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Author Topic: Harry Potter V reviews  (Read 17814 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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« 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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« 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.
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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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« 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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« 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 »

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.

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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« 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.
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« Reply #45 on: July 02, 2003, 11:20:46 AM »

You can't ban me; I quit!  Tongue Smiley
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« Reply #46 on: July 02, 2003, 11:44:19 AM »

Hehehe

Aw now c'mon - let's be nice to each other

You two - kiss and make up   Tongue Tongue
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« Reply #47 on: July 02, 2003, 12:06:42 PM »

Better watch out Bobby...after all, Frobisher is a ballistics expert!!! Smiley
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« Reply #48 on: July 02, 2003, 12:25:11 PM »

That's nothing, I'm an Ordinance Specialist.
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« Reply #49 on: July 02, 2003, 12:31:40 PM »

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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.

You dodged all of what I said in my post, Bobby.  Here is what you said "I have noticed among some people, converts of course...."  My point is that is an entirely untrue thing about the spiritual children of Elders.  The majority of their spiritual children are cradles.  This entire thing with people crying "Guru cultism" shows just how little they know about Eldership in the Orthodox Church.  The Tradition has been alive on the Holy Mountain for over a thousand years, and it has been around even longer than that with the desert Fathers and Mothers.  Thus I find it incredibly annoying when someone who isn't even Orthodox pontificates on Elders being guru cultists and a phenomon of converts.
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« Reply #50 on: July 02, 2003, 01:36:32 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.

That shows that you aren't an English major!
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« Reply #51 on: July 02, 2003, 02:00:22 PM »

Lol, actually I am considering majoring in Communication/Rhetoric when I return to college, and I also don't see the point (unless that just happens to be something you enjoy doing with your free time). To each their own, I guess. Smiley
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« Reply #52 on: July 02, 2003, 02:26:28 PM »

Quote
Thus I find it incredibly annoying when someone who isn't even Orthodox pontificates on Elders being guru cultists and a phenomon of converts.  

Nektarios,

Again you generalize what I say wrongly.

Have you taken the SATs yet??

Where have I written that elders are guru cultists, and it all being a product of converts?Huh Where did I pontificate?

and HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN ORTHODOX?

Bobby
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« Reply #53 on: July 02, 2003, 02:38:33 PM »

I find it incredibly annoying when someone who just recently converted to Orthodoxy claims a holier than thou superior attitude.

Bobby
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« Reply #54 on: July 02, 2003, 02:53:27 PM »

the slave<<You two - kiss and make up>>

I'm not kissing Bobby! LOL.

Prepare for a Disco Inferno War.
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« Reply #55 on: July 02, 2003, 04:02:45 PM »


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.  


I speculate that they changed the title on the American edition due to "philospher" giving the idea of some musty, arguementative scholars.  *I* knew about the Philosopher's Stone and Alchemy from my European history and Science (history of chemistry) readings. I recall reading the (I think it was) Time Life book on the Elements and it had pictures from old alchemy books illustrating early chemists at work and told about how they discovered things while trying to make the Philosophers Stone.   But I suspect that that sort of thing isn't taught much or at all.  Thus the name change.  

Nicholas Flaumel, btw, was a real person, born in 1300 A.D. who did alchemical research and his house in Paris still exists and holds what looks like a nice little restaurant according to their webpage. Smiley

Ebor
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« Reply #56 on: July 02, 2003, 05:26:03 PM »

David, I have heard the interviews on "Come Receive the Light" Grin  But having just converted a couple of years ago, I've also experienced the backlash against the books ever since the first one came out.  The hysteria over the books is something else.  There's almost this idea that if you let this book inside your home or touch it, that you are all going to turn into witches or wizards Shocked  Parents certainly should decide what books are allowed in their home, but maybe they should at least read it before making the decision.  I think the kids might have an easier time with the parents' decision if parents did that.  Buy the first book and read it and see what you think (it's the shortest).  

I must admit, though, that it bothers me some that parents are reading the books to small children.  Those books can be quite scary, starting with the first book.  However, if someone had read this last book to me when I was a little kid, I'd have had nightmares for a week!:P  But for older kids, I don't see a real problem with them.  Maybe if there are problems with some parts of the books, when they get to one of those  parts, you could discuss with them what you find wrong with it.  

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« Reply #57 on: July 02, 2003, 07:52:18 PM »

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

My comments aren't directed at Hypo-Ortho, but the entire thread which I find a bit mind-numbing (even the highlight bug debate, though it was mildly amusing)...

Cults can form around anyone, even JK Rowling and Harry Potter.  Nobody is above deception in this regard.

My thoughts are that it is strange we readily accept and recommend others to read Harry Potter, but we question the influences of an Orthodox Spiritual Father as cultic.

Why should any Elder actually read Harry Potter to have an opinion about it?  If a priest tells us to avoid certain things he perceives as wrong, we shouldn't require him to sample the wrong before we decide whether or not to obey him.

Cradle-O or convert...  It doesn't matter, none of us are experienced enough to guide ourselves, and we all need spiritual fathers (in the world or in a monastry).
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« Reply #58 on: July 02, 2003, 10:48:35 PM »

Cults can form around anyone, even JK Rowling and Harry Potter.  Nobody is above deception in this regard.

Or even around the church fathers.

Quote
My thoughts are that it is strange we readily accept and recommend others to read Harry Potter, but we question the influences of an Orthodox Spiritual Father as cultic.

You are conflating two entirely different lines of argument. I spoke of Rowling and Ephraim as allies, not enemies. What others said about cults is not something I understand and have no real comment on; probably it is worth pursuing but I don't see what it has to do with Harry Potter. But that's just me.

