Posted in Activism, advocate, badassery, CANCER, death, Equality, movies, pop culture

Goodbye, King

When news came late Friday night that Chadwick Boseman, the actor who played King T’Challa in the Black Panther and Avenger movies, had died at age 43, the news hit me harder than I thought it would.

Boseman had been battling, unbeknownst to most, colon cancer for four years. This time had included the time he was working on the Black Panther movie. If you haven’t had cancer or a serious, debilitating illness, it’s difficult to appreciate what I consider to be a truly heroic effort to portray a hero. Each time cancer takes someone young or inspirational, I’m reminded I need to embrace more of the remaining life I’ve been given to live. This death cut me to the core. I’ve so much left to do.

I remember when the Black Panther movie came out and so many people of all races and lifestyles came out of the theaters crossing their arms in the “Wakanda forever!” sign. People of color walked out of that movie changed and inspired. Young black children finally had a Marvel superhero on screen that looked like them, that they could identify with. Someone strong, caring, extraordinary and human.

I was also inspired by the Black Panther. The strong women of Wakanda, who were in charge of the technology and protecting the King, made me cheer. These depictions of strong, intelligent women (of any color) shouldn’t be so few and far between, but they are. Shuri is the smartest in the room. Any room. Okoye and her crew could kick any man’s ass. Nakia is brave, and convinces the King that sharing their knowledge and wealth for the good of all is an important enough idea to allow it to stand between her and her relationship with the King.

Heroes don’t have to be the same color as you are to be inspirational, but I’m white and I have plenty to choose from if that is what I seek. It was about time that people of color had an extraordinary hero and a slew of capable, ass-kicking heroines. I can only hope another hero can rise on the shoulders of Chadwick Boseman.

What I hope people learn from Boseman’s short, but well-lived, life is that people can be heroes both on and offscreen and be an inspiration beyond what they intended or hoped for. Heroism and quality of character goes more than skin deep, and that is one of the legacies that Boseman left behind for all of us.

Rest in Power, King.

Posted in death, movies, storytelling, Uncategorized


Carrie Fisher was my first princess.  I was 8 years old when Star Wars: A New Hope arrived on the scene and it changed the world forever.

Princess Leia was no ordinary princess, at least not the ones I’d seen up to that point. She was smart, sassy, and in charge.  She didn’t wait for a prince or hero to save her, she grabbed a gun and shot her enemy and fought her threats herself.

Three movies and an entire space mythos later, Princess Leia was firmly entrenched as one of my role models. Pink, fluffy-haired, prissy, weak damsel in distress princesses would never, ever measure up.

I was thrilled to see Princess Leia return to Star Wars decades after Princess Leia helped save the galaxy and ride off into the galactic sunset.  She had aged, yes, but she was still in charge.  Now a general, always royal, guiding fragments of humanity to overcome the throngs of evil that will always rise and fall.

The eighth installment of the Star Wars saga finished filming this summer. Again, Princess/General Leia figures to figure prominently in the galaxy far, far away.  Unfortunately, her story will end.

Carrie Fisher, the talented, gritty portrayer of Princess Leia, is gone.  She left us this morning, after suffering a heart attack Christmas Eve.  She was only 60 years old. Earlier this week, we lost George Michael at only 53 years old. All year long the list of celebrities and the well-known who have left us has been long – young, old, talented, not so talented, smart, sciencey, larger than life, angelic, humanitarian, mercurial.

And now the list has my Princess.  I’m saddened to know her story has ended in life and on screen, and the world mourns with me.


Posted in friends, movies, pop culture


This week, I received a shirt from my friend Angie in Ohio. Angie and I went to Anderson together many, many years ago. One night my junior year, the campus movie was The Princess Bride and though we had not heard of it, we decided for a dollar, could we turn down such inexpensive entertainment?

Phrases such as, “Have fun storming the castle!” and “Inconceivable!” have long outlived many phrases from that era of my life. Each time I’ve watched that movie since college (and I can quote it from beginning to end) I am thrown back in time to a collage of lively and fun memories and a group of lively and fun people.

Much to my delight, I received the, “Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya…” t-shirt this week. I took it out of the box and showed it to everyone in my office and everybody started quoting the movie and a few brought up the book (that I have not read, sad to say). That movie is still shown on tv, and somehow I have two copies of it on VHS. Somehow, I think that in twenty years, I’ll still be able to quote unending lines from this movie.

I hope, someday, to create something that people will discuss, remember, or quote twenty or a hundred years down the road. A work that will encourage, uplift, and educate others, or make a a person laugh would keep it alive, and as a friend once said to me about his own creation, “I want to see it live.”

Posted in Harry Potter, movies, pop culture


This article comes from one of the foremost experts on the Harry Potter series, John Granger.

I’ve been looking for an intelligent answer besides, “well, it just doesn’t,” when someone insists that Harry Potter introduces children to the occult and this article reinforces that thought.

