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8 Characters Who Impact My Faith from Comic Con Christianity} ?> How does geek culture impact faith and vice versa? Geekdom House is all about answering this question, and Comic Con Christianity by Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry contributes wonderfully to the conversation. A Catholic and nerd, Perry connects geek stories to her experience with the Church, and made me think about these characters in a new light. All the quotes below are from her book, and only brush the surface of the hero-inspired journey contained within its pages!
1. The Tick: There’s Space for Everyone
The City has tons of heroes to defend it, but they’re constantly “at odds with each other, causing one another to fail.” The Tick sounds kind of insane, but he showed them that they could get things done together instead of wasting time squabbling. This reminds me of the Church—full of really good people, but often too concerned with petty arguments or who they should be shutting out of their doors and not concerned enough about modeling Jesus’ welcoming behaviour. Sometimes I’m ashamed to call myself a Christian because of this public behaviour. “Everyone is necessary. Everyone is welcome. Everyone has a place,” writes Perry. Exactly!
“Sometimes, it’s enough to just be willing to step out in faith and show up because something that is whispering in our hearts calls us to be greater.”
2. Aragorn: Jesus is Humble
Jesus “was sort of like a Ranger—he was the True King of Israel, but remained incognito until it was time for him to act.” He did miracles of healing but would often tell the healed not to spread word about him, sharing God’s mercy with people who needed to hear it. I think this humility is important for me to model in relationship with others.
“It was vital to our understanding of God’s perfect love for us that Jesus experience everything that any other human would, including suffering. . . He had the strength to be above it, but instead entered fully into it for our sake.”
3. Batgirl: My Faith is Meant to Be Public
Though there is a component of faith that is deeply personal and private because only God knows my heart, sincere faith should be lived out in public. “Some felt that in order for us to achieve true spiritual growth, we’d have to remove ourselves from the distractions of society,” Perry writes. “Others argued that Jesus didn’t shy away from the world, but engaged it—especially sinners—and that was the mission that we were given.” Batgirl risks a lot by putting her sense of justice into action, fighting ignorance by day and crime by night.
“We’re called, as a Church, to be counter-cultural. We’re supposed to be different. And we’re different—we stand out—because we live lives of radical, extravagant love.”
4. The Doctor: My Faith Journey is Not Linear
Just like the Doctor travels back and forth in time, my understanding of my faith and God isn’t always straightforward. “We’re learning about God all the time, and we sometimes need to rewind and think about the past to see where God was leading us even when we couldn’t see the divine hand in our lives at the moment,” writes Perry.
“We need, in a sense, to go back and forth in the time of our lives to see where God is leading us forward.”
5. Green Lantern: Love is a Choice
I’m often tempted to gear my life towards never getting hurt, and relationships break due to misunderstanding or stubbornness. I feel guilty because of emotions I can’t control, or let them run my life. If someone hurts me, I want to hurt them back. The green lanterns are all about will, reminding me that love isn’t a feeling, it’s a choice.
“If we left all our decisions up to our feelings, without calling for reinforcement from our intellect and will, terrible things would happen.”
6. Darth Vader: Salvation is Always Available
Sometimes it’s a struggle to forgive myself when I hurt someone, much less accept forgiveness from others. Darth Vader is a perfect example of forgiveness not having limits, because of all the awful things he did in his past. Even Vader is not a hopeless case.
“For all the evil he has perpetrated throughout his lifetime (even toward his own son), he chooses to be forgiven and to be free.”
7. Loki: My Desire for Acceptance is Met in Christ
I have this similar desire to Loki in that I want to be loved and accepted. For some reason, I want people to think well of me. Sometimes, I’m jealous when others get more attention than I do. Loki went to lengths that I wouldn’t dream of to capture Thor’s attention, but the desire is the same. I’m reminded that Christ accepts me as I am, and that I don’t need affirmation from anywhere else.
“When Loki tries to subjugate humanity, it stems from his desire for respect and validation—to feel like he matters.”
8. Gandalf: God Doesn’t Just Fix it for a Reason
When you consider Gandalf’s power and mysterious abilities, “One might have the impression that Gandalf could have done far more than he did throughout the stories.” Sometimes I think similarly about God. If God is good, why doesn’t he just take away my pain? Why did he let this horrible thing happen to me or those I care about? Suffering is an unfortunate byproduct of our free will. Gandalf was the Fellowship’s “guide,” not expected to solve everything or take away their autonomy.
“The story of the fall of humanity is a representation of our being made in God’s image and likeness, with the power of reason, understanding, intellect, the capacity for love, and our freedom to use them. Or not. For us to be made in God’s image and likeness, we must be free.”
If you would like to read Comic Con Christianity for yourself (and I highly recommend it!), you can purchase it here. If you are a Christian, what characters have informed your faith? If not, do you find spiritual elements of fiction valuable?
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