Harry Potter and the Sacred Text

Website Information
Rating: Outstanding
Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
URL: http://www.harrypottersacredtext.com
Subscription Fee: None

Harry Potter and the Sacred Text is a website designed to share podcasts and other information that centers on reading the Harry Potter books as if they were sacred texts. The producers, Vanessa Zoltan and Casper ter Kuile, define reading the books as sacred texts in three different ways: trusting the texts, reading the texts with rigor and ritual, and reading the texts within a community setting. Zoltan and ter Kuile post a podcast once a week. Each podcast centers around one chapter from the books which they discuss in chronological order. They discuss each chapter with a specific theme in mind assigned the week before. They both give a thirty second recap of the chapter and then discuss the chapter with the theme acting as a lense with which to view the events and characters of the chapter. They then use a sacred practice like lectio divina, havruta, or Ignacian spirituality to discuss the chapter further. They conclude with giving blessings to one of the characters from that specific chapter and sometimes a voicemail from a listener.

This website is well put together. The page is easy to navigate and looks professional, with the exception of some minor amateur editing mishaps. The podcasts themselves are very interesting and they are meant to reach a wide audience of Harry Potter fans. In fact, Zoltan mentions in one of their podcasts that they want these to be family friendly and appropriate for all ages. Zoltan and ter Kuile are engaging in a simultaneously humorous and serious way as they discuss the chapters, and they are conscientious of the wide range of religious views of their audience. They often draw upon their own personal beliefs and experiences (Zoltan is an atheist and humanist chaplain and ter Kuile is a homosexual, training to be a minister for non-religious people). Despite these varying views, they are both respectful and open-minded, never insulting others’ views and lifestyle choices. Overall, an extremely engaging website that offers a lot to Harry Potter fans that wish to read the books on a deeper level within a friendly and open-minded community.