How Star Wars Helped Me Understand Christians
Yes, even though I am one, I still need some help understanding Christians sometimes. I can't count the number of times I've heard people say they left the Christian faith, or never even gave it a try, because of the people they encountered who identified as Christian. And they totally have a point.
While there are many incredible Christians out there truly loving others in the name of Jesus, there are certainly some who don't make it easier on the rest of us. And the truth is that it can be so hard not to lose it on those people sometimes.
But the reality of the situation is that there are weirdos in every bunch. Every group of people has some good and some bad, and whether you're a Christian or a Star Wars fan, if you're super involved with either group you know what I mean. People are harder on the flaws of Christians because they have a reputation for telling people how to live, but try telling a member of the 501st Legion that you think Star Wars is "thoroughly meh" and let me know how that goes for you.
If any group gets large enough, you'll find people who fit descriptions that Christians routinely get slammed for.
Slow your roll, crazy! These are the single-minded, uncompromising, my-way-or-the-highway crew. And they always seem to fixate on the smallest thing, and then you master that thing, and then there is another thing, and another and another...on and on to infinity. And they are just so dang excited about it, and want you to be, too. Right now!
Whether it's about chapel veils or the Vader Down comic series, some people are just very, very excited to be a part of the group, and they will not rest until you share their excitement. But it's alright, they might be pushy, but they are (usually) harmless.
Some people just need you to know that they are top dog, that they've been around since day one, that they know the most about the most things, and unfortunately, you joined up too late to be on their level. Some people are just small like that. To spot a Star Wars snob in the wild, one need only follow the phrase "true fan" to its source.
Just because something is not done to your taste doesn't make it wrong. And just because someone started liking something last week doesn't make them inferior. There is a right and wrong when it comes to a lot of things, but muddying the waters of fact and opinion just makes it less easy to see when those situations arise. There are no true fans, just like there is no one right way to pray. If you like something, you are a fan. If you talk to God, you pray. Glad we cleared that up.
Some people cannot be pleased. No matter how perfect the film trailer or how beautiful the music at church on Sunday, some people just have to find something to complain about. Now, as an optimist who is empathetic to a worrying degree, I may be less comfortable around whiney people than the average bear, but they make me want to immediately run away from them and never come back.
Star Wars is a film about hope, love and good triumphing over evil. Shouldn't the fans be inspired to smile every now and then? And in the same way, Christians live their lives believing God died to spend eternity with them. If you can still be perpetually grumpy after that, maybe you just need to work more naps into your daily routine. But either way, we just have to do our best to cheer them up, and not let it spoil our fun or our love for our faith or fandom.
Oh, okay. So it's fine for someone to rule the galaxy as long as it's you doing the ruling. Gotcha. There are hypocrites in every bunch. Sometimes those people claim to be members of a religion in which the greatest commands given by Jesus are about loving God and others, and they couldn't be less loving if they tried. Sometimes those people claim to be the biggest fans of a movie about goodness, and they spend their days trolling people on the internet. We just have to recognize them for what they are and not let them get under our skin, while recognizing that one person's failure to stay true to an ideal doesn't make that ideal worthless.
What does that even mean, Obi Wan?! Having a conversation shouldn't be like solving a freaking Sudoku! I love listening to intelligent people talk about intelligent things, but sometimes talking to a die-hard Star Wars fan or a devout Christian can feel like I've stepped onto the set of a trivia game show or into a lecture hall. "I hope I get an A in this conversation," should not be a thought running through the minds of the people you're casually chatting with about Han Solo's home planet or yesterday's Gospel reading. We have to learn from them what we can...and then buy them a strawberry margarita to help them relax a bit.
The shining examples of what it means to be human
Just like there are bad apples in every bunch, there are so many good ones running around, too! And, even though it can be difficult to see sometimes, the good almost always outnumber the bad.
So, just as meeting some annoying Star Wars fans doesn't make people abandon their love of Star Wars, don't let some goofy Christian ruin your chance to encounter God.