Tag Archives: Nerds

How Doctor Who is Good for Your Prayer Life

21 Oct

Imagine the most wonderful man you’ve ever known. He’s passionate and loving, intelligent beyond compare but infinitely understanding rather than arrogant and unapproachable. Imagine someone who is totally enthralled with all of creation, discovery, learning; a lover of ideas and growth and the amazing limitless depths of the human person. Imagine someone who pours out their whole self to redeem and improve. He gives his whole self to save you, but also to make you see how special and indispensable and unrepeatable you already are. He is totally preoccupied with you, so much so that he wants to share with you the intense and unimaginable splendor of everything made, as he sees them. He desires you to take pleasure in and care greatly for the universe along with him, and he has called you out of your normalcy to pursue this, for both your sake and the sake of the world.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you have very strong feelings about this man. Regardless of who might be your favorite (bowties are cool), you’re with the Doctor till the end, you can’t remember a time before you had the something-exciting-is-happening music stuck in your head, and secretly (or publically), you’re hoping you’ll be the next companion.

The other day, not uncharacteristically, I was obsessing over this show. I was thinking about the nature of the character the Doctor, and was utterly confounded by how so much goodness could be packed into one fictional person. He is relatable, even in his alienation. He is kind and wise and great and knowable and mysterious all at once. He wants to know his companions, has great affection for them, even as he is, in reality, so far above them. And in thinking about this, I realized two main things.
A. I am totally 100% jealous of the companions.
2. I have no reason to be, because maybe I am one, too, and maybe my Doctor is even better than the BBC’s.

Maybe Christ is the Doctor, and I am Amelia Pond.

All my prayer life, I have dehumanized Christ. I strip Him of His personhood and replace it with an unreachable and impersonal statue, a historical name, a fact to be memorized, a far-flung idea of a Divine Being on a proverbial cross. But what I realized in that moment is that He is totally and utterly real. He is vibrant and dynamic and unique and absurdly wonderful. And He is desperately preoccupied with me.

I sat there thinking What if it’s real? What if Jesus is an endlessly fascinating Being who is funny and wise and colorful and brilliant and infinitely more things, and what if He wants to be my absolute best friend? What if it’s real?

The morning after I had this realization, I was chilling at my kitchen table, praying Morning Prayer (try it here!) when this happened:

Lord, send your mercy and your truth to rescue us from the snares of the devil, and, happy to be known as companions of your Son, we will praise You among the peoples and proclaim You to the nations.

Roommate can attest to this, I actually burst out laughing. I cannot account for a single other time I have ever seen the Church referred to as “companions of your Son”. Maybe the Apostles. But even with them, it’s not a frequent expression.

It’s so personal, so mutual, so Whovian.

All I could do was sit there in total awe. Everything I had been thinking about, how maybe He is just as ridiculously wonderful and loving and brilliant as the Doctor, but on top of that maybe He is a real person; how maybe He is as caught up in me as the Doctor is with his friends; how maybe He is calling me out of my normalcy to pursue some great adventure with Him, (in which I get to know Him and myself simultaneously, wherein I see the great worth of all created things, and learn to hope big ridiculous hopes and dream absurd dreams and be given opportunities to love heroically). Maybe it’s all true.

So here’s how Doctor Who improves your prayer life:

Think of all the reasons why you love the Doctor (sweet mercy, bowties are cool), all the ways in which he amazes you and is wonderful and brilliant. Think of how much you want to go with Him, see the universe, be so important to someone that they want to bring you along to save the world with them. In this lies the reality of the Person of Christ. He is wiser, insanerer (“is that a word?”), more brilliant, more epic, than the Doctor, and more madly, desperately in love with you, His companion. You are Rose Tyler. You are Martha Jones. You are Donna Noble. You are the Ponds. But you are even more important and wonderful than they, because your adventure is real life, real souls, the real world waiting for your part in it, and your Doctor is a real being.

The metaphor is imperfect of course. All metaphors conceal as much as they reveal. But it’s still crazy beautiful. Take a moment, know your worth, and address Him as you would the Doctor. Watch an episode, revel in how much you wish someone that uniquely wonderful felt about you the way the Doctor feels about his friends, and then know beyond a doubt that you mean so much more than that to Someone who is infinitely more brilliant than him.

And then come along, Pond.

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How Pop Culture Helps Us Know God

21 Oct

Let’s be honest. You’re a nerd. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t. (We wouldn’t be here if we weren’t.) You get pumped about movie premiers. You make t-shirts for book releases. You would go to the sketchiest little venue just to hear that band play. You may even own some action figures. We won’t judge.

So why do we love these things? Because they entertain us, yes. But on a deeper level, isn’t it because what we see in them we hope to find and cultivate in ourselves? And on an even deeper level, we would argue that it’s because in each story, in each human creation, we see God. Some level of higher truth is always represented, regardless of whether it was intended.

God created human creativity. In His image, He instilled in us love of the creative act. And beyond that, He made us relational, that we might seek to create things to entertain and encourage each other. Even those who aren’t as prolific in their creativity as others are still creative in their very person. JP 2’s Letter to Artists says, “Not all are called to be artists in the specific sense of the term. Yet, as Genesis has it, all men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece.” The very carrying out of our lives is an artistic and venerable act, for when in His creativity He made us, He called us very good. We are ultimately, in our design, very good.

And in our fundamental goodness, there exists in our strivings the potential for similar good. The art we make, the stories we tell, the buildings we build, the music we write, and the lives we lead can have a deep and utter goodness that is beneficial in its very nature.

And we at Theology for Nerds have a particular fascination with those created things which stem so brilliantly from the minds of humans across the world and how they can serve as conduits of the transcendental: truth, beauty, and goodness.

But for real. We really really enjoy pop culture.

And so we endeavor to share our thoughts on how the many facets of popular art, in which our culture is so steeped, speak astonishingly deeply of realities they scarcely understand.

Because we are obsessed.

And so very, very nerdy. It’s like a metaphysical comic-con up in here.

So, the goals of this blog are as follows:
A. Ponder the immense mysteries of the nature of God and man through the unfortunately (but not irrevocably) secularized media sources, and hopefully encourage you to do the same.
2. Nerd out.

Open your eyes. Know Him. Rejoice in the fact that all art is ultimately pointing back to God. Because you cannot separate a human from his image, not matter how hard you try. And the media will ultimately be reclaimed because it cannot escape its own goodness. We just have to recognize it and demand it.
And no, we won’t judge you for wearing that t-shirt in public.

A brief disclaimer: Pop culture can display our good. However it can also display our bad. We as fallen humans are not above implanting our hatred, anger, and personal baggage into the things we create just as frequently and vividly as our goodness. Be careful, be watchful. Not everything is good. Learn to be discerning. Learn to ask whether a film, book, show, play, etc speaks of God properly, whether it correctly orders reality and upholds the dignity of creation. Ask Him to teach you how to be in the culture, but not of it. Don’t take everything as authoritative and correct, and ultimately, if you feel something is leading you down a wrong path, discontinue use. Remember, not everything is worth your time, and not everything is worthy of our attention. We are learning this skill too. Rejoice in and embrace the good, the excellent, the worthy, and discard the foul.