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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org 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.