Saturday, March 25, 2017

March's Reading Goal

Our reading goal for March is to read a book or books from a series. Katriel is continuing to work on the Chronicles of Narnia series (which is one of my favorites!), and she is currently in the book "Prince Caspian" after having read "The Magician's Nephew," "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," and "The Horse and His Boy." Landree is reading the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. She enjoyed "The Hobbit" and thought she might enjoy those. I look forward to her being exposed to this classic series. As far as my goal. . .well, Landree has been begging me to read the "Harry Potter" series, so I began, and am currently in book 2. You would think as a teacher that I would have already read this series long ago. Well, when the books first came out, I heard all about how wonderful they were by many, but then heard how dangerous they were by the Christian community. As a dedicated Christian, I wanted nothing to do with witchcraft, and wanted to do the "right" thing, so I steered clear of them. Well, age and maturity has a way of showing you that things are not always so "black and white." In fact, how many times did I enjoy "The Wizard of Oz" with my children despite the presence of witches, good and bad? I also began to see how much damage the Christian community did in the world by judging things harshly that were not a big deal and batting an eye at things much more damaging. Not only that, but I had seen too many Christians judge books and movies without every having watched or read them, and so had little chance to discuss them intelligently. There is a time to steer clear of entertainment that might draw us away from the Lord, and a time to not indulge in that entertainment if it will cause others to stray, but I believe there is a time to view books and movies through the lens of redemption (see this blog for clarity as what I mean by that: Using godly wisdom in these things takes maturity and discernment. So as a mom, when my third daughter (who received permission from dad to read the books) begged me to read them, I consented. What a better way to open up the discussion about a variety of things, including the real nature of witchcraft (as opposed to the fantasy based world of Harry Potter), friendship, bravery, obedience, etc. What did I discover and what are my conclusions of this series so far, based on my Christian worldview? Though I would hesitate to recommend it to a child not grounded in the faith, since a fascination with the books could possibly lead to a curiosity about real world witchcraft, I find that for a believer grounded in their faith or someone with no curiosity of the occult, it appears to be a harmless fantasy world. I would rather the story not include so much occultic terminology, but the story is not centered on the magical as much as it is upon the friendship and adventures of the characters. The magical that it does contain has a fantastical childlike quality about it. Real witchcraft is based on the manipulation of others and nature through demonic power and self-will so as to thwart the good will of God and the free will of other humans. These books does not appear to encapsulate the essence of true witchcraft so far (though many things in the books go by that name.) Overall, there are lessons to be learned, such as in the first book, where Harry had to take the existence of platform 9 3/4 on faith, where Ron sacrificed himself for his friends and the greater good of the school, and the mirror and Dumbledore taught Harry that being truly happy means being content with life as you have it. Now, granted, I have not finished the series, but this is my perspective so far. Does this mean I think these are books for everyone or all Christian families? And do they compare to the depth of Christian teaching contained in the Narnia series? No, but we must use discernment, wisdom, and a view of redemption in all we do, and not jump to conclusions out of spiritual pride or without intelligently and wisely considering things.

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