Fall 2017 Pub Theology Kickoff Party

Fall KickoffGet ready for our Pub Theology Fall Kickoff Party this coming Sunday at 1pm!

Karen Nappo is hosting our Kickoff Party at her house on Sunday September 3, 2017 at 1:00 pm. Get this on your calendar. The menu includes BBQ ribs, shrimp, sausage, potato salad, corn on the cob, baked beans, desserts, etc. (think in terms of great picnic foods). No agenda/topic this time–let’s just have some fun together before we get down to some holy conversations, once more, beginning Monday evening September 11, 2017 at 6:30pm at Kickin’ Chicken on Folly Road.

Pub Theology Charleston Gathering — Monday June 26, 2017, 6:30 P.M.

RevelationWelcome to Pub Theology Charleston! We will be gathering at the Kickin’ Chicken (1175 Folly Road, James Is.) on Monday June 26, 2017 at 6:30 pm. Come out for food, drink and conversation about things that matter.

For each of our gatherings, we’ll have a Topic Format (printed–everyone gets a copy at the beginning of the evening). The Topic Format will provide the Trending Topic for the evening, Background for the topic, and several guide questions to serve as Discussion Starters.

The Topic Format for Monday June 26 will look something like this:

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Pub Theology Charleston — June 26, 2017

HARRY POTTER THEOLOGY

Trending Topic: Theology of Revelation, Part 1

In matters of faith, as with all matters of life, we must distinguish between truth and falsehood, and more often than not, struggle with gray areas. That is the winnowing floor of revelation, separating wheat from chaff. Characters in the Harry Potter series also struggle to separate truth from falsehood. The Wesleyan Quadrilateral is one of the most reliable methods for testing Christian truth, so we will look at the struggle for truth in Harry Potter’s world through that lens.

Background:

  • Introduction to the Theology of Revelation
  • Scripture — There is no equivalent to the Bible in the wizarding world, but the characters must still discern the truth about a variety of texts, to determine what is trustworthy.
  • Tradition — Traditions exist in the wizarding world; some work for the good, but they can also be used to work evil.
  • Reason — Reason is indispensable for separating truth from falsehood. God gives us minds to use. It’s up to us to use them wisely.
  • Experience — Experiences often help us determine what to trust, but can also be misleading.

Discussion Starters:

  1. Consider Harry’s use of Advanced Potion Making, Snape’s book from the Half-Blood Prince. How does Harry come to trust it initially? How does Hermione advise Harry about trusting it? What happens when he casts the Sectumsempra curse on Draco?
  2. Desiring a confidante in her first Hogwart’s year, Ginny Weasley places her trust in a mysterious diary. Who does the diary actually belong to? What happened to Ginny as a result of her trust?
  3. Rita Skeeter published a biography of Dumbledore, The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore, reporting the worst of his past in the worst possible light. What effect does this book have on Harry, Ron, and Hermione initially? If they had not regained their trust in Dumbledore, what might have become of the mission he had left them?
  4. What are some of the beneficial traditions at Hogwarts? Seasonal holidays? The feast on the first day of the new school year? What effect did these traditions have upon the school community?
  5. How did Delores Umbridge use traditions? For good or ill? What does that tell us about traditions and how they are used?
  6. How did Hermione use her exceptional intelligence? Eg., figuring out how to free Buckbeak, or translating The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Did she always use her reasoning for the good?
  7. Voldemort was also very intelligent, yet he used his reasoning power destructively. Does that mean reasoning only reveals truth and goodness when it is used wisely?
  8. Harry and Draco both had experiences with Dumbledore and his ideals of love and diversity. How did Harry experience Dumbledore? Why were Draco’s experiences of Dumbledore so different?
  9. How did Harry’s experiences with Dumbledore help him get beyond his crisis of faith when Rita Skeeter’s Dumbledore biography came out? Wasn’t Harry’s own life evidence that Dumbledore fought for values of love and inclusiveness, even though the book said otherwise?
  10. How is it that some of the characters (eg., Dumbledore’s Army) trust in the beauty and power of love and inclusiveness, while others seem incapable?

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Those are just a few of the kinds of questions we might like to consider. We’ll probably come up with a lot more questions before the evening is over. Come join the conversation. It may well be your insights that the rest of us sorely need to hear.

Pub Theology Charleston Gathering — Monday June 19, 2017, 6:30 P.M.

