Tag Archives: restoration

Do You Get Harry Potter?

As of today Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince has grossed $461,318,990 worldwide. Gwen and I contributed to that last week at the over-priced Bridge Deluxe near Penn (but how nice to walk to the theatre!). Do you get what is going on here? Just what is selling all these tickets? I have not been able to get into the books and I have been caught looking at my watch during the movies. What is the attraction?

There is something going on. A bazillion people are concerned that another youngster is threatened by unseen forces and fighting overwhelming evils. Is every movie required to have this plot this year? — By use of some kind of magic (a transforming car, the Starship Enterprise, etc.) young people enhance their developing, misunderstood awesomeness to overcome the evil with the help of their friends, but not at the expense of their own self-esteem and uniqueness.

This propaganda is getting to be old hat. But, if the trailers are any evidence, the expression of it may be getting darker and even more dire. I felt quite educated by the previews before Harry Potter started lumbering into its 2-1/2 hours. I can’t remember them all. The next Twilight was one of them (Bella leaves vampire boyfriend with werewolf boyfriend; danger ensues, but will true love save even the undead?). 2012 was another (John Cusack and Woody Harrelson survive global catastrophe). And there was a creepier, Potteresque something I can’t remember. I was not encouraged, but perhaps enlightened.

This generation has some high expectations of success and happiness and it secretly blames insurmountable, possibly evil, forces for the inevitable shame they feel about their deprivation. That is my lesson du jour. Voldemort gets Dumbeldore killed. My boyfriend wants to suck my blood. We’re all about to be killed by a natural disaster and only John Cusack will survive. Anxiety. Fear. Unfulfilled dreams. Pass the prozac. Or please, pass the gospel. You people need a savior; Harry’s wand is not making it (and it is make-believe, anyway, btw).

The other strand that might be running through these movies is this (OK, this is lesson du jour deux): “I really want someone to love; I want community.” — Life-long school chums who are as weird as I am and know me, and accept me, as I am; the boyfriend who is wild and crazy but who will resist killing me (he’s so awesome) and may kill others for me; the brave survivors who restart the world from their little tribe. Connection, Hope. Restoration. Pass the church.

Pray for the sifted: The betrayals of love

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you [all] as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32

Simon (Peter), one of the core disciples of Jesus, did get “sifted” like chaff getting separated from wheat. He got torn apart. You might even say he got broken up. His courage failed him; his anxiety controlled him; his weak heart couldn’t take it. He betrayed Jesus and he betrayed his true self. But, ultimately, his faith did not fail. God held on to him. Just as Jesus prayed, Peter did go on to strengthen the other followers who had been sifted and were about to be sifted.

Broken up

I am particularly interested, today, in the idea that Peter got broken up. We use that term when we get separated from our intimates. I am surrounded by people experiencing being broken up. They are getting sifted. They are in a spiritual battle. I pray for their faith not to fail. I pray that one day they will be through it and will strengthen us.

So many of us are experiencing this brokenness ourselves or experiencing it in someone else that it bears admitting in writing. Intimacy breaks us and builds us. Our connections come with suffering and cause suffering. Today, I’m thinking of being broken up in two ways: 1) someone is getting sifted because they were let go; 2) someone else is being sifted because they can’t let go, even though the person is gone. For others, it is both. I don’t have great definitions or solutions to share, but I am feeling the brokenness, too.

For every Christian who got attached, who gave themselves physically, who made the commitment (some by getting married) and then broke up, it is a spiritual battle. Some of you did not have a tough time moving on; you might be good at hardening your heart, now, as a result. I am not really talking to you. I am feeling for the people who are still being sifted and they feel the brokenness. You are in a spiritual battle. Don’t lose your faith. Don’t let your suffering turn you. Turn back.

Let go

Some people are struggling to let themselves be let go. Pray for them. I won’t tell a story, but it is a common one: “I did not intend to get connected to this person, much less have sex, but I did. Now they are with someone else.” Or “It never crossed my mind that they would go out on me. I feel so stupid and embarrassed.” Or “I don’t know why I still want them after what they did to me, but I do.” They are getting sifted. I pray that one of the results is that they accept their true value before God and escape the power of the betrayal.

Some people are struggling to let go. Pray for them. Again, I won’t tell a story, you can tell your own. But they are common: “I repent of the immorality, but I long for the intimacy.” Or “I want two people for different reasons.” Or “I can’t believe that what I am or what we had could have been this damaging.” Or “Maybe there is a way to work this out if we just get away from the family and all these people.” They are getting sifted. I pray that one of the results is that they turn away from hunger and find true sustenance.

Being sifted could be good

Whenever I am talking to people sifted by the betrayals of love I often make surprisingly little headway in convincing them it is a spiritual place to be. For Christians, in particular, they often think they need to keep their pain or their desires secret from people who won’t understand, and they often act like it is all a secret from God. Even though they see Jesus discerning the secrets in the heart of his intimate friend, Peter, they fall under the spell of their feelings and can’t get loose. They seem to think that if they admitted the situation was about more than their attachment, they would lose the attachment, and they either think that is impossible or undesirable. Pray for them. Being betrayed or betraying is about more than the two people involved. And “in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)

Broken up people often don’t imagine that what they really need to do is strengthen their brothers and sisters. They are so wrapped up in being sifted, it can become an identity. They are so wrapped up in how they have sex or not that they forget about everything else. Satan would love that.

They often think their loves and lusts are happening in private, but their actions usually end up as tools for sifting us all. Pray that in being let go and letting go they let us all go.

Pray their faith does not fail — because that failure is a distinct possibility for them. You who are enduring this or who have honestly endured it know what I am talking about. But having been sifted, it is also a distinct possibility that they, and all of us, will develop true strength to share.