Evangelizing Fandom – it sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
When Jon Del Arroz first confessed to me that it had come to him that he should consider evangelizing fandom, I admired the idea, but I thought it would be impossible.
After all, is there a greater collection of wicca and atheist anywhere in the universe than science fiction and fantasy fandom?
Then, I had a dream. I dreamt that I was speaking to Jon about his idea, only in the dream, I was aware that it was very, very urgent. As if there was practically nothing that could be more important.
The dream shook me.
I woke up, and I sat there, and I thought: Could it really be done?
The question comes next: What is Fandom?
There are many questions to this question, but one of the best comes from Declan Finn’s upcoming book, Lightbringer, in which he quotes Moira Grayson Peat.. When questioned by the main characters in the story, the fictional Moira—based on words from an interview with the real Moira—replied:
“Please note: back then…fandom was a counterculture group, like the Society for Creative Anachronism. In those cases, the group becomes a stand-in for family. Even today, fandom is full of the disaffected, the misfits, people from broken homes, or rejected by their own families. The new surrogate family is every bit as broken as the original, but its value is greatly exaggerated to the people who need it.”
This passage really struck me, because it resonates with my experience. I, too, was someone on the outside, lost and not fitting in, who found a home in the science fiction and fantasy convention community.
I, too, used to feel it was us—fans, authors, and readers— against the world.
But no matter how good a story is, how inspiring a work of fiction, other flawed humans like us—even ones who love the same stories we love—are not the place to turn for guidance and comfort.
There is only one place we can turn where we can find the peace we are searching for, the true family, the true home.
That place is God.
And if there are any who do not know this, are we not under a duty to tell them?
But let us go back to: : Could it really be done?
The truth is: I thought it could not be—that it was a good idea that would just end up with us being humiliated.
After all, atheists and wicca and New Agers never change their minds, right?
Well, except for my husband, vituperative, super atheist John C. Wright, who used to talk people out of believing in God before he converted.
Except for him…
Okay, maybe an occasional atheist, but not witches or New Agers right?
Then I spoke to a friend who had been, in fact, Wicca, before she became a Catholic.
But not New Agers, right?
Then, just a few days ago, I came upon something astonishing.
Some years ago, I used to read everything on Near Death Experiences that anyone wrote. These books were often in the New Age section of the bookstore, so I would have to dodge books on auras and tarot, searching for a more scientific work on patients recovering from surgery.
Of all the books I had to look through, the ones I wanted to avoid the most were all by the same woman, Doreen Virtue. She wrote crazy books on nearly every topic, but mainly about communicating with angels and having them get you stuff: jobs, money, soulmates, etc. I always avoided her books; they seemed even more light and frothy than the average book in that section.
Just the other day, I came upon a show for Christians recovering from other believes—particularly New Age. The spokeswoman leading the show mentioned her own conversion from the New Age and showed a picture of herself back then.
And I went… Huh. She looks familiar.
So I paged down under the video to see what her name was. It was Doreen Virtue.
In an article on her website, she explains: “I used to think that calling on angels was correct because it seemed to result in wishes getting granted. Then I noticed that those ‘granted wish…es’ were like desert mirages that would soon disappear. They would also have something wrong with them: the new job would have serious issues; the new ‘soulmate’ would have serious issues; and so forth. These demons give horrible guidance, designed to ruin lives and guide people away from the real Jesus and the Bible.”
The other thing that changed my mind was an article from someone who had converted from atheist to Christianity who kept saying, “How come none of my Christian friends told me? They never told me who Jesus was or anything. Didn’t they believe it?”
At first, I thought: well, this person knew, right. They had just chosen not to believe.
But…did they know?
We assume, often, that others know and have rejected, but, more and more, nowadays, that is not the case—parents are not even telling their children about God and Christ and the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, it has been more than one generation since even a whisper was passed along.
And even the more devout sometimes no longer believe in the Enemy, which means that they see no harm in all sorts of dangerous things, including things encouraged by the strange ideas we love so much in our fiction.
If we know that the Powers of Light and Darkness are real, shouldn’t we tell the folks who keep waving their forks at the lighsockets?
So, without further ado, introducing Evangelizing Fandom—a new column from Superversive SF.