ΘeoCon: Where Theology and Popular Culture Meet

ΘeoCon: Where Theology and Popular Culture Meet October 1, 2018

I was delighted to have the opportunity to participate in the first ever ΘeoCon (pronounced “TheoCon” but spelled with the Greek theta just to make certain that no one thinks this has something to do with the other usage that readers of this blog may have encountered).

The sub-heading on posters for ΘeoCon says “Where Theology and Popular Culture Meet,” and that was certainly an accurate description. The event started off with African dancing.

It featured speakers of a variety of religious backgrounds, most of whom were Episcopal – the event was hosted by Virginia Theological Seminary after all – but not exclusively so; and whose roles include academics, parish ministry, prison ministry, authoring comic books, and much else. Those roles, I might add, often overlapped – Chuck Robertson, the canon to the presiding bishop, is an academic and has been involved in producing films and comic books. He offered the keynote in the first plenary session, in which I served as moderator. Chuck is a good friend, whom I’ve known since we were doctoral students at Durham University in England.

It was also a delight to see my friend Robert Heaney, who directs the Center for Anglican Communion Studies at VTS, as well as his wife Sharon who is a professor there, and their son who is a bigger Doctor Who fan than all the rest of us combined (which is really saying something). I’m hopeful that a book about theology and Doctor Who will be one of the eventual results of some of the conversations I had at this event, not only with Robert, but also with Matt Brake, who was also there. He is the series editor for the new Lexington/Fortress series on theology and popular culture. I also found myself thinking that there should be a volume in that series on theology and progressive rock – although I did quip when talking to Matt about the idea that some would dispute whether prog rock is popular culture.

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