Fundamentalism: The ‘Good Old Days’ of Jesus

Fundamentalist Characteristic #2: A Belief in the Supremacy of a Bygone Era

Question: How do you know you’re talking to a fundamentalist?

Answer: His mouth is pointing toward 1955.

Of course, if you’d have been talking to that same fellow in 1955, he would have been extolling the virtues of some pre-Roosevelt time frame-  before Big Government took over and the Welfare State had taken root, etc., etc., on back to whatever set of days upon which he could most comfortably project his own historical fantasies.

As Modernism began to push at the borders of ancient Israel, in the form of Babylonian hordes, the time and person of King David began to be touted as the pinnacle period of Jewish history. Everything good and worth preserving about Judaism was located in the reign of David, “a man after God’s own heart.” Oh yeah, Moses was still important, but King David was a fighter, a military man, a defender of the faith. And when encroachment is perceived at the borders, that’s the kind of leader who takes center stage in the hearts and memories of those who believe they are being encroached upon. 

The desire for America to “go back” to a time when prayers were rammed down the throats of schoolchildren, before Roe v’ed Wade, and when everyone went to church in real Sunday clothes, is one of the most prominent themes in fundamentalist preaching and political activity. The 1950s seems to be the magic time that those fearful of today’s perceived Modernism are pining for, although it’s easy to see that they really are speaking of a mythological time when you try to pin them down to specific years of their supposed Golden Era.

But, oh! The glorious memories of those days in the 1950s when we were still a Christian nation! Back when:

* African Americans still had to drink at special fountains, eat in the kitchens at restaurants, pay a poll tax, pass a literacy test to vote, go to separate and woefully unequal schools, and sit in the back seats of public transportation in most of the South.

*Women were at fault when their husbands beat them, had no control over their man’s urges to procreate, and were fed amphetamines  by family doctors to lose weight while they stayed at home working and waiting for their allowances.

*Men were not men unless they looked like every other man in gray flannel suits.

*Girls could look forward to being wives, nurses, or teachers.

*Boys had better be able to play football or baseball, or find a dark and lonely closet to hide in.

*J. Edgar Hoover could wear his tu-tu while he was ripping apart the careers and lives of countless thousands of people and casting aspersions and suspicions on hundreds of thousands more, while his Senatorial counterpart Joe McCarthy, was preparing the way of the Lord with sneering, drunken vengeance. 

Such a fat underbelly exists on any body of time, no matter how glorious the memory of that time may be. It is human, not prophetic or divinely inspired, to wax nostalgic. But it is evil to pretend that for one brief, shining moment Camelot was anywhere, or real , and then to legislatively, shamefully, and coercively force others into that fictional fantasy land.

The primary motivation of fundamentalists in this regard seems to me to hinge on their overuse, and blatant misuse of the word Christian. They love the adjective itself, while merely putting up with him from whom the word was derived. They have made Jesus, the Christ, into a caricature of their own dark selves: he is an Islam hating, W Bush supporting, moralizing, tight-assed and uptight prig in his present adjectival incarnation who is concerned above all else that is wrong with the world, that two people of the same gender might possibly be able to enjoy the legal benefits of a state-sanctioned, contractual marriage.

“Follow me,” Jesus said. When he said that, he could not have imagined the eventual transformation of his life into a set of rules, regulations, dogma, and doctrines preceded by the institutionally mandated imprimatur Christian. If he were here physically right now, I think he might even be looking about for a whip to drive the profit-loving, status-lusting, power-wanting, people-separating, science-ignorant, lust-suppressing , 1955 time travelers  from the portico of his Daddy’s Temple.

Which is what I think as many of us as possible to should be willing to help him do. You know- follow him for a while, instead of his self-appointed, self-righteous, self-perpetuating spokesmen.

Texas Youth Livestock Auction

This could be called “Yet Another Reason I Love Texas.”

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The local livestock auction for young people of this county is being held today. The winners in the various categories (swine, beef, and goats) get to auction their animals off to local banks, car dealerships, oil drilling companies, and other companies which bid BIG for the winning animals.

