If you have access to the internet, or if you are active on social media, you could hardly miss last week’s reporting from San Diego, the city which hosts the largest annual ‘fandom’ convention in the world – Comic Con International. The city was bombarded with visitors dressed as Marvel Heroes, DC Comic Heroes, Star Wars characters, Star Trek characters, Pirates of the Carribean, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Frozen, and Dr. Horrible, just to name a few.
For those who are not familiar with Comic Con, allow me to explain. The first three day convention of Comic Con took place in August, 1970, in San Diego, with about 300 participants attending. Attendees were treated to panel discussions between well-known comic dealers or actors, exhibit halls, a dealer’s room, and film screenings. The convention has exploded in recent years to include over 130,000 attendees, 7 venues in the gaslight district of San Diego, producing four days of activity: film previews and related panels, book signings, celebrity hosted events, ‘teasers’ for popular television shows for upcoming season, general programming and educational lectures, and gala balls in specific storyline themes.
The success of Comic Con has prompted numerous, and smaller, Comic Con productions; and there are spin-off concepts that have specific themes. For example:
Leaky Con (wordplay on Leaky Cauldron), a three day programming event dedicated to all things Harry Potter. My daughter, Shannon, has attended this for three years. Really…..it’s a thing.
VidCon, which hosts more than 300 of the most innovative and influential YouTube creators, who perform, discuss, and connect with the more than 20,000 attendees at the three-day conference. Shannon leaves for this year’s in LA next week (she’s actually networking for her internship). Really….it’s a thing.
And even Anime Fest, a satellite convention of the Anime mothership art genre recently held in Dallas. I have no idea about all things Anime, but really….it’s a thing.
The surge of Fandom conventions – books, films, television, art – the popularity of these make me ask one question:
Is there a Fandom for God?
The answer, as you might guess, is simple. God’s Fandom comes together weekly, and for me, I celebrate at Christ United Methodist Church in Plano, Texas. Our general sessions take place in the narthex, where we find out the happenings for the day and week, and lead into the sanctuary or Trinity Hall for worship. Our breakout sessions are the small groups, Sunday morning classes, and bible studies throughout the week. We have specialty programs for children, music ministries and missions. God’s Fandom organizes and celebrates at church on Sunday, and takes the celebration to the world afterwards.
Here’s the real kicker, though. In whatever location you might worship, with whatever method you might employ, at whatever hour you might choose, God will show up. In Matthew 18:20, Jesus tells us, “For wherever two or three are gathered in my name, I am with them.” Even better, there’s no celebrity fee and no costume required. The only thing needed is to invite the love of Christ into your heart.
Yes, indeed. Christ has a Fandom, and it’s called the living church.
Because really…..Christ’s Fandom…..it’s a God thing. And we’re all invited.