June 25, 2018
Posts by Dave:
Usually when I say I’m an anime fan, people tend to think that I have my house decorated with the cheesiest Japanese tchotchkes, posters of Dragon Ball Z hanging over my bed, a scantily-clad Sailor Moon figurine by my computer, and a metric ton of bootleg DVDs of Japanese cartoons. That is, they think I’m the nerdy equivalent of the “Cat Lady.”
But I’m not. I just happen to really enjoy anime. But I like it not because it is just anime, not because it’s Japanese, and not because it’s not (really) mainstream. I like it because among the various video media, anime consistently makes some of the most profound, thought-provoking shows–not to mention how awesome they look most of the time. Granted there are those anime that are childish and juvenile–mostly because their audiences are children and juveniles–but when they make a serious show, it’s almost always great.
Today for my spot I wanted to talk about one that I just recently watched called Death Note. A few years ago I saw this show airing on Cartoon Network’s late night slot called Adult Swim, and I really tried to get into it–partly because of the arresting visuals, but also because it was unmistakably suspenseful. Because of its unbroken narrative from episode to episode, it was confusing to watch unless I had started at episode one, but thanks to the joys of Netflix, I binge watched it in just a few days. I’m leaving out big spoilers, but I will be talking about a few things that happen in the first couple of episodes for explanation.
Death Note has become sort of a cult classic in the anime world, it seems. And I do think it’s worthy of the praise it gets. Its plot is unique and gripping: a shinigami (death god in Japanese folklore) comes to the human world and deliberately drops his notebook for an unsuspecting human to pick up. High School senior Light Yagami picks it up and sees the terrifying shinigami. The notebook, or “death note,” has clear instructions, the primary rule being that whenever the owner of the notebook writes a name in the notebook, that person will die.
The notebook has a few other rules that specify how the person will die, when they will die, etc., but the end result is the same: someone dies. Now, as you suspect, this is a terrifying power to wield. And Light Yagami tests the notebook’s power on criminals just to be safe, deciding that it is his responsibility to mete punishment on only those who are guilty. But because so many criminals are dying mysteriously, it gets the attention of the government authorities, and they determine that it is a work of a new serial killer they dub “Kira” (Japanese wordplay for “killer”). And they assign a brilliant, eccentric detective only known by the name “L.” Light, now known as Kira, now faces a deducing duel between L and himself. L wants to find out who Kira is and bring him to justice through the proper channels, and Kira now wants to kill L to stop his investigation and stop the only resistance he has to keep him from enacting his own justice with his death note.
It’s a gripping show that is parts supernatural thriller, murder mystery, and character study. It is philosophical without beating you over the head with it. It is “power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” As a Christian I find it a thought-provoking exercise in thinking about divine judgement, revenge, murder, the means and ends, human depravity, and the death penalty.
My point isn’t to talk about these topics right now or to reveal what I believe about any of these, or even if the show led me to change my mind at all. But, these are some spiritual and philosophical questions that I think many Christians shy away from–though they are very important.
The show is thirty-seven episodes long, and although I do recommend watching the show, I must admit that I think it’s about ten episodes too long. There are strings of episodes that are absolutely enthralling, while others…aren’t. In some ways, the ending to the series is different than I had anticipated, but, really, it ended exactly as it should have.
Overall, this is a great show and I highly recommend watching it–especially if you have Netflix. This is the perfect show for the Halloween season and is a great visual treat. It’s a great show that makes you think about uncomfortable things–in a good way. Maybe this article will ease the SFC into more anime articles (or maybe even persuade Ben to give the genre a chance?? Nope).
To end this, I was going to sign off as usual, but I have an unusual fear of you writing my name down…for some reason.
So apparently I often take on more than I can chew. As of right now, I’m finishing up a twelve-day giveaway on my YouTube channel, I still haven’t bought a single Christmas gift (which I plan to do ten minutes from now), and I just remembered that today is my day for the stocking stuffer. Good thing I didn’t tell the writers I would write about three things in my post…oh wait…I did! HALLELUJAH! One of these is blatantly Christmasy, while the other two, well…they remind me of Christmas. Kind of.
Of all the things that I remember most about Christmas, the fondest memories are of watching the movies and television shows that come on. And probably my favorite of all time–ALL TIME–is The Snowman.
