“The Harry Potter Bible Study: Enjoying God Through the Final Four Harry Potter Movies” by Jared Moore
Love Harry Potter? Love studying the Bible? Welcome to the club!
I’ll admit, however, to being skeptical of attempts to combine these two particular loves. Perhaps that is due to the disappointment of leafing through too many “Finding God in __________” titles that seem to be efforts to cash in on someone else’s popularity by second-rate authors and spiritual advisers. Thankfully, this particular book is far more substantial than many other similarly titled works I’ve put back on the shelf.
Before I get into my review of the content, let me open up with a description of how this book works. It is not what I would call a typical Bible study, though it is absolutely saturated with Scripture. Rather, it is a guide for interacting with an immensely popular movie series from a distinctly Christian worldview. As such, it is a model for how we ought to approach ALL media.
The book contains six chapters. The first two are introductory, and are intended to be read prior to watching the movies. The final four chapters are each devoted to one of the final four films from the Harry Potter series, and are to be read after watching each movie.
Through series of questions and answers, Moore leads readers to think very intentionally about what we are viewing. His pastoral approach reveals exactly the sort of questions which careful consumers of media ought to be asking at all times, without coming across as “preachy”. He uses specific events and conversations from the films (complete with time stamps to help parents and teachers locate the scene in question should they wish to show it as part of the discussion) to spur conversation intended to help us better enjoy God through our experience even of secular media.
Theologically, Moore is excellent. The gospel is implicit at all times, focusing especially on the themes of Creation, Fall, and Redemption, which underly all great stories, including THE great story of God’s gracious salvation if sinful man. He also manages to weave in discussion of many of today’s “hot topics”, ranging from racism to sex to the use of performance enhancing drugs in sports.
The Harry Potter Bible Study is written in such a way as to be usable for families with younger children, but is probably best suited for high school and college students. It is challenging without being overwhelming. Each chapter also contains a “Digging Deeper” section for those who wish to delve into areas of philosophy and doctrine beyond what may be of interest to the average participant in a large group discussion.
In summary, this is a book that will benefit the Harry Potter fan in your family, but is also a worthwhile purchase even for those who don’t like the books or movies. While Moore’s insights on the films are valuable in themselves, this is of even greater worth as a prime example of how Christians can engage pop culture in a way that leads to both our enjoyment and God’s glory. I think of it as a practical model of the type of cultural interaction described and encouraged by great authors such as Francis Schaeffer, Andy Crouch, and Nancy Pearcey. (For those who don’t know me or those authors, that’s very high praise!)
Buy it here.
For further reading on this kind of approach to movies in general, you might be interested in Doug Beaumont’s The Message Behind the Movie.
To go much more in-depth about all things Harry Potter from a Christian perspective, I highly recommend the work of John Granger, the “Hogwarts Professor”.