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Author Topic: Harry Potter V reviews  (Read 17637 times) Average Rating: 0
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Keble
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« on: June 22, 2003, 11:58:17 PM »

This is not going to be a great review, because I read the book at my maximum speed, which is fearfully fast. And it's late, and I just drove to Frostburg and back (6 hours plus round trip).

Much of what I liked in the earlier books is there: the distinctly drawn characters, the slightly mad humor, the wonderful names,  the page-turning story. As with the previous book, this one takes a while to really get underway; lots that is intersting and amusing happens in the early chapters, but you don't get much of a sense of forward plot motion. When the plot really kicks into gear, though, it takes off like a runaway freight train.

This is no longer totally a kid's book; it has definitely stepped into YA territory. There is a lot of moral ambiguity, and Harry is forced into a lot of uncomfortable realizations. Harry goes through a lot of teenage agnst, and depending upon your perspective you will either find this very tiring or all too realistic.

In the end I liked it a lot, but I'm going to need more time to sort it out. The plot is quite complicated, and there's also a lot of data dump scattered through it (one reason why it's so long).
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« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2003, 09:51:17 AM »

Thanks for the review Keble...I haven't had a chance to pick this up yet, but I'm looking forward to reading it.
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« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2003, 10:43:41 AM »

I will be racing to the bookstore as soon as I cash my VA tax return (finally got it back), to pick it up.
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« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2003, 11:05:26 AM »

My wife picked her copy up early Saturday morning. She finished it Saturday night. And read it again on Sunday.

But then again, when it comes to reading - she is obsessive!

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« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2003, 12:13:53 PM »

<sigh>  Once again, I have to wait until the DVD comes out!   Sad

Hypo-Ortho
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Keble
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« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2003, 12:55:24 PM »

<sigh>  Once again, I have to wait until the DVD comes out!   Sad


I see approximately zero percent chance of the fifth book being made into a movie. Maybe a mini-series.... They're already talking about having to split the fourth book into two films.

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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2003, 07:55:18 PM »

I have to admit that I don't understand how a 900 page book can be read in 1 day.  One of my co-workers did that too.  I did get 200 pages read last night.  I'm only about 1/3 of the way through the book.  I like what I've read so far.
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« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2003, 11:28:37 AM »

Bought it today! YAY! :bounce:
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« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2003, 12:42:54 PM »

When did Harry Potter go from every Christian's favorite whipping boy to every Christian's favorite, gotta-have-it, work of fiction?

Justin

PS. I take no position regarding whether it's "good" or "bad," (and my spiritual father sees nothing wrong with it) I'm merely curious.
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« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2003, 01:15:28 PM »

I wonder what Father Seraphim Rose or  great and revered saints, such as St. Theophan the Recluse, or St.Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, would think of dear 'ol Harry?


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Keble
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« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2003, 02:10:10 PM »

When did Harry Potter go from every Christian's favorite whipping boy to every Christian's favorite, gotta-have-it, work of fiction?

I don't think it ever did. There's always been the knee-jerk reaction to the word "magic"; a lot of these people also object to Tolkien and even Narnia. The press covers these people heavily, out of laziness and because the press enjoys feeling superior to these people.

The impression I've gotten is that the mainline Christian community was neutral about the books at first, but has become more enthusiastic as the books have continued to appear. The most recent one is in particular morally very challenging (and a great invitation to discussing the issues with your kid), and the mainline churches want people to think about morality. The press is starting to listen to this buzz too (if for no better reason than that they need a constant supply of stuff to write about).

It's rather interesting some of the comments being made by the English teaching community. There's a lot of hope being placed in the books as far as getting kids (and in particular boys) into the reading habit (and also a lot of pessimism). Some of the stuff that comes up under "if you liked Harry Potter...." They all recommend Tolkien, of course. I saw one article referring to Narnia as more advanced, which is just isn't true. I've seen any number of people recommending the Philip Pullman books, to which any Orthodox parent is certainly going to have huge objections. I've not read them (my wife has), but the impression I get is that the first is OK enough and that the last is an out-and-out denunciad against everything Christian-- like The Mysterious Stranger but a lot worse. Literature recommended for teens is heavily laced with trouble teen books, which I have to doubt the wisdom of (and besides, by that age I had already read Jane Eyre anyway).

Telling detail: Harry Potter V grossed more over the weekend than The Hulk did.
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« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2003, 04:17:44 PM »

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I wonder what Father Seraphim Rose or  great and revered saints, such as St. Theophan the Recluse, or St.Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, would think of dear 'ol Harry?

