Monday, August 13, 2007

Can a New Wizard Capture Our Hearts?

Samantha Tillich, Staff Writer

The Harry Potter saga has just ended with the release of the final book, and already there is a new wizard in town. And this time, he’s a Christian.

Perry Blotter is his name, and he uses the power of “Jesus magick” in his struggle against the forces of Satan and others who hate the American way of life. Like the Harry Potter series created by J. K. Rowling, Perry Blotter and his young friends are students in the famous wizard seminary called Blogsnorts.

“I give kids an appropriate alternative to the occult witches and magicians that have become so popular in our culture,” says author K. B. Conger. “Perry points to the one true Magician.”

Twelve-year-old Darva Ellis was dressed as a church elf outside her local bookstore yesterday, waiting for midnight when Perry Blotter and the Magician’s Marble could first be sold to the public. “I can’t wait,” she bubbled. “I’m gonna stay up all night reading this. Jesus rocks!” Ellis, it should be noted, is Conger’s niece, and the bookstore in question was closed and would not reopen until 10:00 the next morning.

Early reviews of the book have leaked out, and some are accusing Conger of stealing Rowling’s ideas. For example, in the first Harry Potter book, the young wizard must sneak by a three-headed dog and play a game of life-sized chess in order to retrieve the sorcerer’s stone which can grant immortality. In the Perry Blotter book, Perry must get by a giant two-headed cat and play a game of life-sized checkers in order to obtain the magician’s marble. Inside the marble is etched the words to John 3:16. “Only Jesus,” Perry says in the book, “can give immortality.”

Conger strongly denies the allegations of plagiarism. “I was working on the Perry Blotter concept long before the first Harry Potter book was ever published.” How much had Conger completed? “I was working it through in my head. It was still in the idea stage.”

The controversy is unlikely to go away soon. The second Harry Potter book was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Conger’s second book has a working title of Perry Blotter and the Sacristy of Mysteries.

Youth minister Randy Davies of Reaching Higher Christian Fellowship in Boulder, Colorado, sees the work of the devil in the charges against Conger. “Isn’t it odd that just when the Christians get a wizard hero that people are attacking [Conger]? Satan’s behind it. It has been that way from the beginning, people saying that Christians stole ideas from others, like how people say that Jesus didn’t invent the Ten Commandments.”

Some Christians don’t like the idea of mixing Jesus and the occult. Annie Belfast, a professor at Gonkley Bible College in Missouri, thinks Conger is passing on the wrong message. “We should be telling people to stay away from magic and witches, not to embrace them.”

Conger says the magic in her book is not bad. “It’s a different kind of magic. First of all, it is spelled with a ‘k.’ That’s different right there. Also, it’s not regular magic, but ‘Jesus magick.’

How is that different? “Jesus is the one doing it,” she said.

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