Faith & Fandom
Browncoats, Whovians, & Making Disciplest
(Disclaimer. If you are reading this and have no idea what a Browncoat or Whovian are, bless your heart. A Browncoat is a fan of the show “Firefly” and the movie “Serenity” and all things associated. A Whovian is a fan of Doctor Who. Carry on.)
It starts out simple. A comment of “it’s bigger on the inside,” or when people hear you use the word “shiny” on a regular basis. They realize that you are passionate about something they aren’t that familiar with, something they’ve heard of, or may be slightly familiar with but they obviously don’t have the same love of it you do. So after brief descriptions of “a hero who flies through time and space and saves the world wherever he lands” or “a western in space written by Joss Whedon,” often interests are peaked and people ask more questions. Then you fill them in on the bigger picture, on the characters you love, or why it’s special to you, or that you named two of your daughters after characters from the show (Bella “Jayne” and Carmen “Song”). However, the interest comes about only to people who are at least curious and want to investigate why you care. So you give them the preliminary warnings of “Ok listen, you gotta give it until season 2.
The 9th Doctor is good, but the show doesn’t catch its stride until David
Tennant,” or “It’s only half a season and a movie, you’ll burn right through it(....and then be sad the rest of your life).” Then they start watching. If you aren’t watching it with them you’ll get texts like “Jayne is such a jerk,” “I love Kaylee,” “That guy’s ears are huge,” or the dreaded “that whole trash can/rubber Mickey thing was horrible.” You listen to their concerns and encourage them on how to proceed. Before you know it they’ve watched 7 seasons of Doctor Who or they’ve watched Firefly, Serenity, read the supplementary comics, and even the documentary on Firefly and Serenity, Done The Impossible. With little to no effort, you went from letting people see something is important in your life and explaining why to them being full-fledged Browncoats and Whovians. Since 2005 I’ve “converted” at least 70 people to one, the other, or both of these shows. Sometimes it was a personal goal, other times people were curious why my family was going to comic cons in matching geeky cosplay outfits. Either way, it’s happened. I’m completely fine with that. I love Doctor Who. I love Firefly. I’m glad people watch it. But here’s the issue I face - The process I’ve described is effectively the process of leading someone to Christ and following through with Discipleship. Then this thought hits me on a pseudo regular basis “I’ve lead more people to Mal and The Doctor than I have to Jesus.” Now I’m not saying I don’t share the gospel. I do, on a regular basis.
I’m a Pastor, so I preach/teach almost 3-4 times a week. I lead Bible Studies. I write geeky bible study books (thanks for reading), but outside of my church position in my daily life I’ve dropped the ball. I think we all tend to do that. It’s not a hard process though. It’s not complicated or difficult. It’s the same as when it comes to the aforementioned shows.
1. Love something. 2. Share your love when you have the opportunity. 3. If people are interested have discussions. 4. If they have further interest, walk them through it.
5. Be there to support and ask questions as they go through it. 6. Rejoice with them why they have arrived.
If we followed these steps in regards to our faith in Jesus Christ the way we do with our entertainment passions, the world would see why Jesus is important to us and we would at least have opportunities to further share. So if we are actually gonna make disciples of more than just geeky sci-fi programs, then we need to examine how we are living our lives. Are we actually loving God? Don’t make that face of “How dare you?!” I’m not insulting you or your devotion, but honestly ask yourself, do you love God? Do you love God in a way that it shapes and changes your life? Do you love God in a way that people see it’s important to you. I’m not just talking about your religion, faith, or Church. I’m asking do you personally love God?
Moses commanded us to love God with all we have
“ Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” – Deuteronomy 6:5
Jesus goes to tell us it’s the most important command out of all of God’s Word. “Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”- Matthew 22:37-38. Just like with Doctor Who or Firefly, the thing that will make people take interest isn’t how much we hype it or advertise it, but it’s how much we love something. If we are going to make disciples in our daily lives, then we need to live a life that loves God.
We don’t need to hype it up, or make our faith a marketing campaign, but we need to be willing to talk about it. One of my students/friends Alex helps out at our house with babysitting and stuff. After she was in my house a couple times she asked me “What’s that bucket/robot looking thing in the kids’ room with all balls on it?” She was referring to our Dalek, now I could have responded “oh it’s just something dumb,” but I answered her question with “Dalek are The Doctor’s worst enemy, the Joker to his Batman. An evil force that is only more amplified in its evil by reflecting the darkness of The Doctor.” Now she had no flippin clue what I was talking about, but now she
does, because after seeing all the stuff around my house and hearing me talk about it, she finally gave in and started watching. When it comes to our faith, we have to be willing and ready to talk when we are asked.
Paul poses the question in Romans 10:14 “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” Or even as Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” There are plenty of times we have wide open opportunities to talk about what we love, and we should take them, but most importantly with our faith.
I’ve studied discipleship, taught discipleship, and done my best to live it, and there’s no specific easy guide (although Francis Chan’s “Multiply” is a good start). The thing that we are told to do is to live our lives following Christ in such a way that others follow Him, too. This means living our lives in faith with them. It’s fun to watch a new friend or student become scribed to geeky culture, but what’s real and meaningful is to see people go from only knowing of Jesus to knowing Him personally. Jesus’ command was to make disciples. “Therefore go and make
disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” – Matthew 28:19. We have influence, people will see what we love and see if it’s worth loving. Let’s make sure we are loving God so prominently in our lives that it’s what they see above all else.