Harry pulled a fast one on me

Tonight, I was fortunate enough to be able to see a preview of the sixth Harry Potter movie with a generous friend, L, who had a couple free tickets.

Earlier this week , the same friend and I had been discussing religion.  Do you think, she wanted to know, that people can have positive spiritual experiences in places outside of a church/temple/congregation/etc.?

(So asked the agnostic/atheist of the agnostic/christian ‘Master of Divinity’).

Of course, of course, I stumbled.  I tried to say something like, anytime people come together and name what is good, what is true, or right, together it is a spiritual experience. 

(I should have added something about absolute good, though I’m not sure what that means anyway).

It reminded me of the time that S asked me why I interpret the Bible with such vigor, when I don’t give it much spiritual authority to my life:  I fumbled and mimicked through the answers in the same way.

And, it reminded me of the time that B told me his most spiritual moments were in watching film: I stopped, and thought, and considered it in the same way.  It always strikes my fancy a little to think of spirituality afresh.

Which brings me back to Harry Potter.  I did not expect tonight for this movie to move me.  It was supposed to be playful; fluff; of the hocus-pocus genre.  And the book, though beloved, didn’t grab at me like this.  Driving home (yes, driving, so pathetic and alone compared to the comfortingly chaotic New York subways), I began to ask myself questions about the nature of death, the power of obedience, and the absolute qualities of, yes, good and evil (extremes I try very hard to stay away from).  What is this meaning-making nature of film for me, that it conjures not simply questions related to the tropes or themes of the plot, but related to the very essence of how I feel following the movie?

My questions began to blend and overlap with the emotions I am working very hard to tamp down.  What will my life be like here?  What am I going to contribute (to my family, to academia, to the church, to the world)?  Is there an energy in this place that can nurture me?  Do places affect the ultimate ‘destiny’ of life (if that even exists, which actually I believe it doesn’t)? Fuck, do places even have ‘energies’? What is creativity, how do I access it, and why and how do we name it as such?  How do we measure creativity, importance, meaning?  And why do people seem to have a need to impress our own snowflakey footprint upon society? Isn’t that selfish, anyway?

(As if I have answers.)

Eh.  Someday I’ll get closer towards working these out.


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