Friday, November 18, 2005

Hogwarts Churches

In honor of the new movie release, let us revisit the idea of Hogwarts houses reflecting styles of ministry. (See July 25 post for earlier thoughts on this.)

Ravenclaw Churches The church member who first uttered the sentence, "Let us appoint a committee to study the matter," surely was part of a Ravenclaw church. These congregations love to discuss, ponder, debate and contemplate. Once in a great while they might actually get around to doing something. Lay theologians and bible study lovers thrive in these churches. They like scholarly preaching and can sniff out a theologically incoherant argument from miles away. If they receive a huge bequest, they will likely use it to endow an annual lecture series.

Griffyndor Churches These are cause driven churches. While other congregations also address current issues, in Griffyndor congregations issues are THE focus. These churches are animated by commitment to some kind of crusade: anti-war, pro-life, inclusion of GLBT persons, converting the lost, justice for the poor, saving the traditional family---you will find these congregations across the entire theological/political spectrum. These churches are very exciting places to be and you are never in doubt about what they stand for. However, since members of these congregations are nearly required to think alike, the spiritual growth that comes from seeing Christ in "the other" is often lacking.

Hufflepuff Churches Think Jan Karon's Mitford congregation. Deep down, we all probably wish we had a Hufflepuff church in our lives. These congregations are not particularly intellectual or activist. They are ordinary places where ordinary people can experience the love of Christ at work in their lives. These churches are comfortable rather than exciting or stimulating. They have the best pot lucks. The same person has probably been directing the Christmas Pagaent since 1972, but if you go into emergency surgery, the pastor will be in the waiting room when you come out--not buried in her study, not marching on Washington. Because they are traditional and conflict averse, these churches have a hard time adapting to rapid social and cultural change. They thrive on stability and may not survive if their community changes drastically.

Syltherin Churches These churches sincerely believe that we bear the best witness to the gospel if we employ the very best tools the world places at our disposal: imposing physical plants, state-of-the-art technology, a staff of hard working ministry specialists, and the best mass communication access money can buy. Syltherin congregations attach much importance to quantifiable measures of success: numbers, money, market share. They are convinced that nostalgia for quaint, old traditions is getting in the way of proclaiming the good news in a world where secular forces are arrayed against the faithful as never before. They challenge the rest of us to re-think old ways and strive for excellence, but they can also get so caught up in the tools of the culture that the culture captures them after all.

12 comments:

Quotidian Grace said...

This is a great post. You could expand it into an interesting longer article, too.

My church is probably most like a Hufflepuff church. And I'm more like a member of a Ravensclaw church--the inevitable result of legal training, I guess.

Gord said...

Personally I am a mix of Ravenclaw and Gryffindor. THe congregaton here a mix of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff (with a decided leaning to the latter).

I agree with QG, there is the potential for an article here--a new way to define congregations that remains culturally relevant.

peripateticpolarbear said...

You may be on to something!

reverendmother said...

I simply love this. Well done, well done.

And we're going to see the movie today!!

Lorna said...

too funny :)

great post!

cheesehead said...

St. Stoic is a funky mix of Ravenclaw,Griffyndor and Hufflepuff, and we've got a Syltherin just down the road a bit.

Very clever!

jo(e) said...

This post is just brilliant.

Songbird said...

I remember how your previous post on this topic challenged me to differentiate between my Hufflepuf job and my Gryffindor sense of call. Darn it, you've got me again!

Sue said...

This is a great post. I think our congregation is a hybrid of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, with perhaps an occasional dash of Gryffindor. Not a lot of Slytherin going on there.

Emily said...

Well done!

So in seminary, one would go into a sorting hat for the church you would best pastor?

St. Casserole said...

Great post! Copywrite it quickly!

LutheranChik said...

Mine is definitely a Hufflepuff church, albeit one with subtle Ravensclaw and Gryffindor subcurrents in it thanks to our clergyperson and selected others in the congregation.