My Dear Friends,

 

Harry Potter is all grown up!

 

By the time we reach the final scenes of the last book in the series, Harry Potter is in his late thirties and a number of well-loved characters created by the author J. K. Rowling have been killed off with devastating abandon.

 

It has been quite a journey.  The earliest books began with Harry as a child; his story an engaging fantasy of magic and friendship.  But as the years passed the storylines matured along with the audience.  Harry and his readers travelled through adolescence together.  The themes became increasingly adult and accordingly darker, with the conclusion of the newly published seventh and final book being touched by tragedy as much as victory.  One reviewer has concluded with relief ‘Thank goodness, now we can all grow up!’

 

But I suspect some readers will be disappointed.  We can become very attached to childish themes; they can be an escape, a refuge.  But in allowing Potter to grow up, Rowling matured the tale according to some of the highest traditions of the fairy tale, which have often dealt with some of the darker themes that children have to engage with amidst the process of becoming an adult.

 

Some Christians can similarly have an unhealthy attachment to the childish.  A local vicar once said to me ‘You know, I don’t think the faith of my congregation has changed one jot since the day they left Sunday School!’  It is a mistake to make Christianity a nursery-like refuge against the travails of modernity.  It should rather be a narrative that helps us as we grow to engage with life’s darknesses.  As we mature, faith should feed and nurture us appropriately with milk in our infancy, but meat in our adulthood.  It’s all very well for Christianity to be rainbows and parables when we are six, but by the time we are sixty we shouldn’t be afraid of dealing with death, and sex and judgement.  Curiously enough, although the tabloids fill their pages with the latter, they expect their Christianity to be the former.  Healthy Christianity is therefore destined to be a great disappointment to them!

 

In the autumn we shall again be running courses on Christian faith and discipleship and we will be preparing people for confirmation in November.  If you fancy chewing on some real ‘meat’ do consider joining us!

 

Jeff Cuttell.

  

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