We have left the time in which our culture and its people have any connectivity to the spiritual.
That’s an assertion Andrew Root makes in his book, The Pastor in the Secular Age. He says we have moved toward being a people that have been disenchanted.
The problem of disenchantment is that there is a need for being enchanted living within us. Much like what Augustine famously said: “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
The problem is we do not go to God but look for it in other places. One of the places that Root speaks of finding re-enchantment is Comic-Con International in San Diego.
There has not been the usual gathering of Comic-Con since 2019 because of Covid-19, though organizers attempted to have what they called Comic-Con@Home in 2020 and 2021.
There was even a special edition during the week of Thanksgiving in 2021, but the official Comic-Con did not return until this summer. I attended this year’s in-person gathering, as I have since 2013.
One of the questions I get asked is, “What costume do you wear?” I do not wear a costume. I tell people that I go as the preacher in repose.
Another thing people tell me is they look very closely at the videos of Comic-Con to see if they can see me. That is a bit harder than many realize because there are 130,000 individuals at the convention center. It is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
As to Root’s assertion about why people go to Comic-Con, I do not go to find re-enchantment. So, why do I attend? I find connectivity with those that create.
Creating is something that I like and being with those who create gives me a re-charging of my own creative battery. There is something to be said for listening to people that offer themselves in creation as a means of inspiration.
There is also the ability to see and hear from those whose work you have consumed at the various panel discussions.
One of my favorite panels featured Leonard Maltin, a film critic for many years on Entertainment Today. His panel was called, “You’re Wrong, Leonard Maltin.” It allowed people that heard him review movies or read them in his movie guide to get up and tell him how they differed in opinion about specific movies.
Not only was I able to ask a question, but I also spoke with him one on one afterward. I told him of my first Comic-Con, coming to ask director/writer Josh Whedon a question about the script he wrote for “Cabin in the Woods.” It was a delightful moment that I cherish both then and now.
There is also the discovery aspect of Comic-Con. One of my discoveries this year was “Nandor Fodor and the Talking Mongoos,” a forthcoming movie about a family living on the Isle of Man who claim there is a talking mongoose in their home.
Simon Pegg is Nandor Fodor, the father of parapsychology, and he goes to study this family and their claim. What caught my attention about the movie is what writer/director Adam Sigal said was his reasoning for doing it.
Sigal said he did not believe. Like Root says, Sigal is dis-enchanted. But the subject of the talking mongoose and his research into the story raised questions for him about belief and faith. He saw the movie as a way to explore them.
Belief and faith as something to be explored. That is the challenge faced by people of faith. We must be willing to help people find their way toward having better connectivity to belief and the life of faith.
No, I do not go to Comic-Con to be re-enchanted. I go to learn more about those who may be dis-enchanted in order to converse with them about what it is that they see happening, in terms of faith and belief, in their lives.