Harry Potter and Original Sin

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Main Point:  As humans we have an odd existence.  We are created in the image of God, but we have been corrupted completely by sin..  We are shades of grey caught between the ultimate right and the ultimate wrong.  It is only through the power of Christ that we can be good.

 Please the Overlord!

This is based off a storytelling card game called Aye, Dark Overlord!  However, that game is out of print and it is currently hard to acquire.  If you have access to that game, then it can be played by the rules as printed.   I have found that teenagers tend to prefer and really get into this more loosely structured version.  This is a game of creative blame shifting and excuse making.   The game works best with groups of five to ten.  With more participants it is recommended to split up and play multiple games at once. 

To begin the game designate someone the dark overlord.  It is helpful if for the first game an adult facilitator plays this role.  This person is playing the role of an evil mastermind such as Darth Vader, Sauron, or Voldemort.  The Overlord should create a story of a task that the minions were sent out to complete.   The nature of this story is completely up to the person in the Overlord role.  They should be creative and try to embrace the role.  The rest of the players are minions of the Overlord and they some messed up the task.  The point of the game is for the Overlord to determine who is at fault.  

The Overlord will begin by picking someone to explain what happened.  This person must say at least one sentence explaining how thing went wrong, and then one sentence shifting the blame to someone else.  While they must say at least two sentences, minions are allowed and encouraged to expound upon the story more than that. The person the blame is shifted to will then continue the story, once again saying a minimum of two sentences.  When adding to the growing story of excuses and blame, the players should seek to be creative while still continuing a coherent narrative.     

 Throughout the game the Overlord will give strikes.  These strikes could be for admitting fault or cowardice in the course of the story.  The strikes could also be for not following the rules and speaking too little or perhaps for making the story too incoherent.  Conversely a strike could be given for a completely arbitrary reason such as yawning, checking a phone, or laughing instead of being silent.  It needs to be stressed that the Overlord controls the game and give a strike for anything and everything and at any time. 

The goal of the game for the minions is not to get three strikes.  When a minion receives their third strike, that minion is deemed responsible for the failure and loses the game.  

 Post-Game Discussion

 The main point of the lesson is how everyone struggles with evil in their lives.  The game is often silly and funny, but it gets students in the mindset of the villain.  These questions help continue that.  

1.   How did the Overlord act like a villain in the game?  How did the minions? 

2.   Do you think that the people who are villains in stories, view themselves as the “bad guy?” 

 Movie Clip and Discussion

Before discussing the scripture, show the clip from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix where Harry talks to Sirius about his fears of becoming bad.  The clip begins when Harry enters the family tree room, and it ends when Sirius closes the door.  This scene is found in chapter eighteen of the DVD. Throughout this lesson several of the questions have “facilitator instructions”. These are meant to be helpful tips for the person guiding the conversation.   After watching the clip, use the following questions to start discussion:

  1. What does it mean to be a bad or evil person?

  2. What does it mean to be a good person?

  3. What makes someone bad or good?  Is it a choice or just part of who they are?

Facilitator Instructions:   These three questions are linked together.  The intention of these questions is to get the students to critically think if good and evil are situational and largely based in our choices or if that kind of alignment is a fundamental part of who we are.  In discussing these questions examples from the game that was played can be brought up. 

4. Sirius said “We all have both light and dark in us.”  Do you agree or disagree with that?  Why?

5. Do you think the Bible agrees with that statement?

Facilitator Instructions:   These are opinion questions that could just be answered with a yes or a no.  However, challenge the students to really give their reasoning for what they think. 

  6. The facilitator should pass out handouts with the following scriptures:  Genesis 1:27,31; Psalm 139:14; Romans 3:10-12; Psalm 51:5 . With each scripture ask: What does this scripture say about being light or dark?

Facilitator Instructions:  The Genesis passage mentions that people are created in the image of God and that God declared creation with people to be very good.  Psalm 139 further emphasizes this by pointing out that all people are created by God.  However, Psalm 51 speaks of being sinful from birth.   Finally, the Roman passage also points how often people fall short of God’s goodness. 

7. Based off those scriptures do you think that the bible agrees with statement or not? Why?

Facilitator Instructions:  It should be clear that the Bible has a similar thought to having both light and dark in us.   We are created by God in the image of God, but we are corrupted by sin and live in a fallen world. 

8. How can we be both created in the image of God and sinful at birth?  Is that a contradiction?

Facilitator Instructions:   This gets directly into the theological concept of original sin.   Different denominations have different ways to explain, expound upon, or emphasize this doctrine.  It is important for the facilitator to familiarize themselves with what their denomination teaches about original sin so that the stance can be shared with the students here. 

9. Is it possible for us to be good if we are sinful?  How do we overcome sin?

Facilitator Instructions:   The first question touches on Harry’s feelings in the clip.  He knows he is good, but he feels a pull to evil.  It is possible to have light and dark in us.   When it comes to overcoming sin, it is only through Jesus that it is possible, which is what the final question is meant to drive home. 

10. Read 3 John 1:11.  How does one imitate good?

Facilitator Instructions:   From a Christian standpoint imitating good means imitating Jesus.  It means following the teaching and examples of Christ that are found in the gospel.   A great follow up is to ask the students for specific examples of how they can imitate good in their own lives.  Because the students may not be prepared to answer this question, the facilitator should be prepared to share their own answer. 

Heroes on Both Sides

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