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Red Letters

Confession time. While researching what elements go into a great novel, I became a huge fan of Harry Potter and the magical world woven together by author JK Rowling. And while Christians are certainly “disputatious” about what the books mean and whether they are good for kids, I steer clear of those debates. Sure there was magic and other elements but that’s also prevalent in other books such as Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia – which I really love! Personally, I thought they were great. Devoured the books. Enjoyed the movies. I was inspired.

After finishing the final volume, I sat in awe of how Rowling tied together so many complex themes, story lines, and characters with a simple premise.

Love is the antidote to evil in the world.

For those who haven’t read the books, love and death are major themes throughout the entire series. We find early on that Harry’s mother died protecting him from Voldemort. Voldemort sought to kill him because of a prophecy about a boy who would have the power to kill him (nudge, sound familiar?)

Later we discover that love is the source of a powerful magic beyond knowing. And ultimately Harry prevails against Voldemort not because he is a more skillful wizard–but because of his love.

While I have failed to do justice to the thousands and thousands of pages Rowling penned, I cite this only to make a potent observation. What Jesus and Harry Potter share in common is the belief that love–above all other things–holds the power to transform the world.

In Jesus’ context, the ethic of love went hand-in-hand with “the Kingdom.” Jesus’ kingdom is not anything like what we’d expect. It was wholly new. Jesus came not to conquer with the sword–but to die on the cross for…for love!

In fact, Christianity’s most oft-quoted verse, John 3:16, states so plainly: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that
whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Like Harry Potter, Jesus story is about love’s triumph over evil and death.

It is that ethic of love and death that powers Jesus ministry. These are ethics to explore. And they are the beginning of a new series on what is right with Christians.

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