It’s a brilliant cartoon about a boy who tries to go to sleep on Christmas Eve and wakes up in the middle of the night to see that the snowman he made just came to life. And the snowman takes his hand, and they fly to a secluded forest where the boy sees a whole tribe of snow people who have awoken for this special night. The show is mostly free of dialogue, unless you count the introduction by DAVID FREAKIN’ BOWIE! I’ve read somewhere that this show airs every Christmas Eve in Norway. But here in the States, it’s harder to find–at least for me it is. The only place I find it is on YouTube. It’s hard for me to express how profoundly this show affected me. As silly as it is, I think this show opened my mind to fantasy and how rich imaginative story-telling can take you, even without using words. The show makes up for its parsimonious use of words by employing one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard. It’s the perfect match for the visuals in this show. As a side note, fellow SFC writer Brandon Gibbs asked me to mention that the Christian band Eisley did their rendition of “Walking In The Air,” which is the main theme of the show. Oh God. I just realized I don’t own the soundtrack to this show. Must. Change. That. Now.
Okay, now my second choice is a bit of stretch. It has nothing to do with Christmas except for the fact that 1) it’s awesome, and 2) I happened to read this book during Christmas. The book is Whipping Star by Frank Herbert.
Dune is obviously Frank Herbert’s masterpiece. It’s clearly a genius work of science fiction, but I’d say that Whipping Star is my next favorite book by Herbert. It’s fairly fast-paced and the plot is interesting with the classic style of the “big idea” being a major component. The big idea, in this case, being what if there are creatures that exist on multiple planes of existence. In this book, the main character starts a “relationship” of sorts with a Caleban, entities whose existence is manifested on our plane as stars. The book is great because it leads you to think about how big God is, and maybe that’s why this is quasi-Christmasy. It leads me to think about God, or in this case of this story a “god”, who is higher and larger than us, who comes down on our level in order to form a lasting relationship. You can’t see me right now, but I’m patting myself on the back for turning this book into a valid Christmas analogy. 🙂
The next choice I have for you is a musical choice this time. I thought about leaving it out because it’s neither Christmasy nor sci-fi, but I decided to leave it in because of the message it brings. Unless you are one of the unfortunate few amusic people in the world, you probably love music as much as rest of the world. I’m addicted to my iPod. And when someone gives me new music to listen to, they’re my new best friend. At the time I was reading Whipping Star, a friend gave me Jason Morant’s album Open, and it blew me away!
This is the rare time in which I can honestly say that this is a perfect album. Every song on here is great and every word of every lyric and every note of every chord counts. As in the case with my previous choice, this reminds me of Christmas in a way because the theme of the album seems to have more of a “bigger picture” or eternal perspective–you could even say a “Kingdom” message–about it. And I think that’s what led me to form the connection to Christmas. I heard a story about the Christian band Downhere and their song “How Many Kings” and how they actually wrote that song for one of their normal albums, but people everywhere thought it was a Christmas song. I have to admit, I thought the same thing, and I can’t blame anyone for this association, since the message of their song is about King Jesus laying aside his divine privileges to come to earth as a baby–clearly imagery of the Nativity and of Christmas. But after thinking about this, I realized that I was putting a Christmas connotation and spin on the message of the Kingdom of God rather than letting the message of the Kingdom of God define what Christmas means. So instead of thinking about God’s greater plan for humanity (as we probably should), when I heard the song I thought, “That’s a great song for the holidays.” That’s when I came to the realization that my “Kingdom IQ”, as it were, is very low. Now, coming back to the album Open, it does paint a message of eternity in broader and deeper strokes than what you would hear on Christian pop radio stations. And because of that, it does sound reminiscent of some of the great Christmas hymns which showcase God’s redemptive plans rather than talking about snow and Santa Claus.
