Because I’m always looking for something good to read, I’m going ask: what are you reading this week? What have you read recently?
Right now, I’m working on (non-affiliate links–no time to set them up):
Folks, I know of late I’ve spilled much digital ink regarding J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I promise you that this is not becoming a “Harry Potter” blog. Aside from my love of the books, I used that series as a touchstone to discuss some “disputable matters.” I did this because Harry has become such a large part of our cultural lexicon.
Today, I’d like to peel back the curtain a bit, and delve into what I think is the larger issue: cultural engagement. (Peanut gallery: I see your objection–“In the world, but not of it.” Yes, I know. And, no, that’s not what I’m talking about–worldliness–but rather being engaged, informed, being able to address the issues facing people today, and relate those issues to spiritual truth).
So, yes, today I’m going to talk about cultural engagement, and indeed how reading Harry Potter fits into that paradigm.
Folks, I’ve made no secret here on the blog of the fact that I like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. The timeless themes of self-sacrifice, loyalty, of making hard choices–doing the right thing, rather than the easy thing–are what are so attractive about the books. That, and the rather obvious parallels the story has with the Gospel. (Aside from all that, as they say in England, the narrative is just a corking good yarn.)
Taken together, these form a strong (in mind) case as to why these books should have a place in your library.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to read. Whatever it was, if I started, I’d finish (though I did give up on Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series after the fourth book. Don’t ask, I won’t tell).
Like I said, bookwise, I finish what I start. Usually. (Never have yet made it through War and Peace, Les Miserables, or Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot. Who knows why? I know, as I’m reading, that I’m in the presence of greatness, but there’s just something in me that’s not engaging with those stories. I don’t think it’s the fault of the books; perhaps it’s me that still has some growing to do?)
Lately, however, I find that I’ve got several books going, and have finished nary a one. Chalk that up to random interests, work, blogging, husbanding, childrearing, etc.
In fact, here’s what I’m reading now:
40 Days Living the Jesus Creed, by Scot McKnight.
There are almost certainly others that, as of this writing, I haven’t finished, but over the weekend, my kids and I visited our local Barnes & Noble, where I read (Shawn Smucker and Alise Wright are you ready for this?) the first chapter of John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany, and Stephen King’s new introduction to The Shining.
This introduction, strange as it may sound, helped me put some long-standing issues into perspective–helped me understand that there’s often a monster–which we don’t see–behind the one we do. In this context, I’ll just tell you that while my dad was certainly no Jack Torrance, he was no great shakes either. But his dad, and stepdad, were much, much worse.
And like the famous Forrest Gump said, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
At this point, at nearly forty-two years of age, I’m so over being defined by my wounds. I’ve found that wounds heal, scars fade, and God’s grace covers me–covers you–everyday.
I can’t speak for you, but sometimes I find His grace in the most unexpected of places; such as in the introduction to a nearly forty year-old ghost story.
How about you? What are you reading? What (other than the Bible) is your go-to book? What’s on your nightstand awaiting your attention? Where have you found healing in the written word?
Share away in the comments.