Artifacts of the culture


Harry Potter. Seems like not a Tim sermon goes by that Harry Potter doesn't get mentioned. Now it seems Tim is a part of a larger trend. This article from the Boston Globe explains that Harry is receiving a more nuanced and favorable reception from religious readers and critics lately.

“'There is a whole burgeoning field of religion and popular culture, not just looking at what exact parallels there are, does it jibe with religious beliefs or is it counter to religious beliefs, but looking at these stories as a reflection of the spiritual or religious sensibilities of the culture,' says Russell W. Dalton, an assistant professor of Christian education at Brite Divinity School in Texas and the author of 'Faith Journey through Fantasy Lands: A Christian Dialogue with Harry Potter, Star Wars, and The Lord of the Rings.'

'When stories become as popular as the Harry Potter stories, they no longer simply reflect the religious views of the author, but become artifacts of the culture, and they say something about the culture that has embraced them,' Dalton says. 'And that is certainly the case with Harry Potter.'

The academic interest in The Boy Who Lived is part of a larger search by religion scholars and writers for signs of faith, and in particular for echoes of the Christian narrative, in culture. The search is not new, though scholars have historically concentrated on high art – like painting and literature. More recently, religion journalists have turned their attention to popular culture, authoring books with titles like 'The Gospel According to the Simpsons,' by Mark Pinsky, and 'The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers,' by Cathleen Falsani, while scholars are examining the role of religion in Madonna’s videos, in the Star Trek series, and on 'Lost.'"

Tim insists this trend is nothing new and recommends this presentation by Covenant Seminary professor Jerram Barrs which he says helped shape his own understanding of the Potter series.