FWIW, the monks at Saint Anthony's don't like it.  This order comes from the top too, from Elder Ephraim.  So I assume all the monasteries under his spiritual guidance (four on the Holy Mountain, 18 in America and a few more in Greece) are all opposed to it - and they truly live the tradition of above mentioned Saints.  Here is a link to a pamplet on it http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/cgi-bin/cp-app.cgi?usr=50X1195489&rnd=8904178&rrc=N&cip=68.98.118.131&pg=prod&ref=3HARRYEP1&cat=  I haven't read it yet, but maybe I'll pick it up next time I head down to the monastery in the next few weeks.
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« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2003, 04:29:37 PM »

Nektarios,

Please put long url's in url tags by clicking the picture of the globe on the second row of the "Add UBBC tags" that will say "add hyperlink".

I will correct this instance.

Thanks!

anastasios
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« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2003, 05:02:04 PM »

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I wonder what Father Seraphim Rose or  great and revered saints, such as St. Theophan the Recluse, or St.Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, would think of dear 'ol Harry?

FWIW, the monks at Saint Anthony's don't like it.  This order comes from the top too, from Elder Ephraim.  So I assume all the monasteries under his spiritual guidance (four on the Holy Mountain, 18 in America and a few more in Greece) are all opposed to it - and they truly live the tradition of above mentioned Saints.  Here is a link to a pamplet on it link  I haven't read it yet, but maybe I'll pick it up next time I head down to the monastery in the next few weeks.  

Judging from the blurb, I don't have much confidence in it. Nobody knows what "real" witches did. It is true that much of her detail is "correct", but "correct" means that she is true to ancient and medieval lore. For instance, the properties rattled off by Snape in the first potions lesson reflect what medievals did believe about the items mentioned. They did believe that the shriek of the mandrake as it was uprooted would kill you. Her description of the basilisk itself is atypical, but her description of how it was formed is spot on. There was no religious content in these beliefs; it was what passed for scientific knowledge.

As far as modern witches are concerned, it has almost nothing to do with that. There's nothing occult about magic in Harry Potter; Rowling makes it out to be like a musically talented child learning to play the violin.

Also, the quote from Rowling refers to the bad guy. It comes from an interview in USA Today and refers to her depiction of Voldemort and his minions, not to Harry. Anyone who finds Voldemort attractive already has, in my opinion, a problem that avoiding the book isn't going to fix.

I'm not dismissing it out of hand, but the blurb suggests that it falls into the knee-jerk reaction against the word "magic" group.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2003, 05:11:09 PM by Keble » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2003, 05:13:05 PM »

Anastatios,

Thanks for correcting it this time; I'll try to get it right next time.  Although I think I am the only person in my generation that is somewhat confused by computers.

Kelbe,

I know they are not just knee-jerk reacting to this because it has fantasy and magic in it.  For example they see nothing wrong with Lewis or Tolkien.  Harry Potter is a much different story though...

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Keble
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« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2003, 05:37:10 PM »

I know they are not just knee-jerk reacting to this because it has fantasy and magic in it.  For example they see nothing wrong with Lewis or Tolkien.  Harry Potter is a much different story though...

Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn't. I haven't read the pamphlet, so I can't make definitive statements about its claims. All I'm saying is that the blurb is consistent with an alarmist tone about occultism in general, of a sort which isn't concerned with the underlying moral message of the stories and which doesn't get its facts straight.
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« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2003, 10:32:56 PM »

I think it's better to not read the Harry Potter books...  Why trust JK Rowling and question Elder Ephraim?

I don't know the Elder's position on Tolkien or Lewis, but I have some doubt that he'd be in favor of people picking up and reading these books.

Throughout my life, I've been one of the biggest fans of this type of entertainment/literature.  Most of these books feed a fallen imagination.  Therefore, (hypocritically speaking) it's probably best to ignore them.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2003, 10:33:47 PM by srenalds » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2003, 12:23:04 AM »

Personally, I am an adult Orthodox Christian without an Elder (Staretz, Geron) to guide me.   Sometimes, however, I think this seeking after eldership can go too far and result in a cult around the Elder, even if the Elder does not encourage such, IMHO.  

I do have my parish priest, who is also my normal father-confessor, however, and I do know a hieromonk and another parish priest fairly well, and if I have questions of a spiritual or moral nature, I raise them with them.  But as far as the Harry Potter books, I don't see them as important or influential enough in my own life to even bother my confessor, the hieromonk or the other priest with such trivia.

Hypo-Ortho



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Robert
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« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2003, 07:04:14 AM »

Hi Hypo,

You state a good reply.

