Thursday, July 19, 2007

Having what it takes

The family went and watched Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix yesterday.

Now before I get scathing reprimands for a.)taking my children to see that very grown up movie and b.)exposing my children to witchcraft, understand that I never said I was trying to qualify for parent of the year.

My boys have watched every Harry Potter film so far. They get the basic story of good (Harry and friends) vs. evil (Voldemort and cronies). They can handle the heavy story lines and serious plot even if they don't understand every angle.

As to the second point, the magic of Harry Potter offers great teachable moments. Christians would do well to study magic as a sociological feature a little more. It would help clear up some very poor theology that's out on the landscape. Magic is manipulating a power greater than yourself to accomplish your own ends. It is not about wands and spells. It is about selfish desire and the means we go to make desire reality. And I believe that there are some Christians who practice just as much magic as anyone at Hogwarts.

But that is a topic for another time.

This is about Harry Potter. The plot of the movie is that the magic community is turning against the most prominent teacher (Headmaster of Hogwarts Dumbledore) and against the so-well-known Harry Potter. There is a move to deny the presence of the embodiment of evil Voldemort. The move against Dumbledore and Harry causes a tightening of rules at the school in harsh ways. It also leads to a "head buried in the sand" worldview.

This leads to the formation of two secret societies: the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore's Army. The first is made up of adults while the second is a band of students. I will leave the plot there to talk about what, for me, was the most meaningful scene.

The students know that they need to learn to use their magic to defend themselves. But none of the teachers will teach them. So they decide to learn on their own. The only person who is qualified to teach them is Harry. He is qualified because he has the practical experience and hands on education that can be passed down.

Harry, on the other hand, does not see himself as qualified nor having the right stuff to teach them. His arguments for why he shouldn't lead them becomes the very reason why he is the best choice. From there, Harry teaches and leads the students in learning to use their magic to defend against the evil that is rising.

This scene was moving because it captures a very real attitude among the believers and church-pew sitters. It is the attitude that, "I'm not qualified to do what the Bible calls for."

Matthew 28:19-20 calls on believers to go into the world, making disciples, baptizing, and teaching. Acts 1:8 says that the believers will receive power and be witnesses of Jesus throughout the world. 1 Corinthians 12:7 says that each believer has received a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

We are all qualified to do what God has called us to do. We all have a task in this work of kingdom building. No, we do not have the same gifts as everyone else. We are not all eloquent preachers or gifted singers. We are not all able to serve others will a joyful heart or give significant financial sums. But every one of us has been called by God to disciple making, teaching, witnessing, and contributing to the common good. God's Spirit manifests or makes itself known in our lives. Every one of us.

So we are all called to step up. We are called to use what God has given us for the good of the kingdom and one another. We can no longer sit back in our chairs and say, "Someone else is more qualified. Someone else can do it better." God has called you to do and to serve. God has called you to rise up and go.