John Granger delves into the literary traditions of alchemy that are woven throughout Harry Potter, which is a far cry from the occult. Again, Mr. Granger explains it a lot better than I could. Here’s a sample:

The great irony in the objections that Rowling’s books undermine or violate the tenets of the Christian faith is that her books offer initiation, not into the occult, but into the symbolist worldview of revealed faiths (and sacramental religions specifically) and the dominant symbols and doctrines of traditional Christianity. Ignorance of alchemy and the larger traditions of English literature—not to mention the Christian understanding of the relations of faith and secular culture—has caused many to turn away a great help, perhaps providential, in the trouble and struggle we have to prepare our children for fully human, which is to say “spiritual,” lives.

I love that any book can lead me to other books and articles and in turn, learn more about myself and others… and learn more about other great literature and ideas.

All of this research and reading has reminded me that to be relevant in my pursuit of writing (and in other areas of my life), I must learn about, know, and understand the world outside of the Christian subculture and I that I must use caution to walk that delicate tightrope of learning about the world around me and taking what I learn and become an influence on the world, and not vice versa.

I don’t pretend to walk that tightrope perfectly, and I won’t pretend that I’m even close to getting it right all the time. I will, though, continue to add to the dialogue, and hopefully, we will learn from each other.

Posted in Harry Potter, movies, pop culture, Yahweh's fingerprints


I have had many opportunities this week to discuss Harry Potter with supporters of the Harry Potter series, and with those who still have reservations about the world JK Rowling has created.

One thing I have learned in my years of blogging and in creative discussion is that you can lead a horse to water, but that doesn’t make him a duck (with an ode to Ms. Depesto of the Moonlighting series). I can explain my beliefs and my opinions to those who hold opposite views, but I can’t make them, no matter how hard I try, change their mind, and I’m not going to jump down their throat about it.

Too many times in the past, I have bludgeoned people over the head with my opinion, because, after all, my way is the only way right? Only I have tapped into the great vein of knowledge about God and know beyond the shadow of any doubt that my human brain has interpreted everything God has shown me to be true and absolute – there is no room for other opinions to be brought to the table… I am the authority on everything! Mwah, ha ha!

And then God saved me from myself… from my arrogance and pride, from my tunnel vision and black and white existence and delivered me into the technicolor kaleidoscope I currently see the world through. I no longer separate the sacred from the secular (have you noticed that sacred is really close to scared?) and am able to see the sacred in the secular much more than many people are inclined or comfortable with. I consider this vision a true gift, but it’s a gift that not everybody embraces in me… and as God has worked that miracle in my life, I’ve cared less about anybody’s opinion of me but his.

I answer to him alone, and when I remember that, the freedom is a rush.

As I’ve been reminded lately, I am responsible to put the message/opinion out there, but I am not responsible for the reaction. It’s not my job to align anyone with my opinions. If you like what you read, fine. If you don’t, let’s talk. Maybe I have something to learn, or maybe God has something he wants to reinforce with the difference of your opinion.

Take heart, Harry haters. There’s room for both of us at the table. We’re both still Christians even if we come down on different sides of the issue. Just know that no matter how much you think I’ve gone off the deep end over this or many other things I blog about, my heart still belongs to God.

I still have a long way to go to truly understand thinking outside of the box and to make that my brain’s default setting, but at least my heart is now outside of the box and the God I know is outside of it, too, though that is a daily placement sometimes.

Believe me, the world is much more exciting and colorful out of the box than it ever was in it… or, don’t believe me. I’m leaving that choice up to you.

Posted in Harry Potter, movies


I just finished my second reading of the book yesterday. I wanted to go back and reread it to be sure I caught more details, to make sure I didn’t miss anything during my marathon reading session last Saturday.

The final book in the blockbuster fantasy series, Deathly Hallows did not disappoint. The story ended much as I thought it might, and even though many beloved characters were lost along the way, the story settled into a happy ending, complete with a glimpse into Harry’s life 19 years down the road.

If you refer to my previous posts, you know that I have believed that this series of books is a classic story of good versus evil, of using the power bestowed upon you for the benefit of others, or for the benefit of oneself. I want to say first and foremost that this book had a redemptive ending, and paralleled the redemptive, sacrificial story of Christ in the Bible.

The mere mention of Harry Potter and the word, “Bible” in the same sentence usually causes quite a stir, but I won’t back away from it, because, in the same way I read The Lord of the Rings, I read it with an open mind, and I saw the salvation/sacrifice story in that book, and I know people who have read it who only managed to see it as a fantasy story, nothing more. Either you will see the Christian threads woven throughout Harry Potter, or you won’t.

A friend told me she believes that people can dismiss or embrace the magic in the stories of The Chronicles of Narnia and the The Lord of the Rings because, for the most part, the stories are set centuries ago in magical, made up lands. I think she’s right. The Harry Potter series is set in present day, and it’s harder to dismiss the magic in this wonderfully crafted fantasy story when you can actually imagine the magic happening in the world around you. I think that’s part of the mental block people have, whether they know it or not.