Quote
Why should any Elder actually read Harry Potter to have an opinion about it?

Because if he won't read it, he isn't qualified to offer an opinion about its contents. When priests and the like denounce Harry Potter and cannot get the facts about it straight, then they do not speak from the Spirit, for the Spirit does not speak lies. And if they refuse to be corrected, then again, they have proven themselves to be unfit.

It is not a question of whether anyone needs guidance, but rather whether someone else is fitted to do so. Ordination is no guarantee of spiritual wisdom.
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« Reply #59 on: July 03, 2003, 01:23:15 AM »

Bobby here is what you said
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I too have noticed among some people, converts of course, that a "cult of elder" does in fact take place

My point all along has been that most people under an Elder are cradles.  Also that if you resort to using the word guru to describe Eldership you haven't the slightest clue what you are talking about.  The extreme obedience which you fidn to be guru cultism is in fact very patristic and ancient in Orthodoxy.  

As for my SATs what does that have to do with anything?  For the record, no I have never taken the SATs or the PSAT.  

As for how long I have been Orthodox, longer than you.  I also have a lot first hand experience with monasticism and Elders in my short six months since Chrisimation.
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« Reply #60 on: July 03, 2003, 01:36:45 AM »

Nektarios,

The SATs test for reading comprehension, and you seem to be misinterpreting everything I write.

I would tame your pride as it is going to be awfully detrimental to your spiritual life. Your holier than thou attitude is a major turn off. If you somehow think becoming Orthodox is a "race" with other people, you are severely mistaken.

Do you have some statistic to show that the majority of Orthodox under Elders are in fact cradle? Or is this some random fact you spew off the top of your head.

Again, let me help you with some vocabulary.
I didn't define Elder to equate with guru cultism.

PEOPLE, that is average lay folks like you and me, often times ASCRIBE to their spiritual father MUCH MORE than they should.

The duty to live your life is YOUR own, and NOT your spiritual father. To run every small decision by your spiritual father seems to indicate to me an unhealthy dependence.

A spiritual father is VERY important, and nowhere did I deny this fact as you seem to wrongly interpret. What IS wrong is when a spiritual father RUNS your life for you.

Bobby

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« Reply #61 on: July 03, 2003, 08:58:23 AM »

And now my

PARENT

genes are going off!!!!!

Look, my combined SAT score was 1510. This discussion of "elders" (which from what I'm gathering means the same thing was what we in the West call "spiritual direction") has gotten rude and more than a bit out of proportion.

I don't know how it works in Orthodoxy but anyone in the West who is a competent director and who finds themself the object of a cultic following by someone whom they are personally directing is going to quash that immediately. Everybody knows this, and I don't think it is generally a problem that way. When the director doesn't have a personal involvement, for example if someone is reading a book, it's much more of an issue, but the author doesn't have that much control in that case anyway.

I've read interviews with Rowling and it's obvious she doesn't intend any such cult and in fact rather wishes the celebrity would back off to a more manageable level. The insinuation that she's trying to corrupt children is silly. In my opinion the accusation that the books encourage interest in the occult is also silly, and this accusation seems to be pushed largely by people who can't be bothered to read the actual text and thus don't have any basis for offering an opinion.

I personally would be reluctant to accept spiritual direction from such a person. If they can't get that straight, how much other malarkey are they pushing in the name of Christ?
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« Reply #62 on: July 03, 2003, 11:06:20 AM »

Nektarios,

You're right, and Elder could never be a cult guru leader.  However, we sinners don't always have the perception to discern whether an Elder is true or not, and especially now in America, there are many fakes--other sinners, sometimes sincere, who style themselves monks or priests, but who are wolves.

One must be careful.

Bobby is also right; God gave us free will and discernment.  Don't knock that like you seem to be doing.

anastasios
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« Reply #63 on: July 03, 2003, 11:25:58 AM »

So I was conflating lines of argument?  I thought I was questioning a moment of hypocrisy that this forum seemed to stumble into. Smiley

Some on this forum have raised questions regarding the influence of Orthodox Spiritual fathers, but they do not apply the same scrutiny toward the influence of the fictional books they read.  They imply that JK Rowling and the influence of her books on Orthodox Christians is to be trusted, while receiving guidance from a pious Orthodox Priest could lead someone into a "cult of guru".

Anyone can be led into deception.  I haven't YET commented on the content of the books, nor implicated anyone who has read the books.  I just find it ironic that on an Orthodox Christian forum there is less confusion concerning Harry Potter than Orthodox Elders.

Keble's argument isn't hypocritical, but it is absurd.  It appears to draw some sort of ecumenical alliance between what IS Orthodox and what has been born out of something entirely UN-Orthodox.  JK Rowling is NOT Orthodox, and whatever can be pulled out of her books and decoded into some sort of moral/psuedo-"Christian" message is insignificant.

I've never met Elder Ephraim, but I love the 16+ Orthodox Monastries he's built across America.  Personally, I don't understand why questions of a "guru-cult" were raised...  It doesn't actually apply in the situation of Elder Ephraim or have any relevence to the current thread.  I'd be more than happy to debate the topic of Orthodox Spiritual Fathers on another thread.

Regarding Harry Potter...  I believe on this forum we have demonstrated the following:

1) There is nothing Christian or Orthodox about it, but some Christians will go to much trouble to try and justify this work of fiction.  They will also stoop to justify their opinions by comparing SAT scores and talking about whether or not they are cradle-Os or converts.
2) It has a very deep influence on those who read the books.  I would almost say it has a greater impact on adults than children.  I haven't met anyone yet who hasn't gotten totally wrapped up in them.
3) There is a near cult-like religious following of readers who will undoubtedly buy, read and keep reading all the books.  Some have read the 900 page book multiple times since it was released.  All in the name of entertainment...  How can this be a "good thing?"

