The other day, I had a discussion with a friend about how God might call and use the individual ‘Hogwarts House’ attitudes as determined by Sorting Hat Chats in his Church. The loyalty of the Slytherin, the constructed beliefs of the Ravenclaw, the ‘humans come first’ mentality of the Hufflepuff, and the Cause-driven passion of the Gryffindor. Slytherins are fiercely loyal to their selected beliefs. Hufflepuffs will gravitate to Jesus’ all are welcome inclusiveness. The Ravenclaw will adjust their decisions and life to match their faith. The Gryffindor just ‘knows this is true in their gut.’ But this can lead to divisions and misunderstandings, as we talked about in last weeks’ Sorting post, between loyalty, ideology, and tolerance.
I have known Christians in every House, and… there are clashes, especially when it comes to theology. Each of them contributes to the ongoing beliefs that build up our faith. Ravenclaws prod and poke at and test faith, and in so doing bring things to light that we cannot ignore. Gryffindors may change course suddenly determined on what they see as Right, and carry others along with them. Hufflepuffs will champion inclusion for all and espouse the tolerance of Jesus. Slytherins will promote a more loyal, deep personal relationship with Jesus. Then there are the ‘less’ healthy versions of each one – Hufflepuffs who dehumanize and reject other people groups for being mislead, sinful, or wrong; Ravenclaws who forget to include ‘love’ in their construct and wind up rigid and unloving; Slytherins who have yet to develop a moral conscience outside ‘me and mine’; and Gryffindors who cause division rather than tolerance.
I suspect each House comes into faith with a different approach – Slytherins are searching for a deep, instinctual connection (“this is MINE”), Hufflepuffs are looking for an inclusive heart-connection (“this is about PEOPLE”), Gryffindors are searching for a gut-response to the truth, to know “this is TRUE and a GOOD CAUSE,” and Ravenclaws have to reason and puzzle things out intellectually, before they Choose.
My father, a Gryffindor, feels things in his gut. He knows what “feels” right and will sometimes reject more traditional theological stances because they do not match his instinctual uderstanding of Jesus. He and I clash at times, because it frustrates him that I must reason, test, and construct things as a Ravenclaw. He thinks I should have a more instinctual awareness of God and not approach it through my head… but I cannot be other than who I am. My brother takes after him, another Gryffindor with fierce opinions who is not afraid to stand up against society, his family, etc, in favor of what he knows is right. My mother is a Ravenclaw. She came to faith through reason, has never been afraid to update her ‘model’ of understanding, or to cast aside the old for a new interpretation of scripture or theology, once she fully understands it. I know Slytherins who prioritize their loved ones, who show the same fierce loyalty for their God that they do their select few. And Hufflepuffs who feel uncomfortable swallowing traditional teachings and chafe beneath non-inclusiveness. (A lot of them are championing gay rights as believers, because to push people, living breathing humans, aside, for cold, detached “this is bad” in scripture is wrong to them.)
I thought it might be fun, therefore, to sort the characters from The Chosen. I hope this offends no one, since I know some believers are still on the fence about Harry Potter, but I think they are really good visual representations of what I have talked about above. If you are unclear about the definitions of each House in-depth, you can read about them on the official blog.
Jesus’ entire appeal to many of his followers is his Hufflepuff goodness and inclusiveness; he treats the children the same as he does his friends. He teaches the children tolerance, to love and serve one another, and to question ideologies that do not include love. He heals Mary M. through love and acceptance of her struggles, then honors her by attending her first Shabbat meal. Though Jesus has firm moral views, he also shows incredible sensitivity toward individual struggles – with the Woman at the Well, he expresses her need for “the living water,” but also acknowledges that her search for love has stemmed out of the traumatic experiences of her marriages – through abuse, feeling “owned” and repressed, and a deep need for acceptance and love. When Simon Peter asks him not to call Matthew out of the common hatred for the tax collector rampant in the streets, Jesus tells him “Get used to different.” He sees everyone as equal, as worthy of love, attention, and being Chosen, because they are human. That is enough for him. He cares not what they do or who they are—just that they live and breathe and have needs, the very essence of a Hufflepuff.
Mary Magdalene: Slytherin
Mary has her “special person” and it’s Jesus. Initially, she does not feel a need to help the man on the stretcher until she identifies with him and realizes – you and I are the same, we both need Him. As a Slytherin, she had to make it personal before she could take on his cause as her own. She then goes out of her way to help him reach Jesus for spiritual and physical healing, but makes sure the next day to go to Jesus and make sure he did not mind that she did that, because He’s the most important person in her life. She takes on His beliefs, and His causes, because… they are His, and He matters to her, and what He cares about, she cares about, as she sees what good it does in others’ lives. Her relationship with Him is deeply personal and intimate, hard for her to express, but also involves a loyalty that would “follow Him anywhere.” She doesn’t worry about where they are going, where they will sleep tonight, or what will await them at their destination, because she’s with Him. That is enough for her.
