Note: If you are not a Harry Potter fan (or haven’t read it yet), move along.
Half of my children are now old enough to read Harry Potter. Our household rule is simple: you read the book, you can watch the movie. No read, no watch; and watching is always optional, because the movies are—ahem—debatable as to their quality of interpretation. We’re currently through the Goblet of Fire.
As a fan of the fantasy genre, especially the tales of magical integrity and bravery from Rowling’s imagination, I can honestly say I’ve been waiting more than a decade for this moment in time. My wife and I regale the children at the dinner table with tales of waiting impatiently for the next book to be written, of making fervent predictions, of waiting in line at Borders Books (which should tell you how old the series is) for our midnight copy of the 7th and final book. There has been more than one conversation about which “House” everyone would be sorted into—Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff.
As a churchman, I can’t help but create the thought exercise of an LCMS Sorting Hat. Just for fun, I drafted this quick quiz to help you determine which house you’d be placed into if Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry were the Missouri Synod of Lutheranism and Churchliness. Count your points, and comment below what House you’re in.
1) Why do you attend an LCMS congregation?
(3 pts) Warts and all, they strive to do what’s right.
(2 pts) My father, my father’s father, and my father’s father’s father went here.
(1 pts) I enjoy the intellectualism of the sermons; no needless emotions.
(0 pts) Is this an LCMS congregation? I dunno, all my friends go here!
2) What is your favorite part of the Divine Service?
(3 pts) Whatever part best inspires me to serve my neighbor that week.
(2 pts) The most historical parts—the one-year lectionary goes without saying.
(1 pts) I enjoy the readings; the longer the better.
(0 pts) The what? Oh, the praise team of course!
3) Whom do you select to be a sponsor at your child’s baptism?
(3 pts) Whomever holds life goals and priorities closest to our own.
(2 pts) Must. Be. LCMS. Preferably my wife’s cousin (who is also my cousin).
(1 pts) Let’s discuss the difference between “sponsor” and “witness”…
(0 pts) Whatever family member will be most offended if I don’t ask them.
4) Who is allowed at the altar for Holy Communion?
(3 pts) Technically only LCMS members, but I understand there’s such a thing as pastoral discretion.
(2 pts) Papers, please: LCMS only, no exceptions.
(1 pts) St. Paul specifically mentions everyone who examines himself, acknowledges the Body, which is a double entendre meaning both the communion of saints and the literal body of Christ in with and under the bread and the wine, in which we participate as often as we eat of this bread and drink of this cup, of course proclaiming His death until he comes again … sorry, what was the question?
(0 pts) I’d rather not say, because I don’t want to upset anyone. And I’ll take the grape juice, please.
5) What’s your favorite book?
(3 pts) I’m hard pressed between Tolkien, Lewis, and Rowling.
(2 pts) Die rechte Unterscheidung von Gesetz und Evangelium by C. F. W. Walther.
(1 pts) I read everything, the more obscure and intellectual the better.
(0 pts) The Shack by William Young.
15 pts. You are in Gryffindor. You are acutely aware of the importance of pure doctrine and proper practice, but you also understand that church and ministry is greater than the sum of its parts. Sometimes your LCMS brethren irritate you with their rigidity or looseness, but there is room for everyone.
10–14 pts. You are in Slytherin. Repristination is your material principle. Anything that slightly besmirches the purity of Christian doctrine and practice is anathema. You’re not technically wrong, but you really could be less of a jerk. Seriously.
5–9 pts. You are in Ravenclaw. You voraciously gather information and enjoy historical details over devotional applications. You really have no need for emotions, and when Gryffindor and Slytherin argue you pretty much just stay out of the way.
0–4 pts. You are in Hufflepuff. You’re only Lutheran by accident. Don’t get me wrong, everyone likes you as a person and asks you to pray for them, but you’re just kind of there.