Here’s my To Read list for 2012. It’s far from complete. What would you add?
This list will grow through the year, but here’s what I have for the spring semester of the MAGL:
Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling by Andy Crouch
Shaping of Things to Come, The: Innovation and Mission for the 21st-Century Church by Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost
The Meeting of the Waters: 7 Global Currents That Will Propel the Future Church by Fritz Kling
The Invisible: What the Church Can Do to Find and Serve the Least of These by Arloa Sutter
Public Faith, A: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good by Miroslav VLF
Theology & Spirituality
Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World by Richard Foster by Richard Foster
The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited by Scot McKnight
Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions by Rachel Held Evans
The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder
Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann
Life, Relationships and Vocation
Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working for Yourself by Daniel H. Pink
Keith Ferrazzi, Never Eat Alone
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question by Po Bronson
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
Neuromancer by William Gibson
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
The Walking Dead: Compendium One by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn and Tony Moore
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
The funny thing about the criticism that J.K. Rowling received over the years from right wing Christian groups was the fact that they could ignore the obvious Christian undertones that characterized the books from the beginning. A chosen child who saves his people from an evil snake? Come on people, how did you think this book was going to end?
However it would be wrong to consider Harry an outright “Christ figure.” The truly analagous Aslan is both the creator and lord of Narnia, and the one who dies to redeem his people from their evil choices. Harry on the other hand, must kill the evil inside of him, so that he and those he loves will survive.
Harry is like any lover of Jesus: an imperfect replication of Christ.
Christ’s story is the God who died so that all might live. What Christ accomplished in his death for the cosmos, so we accomplish in our baptism and throughout a life of growing in the way of Jesus.
Jesus put it this way:
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
So we have this image of Harry, having been murdered by Voldemort. In between worlds, the spirit of Dumbledore points out that a little piece of Voldemort is dying. Voldemort was inside Harry all along. There was a part of Harry that made his life miserable. It disfigured his forehead, gave him migrains and fits of depression, and strange abilities that scared his friends. That piece of Harry was a piece of Voldemort buried inside of him, and it had to die so that Harry and his friends could live.
Paul, an early follower of Jesus put it this way:
“Our old self was crucified with him
so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with
that we should no longer be slaves to sin
because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”
Harry Potter is not so much a Christ figure as a Christian Figure. His is not a Passion Play so much as a Sanctification Story. Christ has already died for the world. Now we must die ourselves.
What it took Rowling tens of thousands of pages to say, Bonhoeffer put in one sentence:
“When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.”
Thanks to my buddy Avi for pointing this out.