The Rev. Danielle Tumminio recommends a study of Jesus’s trials in Gethsemane and a comparison with Harry Potter’s walk to his own death in the Deathly Hallows as a “fruitful avenue of research”. I’ve decided to take on the challenge and highlight some of my thoughts here. I’m not sure if I will fully develop the study into something larger, but the idea is interesting to me and one that I have considered myself in reading the books. I am of course indebted to Rev. Tumminio for her challenge and do indeed recommend her “God and Harry Potter at Yale” (Unlocking Press. 2010) for those looking for more generic Christian analysis of the Harry Potter series.
These first postings will provide some of the work of an outline I think, as I will need to spend more time thinking on the subject. I also intend to correspond with Rev, Tumminio and see if I can get some more of her thoughts on the subject as I move forward. I admit that I have been considering working on some aspect of the Harry Potter series as a means to help shed some light on issues from a Latter-day Saint perspective for some time, and that I have often used the books to illustrate points in my various classrooms for Sunday School, Seminary, and LDS Institute.
I know it’s been a long time since I wrote. And yes, it’s because of procrastination pure and simple. I keep a list of the entries I need to get to and as it grows, my reluctance to catch up on them grows right along with it. I doubt this is surprising to anyone … but I thought it best to just get that said first. I’m tempted to leap ahead, but I actually do look back on this as a means of having something like a journal. I don’t think I will ever be an everyday poster, not like my friend Natalie for example, but I do want to have enough posts to be able to remind mysql and those around me that I am here. I live. I might pick my conversations and topics the way I pick my battles, but I think as well.
Lately has been really busy. Not just the kind of busy where your schedule gets longer than the pad you keep it on, or even than you can manage with RTM but the kind of busy where you find yourself longing to be doing other things. Almost any other thing. And that’s the worst kind of busy. Normally, when you’re focused on the right things, then getting a laundry list of them to do doesn’t so much drive you crazy. But when you feel like all you’re doing is running from one sub-par pursuit to another — that’s when things grate on you. And it’s been like that for me in the past few weeks. I know it will improve, but still …
I’m trying hard to turn the other cheek, but what happens when the one you’re turning from is doing real damage. I mean, I know everyone and their brother just knows they’re in the right, and that truth always has more than one side. But I mean really, in those cases where you have your evidence and the evidence of many others that there really is Wrong in your midst, how do you sit idly by and turn cheeks knowing all that will happen is more and more of your friends and colleagues will be struck. It’s happening at work right now. In fact, the main reason I decided to even post this is because I need to think through those thoughts and come back to a more centered me. I need to remember the words of the Savior when he admonished his disciples to forgive not once, not twice, but infinitely. He has forgiven us and we need to recognize that every single one of us is a loved son or daughter of our Heavenly Father.
I just wish I knew what to do… the typing has helped some…
… A Positive Note ...
I have been helping A work on a model home that she is presenting for the Masonic Home of Virginia. It’s going great. I think a bit of her eye has worn off on me too, because I find myself able to anticipate what she is going to want in each room. I will be the first to admit it still amazes me the way she can see the potential — the art — in the everyday and knows just how to bring it forward. But I’m also glad that I have grown enough to be able to know when and where that mirror is going to hang and to know how to figure out where the center of the wall and the center of the focus point differ. And for me as helping hands the most important: how to measure it properly so I put only a single hole in the wall in my effort to slap beauty on the face of the drab. It’s been fun
I’ve also somehow managed to plow through several audiobooks in the last couple of weeks. This kind of push is usually indicative of the type of small-stuff busy-ness I mentioned above. I know that I recharge through getting into a book and that I don’t usually have time (or willingness to endure the pain in my eyes) to indulge in reading at home all that often.* While I don’t recommend this pace of reading, I do have some recommendations that I will get to blogging about. For now, they will remain on my “todo list” for entries and I promise not to skip them. Tonight I finished The Last Chinese Chef and got more than a third through The Notebook. I suspect I will be on to Charleston before the weekend is out…
* For those who don’t know, most of my “hard” reading — actual books — is done on airplanes and usually only during taxi, takeoff, and landing. Afterwards I switch to the Kindle app on the iPad. During normal times, I listen to audiobooks. They are almost exclusively what is playing in my car and sometimes for 15 minutes as I lay down to sleep as well. Since my cornea transplants, I learned to leverage audio to replace my reading habit since my eyes cannot tolerate my contacts for very long periods of staring at a single distance, and I cannot read a normal book at all without them.