Now livestock auctions are being held somewhere in America every day of the week. And, yes, I know (and even agree with) some of the criticism of the livestock and meat-packing industry. But this auction has a whole different flavor (pun intended) than many of those other ones. This auction is one of those places where the spotlights and attention are young people doing well. And, while there is a difficult reality to be faced by these young men and women as they say “good-bye” to their animals, they are also learning about relationships in life, and being an integral part of a community that is vital to this area.

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These animals have been raised for meat production since they were calves, kids, and piglets. They have been tended to daily by their young owners, and handled often so that they would “show” well when their time in the ring finally came. The animals are as clean and spiffy as their owners.

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You’ll note that there’s not a lot of jubilation evident in these faces of these youngsters, despite the fact that they are walking away with a whole lot more money than they spent on the raising of their animals. They’ve experienced that it is possible- impossible not to– love an animal. But they are also learning about the purpose and hard work involved in raising their livestock. The ones who continue in ranching will never lose that tension between the care of their animals and the purpose of their being raised in the first place. Some of the gentlest, kindest people I know are ranchers who discovered that dilemma early on, and continue to face it daily.

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Another thing I love about this Youth Auction is that the organizers realize that people really do like to eat other foods besides meat! So the opportunity exists for cookies, cakes, and pies to be a part of the judging and auctioning process, too. This little boy just sold a $750 cake to a local bank!

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These are the kids who ride horses, have dogs and cats, grow up understanding and respecting the land, and who get to spend part of each day hoping for rain or shading their eyes against a sunset. They will never eat a hamburg in blissful ignorance of where it came from or be able to tolerate the intentional abuse of any animal.

Or any other person. Just watch them as they grow up and you’ll see what I mean. The lessons you see being learned in these pictures don’t end today. They are part of lives now and those lessons will will benefit all of us.

My Brother Is Dead- A Good Cause

I know a lot of visitors to this blog have found Miranda’s blog (My Brother Is Dead) via my page, and are fans of hers. This is a way of saying “thank you” to her and her family for sharing their grief (and Miranda’s writing skills) publicly, in such moving ways..

A scholarship fund, in her brother Kyle’s name, has been set up at San Francisco State University for students in Latin American history. My check is in the mail. Act fast, and it is still tax-deductible for 2007, too!

Connections

I wrote recently about my lack of enthusiasm for chicken-fried steaks.  I’ve gotten comments and emails from people in Alabama, Utah, Washington D.C., Louisiana, California, and- of course- Texas (El Paso, Dallas, Arlington, and just down the street), who all say that their CFS would change my mind.

So, besides the point I am leading up to, let me say this: have at it, you optimistic CFSers. I will take up you on your offers anytime we are in approximate vicinity to each other. Except don’t ask me to slather anything with white gravy. I just can’t do it.

OK, now to the main point. As I thought about those who made this offer to overturn my CFS bias, I realized that I am looking at a group of people who would, in the same room at the same time, enjoy each other to no end and come away from such an encounter with their circles of consciousness made wider, thus better.

What they all have in common, right now, is a love for good CFS (is that possible?) and some knowledge of me. They could bounce those two subjects back and forth for a few minutes as a dialectical means of establishing some community, but then..I know this is true..one of them would say something which would cause another one to say “Aha!”. The rest would lean in to hear what followed (because all of them know- I also know- how to listen), and a human explosion of thought would begin that would leave everyone there reluctant at evening’s end to go home. But everyone would leave nourished and grateful for another community of which they were a part, but which had also taken them beyond themselves.

Evolution

We all have the opportunity to make connections with people: between ourselves and others, and between others and others. In doing so, we advance humanity. I’ll go ahead and say it this way, so you know how important I think that work is: By bringing certain people together, we can change the world.

And, of course, that can be for good or for bad. At some point, in the late 1920s, someone said, “Adolph, I’d like introduce Hermann to you.” But for those of us with genuine concern for the world and all of its creatures, for those of us who feel the circles of our love straining for larger diameters, the opportunities to affect the ideas that could affect goodness in the world, are present almost daily. We all know people who don’t know each other who should know each other. We all know of synergy which is waiting to sizzle if only two or more special minds whom we also know, could be brought together.

At that’s all we really have to do. If we trust that our instincts and forethought are correct ones, the natural desire for creativity on the part of others will take over.  We, then, can sit back and be a part of the synergy instead feeling like we must lead, form, and guide it according to our own personal expectations. My group of CFS aficionados might not come from their evening together with a solution to end of world hunger in hand, but they might be ready to get together for a CFS cook off, from which there might emerge, in a generation a two, an idea for the speedy transportation of surplus foodstuffs from one nation to another. Who knows?

