Last weekend, The Onion‘s AV Club took a trip to San Diego for a little gathering of 125,000 pop-culture devotees. Todd VanDerWerff has been keeping a journal, and his final entry contains this little gem:
“For an instant, it becomes ever more clear why those evangelists have set up camp outside the convention center all weekend long. We’ve taken the language and reverence of religion and turned it into something else. Whether that’s entirely healthy is a question I’m not qualified to answer. But there is no doubt when you’re sitting in Hall H. Everything is carefully made to stimulate you in a certain fashion, and when the moment comes, it’s easy to give in to rapture. The media coverage of the event strikes me as ever sillier, simply because everything is so strenuously created to provoke the desired reaction. And when you’re sitting in a crowd of nearly 7,000, all of whom are raising their voices in joy at what they’ve just seen, it’s hard not to be affected by that. It’s an ocean to pour your hope into, a place where pop culture really can save.”
That’s a remarkable claim there at the end, the notion that simply having an ocean to pour your hope into is itself salvific. It’s also a fine admission at the beginning. The conclusion is equally worth attending:
“I’ve got all these little geek islands I live on, and when I come to a place like this, it feels good to walk across bridges to other ones. Comic-Con may be big and unwieldy and ultimately pointless, but it’s also continental drift in reverse, bringing all of the pieces back together toward Pangaea.”
Many members, one body. The love that moves from one lonely soul to another. The difference that Christians profess, of course, is that the Body of Christ, while big and unwieldy, is not ultimately pointless. That’s the hilariously loopy claim at the heart of faith, Mr. VanDerWerff: that the best stories are true.