Dumbledore's ArmyWelcome to Pub Theology Charleston! We will be gathering at the Kickin’ Chicken (1175 Folly Road, James Is.) on Monday June 19, 2017 at 6:30 pm. Come out for food, drink and conversation about things that matter.

For each of our gatherings, we’ll have a Topic Format (printed–everyone gets a copy at the beginning of the evening). The Topic Format will provide the Trending Topic for the evening, Background for the topic, and several guide questions to serve as Discussion Starters.

The Topic Format for Monday June 19 will look something like this:

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Pub Theology Charleston — June 19, 2017

HARRY POTTER THEOLOGY

Trending Topic: Theology of Salvation, Part 5

The theology of salvation has two major components, 1) the problem of sin affecting all humans, and 2) the solution that corrects the problem, resulting in salvation. As we saw in the sessions on the theology of sin, there are several ways of understanding the problem, so we should not be surprised that salvation must be explained in several ways as well. In this session we will examine how humans work with each other and with God to accomplish the work of salvation.

Background:

  • Introduction to the Theology of Salvation
  • Jesus as our satisfaction — Jesus pays the debt that humans owe to God as a result of sin. Jesus saves by sacrificially satisfying our debt.
  • Jesus as teacher –Jesus provides a saving ethical framework for humans to follow.
  • Jesus as moral example — When humans follow the moral example of Jesus, learning to love as Jesus loves, they help usher in the saving reign of God’s love and peace on earth as in heaven.
  • Jesus as champion and liberator — When people work together with Christ to alleviate the suffering that results from corporate sin, they participate in the fullness of salvation God intends for humanity, helping to usher in the saving reign of God’s love and peace.
  • Jesus as final scapegoat — Jesus exposed the lie that we can justify ourselves by sacrificing others. Salvation is realized when humans take responsibility for their own wrongdoings, accept God’s grace, and ground their relationship with God and one another in faith and love.

Discussion Starters:

  1. In Harry potter’s world, the work of salvation is carried out in community, with many characters participating. Is that true of Christianity?
  2. In the biblical narrative, the work of salvation rests largely upon the work of one person, Jesus the Christ. Yet, doesn’t salvation also come through the participation of the beloved community?
    • Without his mother, Mary, Jesus might not have been born and raised in love.
    • Without faithful witnesses, Christians might not have a record of Jesus’ work and teachings.
    • Without faithful followers throughout the centuries, Christianity might have withered on the vine.
  3. While Harry took a central role in defeating Voldemort, didn’t it take many people working together to triumph?
  4. Is Dumbledore’s Army a fitting parallel for the beloved community, the Church?
  5. Together, members of the Church work to bring Jesus’ ideals into the world by worshiping together, remembering Jesus’ stories, and forming the beloved community of Christ for all diversities of people, thereby becoming what is known as the body of Christ. Weren’t Harry and Dumbledore’s Army, working together, carrying out the same goals that Christianity seeks?
  6. Does the salvation victory of Dumbledore’s Army in the wizarding world, inspire us to renew and redouble our efforts for the salvation of our world, so that God’s will be done, God’s kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven?
  7. He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands.

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Those are just a few of the kinds of questions we might like to consider. We’ll probably come up with a lot more questions before the evening is over. Come join the conversation. It may well be your insights that the rest of us sorely need to hear.

Pub Theology Charleston Gathering — Monday June 12, 2017, 6:30 P.M.

ScapegoatWelcome to Pub Theology Charleston! We will be gathering at the Kickin’ Chicken (1175 Folly Road, James Is.) on Monday June 12, 2017 at 6:30 pm. Come out for food, drink and conversation about things that matter.

For each of our gatherings, we’ll have a Topic Format (printed–everyone gets a copy at the beginning of the evening). The Topic Format will provide the Trending Topic for the evening, Background for the topic, and several guide questions to serve as Discussion Starters.

The Topic Format for Monday June 12 will look something like this:

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Pub Theology Charleston — June 12, 2017

HARRY POTTER THEOLOGY

Trending Topic: Theology of Salvation, Part 4

The theology of salvation has two major components, 1) the problem of sin affecting all humans, and 2) the solution that corrects the problem, resulting in salvation. As we saw in the sessions on the theology of sin, there are several ways of understanding the problem, so we should not be surprised that salvation must be explained in several ways as well. In this session we will examine Jesus as final scapegoat.