If you want to be entertained... we certainly can watch our life tick away, feeding our own fallen imagination while we escape into a realm of JK Rowlings fallen imagination...  However, let's not argue about whether or not the books have merit beyond a purely worldly and pagan work of fiction.  There really is little difference between JK Rowling, Steven King and/or Robert Jordan.

Regards,

SRENALDS
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« Reply #64 on: July 03, 2003, 12:53:18 PM »

Bobby,

You are right, I am prideful and it is detrimental to my spiritual life.  May the entire board forgive me. You are correct that my lack of education and ignorance prevents me from participating in this discussion very well.

My observations is that at least 90% of the people that see Elder Ephraim are Greek Cradles(keep in mind Elder Ephraim speaks very very little English).  The other two priests that give guidance and here confessions are both fluent in English but still see about 70% cradles.  On the Holy Mountian the vast majority of people there seekign guidance from an Elder are cradle Greeks (coming from several friends that have stayed extended periods of time on the Holy Mountain).  Thus it is not accurate to say it is converts that form the cult of elder.

Anastasios,

That is why nobody should rashly take a spiritual father, IMO.  I knew my current SF for about a year before he became my spiritual father.  I think there is nothing wrong with taking years to examine the fruit of an Elder, his spirituality etc. to make sure it is good.  That is afterall what Elder Joseph did - spend years searching for his spiritual father.  This is where free will and discernment come in.  But when you have used those to find your elder, it's time to hand them over to die to the world via obedience.  


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« Reply #65 on: July 03, 2003, 01:26:47 PM »

Regarding Harry Potter...  I believe on this forum we have demonstrated the following:

1) There is nothing Christian or Orthodox about it, but some Christians will go to much trouble to try and justify this work of fiction.  They will also stoop to justify their opinions by comparing SAT scores and talking about whether or not they are cradle-Os or converts.

Nothing of the kind has been demonstrated. I've read the books-- all of them. Nobody else here has even claimed to read the fifth book, though I'm sure some have.

HP is not overtly Christian in the way that many of the Narnia books are, or in the way that parts of the Silmarillion are. It is much more obviously Christian than the Lord of the Rings is.

For my part, the "much trouble" I've gone to has been directed at those whose rejection of the book is ill-founded. It is, after all, in one sense just another book on the shelf, just another story for kids to read. Unless one is prepared to reject fiction in general (and I consider such a position to be too preposterous to argue against) it has to be considered on its merits. Those who attack it simply on the basis of the words "magic" and "witchcraft" do so out of ignorance and something approaching superstition.

Quote
2) It has a very deep influence on those who read the books.  I would almost say it has a greater impact on adults than children.  I haven't met anyone yet who hasn't gotten totally wrapped up in them.

Well, there's impact, and there's impact. People get wrapped up in it because (at least on one crucial level) it is well-written. It's hardly perfect, but it is a very enjoyable read.

As far as the impact on adults is concerned: it is a story which is enjoyable enough for adults, and indeed, the successive books have been written on more and more of an adult level. But also, there is the issue of just getting kids to read at all. I know people who write childrens' and YA books, and who know some of what goes on in the industry. Before HP, the last big thing was the Goosebumps series, which by all accounts was not great literature. Yet they sold and sold. Then all of a sudden, in one month sales dropped by something like a factor of ten. It nearly put Scholastic out of business. It became apparent that people were buying the books, but they weren't reading them.

Getting boys to read books has been a battle for years. So when something like HP comes along that boys really want to read, adults get excited about it.

Quote
3) There is a near cult-like religious following of readers who will undoubtedly buy, read and keep reading all the books.  Some have read the 900 page book multiple times since it was released.  All in the name of entertainment...  How can this be a "good thing?"

It is not near cult-like, and it is not religious in this sense. It is just the normal course of celebrity. It is perfectly ordinary to re-read books; almost any book I like I will re-read, just because that's the way I read. Plenty of people are that way, and plenty of other people never read anything more than once. If this difference means something, it doesn't mean anything about Rowling or the HP books.

Quote
If you want to be entertained... we certainly can watch our life tick away, feeding our own fallen imagination while we escape into a realm of JK Rowlings fallen imagination...  However, let's not argue about whether or not the books have merit beyond a purely worldly and pagan work of fiction.  There really is little difference between JK Rowling, Steven King and/or Robert Jordan.

Or between JK Rowling and Dostoevsky, if it comes to that. Or Lewis, or Tolkien, or Charles Williams, or George Macdonald, or.........

... or what we are doing now.

This is after all a kind of entertainment; we will see that if we are honest with ourselves. I refuse to even consider the notion that entertainment is of itself sinful and unhealthy. It is a basic human need. We were placed first in a garden, a place of delights, in its way a great entertainment.

Surely some entertainments are good, and some are bad, and even those that are good can end up as indulgences. But which are good and which are not depends upon their nature, and in the case of books, their actual contents. Those who make a case for the Christian morality in HP make good arguments and base them on the real books; those who say "Ooooh! Magic! Nasty!" make poor arguments out of ignorance. To speak the Spirit, you have to speak the truth.