The biggest point in the lesson, and one I think is important as well is that faith is both a motivating force and a belief which drives the motivation. I know that lots of times we make these same points, and in the church, fast and testimony meeting uses these as fundamental building blocks, but this lesson tries hard not to cloud it. Faith motivates. Faith is the foundation for that motivation. It’s that simple. And when that faith is built upon the rock that is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, it motivates and supports the most awesome power indeed. If there hasn’t been a lesson you’ve wanted to share with your family thus far, then this is definitely one to choose.
20120318 Lesson 11 Handout
Rather than being spiritually uplifted through fasting, many people merely experience hunger. We should see that we can become spiritually “full” by preparing, praying, and fasting with a purpose. When we abstain from food and take spiritual nourishment during the fast, the Lord blesses us with his Spirit.
20120311 lesson 10
20120311 lesson 10 handout
Prayer is such a frequent practice in the Church that we often take it for granted. Remind class members that although we should pray daily, prayer is not merely an everyday routine to be taken lightly. It is an opportunity to sincerely thank Heavenly Father for our blessings and ask him for guidance in our lives. Heavenly Father loves to have us pray. He listens to our prayers and answers them.
20120304 lesson 9
20120304 lesson 9 handout
We should strive for exaltation in the celestial kingdom by keeping the commandments and exercising faith in Jesus Christ. By understanding more about the mansions which have been prepared for us in the Kingdom of our Father in Heaven, we can better understand our role in securing eternal salvation for ourselves and our family.
This is a very long lesson, and I’m posting this early to make sure the class has time to digest the message and read the necessary scriptures to really engage this topic. Please work with your children and go over these concepts and the natures of the three kingdoms since a single 45 minute class session will not nearly be enough to get through this material.
20120219 lesson 8
20120219 lesson 8 handout
This life is a temporary state where our body and spirit are joined for mutual experience. The Resurrection, as a part of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, is a gift to all persons and will reunite our bodies and spirits eternally.
This is perhaps one of the toughest questions in life, and one that we are asked and re-asked throughout our lives. This lesson aims to provide a firm foundation and real answers to this question and provide the scriptural basis for our reasoning as Latter-day Saints. Please take the time to ponder the scriptures and the messages in this lesson. It’s one that will remain with you and serve you will as you journey through this life.
20120212 lesson 7
lesson 7 diagram
Lesson 6: Adversity Can Help Us Grow
Key Concept: We need to come to see our trials and troubles as opportunities to grow, expand, and learn about ourselves and our divine nature.
Adversity is tough. There’s no getting around it to be sure. However, as a popular proverb amongst sailors points out: “We cannot control the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” This basically means that while we cannot always choose the means by which adversity will come or the severity of it, we can control how we react to each trial as it comes to us. This is not new advice by any means, but hopefully we can present some interesting ways that it might be met and understood in this lesson.
20120205 lesson 6
Lesson 5: Mortality: A Time to Learn Through Experience
Mortality is a time for us to gain a physical body, and through it to learn and experience the things that this life has to offer so that we can gain the knowledge, understanding, temperance, and control we need to be able to return to our Heavenly Father.
Many times, we get bogged down in the aspects of our daily lives that require immediate and complete attention. One of the goals of this lesson is to try and develop ways we can always retain some focus on the greater, more eternal aspects of our lives so that we can become more in tune with those aspects of our natures and allow them to help influence our reactions to different situations.
20120129 lesson 5
Lesson 4: The Atonement of Jesus Christ
Key Concept: Help gain an appreciation for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and its role in enabling us to gain exaltation. Help everyone to understand that the Atonement is the idea of becoming “at one” with our Heavenly Father and that is was designed from the beginning to help us return to him and overcome the Fall of Adam and Eve (see Lesson 3).
20120122 lesson 4