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“Who let the girl in here?” (Churches, take note!)

“Who let the girl in here?” (Churches, take note!)

Corrigan Vaughan’s fantastic reply to those questioning her Star Trek fandom at the premiere of the new movie “Star Trek: Into Darkness” included this gem:

And one more thing: Stop trying to pit us girls against each other. We shouldn’t feel like we have to throw other girls under the bus to show that we’re REAL fans. The only fake fan is the fan who legitimately does not like the thing s/he claims to love–which has nothing to do with gender–and it’s really not your business to sort out the sheep from the goats here. In fact, I welcome the faker into the fold, because s/he needs a community, and we’ve got it in spades. I mean, is there not enough space in fandom, so we have to do some sort of weeding out process before it gets too full? Does it diminish your fanboy status that I started obsessively reading Judge Dredd because of the 2012 movie? Are you deeply and personally hurt by someone else liking what you like, just because they like it to a lesser degree or don’t know every single thing about it?

Vaughn’s post has parallels into church circles beyond her clever use of a “sheep from the goats” reference.

Kristin Fontaine (daughter of the Cafe’s Ann Fontaine) alerted us of this article. She wrote this:

If we welcome all comers, surely that enriches us all. If they are ‘fakers’ they will get bored and leave, but some of the ‘fakers’ might find true community and a lifetime of love and support. Faith (or fandom) doesn’t always come in a particular order, and when a group decides to adopt a doctrine of scarcity rather than one of abundance, well, then they are cutting off their own nose to spite their face since any closed system will eventually die off. Welcome the people that come, not the people that you wish would come and join your group/fandom/church if you truly wish it to thrive.

Think of those excited by a particular type of connection to the church: an issue, a style of liturgy, an innovation beyond the church walls…and how quick some from within our tradition are to brush them off.

Think about some who look to transform their lives with a particular practice or by developing their own “rule of life” that models Jesus/church without adhearing to the traditional church stereotypes concerning sex, gender, and power.

Think about how the vocations of women clergy have differed from the stereotypical image of “Father so and so”, and how people have reacted.

(Plus, it would be fun to take the fan-girl/fan-boy concept to being a Jesus fan.)

Do you find any wisdom for the church in Vaughn’s response?

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Adam Wood

Thanks for stopping by!

>>but I sought to challenge that in my article. If "nerds," "geeks," etc. have always been made to feel like outsiders, why should they perpetuate that within fandom. As I said, I've been a scifi geek since birth, but I don't feel that it enhances my fandom to exclude others who may not know as much as I do. Further, I don't feel that looking a certain way should exclude me from being considered a real fan.

I agree completely. You are saying, "it shouldn't be like this."

I'm just saying: We need to realize just how much like that it really is. Fandom, at least, usually already understand the insider/outsider dynamic- in fact they revel in it (too much).

Church people seem to be generally oblivious to it.

----

For a humorous take on this same subject...

http://www.collegehumor.com/video/6583358/why-religious-people-are-nerds

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Nerdsrocket

As a fellow believer myself, it's really interesting to see my article used in a faith context. Even in using my sheep vs. goats reference, I hadn't actually considered the implications for faith, the church, etc. Really, I went to a Christian college and eventually Biblical metaphors just becomes a part of your every day speech.

I think Adam Wood has a valid point in that some of the appeal of fandom lies in the insider/outsider dichotomy, but I sought to challenge that in my article. If "nerds," "geeks," etc. have always been made to feel like outsiders, why should they perpetuate that within fandom. As I said, I've been a scifi geek since birth, but I don't feel that it enhances my fandom to exclude others who may not know as much as I do. Further, I don't feel that looking a certain way should exclude me from being considered a real fan.

Still, I agree with the implications within the church. There are few things that irk me more than when a church becomes a fandom within itself; when the church is the thing that's worshiped and membership within that church becomes exclusive. Living in Southern California, there are many local churches that come across more as clubs than anything else. I think, though, if we're going to be drawing a parallel between the church and fandom, in both of these things inclusion is paramount.

I think that's what John is essentially getting at, and perhaps we are simply saying the same thing in different ways. I don't feel that my article "misses the mark" on this, so much as looks at a different angle of the same issue.

Anyway, I appreciate not only your comment on the article itself, but your post, and the thoughtful commentary it has spawned.

LLaP,

Corrigan

The Electric Feast

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Adam Wood

Oh- I agree. I'm just saying- it's worse. At least the creators of genre-fiction are actively in the business of expanding the fan base.

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John B. Chilton

I rest my case, Adam. I really don't get it, though in time I think I would.

Sure, I can look up http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fanboy.

But the wall still exists. What I'm suggesting is the church can think about how it talks to world.

A certain editor with the initials JN was saying we run into the same problem when we talk about "living our baptismal covenant." Everyone knows what each of those words mean, but it isn't a helpful jingle to put on your homepage if the purpose is attract visitors.

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Adam Wood

Yes, sort of.

But you know what a "fan" is, and what a "boy" is. And you know how English works.

How many people know both "canon" and "ordinary." Even in a church context- I know three other definitions of each of those words that are more common.

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