If Christianity Were As Engaging as Harry Potter

A recent development within the literary as well as online world has been the development and announcement by JK Rowling about the pending website Pottermore (see the latest news here).

So this new site is going to be a combination of literary material, online gaming, and of course a source for electronic copies of the books themselves.

Now, if Potter mania is any indication…and yes I fall into the category as well owning all 7 books and the first 7 movies, not to mention waiting very anxiously to see the final installment in theaters on July 15th…its likely that Pottermore is going to be popular. Honestly, pretty much anything Rowling touches from here on out is golden.

But I wonder what would happen if we could generate that much excitement around matters of faith.

I recall the final book coming out a few years back (2007 if memory serves me correctly). I pre-ordered it from amazon, and it arrived in a package at work. Once I got home I started reading and pretty much didn’t stop until I finished the 759 page monster (and yes I just checked the book to see how many pages it really is) at approximately 1 am the next night….Quick calculation…it took me approximately 30 hours to read it at an average speed of 25.3 pages per hour…anyone that has seen me reading Harry Potter knows that I read it a lot faster than that but I did sleep and work some during those 30 hours.

Does anyone get that excited about reading the Bible?

Do people flock around websites created for/by ELCA Bishop Mark Hanson (just pulling an example out of my head there)?

Maybe they do and if so I think its great. And granted Christianity is still the largest recognized religion on Earth. 2.2 billion people according to the article on Wikipedia.

But do we get excited? Do we turn it into an event…a phenomenon? Or has Christianity had its hey-day?

I remember when Twilight was billed as “The Next Harry Potter.”

So tell me oh faithful readers…what’s your take? Is Christianity still relavent. Are we hip and with it? Or has our time faded? Can we find a way to be “The Next Harry Potter?” Or are we just another cog on the ladder of “free classics on the amazon kindle?”

(Which by the way I’m really fond of, but I’m referencing it as something that advertisers don’t see as a money maker so they offer it as a benefit to attract potential customers who will then go on to actually purchase something else and make the advertisers some serious bank)…side note…yes I know it’s sad that I have to explain my references…but that’s the way my brain works. I laugh at my own irony…you can too.

Oh and for the record…just in case you were wondering…I never read Twilight…just wanted to put that out there.

4 responses to this post.

  1. […] Go here to see the original: If Christianity Were… […]


  2. I’ve actually spent some time reflecting on the challenges of learning the Bible in the 21st century — and drew on Harry Potter in the process (http://www2.luthersem.edu/mhess/web/Hein_Fry_lecture.html).


  3. Scott,

    As an HP fan who will probably be at the movies with my boys July 15th, I often ask myself the same questions. How can we draw people to the Bible as Rowlings did with HP? And then I realize that the stories are just as exciting, but the word isn’t always spread in a means which pull people in our short attention span culture where if sermons are longer then 7 minutes (quoted to me by a past pastor) that people will quit listening.

    I think making the Word more access and social media options are truly a possibility could bring people in where they currently are. Still working out the how, but too me we need to reach people where they are and I’m afraid to say it’s not in what is preceived to be dry and outdated.


  4. I have not read the Harry Potter or Twilight books. But have seen all of the movies. I did so in part because I was attempting to keep up with popular culture and I enjoy a good movie. I also plan to read the books someday. Like you have wondered about how the Bible could become the next craze. But I take comfort in knowing that it is the most widely read collection of books on the planet and translated into more languages than any other collection of works. So while it may not be a “craze” it is definitely popular.

    Something else I have noticed about HP and Twilight (and many other such stories) there is an underlying quest for “the other.” There is an understanding or belief that there is something bigger, all powerful, and all knowing somewhere out there. The characters work to solve puzzles, do battle, or survive relational dramas in their present stories — but their lifelong quest for “the other” remains.

    The presence of good and evil is perhaps the most compelling reason we watch (or read) these stories. Couched in colorful stories with exotic locations, fun adventures, and exciting escapes we find ourselves asking questions. Why do bad things happen to good (or innocent) people? What is good? What is bad/evil? These are wonderful theological questions that these pop culture trends keep alive.


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