“You are fond of history! And so are Mr. Allen and my father; and I have two brothers who do not dislike it. So many instances within my small circle of friends is remarkable! At this rate, I shall not pity the writers of history any longer. If people like to read their books, it is all very well, but to be at so much trouble in filling great volumes, which, as I used to think, nobody would willingly ever look into, to be laboring only for the torment of little boys and girls, always struck me as a hard fate; and through I know it is all very right and necessary, I have often wondered at the person’s courage that could sit down on purpose to do it.” ~ Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey
Catherine and Henry are having a discussion of books, likes and dislikes. She is at first very relieved to know he likes novels—which are seen as silly. And, now, that he likes history, which she’s always seen as tortuous—and pitied the poor writers who poured their hearts and labors into them. But, she declares, if anyone gets pleasure out of the books, then the author’s work is not in vain.
Catherine’s perception of history books reminds me of my early perceptions of reading the Bible. At one time, I’d rather eat a can of olives (I loathe olives) than attempt to read the Bible. In my mind, the book that adorns many coffee tables and hotel nightstands was archaic and had nothing that could interest my modern life. I found much more joy in Goosebumps, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and, of course, Harry Potter.
But one essential concept I did not understand was that my favorite stories—many stories in the western culture—have their roots and derive their rich meanings from the Sacred Book. I would be so bold as to declare that every page of Harry Potter has some connection with Biblical storytelling, symbolism, or teachings. But the only way to know that is to (drum roll) read the Bible.
God did not inspire the Bible—author the Bible—to torment us. He wrote the Bible to add richness, depth of understanding, guidance, and (yes!) enjoyment to our lives. Whether you are into history or stories or poetry or self-help, it is all there. Paul gives us wonderful instruction on how to live our faith. Jesus models that life of faith and is also a wonderful storyteller. David writes the most beautiful, rich, deep, and uplifting poetry. And Moses chronicles the rich history of the beginning of the world and the salvation of the Jews from slavery. Not to mention ring composition, literary alchemy, and everything else John Granger teaches us about the structure and richness of Harry Potter.
I had the great pleasure of talking with Danielle on her Keep Calm and Read On podcast yesterday (to be out sometime in October, I believe) about Christianity, the Bible, and Harry Potter. One of the points we discussed was how it is impossible to get the full richness and depth of Harry Potter without reading the Bible. And yet, so few of us can say we’ve actually read the Sacred Book. The Book that has inspired and is infused in our favorite Fandoms (or mine, at least)—Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Twilight, Star Wars, Narnia, every thing Jane Austen…
All this to say, if you really want to get into Fandom, you’ve got to understand the crux of your stories. For me and my Fandom that is the Bible.
Not reading the Bible and calling ourselves Christian is like not reading Harry Potter and calling ourselves Potterheads. ~ Random thought that hit me as I was getting ready this morning. #showersgivemeideas
Give the Bible a chance, it just might become your next Fandom 😉
A few great resources to make your Bible-reading task easier:
YouVersion Bible App (you can get a one-year, six-month, or 90-day plan, with reminders and accountability right on your phone/tablet).
BibleGateway.com (also available as an app with many whole-Bible plans to follow at the tip of your fingers).
Pick a version that makes sense to you and go with it. I personally like NLT, AMP, and ESV.