Look at #HarryPotter, (with help from Diana Butler Bass) and Christ & Culture

I have an ongoing theory about where religion is going….

It happily matches Diana Butler Bass’s, though is from a differing perspective

In undergrad I got a BA in Hist and Engl and (almost) a minor in Philosophy…but really, I was studying fairy tales & fantasy. I did my thesis on that.

Then in seminary, I would sneak off and read fantasy and try to study Lewis and L’engle on the side, of course taking Osmer’s Fantasy class (I got to help with the reading list that year) YAY!

So….I’ve noticed how fantasy is not only the sort of fiction our souls need, as the inklings theorized, but also that its mirroring of spirituality is amazing.

Here is the thesis in a nutshell: Fairy Tales did not exist before Christ, before that there was no forgiving God, no happily ever after. (Cupid and Psyche is simultaneously the last myth, the first fairy tale)

There the idea of Human Progress and Mythic Recess. Science was on the move, Oz has to be hidden, Narnia can’t be find, the Elves are leaving in Tolkien.

Science is taking over there is no room for magic/religion

We are now, in 2015, witnessing the Harry Potter generation coming into adulthood. If I am at the beginning of the millennial time (I was born in 83), then my sister (born in 93) and graduating from undergrad this year, I think will be the end of it, and the beginning of the new generation. How can it not? The economics have changed, religion has changed, rights have changed….read Diana Butler Bass’s book Christianity after Religion for more.

This Harry Potter generation read about Muggles and Wizardfolk. Side by side, intertwined. The magic is hard to find, but once you discover it, it parallels and is (and as it turns out has been) integrated into “regular” life. Urban fantasy, by the likes Charlaine Harris &

I feel this is a signal to where religion/faith is going in the future. How does our spirituality fit into our lives?

More (w)holistically to be sure, more diverse, more interspersed with those who are not typically religious.

People like C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, Neil Gaiman, Madeline L’engle, Robin Mckinley all of whom speak to the truth of fantasy….

I know it is but a mirror, but the fact that fantasy was founded as a conversation about Christ and Culture, and looking to the big questions

Where does humanity start? How is the great battle between good and evil going? What is the individual’s call within that battle?

(Geek moment. I consider Science Fiction to be about adding technology onto humans to augment and change it. Fantasy to be about what happens when magic is thrown into the normal world. Both are about the state of humanity, what makes someone a person?)

I think that as the Harry Potter Generation, those who literally grew up with the books, signal where interest in spirituality might be going next, and that their might be a revival…..and I find that fascinating……

Still mulling about that wonderful Dystopic Fantasy…I think Diana Bass Butler’s theory about the bridge of change….is helpful ….even more helpful for me is to move beyond the flat narrative and looking more carefully at the narrative of those who have to bear the burden of those changes, people of color, the poor, the LBGQT, etc.

Why #Steampunk? Why Now? #analysis of #fantasy #narrative…

If you have been long time follower of my blog, you might be aware that I have a theory that with the advent of recent Speculative Fiction including (but not limited to) Harry Potter and Urban Fantasy the old idea that technology will ultimately wipe out all magic (as proposed by such classics as The Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and Wizard of Oz) has since been changed to the idea that magic and technology are parallel and coexisting worlds instead (something that I think THEOLOGY needs to catch up on…see full theory here )

So Steampunk, is our re-writing of the collective narrative, showing that even if technology had been bigger and more present in the Victorian Era, no way in the world would it have done away with magic…or religion for that matter…

There also tends to be good narratives inserting women heroines, non-hetereo-normative romances as well as developing ethnically empowering narratives. Writing the novels in such a way that they broaden our understanding of history

Steampunk, now, because it is fairy tales and technology…and people in history…we can see it better now….
Steampunk is the next step on Speculative Fiction’s natural development as it narrates itself through the contemporary world as it is today
steampunk1

steampunk3_steampunk2

The last enemy …

The last enemy to be destroyed is death

Harry Potter p. 328

1 Cor 15:26

Hallows, not Horcruxes…….