Personally, I love how the story of the Advent is about God coming and changing us. Even in something as silly as a manger, God forever changed the association with barnyard animals to that of Christ. If we’ll let him, Christ, by the Holy Spirit will start to assert himself in the associations of things in our daily lives. You may even see Christ in Frank Herbert novels just like me. 🙂
Halloween and I have a complicated past. As a kid growing up in a Christian home, my family was one that believed it was best not to celebrate Halloween in the traditional sense. So still, to this day, I have not once been out to trick-or-treat. Many of my memories of Halloween were just sitting at home, not answering the door when kids came knocking. Of course, I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the Fall Festivals or “Hallelujah Nights” as they were sometimes called (*rolls eyes*). I don’t know the history of church-sponsored Halloween alternatives, but I’m guessing it spawned from people not wanting their kids to mope around the house, not answering the doors, while their best friends knocked on their doors expecting candy. Now, I still don’t celebrate Halloween in the traditional sense, and I still have certain Separatist beliefs when it comes to the holiday. I wonder at the disparity and contrast between celebration of the dead and evil spirits and promotion of fear in media, to an innocent children’s holiday where everyone dresses up and gets free candy. I also still find the whole Church alternative a bit off. It seems to me that Halloween, as celebrated by non-celebrating churches, is a bit like Vegans flavoring their food to taste like meat. What’s the point? Yet still, I do like some of the qualities about Halloween. Though I typically stay away from media that promote fear, I do enjoy media with certain Halloween qualities, such as gothic architecture, suspense, the supernatural, a fall setting. So here are a few things in media that I have really enjoyed around the time of Halloween.
Ernest Scared Stupid
To me, there has always been something nostalgic about the Ernest movies. They’re all horrible and childish and filled with bad acting and horrid writing, but they still make me laugh at all the dumb things they did. I guess you could say that Ernest Scared Stupid is more of a guilty pleasure. It’s full-on Halloween. And I love it! Basically, the movie is about a troll that is trying to absorb the souls of children, and Ernest is trying to stop him. The troll looks and sounds so gross, and there were times that it genuinely scared me as a kid. In Ernest’s attempt to thwart the troll, he comes across an ancient document that reveals the one weakness the troll has. The only problem is that there’s a letter missing. So it said: M-I- -K, with a hint that said “a mother’s care.” It’s obviously milk, but in the funniest part of the film, Ernest honestly believes it to be Bulgarian “miak.” Then later in the film, he actually finds some! I laugh every time at that part. For another excellent review on this movie, see Cinemassacre’s take on it. I’ve always thought that it would be funny if someone wrote a biography of Jim Varney as Ernest and titled the book, The Importance of Being Ernest. Knowwutimean, Vern?
The Sandman, by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman has always been an author that is hit-or-miss, in my opinion, and suffers from fans that idolize his writing far too much. But I think his best work has been in his graphic novel series The Sandman. From what I understand, it started out as an idea to rewrite an obscure character in DC’s history by the same name. But, what it turned out to be is something more mythical and gothic, going more towards the avenue of the gods than of superheroes. The story is about Dream, or Morpheus, and his dealings with humans and in life. Most of the series is episodic, with only some of the series carrying on continuity from comic to comic. The art and story-telling is spectacular—though sometimes weird. At one episode, Dream goes to hell and plays a competitive game with one of Beelzebub’s cronies; in another you find out that Dream’s sister is Death, and that she likes to take the form of a teenage goth chick; in another you find a man that Dream befriends who finds that the secret of immortality is just to not want to die; in another, Dream meets with William Shakespeare; and in another, Dream is personified in a Japanese folktale. And that’s just scratching the surface of all the brilliant things in this series.
Of all videogames, I think the franchise that best holds to the feel of Halloween is easily the Castlevania series. I’m not precisely sure how many games are in the series, but there are a ton, and they are showing no signs of stopping anytime soon. The whole Castlevania series is an ode to classic monster movies. You usually play a vampire hunter who is on a mission to kill Dracula. Most of the time, you are in a castle, killing every bad guy, mummy, demon, skeleton, and whatnot with your whip. Awesome concept. Probably the game that I remember the most is Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest. I used to play this with my neighbor at his house, and I think we even played this on Halloween a couple of times. The music and atmosphere for this game is amazing. This is one of those games that people love and hate at the same time. For one, the game is a classic for the NES, and is one that many people my age remember with fondness. But, if we really get down to brass tacks, this game is a mess! The controls are bad, the difficulty is too dang hard, and there are numerous other frustrating parts in this game that make you want to rage quit after the first hour of playing—if that! If you don’t mind swearing and some crass language, The Angry Video Game Nerd made his very first video on Castlevania 2. The game is so broken at times that hackers, when making the ROM for the NES emulator, even went so far as making an “updated” version of the game, calling it “Simon’s Quest: Redacted”. In this version, updates were made to all the frustrating parts, making it a little more enjoyable to play. Egoraptor on YouTube made a video contrasting the first Castlevania game to Simon’s Quest (again, this video has a lot of language). Though he thought Simon’s quest was probably not as bad as the Angry Video Game Nerd claims, he clearly thought that it was inferior to the first game, and went on to say that many of the newer games are fun in their own right. I do enjoy some of the newer Castlevania games, though they don’t have that same charm that the first couple of games on the NES had. Whichever Castlevania game you think is the best, I think we can all agree: it’s a horrible night for a curse.
Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness
I thought I might add one more thing I really enjoy for the Halloween season. James Rolfe, the star and creator of the Angry Video Game Nerd that I have mentioned, is a film buff and loves old monster movies. Every year for October on his website, Cinemassacre.com, he hosts Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness, in which he posts a video every day about something relating to old monster movies or horror films. Now, I don’t watch horror films, but I can appreciate many of the classic monster movies for what they are. If you are into those types of movies—or even if you are “Halloween curious” like I am—definitely check out the site. His reviews are well-done, thoughtful, and funny.
For the last few weeks, I’m sure you’ve noticed how much we, at the SFC love the Hulu TV series The Booth At the End. It’s simply one of the best shows out there right now, and part of its brilliance is that the show is exclusively about characters. The entirety of the series occurs in a restaurant booth with The Man talking to someone who wants something done for them. I
promise I won’t make this a mini-review. As with any great piece of fiction, there are many layers you can peel back from this show that reveal different truths. And, I admit, you can’t really make one-for-one analogies with prayer here, but I think that this show really pointed out some things about prayer that we may miss or may not think about enough.
1. Jesus, The Man at the booth.
In the show, anyone at seemingly any time can visit The Man and tell him what they want from him. In order to even talk to the man, you have to either be invited or know someone who knows him. In the book of Revelation, Jesus says to one of the churches of Asia, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” (Rev. 3:20 NLT). I love this verse. Even when taken out of context like I just did, it really expresses Jesus’ heart to come, sit down, share a meal, and dialogue together. What’s even cooler than that is that the verbiage that Jesus uses of knocking is also used in Matthew 7:7 when talking about prayer. As The Man is the mysterious mediator of something or someone–which kind of creeps me out a little–Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant between the Father and mankind (Heb. 9:15).
2. Tell him exactly what you want.
I love how accurate the characters on the show need to be when expressing their desires to The Man. Almost all of them are succinct and accurate but some are not. Makes me want to ask, “Why would you hold back when you are talking to someone who can give you anything you want?!” You’d think that people would have no problem praying, and that they would know exactly what to say…since you’re talking to a loving Father who cares what you have to say and accepts you even if you happen to say the wrong things. But in my experience, I’ve met far too many people who think prayer is something far weirder and harder than it actually is. Take all you know about prayer and suspend it for a sec. Now, think of all the people who talked to God directly: Moses, Abraham, Jesus, Elijah. How did they pray? Moses talked to God face to face as a man talks to a friend. Abraham was basically an idol-worshiper when God chose him to be the seed of his promises–and even after the fact he still messed up. Jesus revealed the greatest revelation about God: God is our Father. And he tied this truth into a practical application of prayer–pray, or talk to God as if you were going to a loving dad. The book of James reflects upon Elijah’s conversation with God saying, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. “Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops” (James 5:16-18 NLT). When I talk to people who have anxiety about praying, I always come across two problems: first, they think their prayers aren’t good enough; second, they think they aren’t good enough. But what Jesus did declares us righteous and gives us carte blanche on what we want to pray. “I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours” (Mark 11:24 NLT). If I were to go up to the booth and talk to The Man, all my past and my eloquence is moot, because all he wants is to talk and he wants to know what I want. No more, no less.
