Of Muggles and Mundanes

It’s been a while. But you know what? I will not even attempt to explain why. Just to say this writing thing is hard. Something else, I will not promise when next or how regularly I shall be here. I can only say, what will be shall be.

Muggles? Mundanes? Blame it on J.K. Rowling, she of the Harry Potter fame. And Cassandra Clare, another author who let her imagination run wild and pulled from the sorting hat, the Infernal Devices trilogy. I do not know whether it is mere coincidence that both authors are ladies (did I hear someone say women have runaway brains?) or that they are based in London (methinks the grey weather could make one escape into a magical world!). But what I know not to be a coincidence is that I have picked up both authors in the last couple of months.

I make it a habit to check out what my little avid reader Miss N, is consuming in her world of books. So when she borrowed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone from the library and finished reading it in a day, I took note and later ‘borrowed’ it from her. I also quickly snatched up the second one, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Of course I had heard about the movies (now that I’ve read the book, maybe I will be brave enough to check out the movies too!) but had never paid much attention. To say that I was captivated, intrigued and thrilled as other millions of Harry Potter fans the world over would be an understatement. I found myself as a child (I guess children were the primary audience for Rowling), drawn to the fantastic, magical world of Hogwarts, the giant Hagrid and his pink umbrella (pink is for girls, right?), the post-delivering owls (they have nothing on our technology) and as a banker, I could not help but imagine myself as a goblin working at Gringotts Wizarding Bank (now that would be something to write about!).

I know you are sitting there reading this and shaking your head muttering…Yeah? Tell us something new! But guess what? This was new to me. And magical…I already said that, didn’t I? I will also let you know that I skipped forward to the seventh and final book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (blame my impatience when the in-betweens were not readily available). Not Miss N though. She refused to cheat and waited until the in-betweens were available.  As I write this, she is immersed in the third or fourth book in the series.

The last weekend was school mid-term break. And true to character, Miss N came home clutching Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Prince. Borrowed from a friend. The book’s dull cover illustration and confusing title (she’s at that age when boys are mentioned in every conversation with her friends) drew me to it. It did not disappoint. Tessa Gray’s world is as jam packed with action as Harry Potter’s. And as the title suggests, there is a charming prince, William Herondale. Together with the other Shadowhunters (half-angel-half-humans), they must fight the evil Mortmain a.k.a Magister who is hell-bent on destroying their world. The plot thickens with the Downworlders: vampires, werewolves, warlocks and fairies who can take either side. And of course, there are humans a.k.a mundanes.

By the way, this is no attempt to review either book, which I couldn’t anyway, given my limited literary knowledge. Which brings me to the subject of this post – muggles and mundanes.  Several questions have lingered on my mind as I read these books. What is the value I get out of them as a Christian? After all, does not the Good Book teach us to be discerning of the will of God, and only entertain our thoughts on what is good and acceptable and perfect? Am I, a Christian parent, investing right in my child’s life and education? Do I have to worry about Harry Potter being a bad influence? Or, will she identify herself as a human Harry and not the defenseless non-magic humans in the book, a.k.a muggles, and walk away with a better knowledge of how to persevere through hardship, sacrifice for loved ones, and empathy to friends in pain?

Ok. At least I told her she couldn’t read the Infernal Devices books, which I found to be inappropriate for her age. But I still am concerned about the moral lesson for you and I, the mundanes.

The good old wizard, Professor Dumbledore in Harry Potter observes that: “The trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.” He reminds me of Paul, he of the Good Book, writing to the Ephesians and reminding them that they do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Then there’s that nursery rhyme: “Be careful little eyes what you see…”. You get the drift?

Believe it or not, the muggles and mundanes are in most cases oblivious to the existence of these spiritual hosts that come so alive in both Rowling’s and Clare’s plots. Are we so naive as depicted? Given all the options available to us in the 21st century, do we make a conscious choice to go with what is good for us in the long run?

It is a good thing God finds both little and big ways to guide us into the straight and narrow path each day.  And to remind us of the power within us to choose what is good. For me, that lesson was today delivered by a presenter on Family radio this morning. He gave an illustration of a cop standing in the middle of a highway, waving down a giant 22-wheeler truck. He stands there knowing very well he has authority and the law on his side. Authority given by the highest level of government and the driver (if he knows what’s good for him) will have no choice but to apply his brakes and pull over to the side. Any other person attempting to mimic the cop runs the serious risk of being run over or being driven straight to a madhouse (a.k.a St. Mungo’s in Harry Potter or Silent City in Infernal Devices).

Do we,  as Christians, truly  understand our God-given authority? The authority that Paul referred to, again in Ephesians that: “…is like the working of his (God) mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion…”. The power that should propel us to swim against the strongest current and to stand as a rock in matters of principle?

I hope to teach my children these truths and pray that they will be revealed to them when they need them.  When they go through life where I will not always be present to tell them what or what not to read. 

That they may know neither muggle, mundane, mortal nor any principality, power, ruler of this wicked age has authority over their actions. That they have the power of choice. Eureka, eureka! I got it. The purpose of this post, that is. Which is to let you, dear Muggle a.k.a Mundane, know that you have the P.O.W.E.R of choice.