Which is the real point, I guess to all of this wondering: nobody will know what the potential results of such a meeting of like-minded individuals will be if it never happens. Each of us can be the estuary where new relationships, new community, and new ideas evolve from their present forms.

And there is no way to make white gravy palatable. That’s the only thing I will not allow on the agenda.

Update: 12-18-07

Here’s a picture of white gravy from a breakfast I attended this morning. The breakfast was wonderful. But I didn’t try the gravy..

white gravy

Christmas Presents

You cannot buy happiness. For anyone- not yourself, your spouse, your children, or your boss. You can buy a brief period of satisfaction. How brief? Watch the kids tearing into the next present..and adult attention spans aren’t that much longer.

The GREAT LIE in America is that happiness (as defined by television script writers) is available to anyone whose means and desires coincide. And advertisers keep the sweet carrots dangling just a little bit beyond everyone’s reach, so that no one is ever quite there, where X marks the spot that happiness, true happiness, will finally begin. (Even Lottery winners get the blues: there are many sad stories in that chapter of the New American Dream.)

Last week, I stood in line at the local Fred’s behind a couple who were juggling two credit cards to buy what looked Round One of their Christmas gift orgy. Among the items was a battery operated model of Bill Clinton playing a saxophone. Here’s what it looks like:

Yeah, that’s all it does. How quickly will Uncle Bill tire of that thing? That thing will be in someone’s yard sale by April. Along with probably 25% of December’s Gross National Product, which is quickly becoming China’s Very Gross National Profit. How many gallons of foreign oil were used in this year’s manufacture of those Bill Clinton saxophone toys? And, how much landfill space will they still be occupying 30,000 years from now when the plastic in them finally begins to break down?

So here’s my point: There are alternatives– places where you can spend money and affect the future in positive ways for generations to come. Here are three:

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Kiva is a micro-lender. You can make loans to small business people in places around the world. Your $25, $50, or $100 is added to similar amounts from other lenders to finance the $500 to $1500 loans being requested. The payback rate is close to 100%, and when your money is paid back, you can either get it back or re-invest in someone else’s business.  Some people on my list this year are getting KIVA gift certificates so they can experience the same fun I’ve had giving six women and three men on four continents a real hand up in their lives.

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The SEVA Foundation is also in the business of fighting poverty and disease through self-help projects. And the array of those projects is fascinating. Last year, my wife received a gift from me, given in her name, which enabled two Mayan women in Mexico to be trained as mid wives.

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The Heifer Project is an elder statesman in the world of really good places to share your resources. Last year, each of my three children received a flock of ducks, going to Cambodia. Others received from me a flock of chickens, a goat, and some trees. All of these things are given to the recipients with the understanding that they will use the gifts for both food and income, and that they will give away some of the new chicks, kids, and saplings that result from their work. They are gifts that keep on giving for real.

Two years ago, I received from friends a llama in Ecuador and part of a community water well in South Africa. I’ve never seen either of those gifts, but they are the ones from that Christmas that I remember best. They are making a continuing difference in the lives of people, as they continue to make a difference in my own.

It’s a pretty cool bandwagon. Jump aboard! We’ll meet there at the X where real happiness is always waiting.

Build a Shelter of Light and Air..

I ran across this phrase, and it fascinates me:

shelter light and air

It is fascinating to me because of its Simplicity and Truth. And that Simplicity and Truth is found not only in the images or recollections which the phrase gives rise to in our imaginations or memories; it is the clean nature of the statement itself.

Build a shelter of light and air

Stated in the imperative, it is like a command that has been waiting to be spoken. It is a place which I am perceived to be ready for now- by whom?- and being invited to enter. But first- the imperative- there is work to be done, assembly to be undertaken.

The first task, for me, is disassociation from those things- things, stuff, material- that I have allowed to define me and, in the process, bend me. Because that is what stuff does, it bends the shape of the Image of God, the humanity in us, into the shape of whatever shiny baubles attract us. I have learned to feel my way in the dark with my wallet. I breathe in the smog of others’ desires for me to have the satisfaction that only they can sell to me. I am vulnerable and I have been injured, over and over, because I have traded too many times the security I was born with- the security of community with others- for the individual and illusory safety of bank account numbers and one more gadget.

