Imagine you woke up one morning and realized you have magical powers. This is the premise of Harry Potter, and it is quite an attractive premise. Who doesn’t want to wake up with amazing powers, just waiting to be unlocked. The best part of Harry Potter is when he gets to Hogwarts and finally learns how to use those powers. He has outrageous classes with strange professors, each trying to help him become who he was created to be. Granted that we don’t get to use magic, is there any way that we can have access to the wonder of Harry Potter’s life? Yes; like Harry Potter, you and I have have incredible untapped capacities.
As the father of a one year old child, I can easily attest that we have amazing hidden potential. I have watched my daughter transform from total immobility to a life of crawling and standing. Not only that, but now she can make her preferences known through pointing, sounds and the occasional word. There are even more capacities that can be unlocked through education. You, I and everyone has potential in every area of human learning; reading, mathematics, sociology, logic, animal husbandry, underwater basket weaving and dozens of other areas. Looking at my baby, I have no clue how much capacity she has in each of these areas, but school will allow her to unlock some of them.
Is learning logic or reading really as wonderful as learning magic spells like Harry Potter? Let us examine the subjects in question. If you want to talk to someone that is long dead, you would think that you are out of luck. Instead, you can pick up a mystical tome which communicates his ideas to you - in his own words. If you want to peer into the mysteries of the human mind, to find out why people do what they do, you’re out of luck if you aren’t telepathic, right? No, you can learn the ways of men through psychology or counseling.. How about if you want to learn how to manipulate the universe, to create remarkable devices like cold boxes (they stay cold inside even if it is warm outside), or hot boxes (they toast bread). We call that engineering. It is not a quirk that Mr. Weasley was so enamored with non-magic technology. Technology is principally the same as magic, it is the power of mind over matter. The subjects you and I study are just as amazing as what Harry Potter studies.
Although you and I went to school, it didn’t feel as amazing as Hogwarts. The subjects we learn don’t feel as amazing. Part of this is due to the fact that, in a movie or book, you never see the actual hard work of practice day in and day out. The other part comes from the fact that we are used to these powers. The powers that we have feel boring because everyone has them. This brings us back to the age old problem (c. 2004), “when everyone’s super, no one [is].” Just because most people can read (in contemporary America), does that make hearing the ideas of people from hundreds of years ago less amazing? Here’s a thought experiment. If everyone could fly, would that make flying, in itself, a less amazing activity? No way! We would, however, get used to it; as used to it as we are to driving or running or swimming. The things we do and the subjects we study are windows into the very mind of God; He created us to learn and enjoy these things. The problem is not with the subject, the problem is with us.
All schools are Hogwarts. All of us have incredible untapped potential to do amazing things, to know God, his world, and our fellow man. This is one expression of image of God in us; he personally chose us to have certain capacities in certain areas that we get to discover, explore and enjoy. He has placed us in his playground and given us the capacities to learn how to play with all the cool stuff He has made; enjoy Harry Potter, for God has given us even the capacity to invent characters like him.