The Church of England has published a guide for using Harry Potter as a springboard for talking about Jesus and the big issues that kids face. Brilliant. Recognizing the books as works of fiction that draw on important spiritual and life themes, the Church is engaging the culture in a positive way. Cheers.
“The excitement and anticipation generated by the Harry Potter books show just what a great storyteller J. K. Rowling is,” said Diocese of Oxford Bishop John Pritchard, according to the Church of England. “Although the fictional world of Harry Potter is very different from our own, Harry and his friends face struggles and dilemmas that are familiar to us all.”
From theological concepts such as sacrifice and mercy, to everyday issues such as fears and boasting, each of the guide’s 12 sessions reportedly provides a basis for an hour’s discussions and activities. The sessions include Bible verses that present the Christian perspective on the theme, and prayer activities drawing on the topic.
“Jesus used storytelling to engage and challenge his listeners,” Pritchard noted. “There’s nothing better than a good story to make people think, and there’s plenty in the Harry Potter books to make young people think about the choices they make in their everyday lives and their place in the world.”