I had a sort of epiphany the other day. Someone on Tumblr posted a picture of their new Doctor Who mug. This brought home to me just how far fandom has come, at least as far as comic books, video games, and in some measure anime. Being an otaku, in the mild sense we use it in the States, still isn’t exactly popular, and may be looked down on by some, but it’s garnered much more acceptance now than in past years. And look at Marvel–they’ve brought superheroes and comic books into the spotlight (even if they don’t encourage people to read the comics necessarily).
So now people are shedding their fears and openly, proudly showing their interest in and passion for whatever they like. Doctor Who, Sherlock, Marvel, DC, anime, kdramas, kpop, jpop and jrock–people spend hours reading, watching, listening, staying up late for premieres, going to conventions, lavishing money on fanmeets and other events, wearing t-shirts and other paraphernalia, going to concerts, writing, drawing, painting, editing videos and pictures, covering songs, making games, making costumes, doing photoshoots, all out of love for the thing they like. Then they say, “World, look at this awesome thing!” Some argue about which is better; sometimes these arguments are horrible and we hurt each other, and hatred and venom abound; sometimes they are passionate but level and reasoned and charitable.
And then I wondered, why the heck don’t we Christians show our devotion like that? Shouldn’t we be proud to be followers of Christ? Shouldn’t we be excited and read all about it and make an effort to live as followers of Christ, like people make an effort to live as fans of Naruto or NGE or Doctor Who or Marvel or whatever you can think of? Shouldn’t our love for God overflow into our creative expression? If it’s so important, shouldn’t we be excited to share it with other people in our daily lives?
It used to. Painters and sculptors most often decided on religious subjects for their art, some of the greatest art in history! And many musicians were commissioned to compose Masses. The fact that some artists were paid to do what they did, or that some of these pieces might not have been their favorites, does not at all diminish the fact that their works are meaningful and lasting, and of a religious nature. And I’m sure some of them did produce art for love of God.
Why don’t we do that anymore?
We’ve lost our love and passion for God. We’ve become scared, because living as a fan is easy–all people can do is make fun of you–but living as a Christian is not. People can make fun of you, laugh at you, degrade you, yes, but they can also make it difficult to live how you believe you should, they can imprison you and penalize you for what you believe, they can even kill you, depending on the situation.
But if fans of worldly, human creations can deal with being made fun of and bullied in horrible ways for the things that they love, we should even more so love and be willing to endure difficulty, even unto death, for Him who conquered death for us.
That doesn’t mean we have to go around asking everyone, “Have you been saved?” It doesn’t mean we have to wear a t-shirt that says “Jesus is my Homeboy.” It doesn’t mean that all we have to do every day is talk about God.
It means we have to pray. It means we have to live the truth and not be afraid to proclaim the truth. It means we can’t be quiet when horrible things are going on; we can’t lie to save someone’s feelings; we can’t water the truth down to the point that it means nothing; we can’t preach a false gospel of toleration and acceptance. That doesn’t mean we spew hate or that we are uncharitable, but that we stand up for the truth and don’t back down just because someone says, “You’re wrong!” or “You’re being judgmental” or “You’re mean” or “You’re unkind” or “You’re not being tolerant.” Is truth tolerant of untruth? Is health tolerant of sickness? Are fandoms tolerant of haters?
What all of this really means–what I mean here–is that we must be fearless, passionate, and devoted lovers of God.