If you’ve never heard of it, it is a rapidly advancing culture. When I was little, we used to watch shows on a little television scene and the only chance we got to fangirl was when they showed us scheduled repeat telecasts. We had no way of knowing more about the actors who played the characters we loved, nor did we have access to frame-by-frame gifs of our favorite scenes that we could relive every moment of. We didn’t have any way of knowing how many people around the world liked the same shows we did, or what they thought about them.
Well, it’s a different world now. Fans wield power in both numbers and theories. Talent and intelligence combine to keep the fandom universe running. Fanfiction. Fan art. Meta. These may seem like just words to you, but they are bursting with talent. A whole new world where admiration and obsession have no boundaries. Where fiction has a higher place than the real world. Where you could drown yourself in fiction and live there and no one would judge.
So obviously, I am part of a few fandoms. Lately, I’ve been noticing that my thoughts are engulfed by these things. Not just the characters and the stories. But the actors and the theories, as well. I find myself drawn to reading fanfiction when I can’t sleep at night. I have to actively stop myself from binge-watching, or “researching” actors (I am so sorry, Colin Morgan. You too, Benedict Cumberbatch). It gets to a point where reality becomes a blur. These people who live half-way across the world, and you might never have the chance to meet, become so dear and precious to you that you worry when they don’t have enough good work in the pipeline. Those characters who don’t really exist dominate your mind and their problems become yours.
Now before you dismiss fandoms as silly or stupid, let me remind you: It is FULL of talent and intelligence. They can conduct a second by second analysis of scenes and provide lengthy theories that arise from something that may seem as miniscule a character’s smirk. They can write beautiful and engaging fiction revolving around those characters that they adore. They can draw and/or paint these actors beautifully. And ALL of this as a part of their hobby, in their spare time. Needless to say, I am quite impressed by this culture and the people in it.
But the part of me that knows the Truth and believes in Jesus, is wary about it too. This is what is happening in your very house with a young person in it. Their hearts that must belong to Jesus is being encroached upon by characters that don’t exist. What should be a means of entertainment or a pass-time has overtaken and consumed their life and time. So just remember, youth pastors and leaders: This is what you’re fighting against. This is what you’re up against. If only all these young people would find a way to use their talents for God’s glory, instead.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)