10 Years of Browncoats

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Firefly. 10 years. A little show that was cancelled, recipe continues to have a huge impact on geeks and non-geeks alike.

Some of the cast and crew were at the San Diego Comic Con this week, generic and participated in a panel discussion. What struck me is how much this show has affected the cast and crew. It’s not just the fans who were and are changed because of Captain Tightpants and his ragtag crew. The actors were changed, sales and are forever indebted to the magic of the show.

It’s no secret that the whedonisms or distinct language of all things Joss Whedon has entered the lexicon in our house, and Firefly is a big part of it. Shiny. Shey-shey. Goram. It’s not uncommon for one of us to quote lines from Firefly for no reason other than to make the other person smile.

Watch the panel. And then, come back and answer this question in the comments: How has Firefly changed your life?

See also: Firefly and the Psychology of Religion.

Chatting With Marian Call

Last year, treat a friend introduced me to the music of Marian Call, capsule specifically her album Got to Fly that was inspired by the Joss Whedon’s Firefly. I have been hooked ever since. Not only is Marian a fantastic artist and songwriter, buy cialis she has also been named one of the Top Geeks to Follow on Twitter . And, on top of that, she is from Alaska (and as all my cheese-wearing readers know, my husband was raised in Alaska and still considers it home, so Alaska is awesome!!!!).

Marian is touring Western Canada next week, and I thought it would be a neat idea to chat with Marian and introduce y’all to her.

A: Welcome to Cheese-Wearing Theology Marian! Okay, first off, can you tell our readers about your typewriter and the role it plays in your music?

M: I have always been a word nerd — I love how words sound and feel, and I obsess about rhymes. The typewriter always felt sort of like a fitting totem for me — I use it as a rhythm instrument, I travel with it, but it’s more than that — it’s a symbol of who I am, old-fashioned, literate, analog, a bit outdated, but solid. I love my typewriters.

A: Your newest album is Something Fierce, which was funded largely by fan donations. The album has a great jazz/rock feeling to it. What is the inspiration/theme of this album?

M: This album is very autobiographical; it’s about a lot of my own experiences, deep and painful as well as joyous — from divorce and abandonment to courage and hope. It’s about what moving to the North has done to me; Alaska has been a major influence in my art and changed me as a person, so I feel I wrote a lot of songs for ‘Something Fierce’ that I could never have written without Alaska looking over my shoulder. Also — I’ve been kind of into spaceships, so there’s quite a bit of that.

A: You’re Canadian concerts are going to be in a house concert format. What can concert goers expect from at these concerts?

M: They don’t need to know everyone there, or even the host; it’s just like a concert you’d hear at a coffeehouse, with maybe someone you know but mostly strangers — the benefit is, there are no people talking during the music, it’s less expensive, it’s extra intimate. I as an artist usually get time to talk with everyone there. People who go to their first house concert with me usually become converts; it’s one of my favorite ways to hear and share music.

A: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

M: I love playing in Canada — I have really fallen in like with driving up and down the Al-Can and exploring your cities, from the Yukon to Quebec! I’m excited to see some of you again and meet others for the first time. And I’d love to find you on Twitter — I’m @mariancall.

If you haven’t heard Marian’s music before, check out some of my personal favourites:

Marian’s Canadian tour schedule:

Edmonton, AB // Mon. 06.18.12 – Happy Harbor Comics

Calgary, AB // Tue. 06.19.12 – House Concert

Regina, SK // Wed. 06.20.12 – House Concert

Winnipeg, SK // Thu. 06.21.12 – House Concert

Be sure to check out her website for more details on how to buy tickets.

Whedon, Whedon, All Things Whedon

Well, pills The Avengers is about to open and it looks like Joss Whedon has a huge hit on his hands! Between Cabin in the Woods and The Avengers, Whedonites everywhere are having a very good spring.  And of course, we’re all on tenderhooks for Whedon’s adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing.

In light of this, I thought it would be wise to recap the Whedon-verse posts that have been written here at Cheese-Wearing Theology over the last two years.

Restore Joss Whedon
High School is Hell: Parallels to Life in the Church
From Dr. Frankenstein to Topher Brink
The Soul is What Matters: Body and Soul in the Buffy-verse
Too Much Religion in Science Fiction?
Vampires, Werewolves and Christians, Oh My!

Firefly and the Psychology of Religion Series by Charles Hackney:
Malcolm Reynolds’ Loss of Faith Part One — Firefly and the Psychology of Religion
Malcolm Reynolds’ Loss of Faith Part Two — Our Father Who Ain’t Good For Much, Fei Hua Be They Name

Malcolm Reynolds’ Loss of Faith Part Three — We Are Just Too Pretty for God to Let Us Die
Malcolm Reynolds’ Loss of Faith Part Four — God Ain’t Welcome
Malcolm Reynold’s Loss of Faith Part Five — Where Do We Go From Here?

And don’t forget the Whedony articles I wrote over at Political Jesus:
Captain America Ain’t No Buffy Summers
Preparing to Enter the Dollhouse
Dollhouse: Everyone is Broken
Dollhouse: It’s Simply a Matter of Hardware and Software
Dollhouse: When is a Persons Human?

High School is Hell: Parallels to Life in the Church

One of my favourite themes in Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer is that high school is hell. From the cheerleaders who spontaneously combust, look to the swim team that is made up of creatures from the black lagoon, to the fact that the high school was literally sitting over a hell-mouth, Whedon explores the common high school experiences through a supernatural lens. Not only does his comment on the high school experience, he also captures the irony of Hollywood and our culture exalting high school as the “golden years” of our lives. Sunnydale High looked like an idyllic California school, but those who attended knew the truth of the darkness and problems that existed in its hallowed walls.

Are there parallels between the “high school is hell” motif in Buffy, and the reality of living as a Christian in the North American evangelical Church?

Like Sunnydale high, there seems to be more focus on the drama of relationships and interpersonal conflict than on the purpose of the institution. For Sunnydale high, the purpose was education; for the community of faith it is worship.

Like Sunnydale high, from the outside the community of faith tries to look like a sunshiney-bright place. In reality, what resides within it is infighting, outgroups, bullying and ostracizing.

Like Sunnydale high, the community of faith is a place that has jocks, beautiful girls, geeks, losers, punks and brainiacs. There are the hyena people who bully and prey on the weak. There are those who are ignored and are basically invisible. There are the jock and popular girls who are the “in-crowd” and who define what is popular and cool.

What both Sunnydale high and the Church in North America have is a slayer who protects and fights against the dark powers of the hellmouth.

At Sunnydale High that slayer is Buffy. In the church, that slayer is grace.

Grace fights against the legalism.
Grace comforts the outcasts.
Grace unites the different cliques and reshapes them as they journey through they come together to worship.
Grace takes on the darkness and wins.