J. K. Rowling at Harvard


For all you Harry Potter fans, here’s a link to her recent commencement speech.

I haven’t read the whole thing yet, but here’s a paragraph that stood out:

99-speaker.jpgIf you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped transform for the better. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.

Andrew Peterson is a singer-songwriter and author. Andrew has released more than ten records over the past twenty years, earning him a reputation for songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. As an author, Andrew’s books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga, released in collectible hardcover editions through Random House in 2020, and his creative memoir, Adorning the Dark, released in 2019 through B&H Publishing.


  1. Lora Weatherly

    She is so close and yet so far from the truth. This made me sad, even as I enjoyed, reading her books. She does not understand grace.

    Any power we have, any goodness, any imagination…it is all a gift from God. James 1:17 tells us, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

    We have no power in ourselves, no matter how we may imagine a better world. God alone is able to bring about goodness and regeneration. While I think we may honor God through our imagination, the truth is that the world will not get any better for our having written charming stories about it. Our one hope lies in God’s power to touch another’s life through the medium of our art, songs, and words. He doesn’t need us, but He has chosen to use us. What wonderful kindness He shows us, His created.

    “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36

  2. rachel

    “We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”

    hey there, humanism.

    i need Jesus. He is the Only Good Thing that is inside of me, and if i am able to make the either the slightest or the greatest change in the world, it is only for the fact of His being at work through me. in fact, if what is inside of me is what is going to change the world, it’s going to become a pretty freakin ugly place.

  3. Andrew Peterson


    Good thoughts. I figured this would generate some discussion. I have some thoughts and no time to dig in, but I would say this: the power of the imagination Rowling is talking about is a gift of God.

    Discuss. 🙂

  4. rachel

    yeah, but imagination comes from within … inspiration comes from without. there is an inherent difference, and the word choice “imagine” has a very clear meaning, and that meaning has very definitive implications.

    if i can, of my own accord, imagine something better, and from the imagination, begin to create something better …. why do i need anything from God?

  5. Adam Bennett

    I’m reminded of AP’s song “Let there be Light” on Love and Thunder speaking of how being created in the image of God, we gained more from our Father than maybe we really realize. We weren’t just created in the physical image of Him, but received many different attributes and qualities from Him as well. Included in this “imprinting” from Him is the ability to *create*. Granted our ability to create is certainly limited (thankfully!). We can’t create matter or the universe or life (although you could argue He’s given us the ability to create children), but we can create music, art, story, technology, machinery, tools, clothes, toys, buildings, and on and on… I certainly see the Humanistic side of the argument and it definitely has merit, but I think we do Him an injustice if we don’t honor and acknowledge the ability, dare I say “power”, to create that he has placed within us all (which includes our imaginations and all of the wonderful worlds, stories, characters, relationships, etc that can encompass).

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