Today. Today is the day.
I want to write a bit about these fictional books that seem to get everyone's panties in a nice, tight dirty little wad. Be it the Harry Potter series, the Twilight "saga", The Lord of the Rings books..... pick your poison.
First let me state a few things:
1.) I have read, and love, all of the Harry Potter books. I attend the midnight showings of the movies. I will not let my children watch the movies. If they want to read the books.....I haven't figured out what age we'll deal with that one yet.
2.) I have read all of the Twilight books. I do not love them, only because they are poorly written and a bit like teenage magazines. Same stance on the kid-wanting-to-read-the-books-slash-watch-the-movies thing.
3.) I grew up on Chronicles of Narnia and have no issue with the series.
4.) I have never touched a J.R.R. Tolkien book. I walked out of the theater in the middle of one of the movies because I was so disturbed. I eventually watched the whole series with my hubbs one weekend and felt disgusting and confused for about a week.
5.) Although I own none of the movies, Star Wars (the old ones) rock my socks off. My kids can watch them whenever they want.
6.) I am a Christian adult. I know the difference between reality and fiction. And while I have never struggled with witchcraft and whatnot, I know that it is very much a real thing, not to be taken lightly.
Ok, so now that my dirty laundry is out there...
Most of the time I enjoy it when people share their opinion. I have honestly paid close attention to the conversations about this topic and read numerous articles posted about the problems people have with these books. Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion and if they feel like they are being compelled spiritually to spread warning, I welcome that. Some, however, need to take a chill pill and realize that concern and nonconstructive criticism are two completely different things. You can't force someone to be convicted about something you,personally, have been convicted of.
God is convicting me daily about things I need to eliminate/add to my life. I am 100% positive that if He wanted me to eliminate some of the books I read, He would have done so. I'm open and listening. I have no serious attachment to anything other than my family. I can drop it if asked.
We have a free will to make choices and decisions in our life. Some people struggle with food, others struggle with fictional books and still others, anger. If you are maintaining a disciplined evaluation of your behavior, you can keep things in check. High fructose corn syrup is BAD. Eating too much of it will kill you. If you like ding-dongs, you should reel in your cravings, keep your diet in check. Witchcraft is bad. If reading LOTR makes you want to become a warlock, you definitely shouldn't read those books. I, personally, struggle with music. I know that certain bands/songs I listened to in my youth effected my attitude, skewed my world view and became an idol. It's something I have to keep in check now.
I can't demand that someone feel as strongly about the music they listen to as I do about the music I listen to. I'm not saving their soul from damnation. Chances are I'm going to end up offending them or making them feel bad about something the might not need feel bad about. Don't get me wrong! I don't buy into this whole philosophy that "what is wrong for some may not be wrong for others." Please. If it's a sin, it's a sin. However, smoking is not worse than fast food. Harry Potter is not worse than some t.v. sitcom that pushes the envelope. Some things just seem worse than others.
Fiction vs. Reality
I try to not stress out about things that are not real. Leprechauns aren't real. Vampires aren't real. Smurfs aren't real. Little Miss. Muffet is not real.
If I were to walk into the middle of an occultist gathering (which I would never do) and beg for a vampire to come and bite me, do you know what would happen? Nothing. That's because there are no such things as vampires. I may have a misguided person or two who wishes he/she was a vampire offer, but a vampire would not bite me.
If I ran to the end of the rainbow and searched for a leprechaun, do you know how many I would find? Zero.
So I'm not going to get upset that someone created a story about these fictional characters, creatures and worlds. As a matter of fact, I love it. I love that people can use their imaginations is such a creative way!
The BIG issue here, is that children do NOT know the difference between fiction and reality. Young minds need concrete guidance. Impressionable teens need to be protected. There is a fine line between childhood fiction and fantasy and adult fiction and fantasy. Dealing with the issues in Peter Pan is far different than dealing with issues in The Lord of The Rings. "Death", "Dark Arts", being possessed by a ring, whether or not a vampire will rip your throat out are all topics young minds should not be burdened by.
Just the Beginning
"But Amy, aren't these seemingly harmless things just the beginning of something more dangerous?" .
Yet, everything, seemingly harmless can be the start to something bad. One muttered curse word can lead to violent profanity. One credit card can lead to mountains of debt and a worship of money. One ho-ho can lead to diabetes and obesity. One morning run can lead to a time consuming addiction and vanity. The list goes on and on and on....
I know people hurting more people with their green living, and natural lifestyle choices than I do those who read Harry Potter.
1.) If anything becomes something you dwell on you've got a problem. Be it a book, an actor, politics, a snack or that person who cut you off on the highway. Nothing should consume your thoughts for too long.
2.) If it causes you to sin. If you are neglecting your family and household duties to finish a book....not cool. Put it down.
3.) If you are causing others to sin. (NOTE: I am not promoting the purchasing or reading of any of these materials.) If you have a girlfriend who is having problems respecting her husband, don't get her all addicted to Edward Cullen and advise that you get whatshisname's matching tattoos.
4.) Again, your child's spiritual well being. I'll never forget it. Right before I walked out of LOTR, there was a very violent "war" scene where someone was beheaded. For a split second the theater was completely silent as was the movie. The only thing I heard was the voice of, what appeared to be, a four year old boy sitting a few chairs down from me in the lap of his father. His clear, innocent and confused question seemed to echo throughout the room. "What happened to that man daddy?". Done. We left right after that and luckily I refrained from dragging that child out with me. It is completely unfair to subject your children to something scary and violent.
5.) What are you promoting? I chose not to watch The Golden Compass because the author wrote these books for a specific purpose, and that purpose was evil. I've heard rumors that Stephanie Meyer wrote Twilight because of some dream she had? I don't know how true that is, but I'm betting she wrote the books to make money, and that's all.
On the other hand...
Books like this make me want to vomit. Please do not force something that isn't there. Harry Potter, Star Wars and LOTR are no more a depiction of Christianity than I am the poster child for anorexia. Just leave it alone. Let it be a book.
Well, there it is. That's what I think. Feel free to comment, however please do not use this bit of writing as a springboard for your personal spiritual agenda. I think we are all tired of hearing everyone point fingers. Had a ho-ho today? ;)