I have forgotten so much about sharing. But I have remembered enough to know that holding my hands outward, toward others, is eminently more rewarding than holding them clenched and thrust within my pockets. I want to make room for the Image of God to be growing again, through the presence of others, and not stunted any longer through the weight of all my stuff. So it begins there.

The second task is to “let there be light.” Yes, that Light. The Light that comes not from the sun, and certainly not from any incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs; I want more of the Light the ancient rabbis called First Understanding. I want the Light of more Knowledge, yes, but even more than that, I want the Light of Appreciation and Acceptance of what I already do know. I want to spend less and less time criticizing, evaluating, deciding, and then second-guessing, than I do in feeling passionately about and cultivating the facts, ideas, and opinions that are already in me and that I know to be valuable. I want to continue moving from whatever is dark in me, toward that which is Light, and awaits me.

And then, to breathe. I want to breathe through walls which separate me from the pulse of the world around me. I want the Air, the lightness of being which surrounds us all, to be the only barrier between myself and others. I do not want to fight for air behind musty walls of tradition, or within stale spaces of ancient standards. I no longer want to gasp for air within the stench of dogmatic death.

I want to feel the ruach, the breath of God, always blowing against me, always being drawn into my being. I want to feel led by the Spirit into open spaces, and not pushed by the status quo against the brick walls of fear built by others.

I want to build a structure of Light and Air with others, for others, because of others, and live there, too.

That is the only structure, a structure of Understanding and Freedom, that will withstand the onslaught of those who live, instead, in forts, ready to fight and die for the beliefs they cherish and store within dark, thick, impermeable walls. It is the Structure of Light and of Air in which I will live and toward which I am moving.

I beg you to come along. We will need each other, to help each other disassemble, unpack, and even tear down some of what we thought, by ourselves, was precious. We will need each other to remind the other that the Light is sometimes uncomfortable but always illuminating, and that the Air is often harsh and cold, even as it is life-giving and clean.

We will build a structure of Light and of Air and we will say, “Welcome” to all who come nearby.

Tao Te Ching 2..

When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad…

Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn’t possess,
acts but doesn’t expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.

To say that I love the Tao Te Ching, is to implicitly say that there is some other text or texts I do not love. Up is a part of down; left is fundamental to right; and good is vital to bad. The Tao gives rise to those individually perceived and sometimes agreed-upon definitions, but none of them define anything specific about the Tao. And I do intensely dislike reading stock market analyses and anything by Danielle Steele. The texts I love or don’t love are my texts to love or despise, and while you might agree or disagree with me about them, nothing about the Tao is affected by our discussion of them. My cultural, intellectual, emotional, and temporal preferences cannot be yours. They may be similar, but they will never be the same. We are each pregnant with an always-growing body of variables for such perfect agreement to ever happen.

That’s where a Great Teacher can make a difference. And each of us, even within our own particular set of recognized limitations, can be a Great Teacher to someone else. We can all be a Master, for a moment or many moments, in the life of another who is learning. Each person has the opportunity, many times in a lifetime, to affect the evolutionary flow of humankind in the universe, and to be agents of enlightenment for others along the way.

To wit:

Remember your favorite teachers. It might have an instructor at school, a parent, a friend, even someone- given the times in which we live- on television. Did those Great Teachers instruct you, or allow you to discover on your own? Did they you give you a point by point analysis and defense of their opinions, or did they tell parables and allow your mind to be shaped by your observations of the object under study? Don’t tell me your answer; I already know.

Great Teachers recognize the Tao; they understand something about God that enables them to trust their students in presence of the Source of All.  Great Teachers make introductions, then back out of the way so a true relationship between the student and that which is being studied, can begin. Great Teachers are bridge builders, never ditch diggers or constructors of barriers. They are not afraid of revelation, even when it differs from what they themselves might believe.

And Great Teachers don’t have to worry whether or not they have taught rightly or wrongly, correctly or mistakenly. The Tao itself has a certain remarkable, however unspecific or unpredictable way of bringing forth in a person exactly that which needs to be brought forth.

