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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Watching Star Wars... Catholic-ly

I was at work one day recently, and amidst my staring at Excel formulas, I had a random idea hit me like a stray blaster bolt.

Perhaps it’s because of my subconscious excitement of Star Wars Episode VII coming out later this year and my general nerdy Catholic mind that allowed such a thought to float across my mind like a Jawa Sandcrawler.

I’ve been trying to come up with a way to engage my fellow young adult Catholics, and I seemed to have been blindsided by the answer. I had this crazy idea. An idea that seemed brilliant as Tatooine’s two suns.

What if…just what if…I could host Star Wars-watching parties! And not just watch Star Wars, but attempt to extract Catholic themes from the movies and discuss! And nerd out!

Now, I realize that Star Wars is totally not meant to be an exposition of Catholic dogma, doctrine, and discipline. Far from it, actually. But what I love about being Catholic is that it is universal and universally applicable. Part of where I’m at in my Catholic faith and spirituality is seeing it in everything.  How does my Catholic faith play into everything that I’m already into? Particularly, in this case, the nerdy things I’m into? Can I put on a Catholic lens and see Catholic themes in things that aren't even Catholic? That's been my constant reflection in these here recent times.

I bought the Blu-Ray set of all six episodes over a year ago and have since watched Episodes I-IV on my own. And I also got into The Clone Wars on Netflix. Allowing my Catholic nerdiness to collide with my Star Wars nerdiness allowed me to pick up on Catholic themes whether intentional or not. Ugh, Anakin Skywalker is such rich content. Much themes. Wow. Just even the first three Episodes had some good stuff to think about and relate to Catholicism! I wish I had written it all down!

Of course, one thing I also love about being Catholic is the community in Christ. We, as human beings, are made to be in community with each other, and I find this truth to be lived out well through most excellent Catholic examples.  Because of this, I decided that I shouldn't watch Star Wars Catholic-ly by my lonesome with cold beverage in one hand and lightsaber with the other anymore. And that's why I decided to shoot first and host such kind of Star Wars watching parties with my fellow Catholic young adults. Sometimes you just gotta let crazy Wookie ideas win, ya know?

I’ve already hosted two of these Star Wars watching parties. I’ll be hosting these once a month until Episode VII comes out this December! The first one ended up being a small gathering, and the second one had more of a crowd.  In both cases, we had some good and fruitful discussions extracting Catholic themes from The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. I think the popular feedback from this past gathering is that Episode III will be overflowing with things to discuss largely in part due to Anakin Skywalker. O_O

I look forward to the coming months in preparation for Episode VII (edit: super nerd-tastic-ful-ness-ly)! But even more joyfuly...I look forward to engage and build community with my fellow young adult Catholic Star Wars nerds and nerd-converts!

But first, a selfie with a religious sister (a Daughter of St. Paul--the social media nuns!) and Darth Vader.

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!!!!! (...and also with you!!! (because "and with your spirit" is actually more rightly ordered towards the ordained, only))
- JD

I Just Hit Someone meme // Star Wars 7 News
LEGO Jawa Sandcrawler //
Tatooine's Two Suns // Lightyears Blog at CNN
Sr. Helena Burns with Darth Vader // Sacred Heart Radio