Background:

  • Introduction to the Theology of Salvation
  • Jesus as our satisfaction — Jesus pays the debt that humans owe to God as a result of sin. Jesus saves by sacrificially satisfying our debt.
  • Jesus as teacher –Jesus provides a saving ethical framework for humans to follow.
  • Jesus as moral example — When humans follow the moral example of Jesus, learning to love as Jesus loves, they help usher in the saving reign of God’s love and peace on earth as in heaven.
  • Jesus as champion and liberator — When people work together with Christ to alleviate the suffering that results from corporate sin, they participate in the fullness of salvation God intends for humanity, helping to usher in the saving reign of God’s love and peace.
  • Jesus as final scapegoat — Jesus exposed the lie that we can justify ourselves by sacrificing others. Salvation is realized when humans take responsibility for their own wrongdoings, accept God’s grace, and ground their relationship with God and one another in faith and love.

Discussion Starters:

  1. Does Harry seem to resemble the scapegoated Christ more than any other character, knowing what it is to be both admired and scorned?
  2. How is Harry treated by others when he is chosen to participate in the Triwizard Tournament?
  3. How do people react to the fact that he can speak Parseltongue?
  4. The Daily Prophet’s Rita Skeeter shows how easily public perceptions and opinions can be manipulated.
    • When Harry goes from being a hero to being the source of all ills, how much was that due to Rita’s propaganda, and how much was due to people’s fears and resentments, that is, their own receptiveness to propaganda because it fits their desired narrative?
    • How do we explain someone like Seamus Finnigan’s mother, who doesn’t want Seamus to return to Hogwarts due to what she read in the Daily Prophet? Or Cornelius Fudge who won’t believe when Harry tells him that Voldemort has returned, for the same reason?
    • On the other hand, how do we explain someone like Augusta Longbottom who cancels her Daily Prophet subscription, based on the same evidence, but with a different perspective?
    • How do we feel when the good guy falls prey to the massaging of fears and resentments via partial truths and lies?
  5. How does Harry’s sacrifice that ends the validity of scapegoating so that the wizarding world is no longer blind to the sins of supremacism and intolerance, parallel the scapegoating sacrifice of Jesus?
  6. He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands.

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Those are just a few of the kinds of questions we might like to consider. We’ll probably come up with a lot more questions before the evening is over. Come join the conversation. It may well be your insights that the rest of us sorely need to hear.

Pub Theology Charleston Gathering — Monday June 5, 2017, 6:30 P.M.

Harry & VoldemortWelcome to Pub Theology Charleston! We will be gathering at the Kickin’ Chicken (1175 Folly Road, James Is.) on Monday June 5, 2017 at 6:30 pm. Come out for food, drink and conversation about things that matter.

For each of our gatherings, we’ll have a Topic Format (printed–everyone gets a copy at the beginning of the evening). The Topic Format will provide the Trending Topic for the evening, Background for the topic, and several guide questions to serve as Discussion Starters.

The Topic Format for Monday June 5 will look something like this:

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Pub Theology Charleston — June 5, 2017

HARRY POTTER THEOLOGY

Trending Topic: Theology of Salvation, Part 3

The theology of salvation has two major components, 1) the problem of sin affecting all humans, and 2) the solution that corrects the problem, resulting in salvation. As we saw in the sessions on the theology of sin, there are several ways of understanding the problem, so we should not be surprised that salvation must be explained in several ways as well. In this session we will examine Jesus as victorious champion and liberator.

Background:

  • Introduction to the Theology of Salvation
  • Jesus as our satisfaction — Jesus pays the debt that humans owe to God as a result of sin. Jesus saves by sacrificially satisfying our debt.
  • Jesus as teacher –Jesus provides a saving ethical framework for humans to follow.
  • Jesus as moral example — When humans follow the moral example of Jesus, learning to love as Jesus loves, they help usher in the saving reign of God’s love and peace on earth as in heaven.
  • Jesus as champion and liberator — When people work together with Christ to alleviate the suffering that results from corporate sin, they participate in the fullness of salvation God intends for humanity, helping to usher in the saving reign of God’s love and peace.
  • Jesus as final scapegoat — Jesus exposed the lie that we can justify ourselves by sacrificing others. Salvation is realized when humans take responsibility for their own wrongdoings, accept God’s grace, and ground their relationship with God and one another in faith and love.

