I’ve been a very effective evangelist this summer. Not so much for Jesus; I’ve been hanging mostly with Christians. But for Doctor Who, the long running BBC science fiction program. I’ve converted 4 new Whovians in the last 3 months!
I’ve written before about some parallels between Doctor Who and Jesus. But there is a lot more there to talk about, specifically surrounding evangelism.
See, I’d originally been converted to fandom by my friend Tim, who’s been a Whovian since childhood. I was curious about the program, but overwhelmed with the idea of catching up on 50 years of programming and didn’t know where to start. And besides,wasn’t it just for Brits?
When I showed interest Tim took the time to walk me through Ep 1:1 of the new series. And since I liked it, he lent me his DVDs of the entire season so I could watch on my own.
It wasn’t long before Tim was apprenticing me in leading a small group of new Whovians in a weekly showing at my apartment (I’m not kidding). I did most of the inviting, but whenever there was a question I didn’t know how to answer about continuity or time travel, or the old series, Tim was there to help.
As a community, we followed the doctor through time and space in our living room. Some episodes were good, some were less good, some were in-freaking-credible. My relationship with The Doctor was shaken when he changed his face, becoming David Tennant, but we got through it together.
And then I left. I traveled to Kansas where I didn’t have that community. And I stopped watching for a while. I got into Battlestar Galactica…. It wasn’t until Yvonne (whom I helped convert to both Christianity and Doctor Who) challenged me on it and revealed that she had watched a whole season ahead of me, that I really considered watching alone.
And when I did, people started taking notice. It started showing up in my speech patterns, in my jokes. People asked questions, I answered them. People showed interest, I introduced them to my show.
I learned to contextualize the show to multiple audiences. I became intimately familiar with Series 3:11, Series 5:1, and Series 1:1 because those are the best episodes to show potential fans. And I have started watching the old seasons as I wait with great anticipation for the new series next month.
You may find your curiosity piqued in reading this. What is this show? And what’s all this stir about it? Maybe you want to check it out. I encourage you to do so. It’s a great show.
But if I may return to the original premise: evangelism. The more interesting part for me is why introducing people to The Doctor is so easy, and introducing them to Jesus is so hard. Why do we get awkward about our faith and not our favorite TV show?
It might not be Doctor Who for you. You may be a Brony or a Trekkie or a Browncoat. You might preach the gospel of Applecomputers, or vegetarianism, or the American Libertarian Party. And you are probably pretty good at it. And people appreciate you sharing that part of yourself with them.
That’s all evangelism is. Sharing something you love. That isn’t so bad. Is it?