So far I'm the only person who has actually read the book and posted a review. If anyone else would like to post an actual review of the book, I'd be interested in seeing it. The discussion of eldership is interesting in its own right but it ceased to have anything to do with HP almost immediately. The boilerplate disapproval isn't interesting, but predictable and not grounded in anything like reality. Anyone who thinks that HP is basically like Stephen King novels hasn't read both of them.
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« Reply #66 on: July 03, 2003, 05:52:02 PM »

Another thing to keep in mind.  Like someone (Bobby) already pointed out, spiritual fathers are fallen human beings as well.  My parish priest's spiritual father of many years left the OCA (felt the OCA was too ecumenical) and joined HOCNA.  This caused my priest much grief and I'm pretty sure he has selected a new spiritual father.  I'm sure some on this board will think there was nothing wrong with what his spiritual father did, but I think most Orthodox would find it distressing.  The point:  your spritual father can stray as well, regardless of how careful you might have been in selecting him.
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« Reply #67 on: July 03, 2003, 09:37:30 PM »

Also, lay people are not as strictly accoutable to their spiritual father as monks are.  Monks are accountable to their spiritual father for every thought and action, which they must confess to him.  I am aware that some jurisdictions have had problems with spiritual fathers who were too intrusive into their spiritual children's lives (who were laypeople) and had to be disciplined.  The temptation for power is a strong one for all of us.  

This is beside the point.  We each have our priest/spiritual father and we are accountable to him.  Most priests/spiritual fathers will not interfere with someone else's spiritual child.  It's hard enough to follow one person's advice but when you have two people giving advice (especially if they are giving conflicting advice), it can be almost impossible. Personally, I'd be much more likely to ask my priest/spiritual father about which Orthodox books to read, since I know that trying things that are beyond your ability are very dangerous.  There are several works that my priest has told me not to read yet (The Philokalia and The Ladder are two of them).  Personally, I think my priest is much more concerned about this than what works of fiction I read.
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« Reply #68 on: July 04, 2003, 06:48:42 AM »

If the Church is a hospital of souls, it's important to find a good doctor to be your spiritual father.  Certainly, we are all fallen, but there are some who are purified or trying to be purified...  Some may even be illumined...  My spiritual father isn't a monk, he's a married priest who is the chaplain of a monastry.  He lives very piously and tries to teach us moderation in all things.  I have not asked him about Harry Potter, but I know in similar circumstances he hasn't given blessing to read such things.  The monastry is also one of Elder Ephraim's.

From my understanding, there are priests who primarily listen to confession and read the prayer.  The sins are forgiven, but remedy is incomplete.  They may or may not make a few small recommendations when asked.  It's likely that their own spiritual father tells them not to offer too many suggestions to those who come for confession, because they also may be "doctors-in-training".

There are priests who spend more time with their spiritual child, and who not only do the above... but may prescribe a rule of prayer, prostrations, how strictly to fast and determine if it's blessed for you to take communion (apply penance).

Further, there are priests who are illumined and may be able to see into your very soul (these are quite rare).  The biographies on the Fathers of Optina offer a very good view into the lives of such Elders.

I believe that spiritual fathers who are blessed by their own spiritual fathers to play a larger role in the life of their spiritual child, are not doing this for power or cult status.  We don't worry so much about doctors who perform surgeries, whether or not they have some sort of "god-complex" even though there have been doctors on TV who resemble this.  Perhaps we should worry about this more.

Further, I believe these concerns are genuine, but prove only one thing to me.  That we, as spiritual children, find it difficult to "die to self" and out of our pride, we generally cling to excuses that are valid, but might not apply in all circumstances.  My unsolicited advice on the subject: Find a good spiritual father and most of your concerns will disappear (confess the other concerns).

SRENALDS

PS.  I apologize for some of my insensitive comments earlier.  Generally, your concerns are valid, but they do not apply in all cases.  My thoughts on HP still stand, but the way I spoke was abrasive.  I shouldn't go back and re-read my posts...  I'll have to apologize for every one.
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« Reply #69 on: July 04, 2003, 10:45:50 AM »

If the Church is a hospital of souls, it's important to find a good doctor to be your spiritual father.  Certainly, we are all fallen, but there are some who are purified or trying to be purified...  Some may even be illumined...  My spiritual father isn't a monk, he's a married priest who is the chaplain of a monastry.  He lives very piously and tries to teach us moderation in all things.  I have not asked him about Harry Potter, but I know in similar circumstances he hasn't given blessing to read such things.  The monastry is also one of Elder Ephraim's.

So tell me-- what are these "similar cicumstances"? What you are giving me at the moment is not your director's opinion of HP, but yours. In a sense, you are presuming yourself to give direction.

Which might be OK. But if you don't actually know the books, then it isn't OK.
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« Reply #70 on: July 08, 2003, 03:50:50 PM »

Have I ever said anything other than, "I wouldn't read HP?"  I gave my reasons for not reading HP, but I never presumed to say that others should or shouldn't read HP.  I think it's best if we NOT read HP...  I disagree firmly with your opinion about "delights" and "entertainments" in the Garden of Eden.  Adam and Eve were not "fallen" and did not have the same sort of need for modern entertainments that we currently call "delights".  Our imaginations are fallen...  Feeding our imagination is not exactly the best way toward deification.  Neither would be eating lots of food, sleeping too much, or doing a whole lot of things that some might consider "delights"...  most of all me.  Notice that these things aren't all-together bad, but they can be.

We can blow much wind at this debate, but I believe those who say HP is evil do not need to dig too deeply in order to find what they are looking for.

Let's compare just one thing...  I don't have much time...  This will be short.

JRR Tolkien & CS Lewis versus HP...

JRRT & CS both used magical elements in their books... BUT, it was the bad guys who were considered witches and wizards...  There was no glorification of magic in itself.  From my memory, those who were given powers (good and evil) were created that way, with the power...

