Gandalf rose from the dead to save you

There is a church in Romsey, Australia which is getting lots of attention because they offer a “Sci-Fi and Fantasy Friendly Church Service,” where people dress up as fantasy characters and wave light-sabers around while quoting Buffy and Bilbo. It’s a weird story, because every church service offered everywhere is fantasy friendly, so what’s the big deal? Obi-Wan and Gandalf are both Jesus-figures, anyway.

Predictably, though, some stuffed shirts are outraged, which just fills me with more appreciation of irony. Says the Baptist minister who hears voices in his head and promises escape to an imaginary paradise after death,

“I don’t have a problem with people enjoying sci-fi, but church isn’t the place to encourage escapism and fancy dress,” Mentone Baptist minister Murray Campbell said.

“It is the time where real people with real lives need to hear the real God speak his word, the Bible.

Another of the men wearing a dress speaks up:

Catholic priest Gerald O’Collins said: “There should be no need to dress it up.

“There is a magical story there already – We just have to start selling ourselves properly.”

At least he’s honest—yes, religion is all about selling magic. The Romsey church is embarrassingly blatant about it, which is nothing new — but their real crime is making the silliness obvious by inviting comparison with openly fictional stories.