God in the Machine

Literally "God in the machine", Deus Ex Machina originally referred to Greek plays, where the "gods" would be lowered onto the stage with ropes in order to provide a quick resolution to the story. Today, Deus Ex Machina refers to any improbably and/or overly convenient character or mechanism that comes out of nowhere and saves the character(s).


"I don't get it, Big Dan..." -George Clooney in O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

June 4 is getting closer!

Harry Potter! Harry Potter! Harry Potter!

What kind of paranoia does it take in this day and age to burn the only book in the last, say, 2 decades that actually made kids WANT to read??? (Note, interestingly, that the church here seems to support theft in the last paragraph. Interesting choice of sin. Apparantly the huge number of 9 year olds sacrificing their sisters to Satan after reading Potter books is enough to justify Christians to break at least two of the commandments. What's that? No kids are sacrificing their sisters? Hmmm.. well, at least this made-up enemy will give us something to shout about on Sundays instead of confronting the real sin in our own lives. See! Good is accomplished!)

Want a pair of books with more evil, witchcraft, sorcery and death than the harmless, good-always-triumphs Potter books? Ok, here's two: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (accepted by Christians everywhere) and, you guessed it, The Bible!

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of C.S. Lewis AND the Bible. The problem is, they got in the hands of the wrong people. It makes my job as a pastor (teaching people to love each other) harder when folks use the very tools God gave us to beat up on people instead of love on them. I saw a bumper sticker once that said "God, deliver me from your followers." You know what the trouble is? Humans. Whenever you have humans around, the potential for stupidity is never far away.

Regardless, I'm a big fan of Harry, Ron and Hermione. Harry should smooch Ginny, Snape should eat his hat and the book burners should grow up. Heck, if you see the movie, you'll see that even the kids look about 5 years older. They're growing like sprouts.

So why can't the church grow too?

Good thing you have me here to tell you why! Because fundamentalism, by definition, needs an enemy. In these enlightened times, enemies are harder to find, so they have to start making them up, and the non-presuming, frail-looking Harry Potter is as good a fictional character to bully as any.

Anyway, I'll be first in line. That'll be me, wearing the cross.


Blogger Michael said...

As Robert Heinlein observed in his last novel, To Sail Beyond the Sunset, "Censorship is never logical but, like cancer, it is dangerous to ignore when it shows up." The sort of "Christians" (and I use the scare quotes advisedly) who would advocate burning or banning Harry Potter are the sort who are so fixated on the evil that must be everywhere around them and against which they must strenuously and visibly fight, that they literally can't see what's in front of them in the book they claim to cherish. It's been my experience that the average fundie is wonderfully literate from a biblical perspective only when it comes to taglines that s/he can spout appropriately when prompted, but has rarely, if ever, actually read the whole thing or looked at any of those taglines in their proper context. Hence, to use just one example, they can pull out the two verses from Leviticus that condemn man-on-man sex while completely ignoring the chapter after chapter that prohibits the eating of blood, or the verses that proscribe shellfish, mixing milk and dairy products in the same dish, cross-breeding crops or cattle, and wearing blended fabrics.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Big Dan said...

My favorite Levitical code is the one that says you can be stoned to death for sleeping in the same bed as your wife when she's having her period.

What an embarrassing way to die. You get to heaven and someone tells you they died by jumping on a grenade to save 10 squadmates and all you have is "punished for sleeping in the same bed with my irritable wife."

7:46 AM  

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