St. Francis Church in Macon, GA, is putting a stake through the heart of boring adult education classes, while providing pop culture aficionados with a learning opportunity they can really sink their teeth into. Starting this Thursday, the church will launch “The Gospel According to Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” an adult-ed class designed to explore the Christian virtues portrayed in the show. The Macon Telegraph reports:
“It’s the most artistic and literate program that’s been on TV in 10 years, maybe ever,” [series co-teacher and self-proclaimed "Buffy junkie" Buzz] Tanner said. “Spiritually, Buffy’s virtues are Christian, though it would be hard to say Buffy is a Christian. The show deals with good and evil, right and wrong.”
“It’s about helping people not be so uptight about their religion,” said John Mark Parker, pastoral assistant at St. Francis. “One of things we want people to do is look for themes that reflect what they experience in their faith…. It’s really about creating dialogue.”
The group will watch an episode each week, and then discuss the episode’s spiritual lessons over soft drinks, popcorn, and beer. (As Buffy might have said, “Beer… foamy… good.” Of course, that was right before she said, “Beer bad…” but one can assume that with church supervision, they’ll stop at “foamy… good” before getting to “beer… bad.”) Garlic necklaces and wooden stakes are apparently optional.
Members of the class are being encouraged to read “What Would Buffy Do?: Vampire Slayer as Spiritual Guide,” and discussion will continue on a special blog. The last class in the eight-week series will take place on Halloween, when participants will be encouraged to dress as their favorite “Buffy” character.
Of course, the Macon church class isn’t the first analysis of the spiritual side of slayage. Over at Hollywood Jesus, horror writer/environmental toxicologist (yes, really) Maurice Broaddus writes about Buffy, Alias, Stephen King and other bastions of pop culture from a spiritual angle. Idol Chatter’s Donna Freitas has made no secret of her spiritual love for all things Buffy. At Slayage.tv lives the online International Journal of Buffy Studies, with articles like “The Evolution of Joss Whedon’s Vampire Mythology and the Ontology of the Soul” and others. And the cult of Buffy continues to inspire, as the IFC Film Center in NYC takes a cue from Rocky Horror and serves up midnight shows of the soulful musical episode, in sing-along format.
Still, the best thing about having Buffy classes in church? Abundant crucifixes minimize chances of vampire invasion.