Discussion Starters:

  1. Because Harry is the one who literally defeats evil, aka Voldemort, he is the most obvious parallel to the victorious Christ. But Harry did not act alone. Who else acted alongside Harry, without whom Harry could not have prevailed?
  2. Consider Neville Longbottom, and his rise to become a confident leader.
  3. What did killing Nagini (one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes) and receiving the Sword of Gryffindor do for Neville’s confidence, both to defeat Voldemort, and to defeat his own inner demons? Doesn’t he then rally the forces at Hogwarts even when he believes Harry is dead?
  4. Does Ron Weasley also have some inner demons to overcome? What are they? What happens when he destroys the Horcux embedded in Slytherin’s Locket? What does this show us about the psychological or inner power of evil, as well as evil being an outside influence, and how both must be overcome for evil to be defeated?
  5. While several characters could be considered liberators, such as Dumbledore and Mr. Weasley, Hermione stands out above others.
    • Hermione worked tirelessly to bring respect and freedom to others. Consider S.P.E.W. (Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare). She had a passion for the equality of all persons, and she spoke consistently with a prophetic voice for justice even when it was unpopular.
    • Can Hermione be considered a model for acting on behalf of those whom society harms via corporate sin?
  6. How does exposing corporate sin promote the salvation of Christ for all people, leading to the loving, peaceable kingdom of God?
  7. He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands.

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Those are just a few of the kinds of questions we might like to consider. We’ll probably come up with a lot more questions before the evening is over. Come join the conversation. It may well be your insights that the rest of us sorely need to hear.

Pub Theology Charleston Gathering — Monday May 29, 2017, 6:30 P.M.

Eternity NowWelcome to Pub Theology Charleston! We will be gathering at the Kickin’ Chicken (1175 Folly Road, James Is.) on Monday May 29, 2017 at 6:30 pm. Come out for food, drink and conversation about things that matter.

For each of our gatherings, we’ll have a Topic Format (printed–everyone gets a copy at the beginning of the evening). The Topic Format will provide the Trending Topic for the evening, Background for the topic, and several guide questions to serve as Discussion Starters.

The Topic Format for Monday May 29 will look something like this:

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Pub Theology Charleston — May 29, 2017

HARRY POTTER THEOLOGY

Trending Topic: Theology of Salvation, Part 2

The theology of salvation has two major components, 1) the problem of sin affecting all humans, and 2) the solution that corrects the problem, resulting in salvation. As we saw in the sessions on the theology of sin, there are several ways of understanding the problem, so we should not be surprised that salvation must be explained in several ways as well. In this session we will examine Jesus as moral example.

Background:

  • Introduction to the Theology of Salvation
  • Jesus as our satisfaction — Jesus pays the debt that humans owe to God as a result of sin. Jesus saves by sacrificially satisfying our debt.
  • Jesus as teacher –Jesus provides a saving ethical framework for humans to follow.
  • Jesus as moral example — When humans follow the moral example of Jesus, learning to love as Jesus loves, they help usher in the saving reign of God’s love and peace on earth as in heaven.
  • Jesus as champion and liberator — When people work together with Christ to alleviate the suffering that results from corporate sin, they participate in the fullness of salvation God intends for humanity, helping to usher in the saving reign of God’s love and peace.
  • Jesus as final scapegoat — Jesus exposed the lie that we can justify ourselves by sacrificing others. Salvation is realized when humans take responsibility for their own wrongdoings, accept God’s grace, and ground their relationship with God and one another in faith and love.

Discussion Starters:

  1. Consider how Dumbledore and Lily Potter both serve as moral exemplars, providing examples of the saving power of love.
  2. Does Lily Potter, more than any other character, show Harry the supreme importance of love?
  3. Describe the protection that Lily’s love provides for Harry.
  4. Does Lily’s love not only protect Harry, but also provide Harry the path for his quest?
  5. At the end of Deathly Hallows, when Harry offers his life for others, who is he imitating? Hint: In his last duel with Voldemort, Harry says, “I was ready to die to stop you from hurting these people…I’ve done what my mother did. They’re protected from you. Haven’t you noticed how none of the spells you put on them are binding?”
  6. As Harry grew into the image of his mother, giving his love in a selfless way, how do we see ourselves growing in the image of Jesus, giving our love in selfless ways?
  7. From your own experience, how does the protection of Lily’s and Harry’s love serve as a metaphor for the protective, saving power of God’s love for us?
  8. Eternal God of love and power, our brethren’s shield in danger’s hour; from rock and tempest, fire and foe, protect them wheresoe’er they go; thus, evermore shall rise to Thee glad hymns of praise from land and sea.
  9. Righteous God, you rule the nations. Guard brave men and women in military service. Give them compassion for those who confront them as enemies. Keep our children from hate that hardens, or from scorekeeping with human lives. Though for a season they must be people of war, let them live for peace, and never let hard duty separate them from loyalty to your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Those are just a few of the kinds of questions we might like to consider. We’ll probably come up with a lot more questions before the evening is over. Come join the conversation. It may well be your insights that the rest of us sorely need to hear.

