20 October 2007

Could Dumbledore come to your church?

I've been swamped by parish work, and -- as regular readers of this blog will know -- the blogosphere takes a back seat to the needs of the people I serve as a parish priest. Things have slowed a bit, so later today, I'll post a "catch-up" about the goings-on of the Anglican Communion and I'll reflect on breakfast with Lord Carey of Clifton. (Well, it wasn't just me, but lots of clergy here in Rhode Island.)

For now, however, I was struck by this BBC news story:
Harry Potter author JK Rowling has revealed that one of her characters, Hogwarts school headmaster Albus Dumbledore, is gay. She made her revelation to a packed house in New York's Carnegie Hall on Friday, as part of her US book tour.

She took audience questions and was asked if Dumbledore found "true love". "Dumbledore is gay," she said, adding he was smitten with rival Gellert Grindelwald, who he beat in a battle between good and bad wizards long ago. The audience gasped, then applauded. "I would have told you earlier if I knew it would make you so happy," she said.
On the one hand, it's odd to care. After all, Dumbledore is a fictional character. But it will be interesting to see how Christians around the world will respond to this news. Will the Harry Potter series be listed on an index of banned books now? Will people perceive that this series is somehow subverting youth? I expect both of these things to happen, and I hope I'll have the charity to treat such dire pronouncements as fodder for humor.

Here's the serious side of this. As in life, lots of people found Dumbledore to be a captivating character, before they had any idea (or perhaps before Rowling had any idea) that he was gay. Readers loved Dumbledore for who he was as a character. His sexuality, really, was unimportant.

At the risk of tedium, may I be the seven millionth blogger to point out that this is how Christians might do well to treat one another? Imagine our church's future if we treated people as people first, and as sexual beings second. What could we do if we weren't worried so much about who sleeps with whom? This is not to say that our sexuality is unimportant, but surely it's not the most important thing on which we should spend our energy.

If Dumbledore materialized tomorrow in your church, would he be welcome? That's the point of InclusiveChurch -- to remind us that all are welcome in God's church. Dumbledore, c'mon in!


Ginny said...


Scott Gunn said...


Well, I was going to post a snarky comment about how it might be OK to welcome a gay person, but what about someone wearing the funny Dumbledore hat? And then I look at the center photo at the top of your website. I see that even people in funny hats are welcome.

I salute you.


Ginny said...

Of course, the pointy-hatted person to whom you refer is our Patron, Nick. Somebody had to wear the costume for the local village's parade, and the previous Bishop's Warden got stuck with it.

No word on whether our current Warden, who is gay, will consent to wear the costume this year, or exercise restraint. It's not that fabulous an outfit, frankly. But he'd make it work. :D

However, we've been visited by other pointy-hatted-persons (PHPs) and we made the last one walk around the neighborhood, knocking on doors and picking up grocery donations for the food pantry.

More on that here.

timothy said...

well, i don't go to church, but i just wanted to say that I wish that everyone was like you.

dumbledore can do whatever he wants. i'd share a bed with the old codger.