When Religion Is Your Fandom
I realize that I've been one of the more hyper parishioners of St. Blog's lately. Exciting Catholic stuff has been happening: canonization by populace! secret Conclave! new Pope! Meanwhile, I was able (thanks to the miracle of cable television and being home sick as a dog) to watch hour upon hour of Catholic pageantry and punditry while simultaneously being fed even more information and commentary on the Web. Meanwhile, oh glorious day, the new Pope has been thoughtful and challenging and ooh, oh so cutely bookish! Heady stuff.
The problem is: where does the joy of unified worship of God end and mere fannish enthusiasm begin? Can I keep my joy without becoming embarrassing or turning the culture of the Church into my idol in both senses?
As usual, the test and the corrective action is the same: I have to turn my mind toward Christ, and Him crucified. The pageantry didn't happen to fall on Passover's first day; Providence meant us to remember that all this pageantry is to help one of His servants and inspire the rest of us -- inspire us not to serve Peter's Heir (though that would be helpful), but to serve the Paschal Lamb of the Upper Room.
The sobering thing about all the little providential signs (real or imagined) that surrounded this last month is that God doesn't send signs to say "Good job! Kick back and have a brewski on me!" No, people start seeing signs when the water is getting rough and the skies are turning strange colors. The next few years are not going to be pretty. We are killing the weak and allowing the strong to do whatever they want. We are playing around with genes just because we can, and not putting a great deal of thought into the whys and hows. The craziest sort of Islam is still on the march, and still looking to kill schools full of children and skyscrapers full of infidel souls. The religions and people who stand up and stand in the way of fanatics, hedonists and amoralists are going to get well acquainted with the crazy rage which is in the air. But God is with us, and God will be our strength.
This is not something that any fandom's Powers That Be can do.
So, having said all this, should I point out that today's 2nd reading was clearly aimed at the denizens of St. Blog's and the Christian blogosphere?
Simply reverence the Lord Christ in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have. But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that those who slander you when you are living a good life in Christ may be proved wrong in the accusations that they bring. And if it is the will of God that you should suffer, it is better to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong.
Why, Christ himself, innocent though He was, died once for sins, died for the guilty, to lead us to God. In the body He was put to death; in the spirit He was raised to life. (1 Peter 3:15 - 18)