 

“It doesn’t mean defeating death in the way the Death Eaters mean it, Harry,” said Hermione, her voice gentle. “It means… you know… living beyond death. Living after death.”

Millennials, Fantasy & Faith (and why does Katy keep putting them together)

Here is an article about our continued consideration of the “God is dead” question…

“Was Nietzsche right in thinking that God is dead? Is it truly the case that—as the German sociologist Max Weber, who was strongly influenced by Nietzsche, believed—the modern world has lost the capacity for myth and mystery as a result of the rise of capitalism and secularisation? Or is it only the forms of enchantment that have changed? Importantly, it wasn’t only the Christian God that Nietzsche was talking about. He meant any kind of transcendence, in whatever form it might appear. In this sense, Nietzsche was simply wrong. The era of “the death of God” was a search for transcendence outside religion. Myths of world revolution and salvation through science continued the meaning-giving role of transcendental religion, as did Nietzsche’s own myth of the Superman.

Reared on a Christian hope of redemption (he was, after all, the son of a Lutheran minister), Nietzsche was unable, finally, to accept a tragic sense of life of the kind he tried to retrieve in his early work. Yet his critique of liberal rationalism remains as forceful as ever. As he argued with masterful irony, the belief that the world can be made fully intelligible is an article of faith: a metaphysical wager, rather than a premise of rational inquiry. It is a thought our pious unbelievers are unwilling to allow. The pivotal modern critic of religion, Friedrich Nietzsche will continue to be the ghost at the atheist feast.”

 

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117082/nietzsche-and-death-god-new-books-peter-watson-terry-eagleton

 

Deep, deep thinking in this article and in these reviewed books. This is a response not only to this, but also the Pew Research Poll on Millennials (which I believe I was surveyed for)…..its time for us religious folks to look beyond culture and get creative in trying to understand where people are and why they are there–ie the unattached, economically underemployed yet hopeful millennials

This is an article the re-examines the “God is Dead” question from a modern perspective….Here is the way I understand it. Nietzsche, in light of the prominence of science, tried to make a moral code not dependent on religion.

Interestingly enough, this move away from religion relied heavily upon a “Superman” theory, in my nonexact layman’s terms think of it as the “myth of progress” which is the story/belief/mythology that humans are getting better and will always continue to get better, It is a different theory than the theology of Reformed Christianity, which states that the human condition is an imperfect/broken one, but that God intervenes to work within and among the gaps to create his new kingdom.

Here is one of the most exciting parts of this article, for me “Yet Watson is not mistaken in thinking that throughout much of the 20th century “the death of God” was a cultural fact, and he astutely follows up the various ways in which the Nietzschean imperative—the need to construct a system of values that does not rely on any form of transcendental belief—shaped thinking in many fields.”

Why, because I see where that played out in culture/the fantasy genre, and I THINK ITS CHANGING in the 22nd century!

If you are a fantasy reader, you quickly notice a trend in 20th/most of the 21st century fantasy (ie since Tolkien  formalized the genre)–technology is on the rise, and magic is recessing…sercreting itself away and becoming more and more inaccessible. Imagination is on the decline, the elves are retreating across the sea, the Ents are disappearing, Oz is put under an invisible bubble, the Neverland Fairies keep on dying, Narnia is very remote and mysterious, there is only one unicorn left and she is the last. The fantasy genre usually is a reflection of the Western understanding of spirituality. The more science comes, inevitably the less faith will play a part…..this belief was so true in 20th & 21st century.

Behold the changes

J.K. Rowling & Harry Potter: Muggles and Magic live parallel and not so separate worlds, and once you know about it, you are a part of things (and muggles and wizarding folk are all related in a myriad of ways)

Charles De Lint/Neil Gaiman: Fay are a PART of the cities, they integrate into the varied spectrum of the city, oftentimes helping to explain the richness of human interaction. Ex: Charles De Lint “ I’ve taken to calling my writing “mythic fiction,” because it’s basically mainstream writing that incorporates elements of myth and folktale, rather than secondary world fantasy.

