Saturday, July 16, 2005
Harry Potter Sunday School.
Do Unitarian Universalists love Harry Potter? Let's find out:
The mythic themes in Harry Potter have so impressed [the Rev. Barbara Gadon of the First Unitarian Church of Wilmington, Del.,] that she has centered the 10 a.m. Sunday worship on readings and reflections from the books.
In her view, Harry Potter starts as a naive and imperfect Everyman, like Frodo Baggins or Luke Skywalker. But however troubled Harry Potter might be, he is challenged to undertake a quest to save his world from the Death Eaters and the Dark Lord Voldemort.
"Harry is confronted with the choice between good and evil," Gadon says. "I see his choices around magic as a metaphor for developing the powers of the soul."
("Practical Magic," Gary Soulsman, News Journal 7.16.05)
Last week, Gadon wrote an op-ed for the News Journal about her hero, too:
I am always astonished when religious leaders criticize these books. I find them chock-full of things for a minister to love. Consider, a small troupe of young people discover their gifts in life, and learn that you may use your gifts to either bless or curse the world. (It's a basic religious choice.) Without moralizing, the characters make ethical decisions that are excellent examples for readers of any age. . . .
To make good choices, we need help from those who care for us. Harry was marked as a baby by an evil wizard who killed his parents and tried to kill him. He later learns that his mother's love protected him then — love as the most important force in the universe. . . .
The ongoing tension in the books has to do with pure-blooded wizards who wish to rid the world of the "mud-bloods," those with mixed heritage, human and wizard. Only a courageous few can say the evil wizard's name out loud and directly oppose his agenda. But isn't that true for us now? Naming evil in any time is courageous and powerful.
("A Good Word for Harry Potter," Barbara H. Gadon, News Journal 7.5.05)
Meanwhile, in Louisiana:
At the Unitarian Church, a Hogwarts camp for children will be held July 11-15 complete with a sorting ceremony, owl posts (mail delivery) and a Quidditch game. According to Jessica Gray, acting director of religious education, the class was timed to coincide with the release of the book.
"I've always loved the books because I think they teach excellent moral values," she said. "Since I had a background in summer camps, this was a perfect opportunity."
("Witches and Wizards Gather for New Book's Release," Lisa Tramontana, The [Baton Rouge, La.,] Advocate 7.8.05)
And kids in Kent, Ohio, headed off to Hogwarts a month earlier:
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Kent got a jump on things when it turned its house of worship into Hogwarts School for four days earlier this month so young churchgoers could experience the life of a wizard.
Kids got a chance to learn about plants, potions and charms, and to meet wolves and dig up dragon bones arranged by University of Akron archaeology professor Tim Matney.
"We tried to merge their love of Harry Potter books to translate into activities," Gina Maida, one of the event organizers, said.
Maida said the church wanted the kids to learn life lessons about love, faith, self-esteem and fighting prejudice.
"We've had classes just like Harry does," 12-year-old Laura Edmonds of Hudson said. "I'm a real fan of Harry Potter and it came to life here."
("Charmed Life," Dan Kadar, Beacon Journal 6.26.05)
Mildly guilty admission: I've never read one of the books, and have only seen the first film all the way through. Someday, someday.
Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 16 July 2005 at 10:42 AM