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Harry Potter — Finally, it’s over.

Posted on : 07-23-2007 | By : Andy | In : pop culture, religion

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So last night at about 1 AM, I finished reading the 7th book of the Harry Potter Series. It was good, it was long, and I’m glad it’s over. Why?

JK Rowling is not CS Lewis.

The 7 books were certainly fun to read, and mostly well-written, and had good continuity. They were also quite creative. But at the end of the day, when all is said and done, there’s nothing there. No deeper meaning, no eternal hope, nothing. In contrast, I thought of the end of Narnian time in “The Last Battle”: what a picture of heaven, with perfect sweetness that only gets better as eternity increases. What a hope to be drawn into the fullness of communion with God Almighty!

In contrast: [click here only if you want to have the ending of Harry Potter to be spoiled]

Harry Potter sacrifices his life to destroy the power of death and comes back to life, thus saving the entire wizarding (and muggle) world (a very Christ-like parallel). But the message is simply “love”, Harry is not perfect, and all the people who are saved were basically “good” anyways. There’s no hope for anything beyond the restoration of how things were before Voldemort (the evil wizard) came back to power, and the road to the ultimate act of redemption involves the justification—or perhaps even glorification—of the use of curses so evil that they’re labeled unforgiveable.

It’s funny, because Voldemort keeps saying “what’s your big secret? love?”, and I end up asking the same as well. Because true love is from God alone, and that very love leads us to repentance, and that this response to God’s love results in eternal life. Harry might have the first part of that somewhat down, but leaves out the equally important last two.

When the sun sets on this story, the ends justify the means, everyone can go back to their own lives, and it’s funny and acceptable to break the rules, as long as you don’t break them too badly. (no repentance, no need for forgiveness if you’re not caught)

Harry Potter is the hero because he’s bad but not too bad, and good when it counts. This might be an attractive philosophy to buy into, but it’s definitely not a Christian one.

By far, I prefer the example of the woman from Perelandra, who lives out the temptation of the garden of Eden and gets it right, upholding purity, complete obedience to God, and heavenly love as the highest and noblest of desires.

Harry Potter is here!

Posted on : 07-21-2007 | By : Andy | In : fun, pop culture

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Yeah, today Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows showed up via our friendly UPS guy. I took a picture of the box from Amazon.com:

Harry Potter

I can’t wait to see what’s inside!

Crazy Guy Dancing at Cedar Point

Posted on : 07-21-2007 | By : Andy | In : fun, pop culture

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Cedar Point has been voted the Greatest Amusement Park in the World for 9 years running now, and I agree. They now have 17 roller coasters, of which fully 5 are actually lots of fun. Three of their roller coasters broke height records when they were built, and the Millenium Force, built back in 2000, is still among the top-ranked coasters in the world. If you like roller coasters, you need to visit Cedar Point.

So Lisa and I went to Cedar Point yesterday, and while waiting in line for the Millenium Force, we stood about 15 people ahead of the infamous “Crazy Guy from Cedar Point”. I guess that he loves Cedar Point, he loves music, and he loves dancing. You can find him in the line for Millenium Force. From Youtube:

There’s quite a few videos of him on YouTube, some even a year old or older. I tell you what, he made the 1.5 hr wait to get on that ride the quickest 1.5 hours of my life. Everyone around him was laughing and having a good time, he was enjoying himself, and it was awesome! I guess a few people might have been a little embarrassed, but honestly, the world could do with more people like him who don’t always feel the need to prove to the world that they’re “cool”, “smart”, “rich”, “funny”, “likeable”, or any other of a bazillion terms we each work so hard to maintain a facade of.

I love this guy. Rock on, oh Crazy Dancing Guy from Cedar Point.

You’ll be happy to know he’s upgraded from the old CD Player to a blue iPod Nano, and he was even taking requests when we were there.

Girl loses court battle over a Virginity Ring?

Posted on : 07-21-2007 | By : Andy | In : news, pop culture, religion

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This morning I read an article on MSNBC.com about a girl’s battle to be allowed to wear her virginity ring to a school that has a ban on jewelry. While I commend her commitment to sexual purity, and applaud her desire to stand firm in her convictions, I agree with the court’s decision.

The whole point behind the ban on jewelry, I’m guessing, lies somewhere in having a distraction-free place of education, and keeping people from outwardly flaunting or flashily broadcasting their social, political, and religious views. There are better ways of proclaiming that you’re a christian than wearing a shirt that says “JesUSAaves” (yes, saw one yesterday). The school, as far as I can tell, has not prohibited her from talking to people about her faith or commitments, and to throw a stink about not being granted special privileges to wear this ring is ridiculous.

If the ring was essential to her virginity (ie, if she wasn’t able to remain a virgin without the ring) or if it was dictated by her faith (ie, if her faith demanded that virgins wear a ring), I would consider it necessary that she be allowed to wear the ring—and I’m guessing that the court might be as well.

The bottom line is that no one else is allowed to wear jewelry as a means to express anything about themselves. Why should she?

Another thought on the “True Love Waits” movement.

I thought that I had heard somewhere that people taking that vow are nearly (or equally) as likely to engage in pre-marital sexual behavior. In looking for the article, I found a response to a reader by Miss Manners that said:
However, Miss Manners feels obliged to warn you that polite society does not recognize such a thing as a chastity ring. It is so polite that it presumes that a lady is chaste unless publicly proven otherwise.

I had to laugh. Maybe to naive old people like Miss Manners, this may be the case. Unfortunately, the trend is such that she should probably have said something more like “At ever-increasing rates, young people assume each other to be sexually active if they are in a ‘serious’ relationship. While a potential date should quickly get to know your convictions well enough to know you are committed to remaining sexually pure, a purity ring is a good reminder to the both of you as well as to others around you that you respect the sanctity of marriage.”

My Wikipedia Experience

Posted on : 07-10-2007 | By : Andy | In : tech, work

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So I just finished posting an article about Step2 on Wikipedia, and it scares me. Why, do you ask?

Within a few minutes of posting, the “Step2″ page must have showed up on the “recent changes” section of the site, and a few people made notes about it being an advertisement, or needing wikipediaizing, or having an inappropriate tone. However, I just immediately went back in, added a few links, and deleted their comment thingys…and viola! Totally “legitimate” article. To be honest, it now reads a lot more like it should, and is definitely less advertisy (though I tried to make it as neutral as possible to begin, and largely similar to the Fisher Price page that’s already up there).

The scary part comes in the fact that if it makes it for longer than 2 minutes without getting flagged, chances are that your new article will last for a very long time without being edited. This is especially true with marginal topics where the only people who really know what’s legitimate are the ones who know so much about said topic that they’ll never visit Wikipedia to read up on it.

Can I say it again, kids? Wikipedia is not a credible source. Might be good for quick info…or you might end up telling people that the Nigerian Banker guy really is legitimate after all. (Because, hey, Wikipedia says so!)