This is an abomination with which God is not pleased (2 Chronicles 33:6; Deuteronomy 18:9-12; Galatians 5:19-20). God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:3, 5) and will not have us put anything before Him (Deuteronomy 5:6-7). This is so far beyond the pale that the mere acceptance of any of these conjured up ideas, shows how utterly far off the track we are spiritually.
Mark Kennedy grew up a Catholic, and a Harry Potter fanatic. Only one stuck.
“I considered myself a non-spiritual person,” he said. He thought he was done with religion. And then he stumbled on the podcast “Harry Potter and the Sacred Text.”
The podcast told him that the Harry Potter series — the books that he always turned to for solace when he was angry or stressed or in need of an escape — could be a source of spiritual sustenance.
“I feel like I’m born again,” he said.
On Tuesday night, Kennedy came to an event space at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in the District with hundreds of fellow fans of the podcast, who have found a surprising spirituality in the magical fiction series, which turns 20 years old this year.
…“Harry Potter and the Sacred Text” became the number-two podcast in America on iTunes soon after it debuted last summer. It has inspired face-to-face Potter text reading groups, akin to Bible study more than book club, in cities across the country. In Harvard Square, ter Kuile and Zoltan host a weekly church-like service for the secular focused on a Potter text’s meaning.
…the podcasters did fill church and synagogue auditoriums with fans in their 20s and 30s, many of whom hadn’t set foot in a house of worship in years.
They said that their podcast doesn’t aim to offer all the benefits of a religious community, but does strive to provide the moral insights that seekers gain from study of Scripture. In their podcast, they use the rigorous methods they learned in divinity school, like the Benedictine monks’ practice of lectio divina [Divine Reading] and the medieval florilegium [a compilation of excerpts from other writings], to parse the lines of Harry Potter, which they typically refer to as “the text.”
She said in an interview that she hopes this sort of close reading teaches moral values.
“It always gives me guidance in a way I didn’t know I needed,” Taylor, who said she has no religion, said about the podcast.
That’s the goal. For a book to be sacred…“You have to believe a text can give you blessings. You have to read it with rigor, commitment and practice, and do it with others.”