According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Friday, July 15, 2011

Five Things We Can Learn from Severus Snape

[Spoiler Alert: If you've not read Deathly Hallows
or watched the final movie, you should go and do that,
and then come back and read this post.]

by Mason Slater
posted July 15, 2011

Last night, as I sat waiting for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to begin, I was looking forward to one character's story more than any other.

It wasn't Harry's, or Ron and Hermione's, or even Voldemort's.

No, the story I wanted to hear was the story of Severus Snape.

By the end of movie 7 part 1, the audience has been set up to hate Snape, and with good reason. Always a shadowy figure with questionable loyalties, in Half Blood Prince Snape kills Dumbledore. Soon after, with the rise of the Dark Lord, he is placed in charge of Hogwarts. As headmaster he oversees a brutal and oppressive school which lacks any of the light and magic of earlier years.

Yet things are not as they seem, and in Deathly Hallows we learn the true story of Snape. The story of a man who was tormented by lost love, who played his role for the greater good, and who was in the end one of the greatest heroes of the story.

Didactically, I think Snape's story provides a sort of traction that some of the others do not, and I want to look at five things we can learn from Severus Snape.

1. Our judgments about people are often wrong. In almost every book Harry and his friends suspect Snape is in on whatever evil is threatening them, all the more so after he kills Dumbledore. As it turns out he was on their side all along, and did more to protect and aid Harry than almost anyone else.

2. Rough exteriors are not the whole story. Admittedly, Snape is my favorite character in the Harry Potter series [so I was glad to see him vindicated when I read book 7]. But that isn't to say I find him to be a pleasant person, quite the opposite really. We learn some of why that is later on, but from beginning to end Snape is cold, short tempered, and at times rather cruel. Yet this exterior hides a person who dedicated his life to defeating the forces of evil.

3. Sometimes heroes are silent. At the moment of his death, the only person who ever knew how good Snape really was, was Dumbledore, who Snape had killed. He died as an enemy of all that is good in the world of Harry Potter, and it was only after he could no longer be thanked that the true story was revealed - why he betrayed Voldemort, how he did the difficult thing no other wizard could have done and deceived the Dark Lord, how he gave his life selflessly for people who might never know what he had done for them.

4. True loyalty comes at great cost. Sure, we all want loyalty and put forth some effort to be loyal to others, but we rarely consider the cost. For Snape, loyalty to Dumbledore meant living a double life, sacrificing everything he held dear, and even killing Dumbledore when Dumbledore commanded him to. In the end we find out that he was never a traitor, but instead had played his part perfectly to the very end.

5. Love changes everything. Snape was originally a Death Eater, a true servant of Voldemort. We learn in these last chapters that what drove him to Dumbledore was love, love for Lilly Potter. He had loved Lilly since childhood, and though his personality and obsession with the dark arts had driven her away, he never stopped loving her.

When he learned that Voldemort was searching for the Potters, he went to Dumbledore in an effort to protect Lilly. When she died, he spent the rest of his life ensuring her son was safe. The redemption of Severus Snape was, like so much in Harry Potter, because of love. In the end his one request was to look into Harry's eyes, because he had his mother's eyes.

- Have you seen the final film? What did you think of it?
- Who is your favorite Harry Potter character? Why?
- Be honest. Did you trust Snape?


The Bravest Man I Ever Knew

Severus Snape's Farewell

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Requiem


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