Pub Theology Charleston Gathering — Monday May 22, 2017, 6:30 P.M.

Eternity NowWelcome to Pub Theology Charleston! We will be gathering at the Kickin’ Chicken (1175 Folly Road, James Is.) on Monday May 22, 2017 at 6:30 pm. Come out for food, drink and conversation about things that matter.

For each of our gatherings, we’ll have a Topic Format (printed–everyone gets a copy at the beginning of the evening). The Topic Format will provide the Trending Topic for the evening, Background for the topic, and several guide questions to serve as Discussion Starters.

The Topic Format for Monday May 22 will look something like this:

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Pub Theology Charleston — May 22, 2017

HARRY POTTER THEOLOGY

Trending Topic: Theology of Salvation, Part 1

The theology of salvation has two major components, 1) the problem of sin affecting all humans, and 2) the solution that corrects the problem, resulting in salvation. As we saw in the sessions on the theology of sin, there are several ways of understanding the problem, so we should not be surprised that salvation must be explained in several ways as well. In the following sessions (11-15), we will examine five of them. In this session we focus on Jesus as our satisfaction and Jesus as teacher.

Background:

  • Introduction to the Theology of Salvation
  • Jesus as our satisfaction — Jesus pays the debt that humans owe to God as a result of sin. Jesus saves by sacrificially satisfying our debt.
  • Jesus as teacher –Jesus provides a saving ethical framework for humans to follow.
  • Jesus as moral example — When humans follow the moral example of Jesus, learning to love as Jesus loves, they help usher in the saving reign of God’s love and peace on earth as in heaven.
  • Jesus as champion and liberator — When people work together with Christ to alleviate the suffering that results from corporate sin, they participate in the fullness of salvation God intends for humanity, helping to usher in the saving reign of God’s love and peace.
  • Jesus as final scapegoat — Jesus exposed the lie that we can justify ourselves by sacrificing others. Salvation is realized when humans take responsibility for their own wrongdoings, accept God’s grace, and ground their relationship with God and one another in faith and love.

Discussion Starters:

  1. Do any of the Harry Potter characters demonstrate anything like the satisfaction for the debt that humans owe God as a result of sin? Can humans participate in this aspect of salvation, besides accept God’s grace, or can God alone wipe away our debt? Are any of the Harry Potter characters God?
  2. Could either Dumbledore or Hermione represent the Teacher of Knowledge, providing an ethical framework for others to follow?
  3. Dumbledore and Hermione are both very intelligent and provide needed knowledge at key points. Does Dumbledore hold the edge in this regard? Doesn’t Hermione look up to Dumbledore?
  4. Who provides Harry with the most information for defeating Voldemort? Consider teachings on the power of love, Voldemort’s biography, and the secrets of the Horcruxes and Hallows. Dumbledore even anticipates future needs, as when he gives Tales of Beedle the Bard to Hermione, the deluminator to Ron, and the old snitch to Harry.
  5. What makes the difference for the Teacher of Knowledge who provides an ethical framework is the work toward fostering true, inclusive community for all people, God’s way of love. Again, don’t we find both Hermione and Dumbledore at the forefront of this effort? Hermione with S.P.E.W., and Dumbledore constantly teaching the dangers of intolerance, and advocating for Mudbloods and Muggles, et al.
  6. In Harry Potter, Dumbledore, and Hermione, both seem to parallel Jesus as Teacher of Knowledge. Can you think of other characters who may also parallel the saving work of Jesus in this way?
  7. Do the ethical teachings of Dumbledore, Hermione, and others help bring about a kind of salvation in the wizarding world?
  8. What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

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Those are just a few of the kinds of questions we might like to consider. We’ll probably come up with a lot more questions before the evening is over. Come join the conversation. It may well be your insights that the rest of us sorely need to hear.

Pub Theology Charleston Gathering — Monday May 15, 2017, 6:30 P.M.

Kingdom of GodWelcome to Pub Theology Charleston! We will be gathering at the Kickin’ Chicken (1175 Folly Road, James Is.) on Monday May 15, 2017 at 7:00 pm. Come out for food, drink and conversation about things that matter.

For each of our gatherings, we’ll have a Topic Format (printed–everyone gets a copy at the beginning of the evening). The Topic Format will provide the Trending Topic for the evening, Background for the topic, and several guide questions to serve as Discussion Starters.