Hear me, please. Harry Potter is not Jesus. However, if a roaring lion in The Chronicles of Narnia can be compared to the Lion of Judah, then Harry Potter’s journey can certainly be compared to Jesus’ journey to the cross. In many ways, we all have been on that journey at one point or other in our lives. All of us have had to die to self and take up our cross on our journey of faith.

Since Harry was born, each moment of his life, each lesson he has learned, each loss he has suffered, has led him to the place where he discovers that ultimately, he must sacrifice himself… willingly… in order to rid the world of the embodiment of evil, Lord Voldemort. Their journeys are intertwined, for one cannot live if the other survives.

Harry learns, through a journey in a Pensieve of memories of his believed arch enemy, Severus Snape, that Snape has been protecting him his entire life and that the time will come where he will have to die to ensure Lord Voldemort’s defeat. He has been protected, kept alive, taught, nearly killed, he’s suffered, endured torture and pain… only to learn that he was not being prepared for victory, he was being prepared to die.

Dumbledore insists that this knowledge must be kept from Harry until the very end, otherwise, how would he find the strength to do what he must? Literally, all the weight of the world falls upon this 17 year old’s shoulders, and he rises to the challenge and walks willingly toward death.

Harry allows himself to be struck down by Voldemort with the irreversible killing curse, and he wakes up in a peaceful place and is joined by Dumbledore. There, they talk out what’s been happening, Dumbledore confesses to Harry that Harry is a better man than he, and that Harry now has a choice – he can go “on” and rest in eternity, or he can go back, because he is still alive, still tied to Voldemort until Voldemort himself is dead.

Harry decides to go back and finish the job. He knows he must go back for the greater good, a theme which was woven throughout this book. The desire to do something for the greater good can be motivated by love, or it can be motivated and twisted by selfishness. Voldemort believed he was cleansing the tainted “mudbloods” out of his world, just as Hitler believed what he was doing was for the greater good of humanity, sacrificing others to achieve this goal. Jesus, however, sacrificed himself for the greater good, and Harry lay down his life for his friends – even for people he didn’t know.

I don’t know what can be evil about a book that teaches the difference in choosing between what is right and what is easy, between good and evil, between sacrifice and selfishness. We are all human, we are all flawed, and we all face these types of choices every day. To introduce children to these concepts and be able to dialogue with them about these types of choices is the gift of well written literature. JK Rowling has managed to get millions of people to read a redemption story that is woven with Christian imagery even if people choose not to see it.

I will end with this. The story of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has many themes, good vs. evil, sacrifice and selfishness, and so much more. What the book boils down to, and I believe what ultimately makes Harry victorious, is found on page 325 in the epitaph on the grave of Dumbledore’s mother and sister.

Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Posted in Harry Potter, movies


I just finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows about fifteen minutes ago. It was an incredibly well written and intricate story that ties up all lose ends and provides nail biting suspense along the way. And, when I get around to reviewing the book, any question about the author’s morality will be laid to rest.

We went to Borders in the Galleria last night to get our books. Jene’ cleverly picked up our wristbands on her lunch hour, wristbands that would put us in the first group to get the books at midnight.

I tried to take a nap before we went to Borders. I slept from 7 – 8 PM then the annoying ice cream truck blasting it’s off tone Swannee River came through the complex, followed by the neighbors coming home and their car alarm beeping every time someone walked past their car. Finally, I slept some more between 8:45 and 10 PM, when my alarm went off and I got up to get ready to go to Borders.

I was tired but excited when we got to Borders. We had picked up another friend of ours and arrived around 11 PM. Many kids had dressed up for the occasion, and my favorite was a girl who dyed her hair bright pink like the character Tonks.

At about ten till midnight, they called for all silver wristbands to line up first and we jumped in line. Before they rolled the books out on carts to take them to the cash registers, they counted down and then everyone cheered.

We were probably seventh or eighth in line, so unlike Book 6’s release, when we walked out of Borders around 12:50 AM, Jene’ and I had our orange covered books in our hot little hands by 12:05 AM and I started reading the book at 12:50 AM.

I took great measures to ensure that I would read more than I did last year before I went to sleep (last year, I got to chapter 2 and fell asleep). I drank some Vitamin Water (Revive) and ate some popcorn, cheese and fruit to stay awake. Finally, though, at about 5 AM, I was having issues with comprehension, so I decided to sleep. At this point, I was about to start chapter 19. I was nearly halfway through.

So I got up at 9:30 and ate breakfast, took a shower and started reading again around 10:20 and finished at 3:03 PM.

Good places to stop if you are reading in segments…stop before:

Chapter 8
Chapter 12
Chapter 16
Chapter 22
Chapter 26
Chapter 29

I suggest planning on reading the remaining chapters together, which would be a little over 200 pages, because things really pick up after that and I can’t imagine being able to stop after that point.

I will post a review of the book later in the week after I read it again. 🙂