The day of reckoning has arrived for Harry Potter fans worldwide. Millions of books shipped, twice as many hands cracking open spines of discovery, just as many eyes drinking in the words and revelations held within those 700-some pages that act as a capstone on a legendary series.
I’m physically anxious. I won’t lie to you–I’ll buy the book as soon as I can find it. And you can bet I’ll avoid going online as I read it so that I might not stumble onto anymore spoilers. I read one simple line on facebook completely by accident, and I feel as if my innocence, my Book Seven Virginity, as it were, has been ripped from me. I try to forget what I read, but trying only has the same effect as trying to get “It’s a Small World After All” out of one’s head. It doesn’t work. It sears the words into one’s brain like a hot branding iron. So, I suppose I’m disappointed. But I won’t let that ruin my enjoyment of this final installment of one of the most obsession-inducing sagas in youth literature.
All that said, maybe finally, after all this hype has died down, people will stop talking about Harry at every possible conscious moment. Sure, I’m a fan, but I have my limits as to how much of someone’s obsessions I can handle. So let’s all enjoy the final book, shed a few tears of parting, and then get on with life!
Three days ago my eager hands trembled as I gleefully purchased IMAX tickets for the opening night showing of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that releases July 14th at 12:01 AM. Not only will I indulge my senses in the migraine-inducing sights and sounds of an IMAX production–I will also be enjoying the camaraderie of attending such a spectacle with a great friend who feels even more enthusiastic about the release than I do.
So what is it that is so great as to pull me from hours of sleep on a work night? Is it the movie? Yes. Our mutual Harry Potter infatuation? Yes. Is it the experience of gathering with hundreds of other ecstatic fans to celebrate as one unit of frightfully nerdy patrons? Oh, yes. But I dare say it’s less about the people than the movie itself. I don’t pay $11 for social time.
Now, switch gears with me…
What if church was this thrilling? What if we could come lining up for the good seats (dead center, top 2/3 of the theater), aching to experience the thrill of bonding, a new amazing experience that ensnares our minds and captivates our time? When was the last time you sat through a three-hour church service without looking at a clock? But what about an entertaining three-hour movie? Why Is it that movies excite us more than God?
On the flip side… should church be like going to the movies?
Oh, I have my own answers to those questions, of course. I even have plenty of thoughts on church as entertainment. I’ll get back to that in a moment. for now, let’s focus on two unique ways that churches are striving to answer those inquiries: