I often wonder where – in the scientific wonder that is genetics – I managed to get my love of superheroes and musicals. No one in my immediate family cares much for them and even some of my cousins who enjoy them do not seem to get as into them as I do.
It wasn’t until I came to Corban that I found true kindred spirits. Sure my friends in high school tried, but while I was still freaking out about how Sherlock survived, they had long since moved on. At times I worried that something was wrong with me. No one else seemed to be so affected by these works of fiction as I was; surely that wasn’t normal. The last three years I have come to realize that stories – and all forms of art – are gifts from God and there is nothing wrong with deeply enjoying them.
The ability to create and appreciate art is a part of the Imago Dei that each of us bear. It just manifests itself in different ways: music, writing, baking, running, hiking, dancing. Yes, I did just list baking, running, and hiking as art forms. To me “art” is something that stimulates the senses or causes us to think deeply, or both.
After all, isn’t there something beautiful about the way a Olympic gymnast is able to control their body with such precision? Isn’t there something glorious about the delicious smell and taste of a freshly cooked meal prepared by a master chef? I believe that the definition of art is much broader than a lot of people realize.
And when art is created there is a little bit of eternity and truth that is held inside it – of course sometimes you have to look hard for it. When we interact with art, and I mean truly interact not just mindlessly consume, we are engaging with not only our own Imago Dei, but the Imago Dei of the artist as well. As you dwell on why the author wrote the story this way or that, you are grappling with the truth imbedded in the story and coming closer to understand another Image Bearer. The same is true of analyzing the cinematography of your favorite TV show or wondering how your mom manages to make her cookies at just the perfect balance between being too soft and too firm.
That is where fandoms come in. What is a fandom really besides a group of like minded people who happen to be interacting with the same kind of art. Therefore, we’re all in fandoms.
When you are at your grandmother’s of the break and you and your cousins have a long conversation about how much you miss her cooking while you’re at school and about which of her dishes are best, that is a fandom. When you don a jersey, get together with your buddies and yell at the television set when the ref makes a questionable call, that is a fandom. When you stand in an art museum and discuss the usefulness of various painting techniques with a stranger you just met, that is a fandom.
Whether your fandom is sports-related, scholarly, story based, or simply the love for being outdoors and enjoying nature, you are in a fandom. And so long as you don’t allow your love for that art to get in the way of your relationship with God, there is nothing wrong with that. Congratulations, you are a nerd!