The Christian Perception Problem at Comic-Con

I was perusing my twitter feed today, reading a bit from folks who’d been enjoying the madness that is Comic-Con when I came across this:

I was a bit surprised, having never been to Comic-Con (I missed my one chance when I was in Los Angeles a few years ago.  I still regret not going).  Christian protestors?  What’s this all about?  And so I went to Mr. Google to ask him what was going on, and I found this surprisingly kind and evenly-told story over at Verge.com:

 

For Comic-Con’s street preachers, hate gets results

I was surprised, but not, to find that a variety of Christians feel led to stand outside the pop culture beast that is Comic-Con to try and share the Gospel.  It makes sense, considering that you have a huge captive audience of largely unchurched youth who are heavily invested – can I say obsessed? – in and with the entertainment culture.  I do believe that God calls some to be street preachers, and I have heard some really good ones in my day, who are able to communicate the offensive message of the Gospel in a way that is well-received by some who have open hearts.  However, as I read this story, I found myself thinking…

There we go again.

It’s that Christian perception problem, rearing its ugly head once more.

Why does it happen?  Why do Christians – who represent the amazing and fantastic Good News of Jesus Christ – come across to much of the world as being hate-filled, small-minded, and (as the Verge writer said) showing the ugliest of faces?  Yes, the idea that we all sin can be offensive.  Yes, the idea that we need a savior, and that Jesus is the only savior can be offensive.  Yes, the idea that hell is real and many people are going there can be offensive.  But does that mean that we have to be offensive?  There are many adjectives I would use to describe Jesus (who Christians are supposed to emulate), but offensive is not one of them.  And yet so many Christians think that it is their calling to offend, by being hateful, small-minded, and ugly in situations like the one described by the writer of the Verge article.

As I was reading this article, I started thinking that it’s sad because there were plenty of Christians in attendance at Comic-Con.  But these Christians were not having any articles written about them.  They were not making obnoxious noise for Jesus.  They are just quietly toiling away for their faith.

From the inside of Comic-Con.

I thought that it was sad that we aren’t reading stories about these Christians, because I know they are there.  They are writing movies that they want to premiere at a future Comic-Con.  They are creating new comic books that they’d love to have featured on the floor.  They are plotting novels that would be read by the multitudes that attend.  They have the same goals as the guys standing outside with their signs and their tracts, but they have invested their lives to impact not only the crowds at Comic-Con, but the culture at large.

But then I started feeling less sad about this, because of the cool, unspoken, unwritten-about thing about these men and women:  they are being much more effective than the ones who are standing outside, holding signs and handing out tracts.  They are living the same lives of the youth attending the pop culture beast that is Comic-Con, to a point.  They walk beside those youth on a daily basis, at work, in their neighborhood coffee house, on the internet.  They understand them because they love the movies, they are just as excited about the trailers being revealed, they are also willing and enthusiastically standing in the long lines for the opportunity to hear the stars talk about where their favorite shows are going, just like the youth the ones outside are trying to reach.

I want to take a moment and celebrate those quiet Christians at Comic-Con who are walking the floor, buying the merch, wanting the autographs, trying to network, because they deserve to be encouraged and supported.  They are the ones who are presenting the offensive message of Christ in a way that the Comic-Con youth can receive, and they deserve our prayer and our respect.

And I hope that they get that movie made, and that it finds a huge audience at a future Comic-Con, and I can’t wait to stand in line to hear them talk about it, if I ever get a chance to attend again.

Please take a moment and read my blog post, “What’s Wrong with Christian Filmmaking“, and join the Sacred Arts Revolution.

And my novel, Thimblerig’s Ark, will be available for 99 cent download from July 29 to July 31.  Please give Thimblerig a try!

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18 thoughts on “The Christian Perception Problem at Comic-Con

  1. You also have these guys inside ComicCon doing Gods work:
    https://www.facebook.com/GG4God
    And on the East Coast at DragonCon you have:
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/fansforchrist/
    In addition, you have Christian Gamers Guild, GameChurch, and a number of other Ministries, run by fan, Geeks, Nerds, etc, all who love what you are talking about. There is a whole slew of Christians in this world of fandom. People Like Jason David Frank, Vig Mignogna, and others.

    Being personally involved in the Fans For Christ Ministry, I personally cringe when I see a street preacher. Because they don’t understand and drive people off. Our approach is simple. Go as a fan, have fun, admit your faith, wear a badge with your con badge that Identifies you as a Christian. Act like a Christian.

  2. Yep Paul said He became all things to everyone so that he might see some Saved. However a lot of people end up hating on you for that. I LOVE heavy metal. Yet i know a lot of Pastors would condemn me However i see a ministry opportunity in this spreading the gospel to my fellow metal lover and thru the music itself.

  3. Hi, I’m one of the directors of Fans for Christ and author of God Loves the Freaks. I actually have plans to gather a “counter” group of Christians to stand outside Comic Con to tell fans how much God loves them and that we love them too. I’m in Los Angeles, would love to hear from you.

  4. Wow really good article. I like the way you showed that it’s the faith of those that are actually inside Comic-Con that are impacting the culture. I myself, was able to give a panel at SuperCon here in Miami, and got a packed crowd! I was shocked because I saw that people ARE interested in the supernatural, spirit, and God. I hope that more and more, Christians stop doing the hate speech outside, buy a ticket, take a step inside, and see what it is they are throwing stones at. If they know nothing about the culture, instead of hating it, get familiar with it and love those people right where they are and bring Christ, because people want it, but the way Christ did it and still does it through us.

  5. Meanwhile, inside the convention, the Christian Comic Arts Society has been manning a table and putting on panels for the past 17 years.

    http://www.christiancomicarts.com
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/christiancomicarts/

    We’ve spoken to the people outside w/their signs & bull horns. It will come as no surprise they’ve never been inside the actual convention (or Wonder Con, where they also showed up, and where we have a presence as well). They have no idea how badly their message is being perceived.

  6. Also, I am friends with Christian comic arts society, fans for Christ and Christian Gamers guild. Great people. As for the book, feel free to make an announcement to our community on facebook. Just search GameChurch City.

  7. Pingback: The Christian Perception Problem at Comic-Con | Story in the Wings

  8. Thanks! I’m with the Christian Comic Arts Society and we actually have a booth in the con. We’ve been going there for years. We hand out tracts, sell cool books (This years sponsor is Veggie Tales Comics) and generally, we try and talk to people. This morning we had a chapel service at our Christian comics panel, and last night held a Spiritual themes in comics panel. I would challenge these people to actually rent a booth at the convention and talk to people one on one.

  9. I am a blogger over at http://www.gamingandgod.com and I also do panels at cons here in Miami, FL to show people how to find God through video games/anime. It’s been a blessing, people have been prayed for, and others have been grateful for the panels and the work that’s being done.

    There’s also Geeks Under Grace, which I’m a staff member at and we have a facebook group of over 1,000 members that are hearing the gospel in a way that they understand and appreciate as geeks/nerds/otaku etc. etc.

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