This past holiday season has been one the nerdiest Christmases I’ve ever had. On the 18th, which also happened to be my birthday, I got to see the The Force Awakens (at some point I’ll get round to making an official stance on that movie), for Christmas I was given Star Trek lounge pants and the first season to Babylon 5, and got to watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special. The return of Star Wars to the big screen and River Song to Doctor Who filled me with great anticipation for months. Months.
During the season of waiting I compared my excitement of these fictional experiences to my excitement about the coming of Jesus, and just Jesus in general. I wondered if I asked my family and friends to vote on what was most meaningful to me, Star Wars, River Song, or Jesus, what they would say. How would I vote?
Mentally, I know that Jesus is the most important thing in my life, but experientially this often isn’t the case. I’ve had moments, sometimes days, and even weeks through out my Christian struggle where Jesus has been the focus of my mind, heart, soul, everything about me. But honestly, the majority of my life has been characterized by a complacent, deadened, apathy towards my Lord, my God, my Savior.
I know I am not alone in this struggle. I think many Christians deal with a similar struggle. Why is it that things of this world have a greater hold on us than the God we profess to follow?
I can’t speak for others, but these are some of the things I have come up with as I’ve considered why Star Wars and Doctor Who, (and other things like writing, eating, my work…pretty much anything actually) get me more hyped up then Jesus.
1) I have a deep, personal, and meaningful connection with the characters and stories that I do not have with Jesus.
Now, I’m not saying that I don’t have any connection with Jesus. I do, and it is being strengthened as I mature in my faith, but there are times when I honestly think that my attachment to works of fiction is stronger than my attachment to God. I certainly can talk about Star Trek, gush about Babylon 5, and share my passion for theatre, with much greater ease than I can about Jesus. There are other reasons for this besides a lack of connection-fear, doubt, and trying to fit in for starters-but I do think that my shallow relationship with Jesus is a big part of it.
Growing up, my mindset about Christianity was very works oriented. In the words of my pastor, I interacted as though God was my landlord or boss, not my father. Even though I had grown up in a Christian environment, it wasn’t until I was 19 that it struck me that Christ died so that I could have a relationship with Him, not just so that I could impress the world with how perfect I am.
If you’ve followed my blog or know me at all, you know that I still struggle with my desire to be Super Woman. It’s been eight years since that epiphany hit. As God and I have wrestled through my doubt and anger we’ve made some progress in our relationship, but it still suffers from my goal-oriented, self-sufficient mindset.
I think this is because until very recently the thought that God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit wanted to be personally connected with me, knowing, caring, and interested about every detail, joy, and sorrow of my life, never occurred to me. I heard it talked about in sermons and read about it in the Bible, but for some reason I always assumed that deep relationship was meant for some other person who God was more interested in. I am thankful that I can say God is helping me get rid of this lie. I am just as important to God as all of His other children. I’m excited to see how my life changes as I continue to understand this more.
So, this is a long way of saying that I have grown up struggling with God-issues. While I didn’t feel a deep connection with Jesus, I have always felt a deep connection to my Sci-fi. I grew up with Star Wars, Star Trek, and Babylon 5. I feel in love with River Song even though I am not a huge Whovian (don’t shoot me). The characters/story arcs mean so much to me. I laugh with them, get angry for them, cheer them on to succeed, and I weep, and sometimes wail, when people die-and no, that is not an exaggeration. I am engaged in a deep way.
I’d like to think that some of my attachment to these characters and arcs is because they have nuggets of truth about who God is and what He wants for the world. But…I can’t say that with certainty and is probably just my way of justifying my sometimes obsessive and idolatrous love of these stories.
2) I have invested in them more than I have invested in Jesus.
Part of why I feel so connected to these shows is because I have given them a lot of time, energy, and thought. This is something I really struggle with in my relationship with Jesus. It is much easier to sit down and watch B5 (especially when you just got the first season as a Christmas Present) than it is to read my Bible. Easy to justify too, because we can’t just read and pray 24/7, or we’d be disconnected to the world, hidden away like hermits!
Jesus demands that we love God with out hearts, souls, and mind. I think the mind is an important part of the relationship that we often downplay. We relegate the mind to the “study of God”, the “knowledge of God”, and keep it away from experiencing God. But I think meditation, a key-part of my faith that I have been lacking, can turn our emotions towards God. If I spend a lot of time thinking about something my heart and soul tend to get invested.
So while I am not going to be returning my beautiful Babylon 5 Season 1 DVD’s, (see how much I love this show?) I am working on making a more intentional investment in my relationship with Christ and focusing my mind on Him. This has been easier since I have begun to hope that He wants a personal relationship with me. My devotions are still a struggle, prayer sometimes feels like war, and there are Sundays when I am so ashamed of my lack of authentic adoration of Christ that I want to stay home all day and suppress all emotions with food.
The awesome thing is that Jesus doesn’t need or want me to get all my ducks in a row before I come to Him. He wants a personal relationship with me as I am now: doubting, hopeful, angry, excited, focused, distracted. One of my favorite verses is:
So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.
– Hebrews 2:11
Jesus is not ashamed. Jesus is not ashamed of me. This truth has been a balm to my embittered soul as I have struggled towards light, freedom, beauty. And when I think of these truths, then I get excited about Jesus.
So, now that Star Wars has come, and River Song has gone, and Babylon 5 is here to stay, I can look to Jesus strive to be more intentional in my relationship with Him, remembering that He wants a personal relationship with me, so that when I think about how amazing my Sci-Fi is, I will live my life in such away that declares the Creator of Science and Story is so much more.