HP in it's own humanistic way takes a child and leads him through an education in the black arts...

I have run out of time...  This is a shabby post, but it will have to do.

SRENALDS

PS.  Regarding what my Father-Confessor has and hasn't said to me is off limits for this board and anyone.  I was speaking in generalities...  He is a father of a monastry that Elder Ephraim started, so if Elder Ephraim is against HP I doubt my spiritual father would be willing to let me read it.  That is all I said.  You'd like to turn this argument away from HP and into some criticism of spiritual fathers, but that's inappropriate.  I haven't actually heard an adequate defense of HP other than "it's entertaining" and may have a few moral lessons...
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« Reply #71 on: July 08, 2003, 04:53:05 PM »

Our imaginations are fallen...


You have repeatedly referred to "fallen imaginations". Are you thus saying that human imaginations are to be quashed or ignored?

Quote
 Feeding our imagination is not exactly the best way toward deification.  Neither would be eating lots of food, sleeping too much, or doing a whole lot of things that some might consider "delights"...  most of all me.  Notice that these things aren't all-together bad, but they can be.


Or they can be good, depending on what is given.

Quote

We can blow much wind at this debate, but I believe those who say HP is evil do not need to dig too deeply in order to find what they are looking for.


Iindeed, many can find things which are not present at all in books, if they look hard enough and do not consider there could be other things meant.  :- I have seen an anti-Harry Potter website that purports to show all the "evil" bits and real deep meanings.  It was rubbish in that they knew nothing of basic history, literature, or culture that Rowling was drawing from. An example: Nicholas Flaumel is citing has having celebrated his "Six hundred and sixty fifth birthday" the year before the first book takes place.  Thus he is... <omnious chords> Six hundred and sixty-six at some point.  Well, by golly, Nicholas Flaumel was a real person who lived in Paris and did alchemical studies.  He was born in 1300 AD.  The first book was published in 1997, thus being written and edited in 1996... do the math.  Sometimes a number is just a number.

Quote

Let's compare just one thing...  I don't have much time...  This will be short.

JRR Tolkien & CS Lewis versus HP...

JRRT & CS both used magical elements in their books... BUT, it was the bad guys who were considered witches and wizards...  There was no glorification of magic in itself.  From my memory, those who were given powers (good and evil) were created that way, with the power...


Ummm, Gandalf was a wizard  (not human though) and one of the Good Guys.  Galadriel didn't maintain the safety of Lothlorien by looking good, she also had  magic, albeit strengthened and focused through one of the Three Elven Rings another one on the side of Good.  It is not the magic that marked who was Evil but the desire to have Power and to rule all.  (Saruman, Sauron etc.)  In essense Superbia or Pride... "I will rule, none will rule me."  Sauron and Saruman were initially created as Good by Eru (The One, i.e. God.) See The Silmarillion and other Tolkien works.  Their wills and choices were what were/helped them become Evil.   Oddly enough just like in the Harry Potter books in which it is the Pride and the lust for power that leads characters (Voldamort, Lucius Malfoy etc.) to Evil.


Ebor

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« Reply #72 on: July 08, 2003, 05:39:44 PM »

I disagree firmly with your opinion about "delights" and "entertainments" in the Garden of Eden.  Adam and Eve were not "fallen" and did not have the same sort of need for modern entertainments that we currently call "delights".

I have serious problems with this whole passage. It seems to be saying that entertainment itself is basically bad.

Books and stories, after all, aren't modern. Neither is music, or theater, or gardens for that matter. To say that all these things are intrinsically bad as entertainment is a theological speculation beyond justification. Frankly, it sounds monkish.

Quote
JRRT & CS both used magical elements in their books... BUT, it was the bad guys who were considered witches and wizards...  There was no glorification of magic in itself.  From my memory, those who were given powers (good and evil) were created that way, with the power...

If you will read Harry Potter, you will find it is the same way with him. One does not become a wizard/witch in his world by learning, but by birth. Some have the ability, and some do not. (And indeed, some have it though their parents do not, and occaisionally some do not have it though their parents do.)

Quote
HP in it's own humanistic way takes a child and leads him through an education in the black arts...

No. You appear to speak out of ignorance.

Harry is born with the ability to do magic-- indeed, before he goes to Hogwarts he has on occaision done magic acts without being aware of it (well, he's aware that something strange has happened, but he doesn't know why). Magic school, if you'll read the books, is just like regular school. Learning magic is just like learning music: a mixture of the practical, the historical, and the theoretical.

Rowling is a well-educated woman and her details, for the most part, come from history. But her magic is not the "black arts" of history. It's just something that some people can do. Indeed, one course of study is "Defense against the dark arts".

This seems like a lot off trouble to go through over a bunch of children's books. But to forbid something is to turn it into a temptation. And when the tempted child reads the books and finds out that they are not as has been represented, those who told him wrongly about the books are discredited.

By the way, in Lewis's greatest book, a pagan god makes an on-screen appearance. What of that?
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« Reply #73 on: July 08, 2003, 09:00:12 PM »

:JRRT & CS both used magical elements in their books... BUT, it was the bad guys who were considered witches and wizards.:

Ebor has responded with regard to JRRT. As for CS . . .

The four children are given "magical" gifts in _Lion_. The White Witch claims Edmund on the basis of the _Deep Magic_ of the "Emperor" (basically an analogy for the Law of God!) and Aslan defeats her on the basis of the "Deeper Magic from before the Dawn of Time."