Once Upon a Time/Fables/10th Kingdom: The meta-fairy tale genre is relatively new in literature and cemented itself in the mainstream media with Once Upon a Time. No longer are we “stuck” in one fairy tale/one kind of understanding of magic/one culture–but sectarism gives way to the fact that we can all learn from one another and get a greater understanding of ourselves and the human existence! (rather like how the internet now instantaneously exposes you to so many other stories/people than ever before)

 

I really, really think that we should be studying this change, because it signals a CULTURAL shift in how we understand the human condition and faith. No longer are we sure that technology will change everything. Instead, the increased exposure, the uncertainty of the economy and the advances in technology have all influenced the Millennials.

The Hermione Method

 

“Harry — I think I’ve just understood something! I’ve got to go to the library!”

And she sprinted away, up the stairs.
What does she understand?” said Harry distractedly, still looking around, trying to tell where the voice had come from.
“Loads more than I do,” said Ron, shaking his head.
“But why’s she got to go to the library?”
“Because that’s what Hermione does,” said Ron, shrugging. “When in doubt, go to the library.” 
― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

 

I also love the quote where Ron comments that it would take about two seconds for her to explain what she was doing, BEFORE she goes to the library…

To me Church is…

 

To me Church is like a Wedding, a Memorial and a Grand Opening, it’s like a party,

like a neighbor welcoming you in for cookies (fresh baked) and like a playground for children. It should feel like a space that can be sacred and quiet and joyful noise-y.

Church should feel like there is no “right” way to behave, just respect, love and mutual upbuilding. It should feel like a place to ask questions, to stumble and fall (figuratively and literally). It should feel active, alive and full of stories. It should feel imperfect and incomplete (because we all are), it should be rich in tradition yet lacking in all stuffiness. To me church’s should feel more like AA, College Ministries and

Children’s Museums. It should feel like birthdays and Christmases, Yoga and Meditation, Gardens and Sunsets. It should be full of music and laughter, whispers and wahoos, hugs and kisses. Every single door of the church should be wide open, it should be advertised on craigslist and facebook, there should be huge signs welcoming everyone thru the door, and it should be as easy for crawling babies to find a comfortable spot as those in wheelchairs or who have to pace constantly.

It should be a place to find surrogate grandparents, helpful aunts and uncles and annoying brothers and sisters….It should be a place where interruptions are welcome, surprises are a good thing and change is associated with growth! Church should be Home; at least that’s what it is for me.

Harry Potter: J…

Harry Potter: Just so you know, one thing that is not highly publicized but is totally true fact (for me) is that shortly after the final battle Percy takes over helping George with the joke shop, quitting the silliness of the ministry for the serious work of laughter!!!

Harry Potter and how I feel theologically about laughter all in one sentence 🙂

Baptismal advice for parents

Baptismal advice for parents

Baptismal advice
Lastly, and possibly most importantly, read to your children and provide them with quality children’s literature.  There is no substitute for stories and the life of the imagination for a child’s developing mind.  Children need to be able to encounter on their own terms (not in a preprogrammed “entertainment” format) stories that are subtle and challenging enough to become part of their ongoing imaginative life. Start with Grimm’s Fairy Tales and anything by Tomie DePaola, and from age 4 or 5 onward, give them C. S. Lewis, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Winnie the Pooh, E. Nesbit, Lloyd Alexander, The Wind in the Willows, Brian Jacques, Madeleine L’Engle, Susan Cooper, Joan Aiken, Arthur Ransome, The Phantom Tollbooth, Watership Down, J. R. R. Tolkien, Ursula LeGuin, and whatever else seems good at the public library.  (Harry Potter and The Hunger Games won’t hurt them, but won’t do much all by themselves, either.)  The three Christian virtues are faith, hope and charity:  to believe in the invisible, to go forward when all seems lost, and to love the unlovable.  A child nurtured on good kids’ books will know these three virtues intuitively, in his or her bones.  Nothing on TV comes close.”

DISAGREE About Hunger Games and Harry Potter (hello Hallows not Horcruxes anyone?) but the reading advice is right on (note what percent is fantasy?)

Would add Andrew Lang and my Fairy Tale list https://katyandtheword.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/fairy-tale-addendum/