Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sorting Hat Says...

The sorting hat says that I belong in Ravenclaw!


Said Ravenclaw, "We'll teach those whose intelligence is surest."

Ravenclaw students tend to be clever, witty, intelligent, and knowledgeable.
Notable residents include Cho Chang and Padma Patil (objects of Harry and Ron's affections), and Luna Lovegood (daughter of The Quibbler magazine's editor).

Take the most scientific Harry Potter
ever created.

Get Sorted Now!

So, as Harry Potter month winds down, I am reconfirmed as a Ravenclaw (I took the quiz two years ago, too). Happy to be a Ravenclaw. Not about to be in Slytherin, and Gryffindor is a little overrated, I think. Just because "The Chosen One," the "Boy Who Lived" is in Gryffindor does not mean it's the best.

Anyway, I did get to see Order of the Phoenix last Wednesday, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Although, since I had just finished re-reading the book, I missed the major portions they had to cut out. I will not offer a full-scale review here.

But this very impractical thought occurred to me recently. In reading back through all of the books, and thinking how wonderful life at Hogwarts would be, my mind wandered into pedagogical climes. More specifically, I found myself wondering, in a move perhaps not far from Milbank's desire to take back the university, what it would look like to have a school of prayer (or spiritual direction, or whatever one wants to call it) just as Hogwarts is a school of magic. Consider ("indulge" is a better word maybe) if you will, a school where those who attend follow a strikingly different curriculum. Where the important science is a science of the Spirit. Led by experienced teachers who practice their art well (well, most of them--I'm sure there would be a couple of Trelawneys in the bunch), students would learn the life of the Spirit. In truth, this is what the churches should be, yes? Now, it sounds impractical, until you consider that the students at Hogwarts are still concerned with such plebeian things as dating and sports and so forth. Just as they cannot separate their magical existence from the mundane, so also, perhaps the students as such a school of divinity would not separate their spiritual existence from the secular.

Now, in theory, seminaries should function this way, but, again in theory, only for ordinands. It is long since parochial schools functioned this way--even here religion is one subject among others, rather than the queen of the sciences, or the lifeblood of education. Admittedly, what I would like to see is something of an actual Christian high culture. I think Milbank and the Radical Orthodoxy crowd have similar fantasies.

Anyway, just a bit of daydreaming. Only seventy-two hours until The Deathly Hallows, and I for one am super excited.

In other news, Portland was fun, although a church closed on July 4th abolished my hopes of communing with the locals. Seriously, when did July 4th become a religious holiday? And even if it were, that would only be more cause to celebrate the Eucharist. I also managed a trip to Columbus, Ohio that was short-lived but fun. And I am now working up my next Jamie Smith post--yes, yes, I'm getting there, I'm getting there.

Until then, Happy Harry Potter month, and blessings be with you all!


Chris said...

I, too, enjoyed OotP, but wished for more. I wanted more of the Order, more in Grimmauld Place (portrait, Malfoy connection, Kreacher, locket?!). I did enjoy Sirius and Dumbledore in this one. I think everything could've been extended slightly. How did the longest book end up as the shortest movie? Oh, and I wanted more of the Weasley twins. I like them.

Now. About your divine Hogwartsian spirit school idea, what aspects of the spirit would be investigated? What angles would it be explored through? What kind of spiritual understanding would the students end up with? The last question is very important, as I find that at Hogwarts, there is a movement towards a practical understanding of magic wherein it mingles its way into every aspect of life, even in stirring coffee, or putting up chairs, or travelling. Then again, it also provides a means for the practical defense against the "evils" of the world, (unless you have a teacher like Umbridge and then it's all theoretical exploration that is really of no use when there are real threats and real dangers and real NEED for a practical knowledge and understanding).

Just some thoughts. Awaiting your response, Sir Andrew.

Sir Christopher.

Andy said...

Sir Christopher of the most Ancient and Noble House of Leyva,

Yeah, and Dumbledore should totally not be as stressed as he is when he's fighting Voldemort. In the book he's one cool customer; in the movie he really looks like he's struggling. Anyway...

About the school, I think the practical aspect is exactly the thing. Granted Christians aren't going to be using magic to put up the chairs or for transportation. But prayer should be a way of ordering life. Prayer should in fact be considered a practical response to the evils of the world. The best laid spells of wizard and witch often go awry. So do the best laid prayers. But prayer is a defense like magic, with the exception that the power of prayer is not properly ours but God's.

So how would it be taught? First and foremost by those who live it, are experienced in it. Second, in all its aspects--theory of prayer (theology), methods of prayer (different ways of prayer), substance of prayer (Bible, etc.), and so forth. But imagine, what if prayer were something one had to practice at? Of course, how would one evaluate a student's progress? Impossible.

So rather than a focus on what kind of spiritual understanding students end up with, the real emphasis would be on their formation in the spiritual arts.

On the other hand my suggestions rest on certain (largely Catholic) assumptions: first, that there is a Spirit who is accessible; second, that Christ is the fundamental access to that Spirit; third, that the school of the Spirit has been passed down through the Fathers and Saints; fourth, that the liturgy is the fundamental deposit of that school; but fifth, that while there are traditions and regular, unchanging rhythms to the life of the Spirit, whoever enters that life finds it always fresh and strange--that is, there is always room for "progress" in the midst of the tradition and for "experimentation" in the experience of the Spirit.

Doesn't solve all of the very practical difficulties, but even so, it was an interesting idea.

Anonymous said...

Kelly and I saw it Monday evening. In IMAX 3D, I might add.

You may become envious now.

Alex T.