Please NOTE: The following is in no way meant to be disrespectful of those who consider Jerusalem to be a holy and sacred city worthy of honor and respect. Neither It is meant to be disrespectful toward Jews, Muslims or Christians!
While Israel and Palestine are busy warring over the Gaza Strip, and Christians join the battle (do not fool yourself into believing our so-called Christian nation does not have a vested interest in this war – if not the government itself, then certainly the corporate lobbyists who control our government), in deciding who ultimately gets the land and the oil, along with the right to call Jerusalem home, there is a new Jerusalem being born right underneath our noses. And that Jerusalem is happening as we speak in San Diego, California at the annual Comic-Con, International.
This past weekend, 130,000 + men, women and children made their annual pilgrimage to the sacred temple of all comic book, sci-fi, fantasy, technology aficionados (aka geeks and nerds). Comic-Con is an opportunity to gather in community in celebration of what gives life meaning, and for many, what gives life purpose. Through Comic-Con, fans have an opportunity to meet and spend time with those who inspire them and to share their passion for the stories that reflect the universal human story of good vs. evil, most of which ultimately end in some sort of redemption (unless, your favorite stories are in the genre of dystopia, then like Shakespeare, we understand the value of a good old-fashioned tragedy). If the experience one enjoys at Comic-Con is not religious, I don’t know what is. Comic-Con, just might be the New Jerusalem for a post-modern generation.
One of the characteristics of the post-modern generation (Gen X, Gen Y and Millenials), is an ambivalence toward traditional religious structures. Their rational minds cannot make sense of institutions that say, “do what I say but not as I do,” and these are the last folks to do what they are told, simply because they are told. Post-moderns need their faith to be grounded in reason. Additionally, post-moderns (esp. X’s, Y’s and Millenials) crave a “religion” that is universal – one that is not caught up in the trappings of us vs. them or truth that is the sole possession of one system of beliefs. Instead, these folks are looking for an experience without borders, pluralistic in nature and one that brings people together instead of forcing them apart. As such, most do not go to church, and if they do, they are “cafeteria” attendees – picking and choosing what works for them while disregarding the rest.
This is not to say, however, that the post-moderns are not driven by the same search for meaning and purpose, along with the desire for the inspiring story of salvation commonly found in most religious traditions. Enter Comic-Con. Comic-Con is the gathering place of all the sacred stories that have been created since the publication of the first comic book in 1933. And Comic-Con does not limit itself to comic books, but includes all sci-fi, fantasy, horror (and then some) that has inspired the Western (and Eastern) audience. Comic-Con provides a place for people to gather, to commune, to learn and to grow in their continual search for meaning and purpose in a way that is pluralistic – bringing people together instead of forcing them apart.
Whether you are a Game of Thrones fan, if True Blood trips your trigger, or if you are married to DC or Marvel, it doesn’t matter, all are honored as sacred at Comic-Con. Naruto, Sailor Moon, Cardcaptors, Kim Possible, Death Note, Black Butler, No. 6, The Walking Dead, Teen Wolf, are all represented. Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Flash, X-Men, Agents of Shield – Comic-Con is big enough for it all. Sure, there is an occasional argument over whether Star Wars or Star Trek is better, or whether The Hobbit can hold a candle to LOTR, all is argued in the spirit of playfulness and respect. Whereas some might accuse Comic-Con and all it represents of simply providing a means of escape (who wouldn’t want to escape the current world we live in?????), I contend that instead, it satisfies the spiritual and religious needs of a population whose needs are not, and will never, be met by traditional religion. Again, Comic-Con just might be the New Jerusalem for a post-modern generation, and I for one, am glad for it!
If you live in the Oshkosh area, please join us for our weekly Superhero Gatherings – a place where the REAL Superheroes meet!
To learn more go HERE.