Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Sorting Hat Sorts Churches!

In honor of Book VII being shipped this weekend, see what you think of these:

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.

Reprised from Rebel Without a Pew and dated July 8, 2007 (scroll down to find the original post).

What sort of church do you have? Tell us in comments!



DBW said...

There is a little Hufflepuffish sort of church near the cottage, which we occasionally attend, with a militant feminist lesbian priest who is constantly frustrated that she cannot get her over sixties retiree cottage crowd interested in doing anything more than bake sales and coffee hours. At this church, the 70ish organist (they don't actually have an organ, they have a keyboard, it is a tiny church) often gets up and says "Its too much trouble to chose hymns ahead of time, so when we get to a hymn, just call out a number and I'll play it if I can."
My main parish is more of a Griffyndor parish, but we have a wide spectrum of beliefs, our focus is discipleship, and we all quietly agree to stay out of politics.
So which one best fits YOUR parish, RFSJ?

RFSJ said...


Seems to me that Trinity Parish is mostly Hufflepuff, although we work hard at outreach as well.