War and Peace” and start reading. Don’t know how to read? That’s OK – it’s a long winter.
Alright, alright. Someone pointed out that Russia STILL hasn’t emerged into the 20th century, what with communism and all. So, they can STILL read a 1000 page novel.
But how do you get a 15 year old American (or Brit) – born with a Game Boy in their hand, spoon fed 75 channels of Cable TV, and raised on the Internet – to read 1000 pages!
And THAT, my friends, is the secret to the four hundred and fifty MILLION dollar woman. You don’t write like Tolstoy. You don’t attempt to convey truth and meaning like Doestoevsky. You write like an MTV show – quick, punchy, fast, tasty, easy, and painless.
And it’s fun.
TEENS AND THE MEANING OF LIFE
You can pick up the book, read five pages, set it down and start again a few hours, or days (or weeks) later and not feel like you’re missing the underlying tensions, subplots, and themes of the book. Why? Because there isn’t any!
And so, it’s a fun read. Every page is filled with punchy dialogue and action. There’s no long reflections of one’s “inner self” or three page monologues on the state of humanity.
It’s just “a bolt shot from the tip of Harry’s wand, striking the death stalker’s eye, driving the shrieking beast back into the dark forests of Ethelbert,” or something like that.
It’s fun. It’s easy. And the characters are “real” to a teen. The teen characters throw hissy fits. They are spoiled. They have their petty jealousies and fights. There are bully’s and nice people, and a lot of situations teens can “relate” too. The characters can be noble and brave and resilient and purposeful. They are caught in a world run by others – striving valiantly to be accepted by adults, accepted by their peers, and overcoming evils handed to them by others.
It is a reflection of one’s hopes and dreams: to do good, to make a difference, to be accepted.
YOU DON’T LIKE WITCHES?
“So what about all this witchcraft stuff?” Vladimir, from Vladivostok, asks. “You know, it’s evil” he drools with that long Russian accent.
Ah, yes. Flying brooms and magic spells. Bad, bad, bad.
So I consulted an expert on this subject. His same is Simon. (Not the sorcerer). Simon is a Christian teen. Wants to be a Pastor some day. But he’s concerned about the wizards and wands, and witches. Well, Simon is also a Star Wars fanatic. He doesn’t just have every Star Wars movies on video, he has the Directors cut, AND the DVD edition.
And that’s where I get stuck.
You see, in Star Wars, there are wizards and spells: Darth Vader fell under the spell of the Evil Emperor, and, Yoda was a good wizard. (A very short good wizard.) The undersized man-boy Luke SkyWalker levitated his light saber and slew the Snow Beast. Wands and Light Sabers. Spells and “the Force.” Good versus Evil.
Shall we talk about the JRR Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”? The Dark Mountain from which the evil spawn emerge, a White Wizard and a Dark Wizard, monsters from hell, Elves, Trolls, and Little People. Always the little people. And the magical Ring.
It is all so very familiar: small people struggling for a place in this world against dark forces. Lonely rebels forced into new and unfamiliar surroundings, relying upon the “bigger, the older, the stronger, the established” to guide them, accept them, and help them against evil “bigger, older, stronger, established forces.”
OK, NOW do you understand why JK Rawlings is so good? It’s a formula that works. Star Wars was a B-movie. Harry Potter is a B-book.
If you don’t like Harry Potter because it has witchcraft then I’m sure you didn’t like Star Wars. Right? Both wave magic wands. Both have their wizards. Both have their Evil Dark Lords and little people fighting back.
WHO IS LORD?
Witchcraft may be the manipulation of natural forces by supernatural means outside Authority of God.
In other words, it’s OK to heal the sick in the Name of Jesus. But it’s not OK to levitate a table with no reference to God.
I’ve seen both. Neither have a natural explanation. The former is done under the authority of Jesus Christ. The latter does not recognize Jesus as an Authority to submit to.
It was OK for Elijah to call down fire from heaven to consume the animal sacrifices. It was evil for the priests of Baal to do EXACTLY THE SAME
It was OK for Paul to heal the sick. But the Seven sons of Sceva were tormented by demons for doing the same thing.
Why? Because the Sons of Sceva did not submit to Jesus as Lord. Never mind that someone may have been healed.
Never mind that it may have been used for good. The prophets of Baal did not recognize the God of Elijah.
You find that God is very particular in how He is acknowledged and worshipped. He has never allowed men to determine for themselves how they would “honor” him. Even in ancient Israel it was evil to offer up offerings to God on altars (the High Places) outside of Jerusalem. Why? Because men wanted to do it “their own way.” It was more convenient. It was more acceptable to more people. It made sense to them.
But our God is a great King. You come to Him on His terms, not yours. Claiming that Jesus Christ is the only way to God seems foolish to many. It is so “exclusive.” Yes. It is. It was “exclusive” for Elijah not to recognize the prophets of Baal as another way to God. It was not very “accepting” to kill them, was it?
Peace with God is on God’s terms. Not man’s. And so I reach the “foolishness of the cross,”
“Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save
those who believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:20-21)
But let’s go back to Elijah. He never died, you know. Took off in a flying chariot and went up to heaven. Not quite a broom. Not quite a star fighter. But I imagine he did jump to “light speed.”
Perhaps someday he’ll come back to die. Some think he’ll return as a great wizard, along with Enoch:
“And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire. When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them. (Revelation 11:3-12)
The theme of good versus evil is universal. And the small people (you and I ) are always in the battle. But unlike Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker, all of us were born into the Dark Side. And the Great King offers us a pardon, and a total transformation into his own family if we’ll repent and submit to His son Jesus Christ.
The supernatural isn’t the issue. God created the heavens and the earth by the Word of his mouth. Elijah raised the dead. Jesus turned water into wine.
The issue is, “whose Name do you call upon in the day of Salvation?”
“For there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved,” only the name of Christ Jesus. Acts 4:12
There are witches, warlords, warriors, and dark lords who wield their power without submitting to God. That is rebellion.
Do you want your life supernaturally changed? Then call upon the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sin. The power of the Blood of Jesus cleanses us from sin and changes us. His blood was shed on the cross of Calvary as payment for your sin. For He rescued us from the domain
of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son. (Col 1:13)
Darkness and hell and evil are for those in rebellion against the Creator. Submission and forgiveness comes through His son Jesus Christ. You don’t make your own way or path – that’s the problem that you need to repent of. Simon the Sorcerer wanted magic for good, too, but was cursed because he wanted to do it his own way, not God’s way.
Want to be transferred from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of God? Call upon the Name of Jesus. Remember this. You will need it.
You’re not afraid?
Said another little person: “You will be.”
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