In Prince Caspian, the benevolent Doctor Cornelius is a white magician, though not a terribly powerful one. His magic is clearly seen as different from the black magic Nicabrik (I think I have the spelling wrong--shame on me!) wants to use to call up the White Witch. Actually, I could quite easily see Doctor Cornelius as a professor at Hogwarts. Perhaps Defense against the Dark Arts. He may not be the most qualified, but considering some of the failures they've had in the past . . . . but I digress.

In Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the magician Coriakin (spelling again? I really need to reread the books for the 20th time or whatever; it's clearly been too long) turns out to be a benevolent character who was once a star and is now serving some sort of penance in obedience to Aslan.

And so on, and so forth.

In Christ,

Edwin
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« Reply #74 on: July 08, 2003, 09:55:44 PM »

Let me start by saying...  I knew it was a shoddy post because I was at work and didn't have a whole lot of time to frame the discussion.  Now with a baby crying, I doubt this one will be much better.

As for our "fallen imaginations"...  I recommend the books "Illness and Cure of the Soul in Orthodox Tradition" and "Orthodox Psychotherapy" both by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlahos...  I can't possibly argue this point here nor do I believe it would benefit.  Those books go into great detail about what the soul is and how it is cured.  You'd do better reading them instead of trying to get something understandable out of me.  Perhaps I'll dig up some quotes at a later time.

I will say that the books cover the soul in detail, and how the imagination works on the soul, how fantasy/thoughts can adversly affect the soul and consequently the mind.  Anyway, they are brilliant books...  Not exactly light-reading.

As for Tolkien...  Gandalf and Saruman were both Istari... They weren't wizards.  They were "called" wizards by common folk who didn't know what else to call them, but it is evident they weren't wizards.  They are created beings, created with special powers (sort of like angels, but also unlike them).  The movies failed to capture this.  I'm not condoning people read Tolkien...  I wish I hadn't spent so much of my youth on this.

Some of CS Lewis' characters have powers, but their powers are given to them by Aslan.  The reference to "deep magic" and "deeper magic" are coincidental to the story.  These terms are also used to refer to the Law of God (as you said before).  Even those who have magical powers, like the one you mention in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, are all gifts given to them either by Aslan or God.  The source of all gifts is clearly represented and hard to ignore.

The problem with JK Rowling is not that the word "magic" is used, but that the entire basis of the story is that a boy is studying to be a warlock.  I can't see how this is defensible in the name of entertainment.  I'll repeat what I said before...  There is no difference between JK Rowling, Steven King or Robert Jordan...  Those who attempt to "conjure" a Christian message are being dishonest with themselves.

If you want to say you enjoy the story of HP because it's entertaining, I have no problem with that.  If you want to say these stories somehow related to traditional Orthodox Christianity, or that you should trust JK Rowling as much as a pious Orthodox spiritual father, or that reading such a book is actually good for Christians... then I will be forced to write long and tedious posts to debate such issues. Smiley

SRENALDS

PS.  I believe the following regarding entertainment:  Dependence on entertainment is bad...  Love of entertainment is bad...  I'm the worst one on this board, for sure.
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« Reply #75 on: July 09, 2003, 08:20:47 AM »

The problem with JK Rowling is not that the word "magic" is used, but that the entire basis of the story is that a boy is studying to be a warlock.  I can't see how this is defensible in the name of entertainment.  I'll repeat what I said before...  There is no difference between JK Rowling, Steven King or Robert Jordan...  Those who attempt to "conjure" a Christian message are being dishonest with themselves.

OK, let's try it one more time.

Harry    Potter   isn't   studying   to   be   a    warlock.

At least not the way the wiccans and such talk about it, or the way you seem to be saying here. Harry does not become a wizard by study. He is born a wizard. That is what it says. Magic, in Rowling's books, is simply a talent that some people have. It has no intrinsic moral meaning.

I've not read any Robert Jordan, so I won't pretend to be competent to have any opinion on his books. I have read a little Steven King. And he's not writing in the same genre. Rowling's books, like very many kid's books (and like virtually all YA books) are books of moral instruction. Magic, in her books, is just a framework. Indeed, I have seen interviews in which she has gotten rather irritated at the focus on the magic. Magic isn't real, she says. My wife remembers years ago when Marion Zimmer Bradley was getting similarly irritated when people (largely young women) decided that the "magic" that appears in her Darkover stories was "real" (and started acting it out).
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« Reply #76 on: July 09, 2003, 09:00:53 AM »

This thread seems to be detracting from any element of "review", and seeping into the realm of "Free for all".

I think it would be more beneficial if we stuck to conversation on how Harry Potter and Orthodoxy mesh or clash.

Bobby
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« Reply #77 on: July 09, 2003, 05:11:13 PM »

This topic was locked.  I don't know why exactly, and so I'm going to go out on a limb and unlock it.  

The argument that one cannot intelligently and accurately say something about a book without having read it first seems true enough.  I know I haven't read HP; I have enough to read without it, and such things just don't interest me, and quite frankly, I am not sure why so many chase after HP to the extent that it seems to be pop culture madness rather than great literature.  But I don't pretend to be an authority on it.  

On the other hand, I wonder how absolute this is.  Can a person take issue with a book without having read it and not come across as talking outside of both sides of one's mouth?  Depending on the reason, I think one could make that kind of case.  Certainly, I think that, at the very least,  some would say it is always better to err on the side of caution when discouraging the reading of HP.  

So, I'm opening up the thread again so that interested people can discuss these things.  But I want to see the discussion carried out in a civil manner.  In some posts, snide comments seem to be made, and there are hints of sarcasm.  Surely, one can make an intelligent argument either way without resorting to this sort of thing.  If I begin to see that this is impossible, I will not hesitate to lock it again.  Thanks.
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« Reply #78 on: July 09, 2003, 05:44:00 PM »

This topic was locked.  I don't know why exactly, and so I'm going to go out on a limb and unlock it.  