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Master words..

One More Reason I Love Texas. . . . . . . ."Great, Speckled Bird"

It’s 1975, in a small West Texas town. The Band Director of the high school announces to the band and the baton twirlers that he has arranged and choreographed the 1936 Roy Acuff gospel song “Great Speckled Bird” for them to perform. I’ve got to believe that no similar announcement was ever made by another Band Director, anywhere.

Don’t read any further, though, without listening to the song first. Then try to imagine the embarrassed horror of being a 15 or 16 year old member of the band or twirling squad and having to perform this song, with appropriate choreography, on the football fields of other towns, in front of other 15 and 16 year olds, at halftime. As I’ve heard the story, the performers marched, twirled, and cringed, all at the same time.

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The song was written by a Rev. Guy Smith. It is based on Jeremiah 12:9, “Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour.” Right off the bat, we have a 2500 year old metaphor that is being absurdly used in a mid-20th century context, and the attempts to make it work fail, I think, miserably. Look at some of the verses:

1. What a beautiful thought I am thinking
Concerning a great speckled bird
Remember her name is recorded
On the pages of God’s Holy Word.
2. All the other birds are flocking ’round her
And she is despised by the squad
But the great speckled bird in the Bible
Is one with the great church of God.
3. All the other churches are against her
They envy her glory and fame
They hate her because she is chosen
And has not denied Jesus’ name.

From Baptist Singing Conventions in the 30s, to the Grand Old Opry in the 50s, to football fields in Petrolia, Chico, and Alvord in the 70s, the Great Speckled Bird was both a testimony to Jesus and a psychological trauma for many Texas teens. Where else could a song achieve such a legacy?

Oh Texas, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways..

Bob Larson: Demon Chaser, Demon User

Religionists and politicians share this basic operating maxim:

Tell a Lie often enough, and it will become the Truth.

Both religionists and politicians also depend on this subset of that truth: When caught in a lie, deny it often enough and your slave-like followers won’t care.

When politicians lie, we end up with higher taxes, fewer freedoms, or at war. But they’re not my nemesis here; they’re everybody’s nemesis, all the time. My object d’scorn are the religious charlatans, those foul manipulators of spiritual seekers and blasphemous betrayers of the divine. And among the many scoundrels fighting to lead that pack of dogs is one-time radio star, now mere shadow of former sleazy self (but I don’t think he knows that!), Bob Larson.

Bob Larson Ministries’ web page, in all of it’s 1995-era glory, may be found here. The whole front page is, of course, a hustle, for Larson’s books which will tell you all about the dangers of Islam and feng shui, and for his Spiritual Freedom Conferences. No surprise there; every time Larson opens his mouth it’s a hustle. For which, amazingly, large numbers of devotees continue to fall.

What is fascinating to me is the disclaimer found at the bottom of the front page:

“SPECIAL NOTICE… In your effort to locate our web site, you may have encountered other sites devoted to attacking our ministry. Be aware that these sites contain misinformation, disinformation, twisted facts and outright lies. Many of these accusations are sinister distortions of reality and fabrications designed to look truthful. Our response is that of Nehemiah: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you (Nehemiah 6:3)?” To those who maliciously malign our efforts to reach the lost for Christ and see those in demonic bondage set free, we respond as our Savior commanded us. We “pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).”

Go ahead, try it and see what he is talking about. Google “Bob Larson” and you’ll find site after site of former employees, legitimate news organizations, and Christian organizations of all stripes who have experienced or investigated Larson, and found him (caught him!) lying about his background, his affairs, his finances, and his claims, again and again and again and again. Here are two, of many:

Inside Edition

CanadianChristianity.com

So what is the niche within the overcrowded Christian ministry industry that Larson has developed into a feed trough for both his ego and his finances?

Demons

You know, those “spiritual entities” that can’t be seen but can only be discerned by those specially trained to do so; those “angels of Satan” which provide a ready excuse for anyone caught in abysmal human behaviors; those modern day versions of State Fair midway geeks who bit the heads off chickens to the delight of countrified adolescent boys and their hardy-har-harring daddies who’d drunk way too many beers under the hot summer sun.