Simon Peter: Slytherin
Simon starts out on the ‘selfish’ end of a Slytherin – he repeatedly tells his wife and his brother Andrew that what he does is all for them. He considers betraying fellow Jews to the Romans, to ensure he and Andrew can evade their debt, because he prioritizes his loved ones over everyone else. His conscience does get to him, and he warns his friends, but it was a conscious case of “us first” driving his first instinct. Fortunately, Jesus sees and likes the loyalty of Simon. He sees the potential that Eden, Simon’s wife, knew was there – and chooses to do something about it, by bringing him into the fold. Turning that fierce loyalty to a more important cause. Once he helps and saves Simon, and Simon bonds with him, Simon shows the same militant protectiveness over Jesus that he does his loved ones. Simon also battles the Slytherin need for ‘exclusivity’ – he doesn’t want Matthew in the group, and cannot understand why Jesus would choose him. As time goes by, we will see Simon start to understand and ‘adopt’ Jesus’ Puff methods, believing in them with such a fierce loyalty that he becomes ‘the rock upon which I shall build my church.’ And it’s beautiful.
Simon’s wife follows her instincts and her heart, and they led her to a man her family all dislike. But she saw the truth of him. She made him her Cause. If Simon gets out of line, she tells him how she feels about it, and pushes him to be a better man, to have something worth fighting for. She married him despite the contempt of her family and in defiance of them, showing her courage and determination to act on her instincts. She tells him to follow Jesus (a gut instinct decision) and not worry about her, because she will be fine at home. Eden has a ferocious little heart, and it feels so delighted and pleased and touched that Simon has found a Cause worth following, and a man she instinctively knows is Right.
Andrew may be the purest and most precious soul Jesus calls to him at first; he goes to Jesus because he feels it is right, and good, because it appeals to his Puff nature, because here is someone who shares Andrews’ love of his fellow man. But Andrew is not perfect. No one is. His Puff nature has chosen to devalue one group of people (the Romans) in favor of another (the Jews) due to his judgments over how one group treats the other. When Simon considers turning in fellow fishermen to get out of his tax problem, Andrew moralizes at him – these are our people, what are you doing? He doesn’t understand the Slytherin drive to “protect me and mine,” because to Andrew, their friends and their family are equal, and furthermore – any Jew is important, just as important as I am to you. He follows Jesus with obedience and without question, doing whatever is asked of him.
Gryffindors will do whatever they feel drawn to or think is right, even if it alienates them from their loved ones – and although it pained Matthew, he did this when he became a tax collector. He lives by his gut instinct, he shows a certain amount of fearlessness (he constantly corrects and back-talks a Roman, much to the man’s incredulous amusement), and… when Jesus calls him, Matthew drops everything – his job, his former life, his riches, even his dog (whom he gives to his father in a kind gesture of love to “protect the shop when you are gone”) to follow Him, based on his gut instincts alone that… yes, this is what I have waited my entire life for. It’s a Gryffindor’s pure, heart-felt, instinctual pursuit of a Cause, and it’s glorious.
Nicodemus is a scholar, a constant learner, a man who feels restless bound within his “system” of belief and who wants to tweak it. He patiently corrects others who get it wrong, when he finds a piece of it that fails him (his inability to help Mary M.), he thinks about it, struggles with it, and wrestles it from a headspace energy… and then becomes excited to know more about Jesus. To talk on an intellectual level with him, because a Ravenclaw has to understand, has to reason it out, has to choose whether to include this new information or not. He muses to his wife that maybe God isn’t who we think, and has a much bigger, more wonderful plan than any of us realize, which she sees as ‘dangerous talk.’ It is a Ravenclaw instinct, to tweak their understanding of God. Longing for something more inclusive, more miraculous, a frustration with a system that seems to ‘have it all figured out.’ Jesus fills Nicodemus with delight, because … this is new. Exciting. It shapes his understanding of life, of God, of everything, in a new way – and instead of feeling threatened by it, Nicodemus embraces it. It’s exciting. But Nicodemus could not follow Jesus into the wilderness, even though his heart told him to do it. This is is the battle every Ravenclaw faces between distrust of their gut instincts and emotions and their reason. Reason told him it’s foolish to abandon all you have built, your education, your family, on a whim… and he had to live by that, even if it tore him apart. But Nicodemus has heard the Truth, he is an intelligent, brilliant Ravenclaw, and it will change him forever. He has Chosen it, even if he could not walk away from his life.
Some of the lesser characters haven’t had enough screen time yet to really flesh them out, but Zebedee is a Gryffindor through and through. When he witnesses the miracle of Simon’s fish, and Jesus calls to his sons, he doesn’t even have to think about it – he tells them to follow him, to abandon everything and do it, because it’s the Right thing for them and the Right thing to do. And his sons listen and obey. Fellow Gryffindors?
Nicodemus’ wife is a Slytherin. Family is everything to her. She prioritizes and bolsters him, but also has a shrewd eye of what keeps them ‘powerful.’ She likes the attention and admiration and status he brings her, which is also a part of Slytherin. Promotion of self and loved ones. She doesn’t fully understand his Ravenclaw need to reconsider things, make sense of them, and create something by which to live, but she loves him anyway.
Thomas is a Ravenclaw, who sees things through logic and common sense, who is skeptical of what he has never seen before, and whom Jesus must tell to “just watch me.” He has not yet joined them. I imagine he might have to think about it. 😉
Which of the disciples and followers did you most ‘understand’ on an instinctual level? Whose journey touched you the most? I want to know!