The Topic Format for Monday May 15 will look something like this:

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Pub Theology Charleston — May 15, 2017

Trending Topic: What Is the Kingdom of God?

In times when things go topsy-turvey, when down seems up and up seems down, when foundations we once thought sure are crumbling beneath our feet, the time-tested tradition of the Church provides the deep anchor of truth that we can always rely on. What does remembering that our true allegiance is with the kingdom of God, above and beyond all earthly principalities and powers, mean for us today? Let’s talk about it this coming Monday evening at Pub Theology.

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Come join the conversation. It may well be your insights that the rest of us sorely need to hear.

Pub Theology Charleston Gathering — Monday May 8, 2017, 6:30 P.M.

Anti-EucharistWelcome to Pub Theology Charleston! We will be gathering at the Kickin’ Chicken (1175 Folly Road, James Is.) on Monday May 8, 2017 at 6:30 pm. Come out for food, drink and conversation about things that matter.

For each of our gatherings, we’ll have a Topic Format (printed–everyone gets a copy at the beginning of the evening). The Topic Format will provide the Trending Topic for the evening, Background for the topic, and several guide questions to serve as Discussion Starters.

The Topic Format for Monday May 8 will look something like this:

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Pub Theology Charleston — May 8, 2017

HARRY POTTER THEOLOGY

Trending Topic: Theology of the Eucharist

While there is no direct instance of the Eucharist being celebrated in the Harry Potter story, we do find a strong parallel of the Eucharist turned on its head, showing the depth of evil and the power of good in stunning contrast. Does it help to see what the Eucharist is by seeing an anti-Eucharist?

Background:

  • Introduction to the Theology of the Eucharist
  • At the end of the Triwizard Tournament, Harry and Cedric Diggory both touch the Triwizard Cup and are transported to the cemetery in Little Hangleton, where Tom Riddle’s father is buried. There, Wormtail (Pettigrew) kills Cedric and binds Harry.
  • Wormtail carries out a ritual that restores Voldemort to bodily form.
  • First, Wormtail places Voldemort’s diminutive, grotesque form into a cauldron along with some bone dust from Tom Riddle’s father’s grave.
  • Then, Wormtail cuts off his right hand and drops it into a cauldron, saying, “Flesh of the servant w-willingly given, you will revive your master.” The cauldron’s contents then turn a burning red.
  • Finally, Wormtail pierces Harry’s arm, and adds his blood to the potion, saying, “B-blood of the enemy…forcibly taken…you will…resurrect your foe.” The potion then turns blindingly bright, emanating sparks like diamonds, and the resurrected Voldemort rises from the cauldron.

Discussion Starters:

  1. In the Bible, Jesus says “This is my body, which is given for you,” and “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant of my blood.” Jesus gives his body and blood freely. Wormtail also speaks of sacrificial body and blood, but are they freely given? Was Wormtail’s flesh truly given willingly?
  2. The Eucharist commemorates the selflessness of Jesus, who endured pain so that others might experience resurrection. Does Voldemort feel pain in his resurrection? Who feels pain in his ritual? While Jesus is selfless, what is Voldemort?
  3. While the Eucharistic meal is offered for the resurrection of the whole world, who benefits from the meal given by Harry and Wormtail? Does Voldemort turn the Eucharist upside down?
  4. The Eucharist celebrates the gift of Jesus that leads to wholeness and God’s way of love. What does Voldemort’s ritual lead to? Love, wholeness, and life, the beloved community? or fear, division, and death, the ruptured community?
  5. Voldemort’s sins of pride and supremacy are often manifested by groups of people in the world today–racism, xenophobia, nationalism, bigotry and prejudice of all manners. Corporate sin often goes unnoticed or, even, excused in too many cases. Does it help to recognize this sin for what it is, when it is focused into one person, when all the disguises are stripped away?
  6. By using Eucharistic language in Voldemort’s ritual, is Rowling giving us a way of looking at the Eucharist by means of its opposite, saying that what Voldemort is doing is clearly wrong. Would a true savior ever do that?
  7. Does seeing what is bad, help us to see and understand what is good?
  8. One bread, one body, one Lord of all, one cup of blessing which we bless. And we, though many throughout the earth, we are one body in this one Lord.

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Those are just a few of the kinds of questions we might like to consider. We’ll probably come up with a lot more questions before the evening is over. Come join the conversation. It may well be your insights that the rest of us sorely need to hear.