3. Then, he gives you a task.
I really don’t understand the reasoning of The Man. I mean, it’s cool, but I don’t understand how giving a character a random task will effectively give them their desire. How does that work? Maybe I just don’t know as much as The Man does. It’s not really about what we want, is it? It’s not. In reality, Jesus is setting us up for something far greater than what really understand. My wife is pregnant with our first child, due in January. The other day I caught myself thinking about the similarities of my prayer life to that of a little child talking to their parents. And I suddenly came to the realization of just how little I actually know. I’m doing all the talking to someone who knows everything. I’m pretty sure I sound ridiculous. When we go to God in prayer, most people see this as a one-way street; you just talk to God, yap off his ear for a while about all the things you want in life, and then, amen, time for bed. But really, God wants to talk back. The first task God gives us is a simple one: listen to him in prayer. It’s going to be weird. You’ll think about checking your email in the silence, and your BFF will probably send you a text about how much they hate waiting in line at the License Commissioner. You’ll be strangely aware of your armpit sweat. Then, you will notice that your elbow pits are sweating. Then you’ll ask yourself if those joints are called “elbow pits”. But through all this, suddenly, God will speak to your heart. It may be something simple; it may be something profound; it may be something for you do next or a dream that you thought died years ago. But he will speak. I once heard of a guy who struggled with a smoking addiction. He knew in his heart that God wanted him to quit smoking but he didn’t know how, and all his effort just produced frustration. But when he finally just went to God about it, went to the Throne of Grace since he was in need, God told him to correct some things in his marriage. The guy went to God, told him what he wanted, God gave him a task. Long story short–you know where I’m going with this–the simple act of obeying God and correcting things in his marriage set off a series of spiritual dominoes that eventually ended up with his freedom of his addiction.
4. Our progressive character development.
In the show, there is a really great change in the characters as they try to accomplish the tasks they’ve received. Some change for the better, some for the worse, but the task changes them all. Through all this process of prayer, what we will ultimately experience is that just the act of going to God in prayer–whatever the reason, and with what words you have–actually changes us more than it changes our circumstances. Now, granted, our circumstances change when God answers our prayer, and as 1 John says, “And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for” (1 John 5:14, 15 NLT). But even more than actually getting what we want, we change as individuals–it’s impossible not to change when you submit to God in prayer. The Bible repeats over and over that God gives grace to the humble, he exalts those to submit to him, and he changes us with his presence. After we tell the Father what we want, after he gives us a task, sometimes the task can frankly be out of the realm of comfort, maybe even possibility. We may come across a few snags, take a few hits, be persecuted, or go through trials and temptations. Yet, through it all, the task God gives us changes us into the people he knew we would be all along. Paul said to the Romans, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation” (Rom. 5:3, 4 NLT). I love watching the character development of the people on the TV show. But even more, I love it when I know I have what it takes to go through a tough time and make it out in the end, because not only do I have the confidence that God has heard me and given me a task, he’s given me His word on it.
What I want right now is for people to comment at the end of this post…and God just gave me the task of doing the dishes. WEIRD!
As you may have heard from Ben, Arkham Asylum was the quintessential Batman game of all time. It could possibly be one of the best Batman presentations of all time as well. Here’s a little taste of what’s to come (YAY!!). Fans of the cartoon will especially enjoy the familiar (incredible) voice actors. And, yes, all that fighting…you can actually do all that.
In case you’ve been living in a Hobbit Hole for the last few years, George R. R. Martin has quickly become one of the most well-known and beloved fantasy writers out there with his series entitled, A Song of Ice and Fire, the first book being A Game of Thrones. Well, today, my friends, his latest book is out! Fans have eagerly awaited this book for years, not without some frustration at Martin’s writing pace. But today it’s out. Ben probably already has his on his ereader and is halfway through.
But besides the awesome news, let’s reflect on how awesome dragons are.
What if dragons existed?
Dragons are SWEET.
True facts about dragon eggs that you probably didn’t know.
The general opinion of Eragon.
Just try to train a dragon. Try.
So. It’s lookin’ pretty good! But then again, I thought the same thing about the Green Lantern trailers…
What do you think?
Recently I’ve been really diggin’ the Earthsea cycle. Almost every one of my geeky book friends say that the Earthsea books are timeless fantasy classics that every person with geeky leanings just simply has to read. So far, I totally agree.
Since I really love reading and I’m a bit of a tightwad when it comes to spending money on myself, finding the whole set at a flea market for only nine bucks was all the encouragement I needed to finally buy this. So far I’m halfway through the third book (maybe I’ll post some reviews of the books on the website soon), and I can’t help but see all the allegory and direction-pointing to Christ and many other Biblical themes. Now, I’m going to take a wild guess and say that you are probably like me in some ways. You’re a Christian who loves Jesus, you probably have a long courtship with speculative fiction, and you’re most definitely ruggedly handsome. And if you are a girl, you are most definitely ruggedly handsome. And I can’t speak for you in this case, but if you are like me, then you probably hear the Holy Spirit speak to you in strange ways when you watch TV or movies or you read a good book. You may have heard God say something to you when Charles Xavier was helping Erik (Magneto) move the giant satellite dish. You may have heard God stir you in the last twenty minutes of The Matrix. Or you may have seen some important truth in the dialogue of The Incredibles. Now, you might not have realized that it was God, here. You might have just thought it was your own natural, geeky inclinations, forcing the medium into a certain mental grid. But let me run something by you real quick: could it be that the Holy Spirit is saying something in your language?