I too have noticed among some people, converts of course, that a "cult of elder" does in fact take place. I guess in some way this is expected as people generally are looking for guidance in a fallen world, thus the elder seems to embody elements of truth and godly qualities. Nevertheless, it is incredible annoying to hear some rant on and on about how their spiritual father said they could do this and that but not this.

While a good spiritual father is a TREMENDOUS blessing, I think if one is "stuck" with his parish priest he is still in good hands. After all a priest is a priest, and all can minister Confession to the ill. But like the rest of humanity, spiritual fathers are also of a fallen nature, and sometimes can be swept away in the pride involved when people look to you for guidance and support.

Just my opinions,
Bobby
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Keble
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« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2003, 08:19:23 AM »

I think it's better to not read the Harry Potter books...  Why trust JK Rowling and question Elder Ephraim?

Because this is the wrong way to phrase the choice.

In the first place, if Elder Ephraim doesn't understand or for that matter even read Rowling's books, the value of his advice concerning them is at best uncertain, at worst presumptuous. You cannot serve the the truth from above by bearing false witness.

Rowling's books do not, I think, intend any sort of spiritual advice. Nor do I think they intend to provoke any interest in the occult, and indeed it seems to me that they ridicule the more shallow-end occultish crap (fortune-telling in particular), and that they are repulsed by more serious stuff. What they do intend to do, quite clearly, is promote a sort of moral awareness which Elder Ephraim could certainly then take advantage of and embue with spiritual graces.

In this sense the latest book is not trivial. But what it is teaching is an awareness of other people and an awareness of the difficulty of treading the right path-- not the path of holding to the right tenets about God, but the path of doing right. In one sense, her purpose is thus not to supplant Elder Ephraim, but to prepare people to meet him. Those who are unprepared to meet the elder are often enough prone to combine their faults with his and come away from the encouter worse than before. Rowling's purpose is to activate the reader's moral intelligence; and thus prepared, those who seek the Elder's advice are better prepared to embody that which is Godly in it, while seeing what is unGodly in it for what it is and setting it aside. SHe does not seek to be the Elder's enemy, but his ally.
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« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2003, 11:15:59 AM »

Man, The preface of that pamphlet...  Seems kinda extreme to me.  It's not that hard to go to libraries & find info on Midevil medical practices, superstisions of that era, and witchcraft.  Doesn't mean you actually believe all that stuff.  As I'm in the last 200 pages in Harry Potter V right now, the intro to the pamphlet actually reminds me a lot of how the Minestry of Magic (governing body in the HP series) reacts to anything HP & his crew try to do.  I wonder if those people actually read any of the books.  I refused to read them because of all the original hype, and only started when my very Ortho roommate gave it to me when I was bored.  I was rather surprised that it was completely different from what the reviews had been saying.  
Anyway, that's my thought of the day.
Ania
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« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2003, 12:21:30 PM »

I wonder if anyone is aware that an Orthodox Christian and English teacher, John Granger, has written a lengthy explication of Rowling's books, mining their Christian symbolism?

Granger's book is starting to receive considerable attention, and he has evidently appeared on talk radio shows here & there to debate "Harry" with local protestant fundamentalists

http://www.zossima.com/

I haven't seen the book, but plan on ordering it.
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« Reply #22 on: July 01, 2003, 12:37:58 PM »

There are two interviews with "The Hidden Key to Harry Potter" author John Grainger you listen to at Come Receive the Light:

The Hidden Key to Harry Potter 2/8/03

Taking Harry Seriously

Enjoy!
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« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2003, 01:08:30 PM »

There is a nice excerpt available which has some fascinating insights. I don't know that I agree with all of them, but the mere fact that Granger sees so much in the books indicates a depth to them that I think most critics aren't seeing. The thought that she may have patterned Gilderoy Lockhart on Philip Pullman is something I tend to doubt, but is quite delicious nonetheless. I'm looking forward to his analysis of the fifth book.
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« Reply #24 on: July 01, 2003, 01:17:46 PM »

Yes, and Dolores Umbridge somehow reminds me of a Hillary Clinton/Janet Reno composite. Smiley
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Keble
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« Reply #25 on: July 01, 2003, 01:23:16 PM »

Yes, and Dolores Umbridge somehow reminds me of a Hillary Clinton/Janet Reno composite. Smiley

You are so wicked!!!

I thought Granger's comparison of Rowling with Dickens was quite apropos; they share similar gifts of quick, precise characterization and wonderful naming (not to mention the celebrity angle, which by all accounts Dickens was much more sanguine about).
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« Reply #26 on: July 01, 2003, 02:32:51 PM »


I thought Granger's comparison of Rowling with looneyens...