The argument that one cannot intelligently and accurately say something about a book without having read it first seems true enough.  I know I haven't read HP; I have enough to read without it, and such things just don't interest me, and quite frankly, I am not sure why so many chase after HP to the extent that it seems to be pop culture madness rather than great literature.  But I don't pretend to be an authority on it.  

On the other hand, I wonder how absolute this is.  Can a person take issue with a book without having read it and not come across as talking outside of both sides of one's mouth?  Depending on the reason, I think one could make that kind of case.  Certainly, I think that, at the very least,  some would say it is always better to err on the side of caution when discouraging the reading of HP.  

So, I'm opening up the thread again so that interested people can discuss these things.  But I want to see the discussion carried out in a civil manner.  In some posts, snide comments seem to be made, and there are hints of sarcasm.  Surely, one can make an intelligent argument either way without resorting to this sort of thing.  If I begin to see that this is impossible, I will not hesitate to lock it again.  Thanks.      

Thank you, Mor.

I tried to post twice and first timed out then had a page error. I'll try again when the daily storm passes.

Ebor
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« Reply #79 on: July 09, 2003, 10:51:52 PM »

I finished the book last Monday, and found it quite interesting.  Rowling's writing has improved from leaps and bounds from Goblet of Fire.  It was nice to see The Weasley family as the center of attention for many parts of the book.  

Although you have to examine the text quite scrupulously to find explicit Christian content, I think Rowling has done a good job illustrating the Deus Machina that life truly is.  While I wouldn't put her works on the same level as Lewis or Tolkien(time will tell I guess, perhaps it is my own chronological snobbery) I do think they are very much elevated over most "pulp" fiction.  Go read some Roger Zelany, R.A. Salvatore, or even Michael Crichton and see if you can find anything on the level of the Harry Potter books spiritually.  

They're not Orthodox, they're not the best things I could be reading, but they are very good for what they are, and I think at least theoretically they might plant a seed in what is otherwise barren rock.  Of course studying the fathers is more important for us, but for many people this (sadly) is the most in-depth they get in spiritual literature.   As such I think we should honor what good is there while also pointing out the shortcomings.
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« Reply #80 on: July 10, 2003, 04:01:58 PM »

The enlarging of the Weasleys is indeed a good part of the book, David, and not just for Fred and George.  The parents dealing with Percy's cutting himself off from the rest of the family is well depicted and Mrs. Weasley's greatest fear is Real. It's a 2 parent family with 7 children who love each other.  What a revolutionary idea.

The beaurocracy of the Ministry of Magic and the machinations seem to show that Rowling has a good handle on the temptations that power and its abuses have on the banal level, not just the Great Evil of Voldamort.  

Ebor
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« Reply #81 on: July 10, 2003, 04:03:19 PM »

Hypo-Ortho,  I heard from a friend that HP V has been released as a book on tape/CD.  Perhaps you could "read" it that way, if you can get it from the library.

Ebor
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« Reply #82 on: July 10, 2003, 04:12:19 PM »

Hypo-Ortho,  I heard from a friend that HP V has been released as a book on tape/CD.  Perhaps you could "read" it that way, if you can get it from the library.

Ebor


Woo, woo!   Grin  I am an undisguised HP fan, Ebor.  I'll check it out.  Thanks.   Smiley

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« Reply #83 on: July 10, 2003, 04:13:19 PM »

Just a bit of background that I tried to post as last night's thunderstorm came through (No, we didn't get any tornado warnings in our area.)

The first couple of Harry Potter books came out quietly and were mostly popularized by children and parents finding a good story that had plot and characterization.  This was during a low point in alot of children's and YA (Young Adult) literature.  "Goosebumps" and other series were churned out without much real "meat" as it were.  More like cotton candy for the brain.  

There was also alot of concern about a lowering of reading abilities particularly amoung boys. And the HP books had a boy as the main character.  They showed up in the right place at the right time.

Then the marketers and movies and all noticed that the books were popular and decided they needed to get on the cart. Thus the publicity, the newspaper stories showing children reading.  The films and toys etc.

Even with all this, the books can stand on their own merits.  Kids don't read them because it was a movie.  They want the book.  There are 2 boys I know with reading difficulties. One with a slight disability and one in the Autism-Asperger's Spectrum.  Both disliked reading unless it was in a narrow area of interest (Sports, robots.)

Both were looking forward, 3 weeks ago, to diving into an 870 page novel.   And along with that they are reading about friendship, courage, making the right choices, loyalty and other good things.,

Ebor

(edited for missed words. Sometimes I think faster then I can type)
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« Reply #84 on: July 10, 2003, 04:15:01 PM »

Glad to be of service, Hypo.  Any time. 8-)


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« Reply #85 on: July 10, 2003, 04:16:07 PM »

Heres my 2 cents.

I personally rather see kids reading, even if its absolute crap, than say watching TV or sitting around eating junkfood.

Bobby
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« Reply #86 on: July 10, 2003, 04:19:29 PM »

Heres my 2 cents.

I personally rather see kids reading, even if its absolute crap, than say watching TV or sitting around eating junkfood.

Bobby

And I'm one big Santa-Claus-bearded 62-year-old kid who's sick of TV and junkfood!   Cheesy

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« Reply #87 on: July 10, 2003, 04:20:13 PM »

Then play your videogames!

BTW Hypo, I am about to actually give you that avatar. Sorry it took so long chief.

