|The Gospel According to Harry Potter: Spirituality in the Stories of the World's Favorite Seeker|
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In a book that is sure to delight Harry Potter fans and spiritual seekers alike, Connie Neal embarks on an exploration into J.K. Rowling's created world of magic and mystery and enumerates more than fifty "Potteran" themes that can be seen as glimmers of the Christian gospel. With an arsenal of charming allusions and parallels, Neal persuasively demonstrates that Harry Potter need not be rejected as a threat to the Christian faith, as some have claimed. Written accessibly in short three- to four-page chapters, Neal's The Gospel According to Harry Potter is both a much-needed stroke of interpretive genius and a fascinating reflection on our time's most popular literary series. This is a must-read for everyone intrigued by the Harry Potter phenomenon.
|The Leaky Cauldron:
A Door to an Unseen World
The people hurrying by didn't glance at it. Their eyes slid from the big book shop on one side to the record shop on the other as if they couldn't see the Leaky Cauldron at all. In fact, Harry had the most peculiar feeling that only he and Hagrid could see it.
Hagrid and Harry took the train to London on their way to buy Harry's school supplies. Harry was a bit astonished that one could buy such things in London. According to Hagrid, you just had to know where to go. Hagrid led Harry to the Leaky Cauldron, but it seemed to Harry that the people passing by did not even see the entrance. It proved real enough - a doorway from our world into the magical one for those who could see it and knew which bricks to tap to get into Diagon Alley.
- -Book One, p. 68
Spiritual things are funny that way. Some people have eyes to see them and others don't. It seems that prophets and children are more likely than others to be able to see what some cannot. There is an account in the Bible when Elisha the prophet of Israel was not only able to see what others could not see, but hear what others could not hear - such as what the king was saying in private. So the king sent his armies to arrest the prophet. Elisha wasn't worried, but his servant was quite upset at seeing a sizable force coming for them. Elisha urged calm: "'Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than there are with them.' Then Elisha prayed: 'O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.' So the Lord opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw; the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha" (2 Kings 6:15-17).
|The state of someone's heart can affect his or her ability to see things in the spiritual realm. Jesus told his disciples that the reason he taught people in parables was because the lessons were for some to see and other not to see. He explained by relaying this to a prophecy by Isaiah that states, "For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them" (Matthew 13:15 NIV).
Those who "have eyes to see" such things are counted as blessed, but there is an element of revelation that must take place. Even Jesus' own disciples seemed to be unable to see what Jesus was getting at or to recognize the way into the kingdom they were seeking. (And this was after three years of following him.) Shortly before Jesus' departure back to heaven, he consoled his disciples:
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:1-6).
The crowds that hurry by the Leaky Cauldron without seeing that doorway into another realm can remind us that many have eyes but do not see either the supernatural battles taking place around them or the doorway into the kingdom of God. Those things are invisible to them, or perhaps are just a blur among all the other attractions of the world.
Excerpted from The Gospel According to Harry Potter by Connie Neal.
Westminster/John Knox, 2002
All rights reserved.