DR Who is set to feature in a church service to entice younger worshippers, according to a report this week in the London paper Metro.
A Cardiff congregation are being invited to compare “a Time Lord with the Lord of Time” at a special Dr Who-themed service at the Anglican church used as a location two years ago for an episode of the series starring Christopher Eccleston as the ninth Doctor.
Teenagers and young people in their early 20s are being targeted for the “cafe-style” Communion service, with music and video clips from the hit series, at St Paul’s Church.
Fr Dean Atkins, youth officer with the Diocese of Llandaff and one of the organisers of the service, said:
The figure of Doctor Who is somebody who comes to save the world, almost a Messiah figure. In the series there are lots of references to salvation and the doctor being almost immortal. We are using the figure of Doctor Who as a parable of Christ. The language used in the series lends itself to exploring the Christian faith.
Christ is a kind of cosmic figure as well if you like, somebody who does not travel through time but all eternity is found in him.
He is a kind of encapsulation of the beginning and the end, in fact he existed before time began and he will exist when time ends.
Parish priest Fr Ben Andrews said:
I love the series, and it has such a great following that we couldn’t resist doing something for young people on a Doctor Who theme. Lots of people think that young people are the future of the Church. This kind of event will show they are part of the church of the present and have an important part to play in its future. We are building on the past but always looking forward.
I’m afraid all this guff was just too much for me, and I posted the following comment on the Metro site.
It is ludicrous to compare Dr Who with Jesus. Dr Who is a fictional character who has a huge gay following. Jesus is a biblical character who was probably gay, but nevertheless spawned a nasty religion that has demonised and oppressed gay people for centuries. The church does not deserve to survive in the 21st century, and it is doubtful that pathetic straw-clutching gimmicks like this will do anything to attract kids to Christianity – young people just ain’t that stupid.
And Kirby, from Wisconsin, in the US had this to say:
I wonder if the folks running the worship services know that the head writer Russell T Davies and Doctor No 9 Christopher Eccleston are both atheists.
To which Fr Atkins replied:
I am not surprised or abashed that Russell T Davies is an atheist. It doesn’t matter at all. But you can’t deny the beauty of his scripts and the imaginative way he explores what it means to be human and how his language is coloured by Christian references or vocabulary. And by the way, we are not saying Doctor Who is Jesus or Jesus is Doctor Who – ludicrous! But there is nothing wrong with using everyday images, references, connotations, experiences, culture and language to talk about and explore Jesus. In fact, if we didn’t do that we would then be criticised for not relating to the world or being, to use a well worn word, irrelevent! Oh yeh’ just one last point in response to Barry’s comment: I know many followers of Jesus who happen to be gay and I don’t think they feel as demonised and oppressed as you suggest.