(I saw the title of this post on a bumper sticker this week. I kind of want one.)
As you’ll have read from my last post, I just started reading the Harry Potter books. Now plowing my way through the fifth book, I’m getting around to that blog post I promised on why a (practically) grown woman is reading the series for the first time. I also figured out how to read and knit at the same time. Hardbound books may be cumbersome in a knitting bag, but they stay open better than paperbacks.
When the Harry Potter books started coming out, I was a teenager, just starting to get really serious about being a Christian. I think somewhere before then, I’d given my “testimony” which involved turning from a wanna-be witch into a God-following Christian. As 10 and 11 year olds, my best friend and I had made up a book of curses and spells to put on people that treated us like weirdos (believe me, it didn’t help). I read all the books that The Dalles Library had on witchcraft, mostly juvenile fiction ones that involved wanna-be witches like myself. And I continued to do this until a Christian friend told me “You know that’s against God, right?” So I “put the darkness behind me” and got rid of my stuff.
Enter J.K. Rowling. My school librarian was really excited about Harry Potter because kids were actually reading them. But Jesus told me not to. “That’s not stuff to mess around with!” I insisted. I steered clear of the books because people told me that the author used verses from the Satanic Bible in the spells. I was terrified that I would be led into temptation and want to be a witch again.
After a while, I stopped caring so much about the peril of my soul and just never bothered to read them. I learned to be terrified of other things, like someone from my Christian co-op seeing me linger too long at the Pride Day celebration and asking me to leave the house. Because, you know, Jesus says no.
It’s only recently that I started to laugh at all I bought into because other people said that Jesus said things were bad. I missed out on all the great Harry Potter parties at bookstores! I missed out on all the drag shows! I started reading “Dungeons and Dragons for Dummies” and bemoaned all the fun and imagination I could have maintained in high school if I hadn’t been scared away from “evil” things like D&D. I started doing yoga, which was amazing and relaxing. And I found that Harry Potter books are very moral. There’s good, and there’s bad, and it’s clear that you want to be on the good side. And you know what? Jesus doesn’t seem to care.