(Jonathan Ryan posting for Jen Schlameuss-Perry.)
When I was in middle school, I started to notice that very often there would be a connection with the things I was learning and the things I was living. It seemed uncanny at times how we’d study a particular historical item, or something in religion or science and then that thing would show up in some way in a conversation or, even better, it would be useful to a situation I’d find myself in. And, sometimes it would be on a funky delay and turn into a fun surprise…
A few years ago I got sick. I still don’t know what was wrong, but I was basically couch-ridden for about a month and a half. I missed my son’s and husband’s birthday celebrations and a whole bunch of other events. It sucked. The only bright spots were my cat who kept me company, and the TV. I watched a lot of The Mr. Men Show and Dragon Ball Z. And one night, I was watching the Syfy network when Doctor Who came on. I hadn’t been watching it previously, and might have changed the channel, but I started recognizing some names that stopped me in my tracks. Caecilius, Metella, Quintus…I knew those guys! They were the characters from my Latin primer in high school! Magistra Kirschner brought those folks back from the ashes (as it were) like they were in the class with us. I was riveted (and maybe a little delirious) in the nerdiest way possible. Well, that cinched it for me—I was a Doctor Who fan, and it’s all because The Fires of Pompeii was the first modern episode that I saw. (Well, that and the fact that Puddleglum from the BBC’s The Chronicles of Narnia was played by Tom Baker, and I recognized him as Doctor Who from PBS years before…) And who should be the next Doctor, but Caecilius himself—Peter Capaldi! I loved the new guy before he had a chance to do anything, simply because he was Caecilius.
It may seem like a silly thing, but studying Latin in high school prepared me for loving Doctor Who. I felt like garbage that first night I came across it, and absolutely would have changed the TV back to cartoons if it hadn’t been the episode it was. And it has been one of the best TV finds I’ve had. The show to has so much meaning, and it sparks my religious imagination more than most other shows. It has been a useful tool in my teaching about Catholicism and has made me think more creatively about my faith (particularly in the Communion of Saints area).
What stories or shows inspire you to ponder your faith? How do you see the seeds planted in your heart growing your religious imagination? What seeds are you helping to plant in others that might grow into inspiration at a later time?