Those demons. The ones that some Christians believe they’re able to identify in everyone around them the day after the night they walked that center aisle and gave their lives to Jesus. The ones that reappear in the same persons at Spiritual Freedom Conference after Spiritual Freedom Conference. The ones that Bob Larson can talk about with an air of believable authority that rivals any presidential candidate’s claim that “If I’m elected, things are gonna change!”

Those demons. Those human conjured spirits that fueled the Inquisition as the Church lusted after and found a way to legitimately grab the property of countless Spanish, French, Italian, and German land-owners, accused and convicted of cavorting with Satan. Those demons, grabbed from preacher’s arsenals of fear, when words about God’s love will not suffice. Those demons, still being used as ushers when the collection plate is passed.

The pleasure I take is writing about Larson is, I discover, a perverse pleasure. He is too easy to make fun of. The sarcasm he inspires from me is masking the real sadness I feel for those whom he has brow beat and lied to in his quest for their money and adulation. So here, let these video clips do the talking. Then pass them on to anyone you may know whose pockets and hearts are being ransacked by spiritual parasites like Larson.

Case in point: The national media has followed him and found him wanting. Pretend otherwise, often and loudly. The lemmings will continue to come.

The Spirit of Jezebel, always the Spirit of Jezebel..the evil, conniving, seducing Woman Spirit..Oh, Please..!

 

 

A Christian’s Response to Harry Potter

Read ’em. If you want to. That’s my response.

I am not (cannot be!) one of those Christians who, because of rank or status (ordained or self-anointed), would label what comes out of my mind or mouth as doctrinal. I am not one of those who would have the audacity to label anything I say or write as THE Christian response to anything. I’m just a guy who tries to follow Jesus, makes mistakes in doing so from time to time, but has (as you can probably tell by now) LOTS of opinions.

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(for anyone unable to tell, all the people in the above picture are actors)

I’ve never read a Harry Potter book, and never will. But among the people whose opinions I value, my wife and daughters do read Rowling’s books, enjoy them, and none of them have become witches. I did see the first movie, and smiled all the way through it. I’ve missed the others, and don’t remember why; I probably had building committee meetings or something equally invigorating to go to.

If you want to see THE Christian response to Harry Potter, here are three of them:

here- Focus on the Family

here- Christian Answers for the New Age

and here- Exposing Satanism (this one’s the most fun!)

The common objection by these defenders of the faith seem to center around, “But what about the children??” Yeah, what about them?

Half the kids between 10 and 20 that I know have read all the Potter books. And I have yet to see any of them on broomsticks, doing incantations, or so much as carrying a magic wand. I don’t know how the reading of Harry Potter manifests itself among children in churches where there is more talk about the fear of Satan than about the love of God, but in the churches I spend time in (the latter), Harry Potter has not had any behavioral impact that I can see.

Except for the fact that there are a bunch of kids who have learned to love to read and are not watching some dismal sit-com on TV while they do it!

Can I suggest that no one anywhere has seen a child doing occult, witchy, or otherwise “dark” things because of their having read Harry Potter books? Kids are not the stupid lumps of clay many adults think they are. They have, at the age of 9 or 10- about the time most would even begin to read these books- real abilities to discern between truth and fantasy. Notice that you can’t fool them with your silly magic tricks, the way you could when they were 2 or 3; none of them will play peek-a-boo with you anymore. That’s because they are learning the difference between what is real and not-real!

And that will continue! If they are older than 8, 9, or 10, children’s cognitive abilities are getting even better, and more complex. Even the ones who think, for a moment, that there might be something to this broomstick business, will, after about three seconds of experimentation, realize there is not.

Relax. That’s another of this Christian’s responses to almost everything, come to think about it. Relax and, while doing so, take a look at the money angle of those who have lots to say about the Potter books. Are they raising money for themselves through their usual ploy of fear, yet again? Are they, through their own painfully minute exegesis of the Potter books, trying to build more credibility among those who willingly hand over their own abilities to discern to these “experts”?

Just relax. Stop reacting to the “panic” of others. I’d be far more concerned about my young child watching anything on (so-called) Christian TV than I would about her reading a Harry Potter book. (Which wouldn’t be hard to do, since I’d have NO concern over her reading a Potter book.)

Relax; stop trying to scare children into loving God. Take a child outside today, to the park or to the woods, and let God do all the talking.

For once.