What do you mean by ‘sacred text’?
This project is more than a book club or a fan-podcast. By treating Harry Potter as sacred, we mean three things:
Trusting the text: We practice the belief that the text is not “just entertainment”, but if taken seriously, can give us generous rewards. Trusting the text doesn’t mean we understand the text to be perfect - either in construction on moral teaching - but that it is worthy of our attention and contemplation. A guiding principle is that the more time we give to the text the more blessings it has to give us.
Rigor and ritual: By reading the text slowly, repeatedly and with concentrated attention, our effort becomes a key part of what makes the book sacred. The text in and of itself is not sacred, but is made so through our rigorous engagement. Particularly by rigorously engaging in ritual reading, we believe we can glean wisdom from its pages.
Reading it in community: Scholars of religion explain that what makes a text sacred is not the text itself, but the community of readers that proclaim it as such. The same applies for us. We started reading Harry Potter in community in Cambridge, Massachusetts in September 2015 and are excited to be expanding that community through this podcast!
How we pick our themes: We get this question a lot, and the truth is that it is quite haphazard! Each week in the studio, when we have to announce next week's theme, we have a brief conversation. We ask ourselves, "what has been on our minds? What have we been wanting to talk about?", and that is what we use. What is amazing is how whatever it is we look for, we tend to find. Sometimes more easily than other times...
Warning: We do not believe in spoilers! If this is your first time reading Harry Potter and you want it to go unsullied entirely, while we will not go out of our way to spoil things, nor are we going to avoid it. We are not reading for the plot. However, before you get dissuaded, there is a study that shows that people actually enjoy things better when they are “spoiled”.