 ...by all accounts looneyens was much more sanguine about).


This is the second time someone trying to write the name of the author of Oliver Twist and Little Dorrit has had it changed to looneyens...  It happened in a post of mine some weeks ago.

What kind of "undocumented feature" in the forum is doing that?!?!  Gremlins?  The original forum designer was forced to read Martin Chuzzlewit against his will?  Why can't we write Charles D*****ns full name? Can people who are EO write it but not Anglicans?!?!  I am flummoxed.  

O, mighty mods and admins!  What is going on?


Ebor
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« Reply #27 on: July 01, 2003, 02:35:20 PM »

Call me stupid, but why do people read so much into this Harry Potter stuff? It's just like the Matrix, people write tomes on possible interpretations.

If you enjoy reading Harry Potter, by all means go ahead, but I don't see any particular reason to write essays on why it is good/bad.

Bobby
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« Reply #28 on: July 01, 2003, 02:35:37 PM »

Yes, and Dolores Umbridge somehow reminds me of a Hillary Clinton/Janet Reno composite. Smiley

But Rowling is British.  Perhaps Umbridge is drawn on some politicians from over there.  Though, her type can be found in many lines of work.

Ebor
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« Reply #29 on: July 01, 2003, 02:36:45 PM »

Whenever someone writes the word D*I *C*K, it pops up as looneyens. Its built in censoring I coded so people cant go around swearing like shit shit shit shit.

Bobby
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« Reply #30 on: July 01, 2003, 02:41:20 PM »

Well, I guess it's a good thing no-one here uses a certain nickname if they happen to be named Richard.  Has this sort of thing shown up much?  Aside from speaking of a certain English author of the mid-1800's who wrote large books?  *(How many ways can I circumlocute him, I wonder.)

Ebor
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« Reply #31 on: July 01, 2003, 02:42:44 PM »

Btw,  for taking Harry Potter another step, but on a different staircase, and perhaps Danial, who is a school librarian and latinist might enjoy this if he still comes here:

http://www.bloomsbury.com/BookCatalog/ProductItem.asp?S=&sku=22042166&

Ebor
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« Reply #32 on: July 01, 2003, 02:49:18 PM »

Quote
I too have noticed among some people, converts of course, that a "cult of elder" does in fact take place. I guess in some way this is expected as people generally are looking for guidance in a fallen world, thus the elder seems to embody elements of truth and godly qualities. Nevertheless, it is incredible annoying to hear some rant on and on about how their spiritual father said they could do this and that but not this.

Just out of curiosity since it is all stupid converts that do this about what percentage of the Optina spiritual children were converts?  Even Saint Anthony's spiritual children are about 70% cradle.  The only elder figure that probably was more for converts than cradles was Father Seraphim of Platina.  Bishop Kallistos (Ware) has some good writtings on the role of spiritual father and eldership, I recomend them highly if you interested in learning about Orthodox Eldership.
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« Reply #33 on: July 01, 2003, 02:57:04 PM »

is there another type of censoring software that can censor a word in some uses but not others.  For the example in question it would censor the word itself as ****, would censor ****ing, but not Dickens or Dickensian.  Seems like the software should have a dictionary that you can add to or delete on a case-by-base basis.
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« Reply #34 on: July 01, 2003, 03:26:05 PM »

Whenever someone writes the word D*I *C*K, it pops up as looneyens. Its built in censoring I coded so people cant go around swearing like terrific terrific terrific terrific.

Um, moderation?

Why do we need something mechanical to protect us from talking about Charles Richardens?

And could someone please go back and fix my post?HuhHuhHuhHuhHuh??
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« Reply #35 on: July 01, 2003, 03:32:49 PM »

How do I get rid of the horrid yellow?HuhHuhHuhHuh!!!
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« Reply #36 on: July 01, 2003, 03:58:04 PM »

Keble,

Chill man, the censoring is here to protect the eyes of people who are easily offended by obscene words or phrases.

If you don't like censoring, then you should click the PROFILE button at the top of your page. and check the box marked DISABLE CENSORING.

This way you don't have to worry about it.

David,

I wrote the censoring software to replace string X with string Y if string X == the phrase/word in question.  And yes, if you go into your admin menu you can ADD words that you wish to censor along with what you want to replace them with.


Nektarios,

Read my previous bug thread, it is a bug I am fixing

I DO THIS JOB FOR FREE AND ALL I GET IS COMPLAINTS.