For instance, I have a friend who is from Malawi. He speaks English very well, but, of course, it’s not his native language. So for him, the most ideal form of communication is not in English–which can breed miscommunications and misunderstandings for him–but in the language of his country. When he thinks, he thinks in that language. When he reads his Bible, his Bible speaks in that language. And if I can say it this way, when the Holy Spirit says something to him, it’s in that language.
When Jesus taught to the multitudes, the Bible says that he purposely taught in parables. And if you look at the parables, the imagery is very much relating to farmers and peasants, his target audience much of the time. So to those people, he spoke their language: you reap what you sow, the mustard seed, the two sons working in the vineyard, etc. This is their language. Whenever I go to movies or read or watch TV, I love the medium for what it is, but I’m also keeping my heart tuned to hearing God’s voice in that medium. Now, God has actually spoken to me in ways that you would speak to a farmer, but that was only after I actually planted a fruit tree and learned the “spiritual dialect,” if you will. Besides just the plain speaking that the Holy Spirit often does through the presentation of the Word, he also speaks our certain geeky “dialects.” Yours might be different than mine, but I think in many ways, we’re alike, here.
Okay, on to Earthsea!
I’m not really going to give too much away, but for all you Matt Andersons out there, you’ve been warned.
I know for a fact that the author of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin, did not intend to write with Christian imagery. She actually intended more Taoist philosophy, I believe. Yet even in the midst of her beliefs, she couldn’t escape certain Biblical–or you could say Christian mythological–allegory.
First is the world. There is a tale within the books that the earth was formed by a powerful wizard who spoke to the water and commanded the earth to rise, forming the Earthsea archipelago. Then there’s the actual magic in the world–which I love. It’s just spoken words. But more than that, it’s a hidden, knowable language of words and names, in which you must know the thing before you can command the thing. Even the wizards have everyday, common nicknames and then they have their real names. And they don’t give out their real names to just anyone, for fear of someone saying their real name in a spell against them. Then there are other more specific story instances. For instance, in the first book A Wizard of Earthsea, something evil is chasing one of the main characters, sapping him of strength. And it’s only until he turns around and chases it that the evil actually flees him. Then there’s the instance in the second book, Tombs of Atuan, when the protagonist saves someone who is completely oblivious to their own imprisonment–they are literally trapped in a tomb, worshiping dead gods. Later on as they flee, the tomb starts to crumble and the former prisoner is not scared of the crumbling tomb but of a person they may see once they get out of the tomb. The wizard looks at her and basically says, “I’m currently holding these tombs together and holding back an earthquake that’s about to come. Why are you so afraid of what man can do when I’m right here?” As they leave, the grave which served as a prison was literally swallowed up by the earth. In the third book, The Farthest Shore, there’s a scene where a wizard saves someone from a slaver ship. He arrives as radiant light, breaks off all the shackles that held all the prisoners, but comes for only one man. This man failed in an assignment that he had and thus became a slave, yet he was saved anyway. After that scene, the man reflects that all the love and awe and admiration that he may have had for this wizard before was only solidified and confirmed in his rescue, and he couldn’t help but have even deeper feelings for the wizard.
Why do these things resonate so much? If you are like me, then you saw Genesis, redemption, grace, salvation, the power of words, insight and revelation, the fear of man, the power of God, resisting the devil, Peter’s denial of Jesus, and your own story and testimony. How is it that someone who intended to write something with eastern philosophy in the end wrote things that you can find in the Bible? Maybe this is another tale for another story, but I believe that this is one of the ways in which God speaks to us: through a message he has already universally written upon our hearts. And then when we deliberately open our hearts and our spiritual ears to what the Holy Spirit is saying, many times you won’t just see a wizard. You’ll see Jesus.
So this sounds awesome in theory. But…I’m still confused. Here’s the video Rowling just released, announcing her newest “Pottermore” thingamajig. What are your thoughts? Apparently it’s some sort of interactive online story?