There are many aspects to being a geek and many ways that one can express their fandom or passion. One of the most visually striking ways is cosplay. Cosplay is a hobby within a hobby. Cosplayers spend hours crafting the perfect costume that capture the most meticulous details of what they are crafting. Cosplayers make costumes for big pop-culture icons like Marvel superheroes, Star Wars characters, and Disney princesses. Cosplayers also make elaborate costumes for secondary characters from obscure anime franchises. Cosplayers also show a lot of creativity when they do mashups such as a Klingon Jedi or steampunk ghostbusters. The costumes are often spectacular, but that is because they are big investments. On average a cosplayer can expect to spend one to two months and between $100 and $200 on their costume. Of course more elaborate ones can see the time and cost quickly sky rocket. Despite the investment, cosplay continues to grow in popularity.
Cosplay is one of the ultimate expressions of fandom. Cosplay allows fans to take what they are passionate about and then actually become that thing. That does not mean the guy running around the convention in a Batman suit thinks he is Batman. However, when he strikes that perfect pose for that perfect photo then in that frozen moment that cosplayer has become the physical embodiment of what they love. Cosplay is a major expression of love and passion. As such, I believe that cosplay has lessons to teach about discipleship.
The connection between cosplay and being a faithful follower of Jesus became evident to me due to the actions of my three year old daughter. My daughter is a future cosplayer. She loves to dress up in costumes. She loves to find blankets, clothing, and anything she can to repurpose for a costume. Over the past couple of her months her experiences with costumes have really illuminated my understanding of a specific idea in scriptures. In Galatians 3:26-27 Paul writes, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” The phrase “to be clothed in Christ” appears a couple places in the New Testament. I always thought that this was a bit odd, and an honestly, a little creepy sounding. However, my daughter’s love of costumes helped me understand this scripture better. When she puts on a Snow White dress, she is no longer my little girl. In her mind, she is Snow White. This is not just a princess thing. When she puts on her Batman cape she transforms. She is Batman. She allows the clothes she is wearing to influence how she acts and who she understands herself to be. In the same way, if we are baptized and claim that Jesus is our Lord and Savior then that means we allow our faith to influence how we act and who understand ourselves to be. We are no longer simply who we are, but we are more Christ like.
My daughter also showed me the final element of this when she met a group of cosplayers a couple of months ago. One of them was dressed as Supergirl. To my daughter this was not a woman in a costume. She was convinced that the real Supergirl was right in front of her. To my daughter that encounter was not meeting another super hero fan it was meeting and honest-to-goodness real super hero in person. In the same way, as disciples clothed in Christ, we should be Jesus in the world. Our love for God and people should be so genuine and authentic, that when people interact with us it feels like interacting with Christ himself.
As followers of Christ, may we do a better job at clothing ourselves in Christ. May our lives show how passionate we are for following Jesus. To be a disciple is to be a Jesus cosplayer, so may we suit up and love the world like he did.