Bobby
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« Reply #88 on: July 10, 2003, 04:26:09 PM »

Wow, you finally broke 500 posts, way to go!
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« Reply #89 on: July 10, 2003, 05:16:33 PM »

I feel (just a little) bad posting in this section since I've never read a HP book and don't really plan too.  But, since I played AD&D when I was little (and am presently stuck in the middle of a computer game that I haven't touched in over a year), I've read dozens of Forgotten Realms and a few Dragonlance books.  Although I know he writes more than just Forgotten Realms (I own around 40 of those), I keep hearing R.A. Salvotore's name popping up.  Is he really making a name for himself?  Is he considered a decent author?  I personally like his books (especially the Dark Elf ones), but am curious what others think.
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« Reply #90 on: July 10, 2003, 05:21:07 PM »

They're not Orthodox(.)

I don't understand what you mean by this, other than the obvious sense that Rowling herself isn't Orthodox (Church of Scotland, my wife recalls).
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« Reply #91 on: July 10, 2003, 05:51:57 PM »

I feel (just a little) bad posting in this section since I've never read a HP book and don't really plan too.  But, since I played AD&D when I was little (and am presently stuck in the middle of a computer game that I haven't touched in over a year), I've read dozens of Forgotten Realms and a few Dragonlance books.  Although I know he writes more than just Forgotten Realms (I own around 40 of those), I keep hearing R.A. Salvotore's name popping up.  Is he really making a name for himself?  Is he considered a decent author?  I personally like his books (especially the Dark Elf ones), but am curious what others think.


I played D&D in my 20's and 30's.  I don't now because I have children, so there's not as much time and I don't know where any of my many-sided dice are.  Grin  I play an on-line Massive Multiplayer Game when I can now.  I've only read a bit of R. A. Salvatore's writing, not the ones the ones you mentioned.  He's OK.  He's better then alot of the schlock out there.  I read less fantasy now and more SF and alternate Histories when I can.  SF Book Club has carried some of Salvatore's books iirc.

Ebor
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« Reply #92 on: July 10, 2003, 05:55:16 PM »

Heres my 2 cents.

I personally rather see kids reading, even if its absolute crap, than say watching TV or sitting around eating junkfood.

Bobby

But if there is better fare available, one hopes that children won't stay with the lesser works.   However, being as it's a rare 8 year old boy who would willing read "Hamlet" or "War and Peace" there are also good quality children's books.


Ebor
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« Reply #93 on: July 11, 2003, 12:24:13 AM »

Wow, you finally broke 500 posts, way to go!

I don't know if I'm hallucinating or it's the Thunderstorm that just crashed through, but I could swear that Bobby's counter now says "9999"...

 Shocked

Mega-posting

Ebor
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« Reply #94 on: July 11, 2003, 01:01:16 AM »

Quote
Quote from: David on Wed, July 09, 2003, 10:51:52 PM
They're not Orthodox(.)

Quoted from: Keble
I don't understand what you mean by this, other than the obvious sense that Rowling herself isn't Orthodox (Church of Scotland, my wife recalls).

What I meant was that the books are not written to be explicity Eastern Orthodox texts as are the spiritual texts others mentioned earlier in the thread that they felt drowned out any need for works such as the Harry Potter series.  Perhaps it is a good thing the works are not Orthodox, Catholic, and Anglican.  Otherwise many of the people who are reading this series would never have picked up the books.  

I must also add myself to the list of former D&D players.  I played through early high school up until recently.  It takes up too much time that is better spent elsewhere these days, so I don't really want to play anymore.  

Quote
I don't know if I'm hallucinating or it's the Thunderstorm that just crashed through, but I could swear that Bobby's counter now says "9999"...

I don't think you're hallucinating...however perhaps Bobby is hallucinating, or throwing back a few cold ones. Smiley

Seven pages!  Been a while since I've seen a thread at that length.  Good night all!
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« Reply #95 on: July 11, 2003, 07:21:35 AM »

Maybe the "9999" is another "Undocumented Feature"  8-)

Ebor
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« Reply #96 on: July 11, 2003, 05:38:53 PM »

Or maybe Bobby is a different type of Beast, and this is his mark?
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« Reply #97 on: July 11, 2003, 06:42:09 PM »

$665.95 - retail price of the beast. Smiley
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« Reply #98 on: July 11, 2003, 07:52:50 PM »

It must be the Heat.  We're starting to crack. 8-)

I'm trying to think of something to wrench this back on topic, but I can't... Later then the Young are all estivating.

Ebor
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« Reply #99 on: July 11, 2003, 10:31:28 PM »

Greetings,

The Nicolaitians would agree that you can't understand (or "comment" on it as was put here) something without first sampling it.  This argument would also imply that a monk who has given himself to virginity can't comment on marriage...  It would also imply that we need to throw ourselves into sinful situations to better understand how sin operates on the human soul.

We are speculating (and I believe it's fair speculation) that Elder Ephraim has not read JK Rowling, but his monastry is sponsoring a text that is against HP.  I put forward the notion that Elder Ephraim is an expert on how fantasy affects the human soul, and doesn't have to read JK Rowling for a further lesson.

Readers of JK Rowling are initiating themselves into a fictional world where the commandments of God are null and void...

Regards,

SRENALDS
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« Reply #100 on: July 12, 2003, 10:49:01 AM »


Ok guys, each side has stated its position so let's just agree to disagree on this one.

We need to close this topic just because the only thing else that can come of it is "yeah, I agree with you!" or "no, you're wrong!"

If you have a sub-issue you want to discuss, start a new thread, please.

Sincerely,

anastasios
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