Searching for the Spirituality of Fandom

Searching for the Spirituality of Fandom

– A Research Project by Rev. Tracy Robertson, Diaconal Minister

Spirituality? What
is spirituality? I’m sure it’s different for everyone. For me,
spirituality is the feeling of being connected. Fandom is sharing
that connection with others who feel the same way. Connections can be
through nature, relationships, faith, sports, pop culture, tractor
pulling, dog showing, quilting, etc. – you get the idea.

I’m wondering,
what is your take on spirituality? My family is involved in many
different, pop culture fandoms: comics, superheroes, video games,
furries. I like learning how those loves of pop culture enhance our
spirituality and I would also like to learn about how your
spirituality might be enhanced through your fandom(s)!

I’m in team ministry at St. Thomas United Church in NW Calgary, and I will be spending 2019 on a research project I call The Spirituality of Fandom. My plan is to visit various cons around Canada with the purpose of engaging organizers, vendors, panelists, and participants in a conversation about the spirituality of their particular fandom. I am also expanding my invitation to include United Church folks around the country. My sabbatical time from January – March, 2020 will be spent compiling all the results and sharing those results upon my return to any and all who might be interested.

The history and push for this comes from an over-arching message I keep hearing that ‘we’ are in a spiritual crisis because fewer and fewer people are attending or actively involved in organized religion. This project is the initial research into this message because I believe that people are, in fact, becoming more and more spiritual with the embracing of their uniqueness.

Tracy and her fan-mily.

As a Canadian
society, I believe we have evolved, and, in that evolution, we have
(and continue to) become more inclusive and accepting of a wide
diversity of people. Within that is a growth that is more
understanding of sub-cultures and within that, a fulfillment that
can’t come from any place else. This acceptance and inclusivity
give me great hope for our country that we will continue to be role
models for peace and understanding around the world. Specifically for
me as an Order of Ministry person, I’d like to share with the
church how we can build bridges and have a stronger connection with
the diverse spirituality of all diverse peoples.

The research will be
gathered via a survey and one-on-one conversations. My hope is that
this invitation and survey is shared among your communities of faith,
congregation members, and any others who might find the topic of
interest. Please feel free to access the invite and survey via
www.vilya.com/spirituality-of-fandom/survey
or contact me directly and I can send you the survey via email
(tracy@vilya.com or mobile
403-870-3930).

 

Tracy Robertson is the Team Minister of Nurture, Education and Outreach at St. Thomas United in Calgary. She is a CCS grad, 2012.