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« Reply #37 on: July 01, 2003, 04:06:20 PM »

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Read my previous bug thread, it is a bug I am fixing

Sorry Bobby.  I thought it was something I had done wrong when posting like hitting some button by accident.
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« Reply #38 on: July 01, 2003, 04:08:31 PM »

It's OK Nektarios

For the record, everyones posts may be randomly highlighted.

IT'S A BUG, I"m WORKING ON IT

Thanks for everyones continued cooperation,
Bobby
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« Reply #39 on: July 01, 2003, 04:17:26 PM »

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I too have noticed among some people, converts of course, that a "cult of elder" does in fact take place. I guess in some way this is expected as people generally are looking for guidance in a fallen world, thus the elder seems to embody elements of truth and godly qualities. Nevertheless, it is incredible annoying to hear some rant on and on about how their spiritual father said they could do this and that but not this.

Just out of curiosity since it is all stupid converts that do this about what percentage of the Optina spiritual children were converts?  Even Saint Anthony's spiritual children are about 70% cradle.  The only elder figure that probably was more for converts than cradles was Father Seraphim of Platina.  Bishop Kallistos (Ware) has some good writtings on the role of spiritual father and eldership, I recomend them highly if you interested in learning about Orthodox Eldership.

Well Nektarios, it seems you thought I was trying to insinuate, wrongly might I add, that all converts are stupid. Nowhere did I say this. Nor did I mention anywhere that the entirety of converts all do the same thing. You seem to be generalizing. Nevertheless, you can't deny the fact that there are people who seek constant attention and want someone to tell them how to live their lives. This is what attracts people to cults. I am very familiar with the role of the Spiritual Father in the Orthodox tradition. What I think is wrong when the Spiritual Father goes beyond Spiritual Father, and becomes a person's GURU of sorts.

Bobby
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Frobie
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« Reply #40 on: July 01, 2003, 08:13:52 PM »

Bobby, you are like a waiter in a bad restaurant...we can't get no good service these days!  Tongue
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« Reply #41 on: July 01, 2003, 08:52:06 PM »

I have also ordered John Granger's book.  I should receive it any day and am looking forward to reading it.  I think that what is interesting is that he read the first book so that he could explain to his oldest daughter why they didn't allow such trash in the house.  I believe that that majority of those who trash the books and call them satanic haven't read them.  You never know what might happen if they actually read them.  They might need to go read the thread on exorcism if they read them, you know Smiley  In England, the first book was called "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone."  I wonder if the title had remained the same here in the States whether there would have been such a backlash against the books.  You have to admit that changing "philosopher's stone" to "sorcerer's stone" might give Christians pause.  However, I think that if you're going to start a vendetta against the books that you should at least have read them.  A lot of these same parents have no problem with letting their kids read the "Chronicles of Narnia" series and those have magic and witches, etc. in them too.  

I don't know if my current priest has read them.  He has very little time to read since he has a young family, serves his parish and our mission, and works a full-time job on top of that.  However, my first priest loves the Harry Potter books and has read all of them.  

I was watching the "Today Show" one day last week, and they had a man named Harry Potter, Jr. on there.  His granddaughter's friends would not believe that her grandpa was named Harry Potter and he had to photocopy the front of his credit card and fax it to her so that she could prove it.  He told about reserving tickets to the first Harry Potter movie and what happened when he went to pick them up at the window.  The story reminded me of Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First" routine.  It was pretty funny.

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« Reply #42 on: July 01, 2003, 11:05:18 PM »

Frobisher...banned for 48 hours.

Thank you please come again.

Bobby
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« Reply #43 on: July 02, 2003, 12:41:29 AM »

Katherine,

I can tell you listened to the new interview with Granger at www.receive.org!  Smiley

Bobby,

Don't worry about us, we're just doing what most highschool english teachers do - overanalyze the book into oblivion! Smiley

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« Reply #44 on: July 02, 2003, 03:46:41 AM »

I DO THIS JOB FOR FREE AND ALL I GET IS COMPLAINTS.

Bobby, you are doing a great job Smiley

We all love you, which is why we are constantly giving you opportunities to grow in humility and control your passions, as we have your salvation uppermost in our minds Grin

Regarding the censorship, I had to really restrain myself from testing how extensive your offensive word list was (Kyrie eleison). It also reminded me of a children's toy a few years back which would read aloud the words that children typed. It had a list of offensive words built in so it could avoid speaking those words if the little brats deliberately er, darling angels inadvertantly typed them in. Unfortunately it also had a bug and under certain circumstances would actually read all the words in the list!. You can understand the shock some parents had when the educational toy they bought their child suddenly started a stream of profanities.

John.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2003, 03:50:46 AM by prodromos » Logged
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