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Baylor Professor to Lecture at Doane on Ethical, Religious Aspects of Harry Potter

Greg Garrett, a professor of English at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, lay pastor and author of several nonfiction works on religion and pop culture, will illuminate the religious, ethical, and literary aspects of the Harry Potter novels and films when he visits Doane College in Crete and First-Plymouth Congregational Church in Lincoln Thursday, Nov. 17.

"I'll be discussing both the books and the films, why they're so popular, and what sorts of ethical and religious questions they explore," Garrett said. Greg Garrett, otis young lecturer 2011

His speech "The Literary Magic of Harry Potter" is set for 2:30 p.m. in the East/West Dining Room in the Perry Campus Center of Doane's Crete campus and will be followed by a question-and-answer session and book signing. Garrett will then present "The Other Jesus" at 7 p.m. at First-Plymouth Congregational Church at 20th and D streets in Lincoln.

Garrett comes to Doane through the Otis Young Lecture on Ethics and Religion series, named after the late Rev. Otis Young for his ministry at First-Plymouth, and service to the community and Doane College's Board of Trustees.

Dan Clanton, assistant professor of religious studies at Doane, believes students will benefit from Garrett's explanation of how omnipresent religious and moral concerns are in culture and how both traditional religious and modern popular expressions of culture exhibit them. Garrett is known for his ability to weave popular cultural texts together with classic religious views and texts (primarily from a Christian worldview) to illustrate ways a pop culture performs a religious function, Clanton added.

"Greg is known internationally for his masterful work on the reciprocal relationship between religion and popular culture, including work on the Matrix films, the music of U2, and now the Harry Potter novels and films.  In addition to this work, Greg has worked to foster a greater sense of social responsibility and ethical reflection in his Episcopalian tradition through his preaching and writings.  More than anything, Greg is a model of the type of broad, liberal arts education that Doane College champions, and our community is privileged to host him."

Currently a teacher of studies of writing, film and literature at Baylor, Garrett also leads workshops, retreats, and seminars in writing, religion and culture, theology and spirituality. He received his Master of Divinity from the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin in 2007 and preaches at St. David's Episcopal Church in Austin.

Garrett's works include short stories, book reviews, essays, novels and several nonfiction works on religion and pop culture, such as "The Gospel According to Hollywood," "The Gospel Reloaded: Exploring Spirituality and Faith in the Matrix"(with Chris Seay) and "Holy Superheroes! Exploring Faith and Spirituality in Comics." He is also an author of "The Voice," a contemporary language Bible, his spiritual autobiography "Crossing Myself," and "Stories from the Edge: A Theology of Grief."

He is also the Writer in Residence at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest and writes a weekly column on politics and faith, "Faithful Citizenship," which can be found at patheos.com. For more information, contact dan.clanton@doane.edu or addie@firstplymouth.org.