Hi guys. 🙂
It seems like only yesterday I finally started dumping thoughts about ministry and a favorite pastime of mine onto a blank screen on a regular basis. Although a very, very new experience for me it’s been exhilarating and a ton of fun. I’ve had a chance to write on a regular basis and in doing so scratch an itch I didn’t even realize I had. I’ve had a chance to communicate to people just how cool I think the graphic novel art form is and speak to some of my favorite writers (AWESOME!!!). And most importantly I’ve had an opportunity to talk about what I think is great about our faith, perhaps in a way that maybe people hadn’t thought about in the past.
Originally, I set out to communicate to the young adults my age I’d see walking around the Mission District in San Francisco, or young people I’d encounter at the coffee shop, or just my friends who may or may not happen be Orthodox. The more and more I’d see wall art hanging in random areas around town or folks with cool, artsy looking t-shirts depicting comic book characters I’d known my whole life, I couldn’t help but think I could reach those same folks now that comic books have become so mainstream (San Diego Comic-Con coverage on Entertainment Tonight… seriously?). I didn’t necessarily think I was writing to comic book fans specifically, or even to Orthodox Christians, at least not at first.
Basically, I was writing for young adults in general.
What I’ve realized, however, is that the vast majority of my reader base has not been young adults in general, but Orthodox Christians. Of the 8,000 or so hits I’ve gotten in the last sixteen months, WordPress informs me that the majority are being referred to the site from one of the several pages I post links to on Facebook, which are essentially Orthodox group pages or my own home page. People who write in the comments section of my articles are generally Orthodox Christian folks I know, too. A few hits, subscriptions or comments are coming from fellow comic book geeks at large, but it seems to me that they (we?) are a minority.
In short, I think I’m starting to realize who my audience is here.
In an effort to know my audience and play to my strengths, I think I need to do a little change of pace and start writing with this in mind. I am a parish priest after all, and so it stands to reason that folks I serve would want to read what their priest has to say about one issue or another, even if it’s comic books and theology. There’s a ton of great ministry material coming out from youth workers these days on blogs, Youtube, websites, etc. It might be time to throw my own meager offerings into this stream as well.
I think it’s time to ratchet up the theology a little bit, and put a bit more focus on the Christ part of “Christ, Coffee, and Comics.” Most of my posts from this year have already started going this direction, which has been really cool, and I’m ready to take it one step further. My articles can now become a little more sermon-esque, talking about how this or that message in comic books and movies is the same as this or that message in our faith, and how we should be comforted knowing that this or that exists to help us through challenges in life and in our walk with God. In other words, examining challenges in life and how faith can help us through them, and how an inkling of these messages can be found in great comic book stories that we’re all watching these days.
(Come to think of it that actually sums up pretty much my entire life right there.)
I hope this doesn’t scare away the more casual reader or comic fan I’m honored to have read my page (most notably my #shoutout! new neighbor and brother Paul Lai!! Love you man!). Who knows? Knowing me, at the end of the day my blog probably won’t be all that different from what it is now. To all those who may be worried about that, let me just say make no mistake, there will still be plenty of coffee and comics! If I didn’t include something fun and interesting to me as well as faith-based I wouldn’t be doing this at all. I could have just as easily named this blog “Christ and Coffee: Reflections on theology by a Greek Orthodox priest,” but that would be something else entirely and not anything I’m interested in doing right now.
I can’t tell you how thrilled I am whenever I see people who tell me they love my blog or think something I wrote was interesting or just really cool. It makes it a million times more fun and great to feel like I’m doing something helpful, so thank you, thank you… and thank you! It’s really great to know I have your support in this and that you’re enjoying it, as I’m not just writing for myself, after all. If I wanted to do that, I’d just throw it on my personal page on Facebook and not bother looking back. This is something, hopefully, that is good and fun for everyone, not just me, and something I take very seriously, just as much as preparing sermons or writing anything else for the church.
And speaking of which, a HUGE thank you to all those reading from my new parish, the Church of the Resurrection in Castro Valley. You have made my family and I feel so at home already even after barely half a year. What a great fit and a great community to be in, I hope to never have to go anywhere else. And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also thank my good friend Danielle Torres of Resurrection Church for her unbelievable photography skill and contributing her talents to the blog with all these new pictures that are now up (more coming!). You guys are the best!
Again, many, many, many thanks to everyone for taking the time to read and geek out a little bit with this crazy guy, I’m really excited about what’s to come. Looking forward to catching up again with everyone very soon, God bless!
Keep on writing and I’ll keep on reading
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Love this! More later but all my support and encouragement to you!
-Sent from iPhone. Still probably too wordy.
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Thanks gents! Much appreciated! Always great having you drop by!
Remember, you have an Anglican audience too. 😉
True, true! And depending on the decade, that used to be pretty much the same thing! And in your case, Fr. Jonathan, it still is! 😉
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fatherniko, I really enjoy your blog and have recommended it to all my believer friends who enjoy comics culture, as you are one of the shining lights in what can be a dark “realm”. I wanted to recommend a DC Comics graphic novel to you, because I would love to hear your thoughts, Omega Men by Tom King. I was so excited to read this book and it’s depiction of Kyle Rayner as a Believer in YAHWEH, the scenes of him holding the cross, speaking and praying to GOD gave me a hope in this medium that isn’t often if ever shown by the big two, I don’t want to say anymore until you’ve read it, but I will say I found it quite challenging in it’s conclusion and as I said would love to hear your take on it!
Hi Kory, thanks so much for your feedback! It is greatly appreciated, glad to hear you’re getting something out of this. 🙂
I’ve always been a fan of space stuff and have enjoyed the Omega Men for a long time. I hear nothing but rave reviews about Tom King’s work in all his books but haven’t checked out this one, but in all fairness, that’s almost entirely because I wasn’t a big fan of the New 52 stuff. Having heard your description of it, I will definitely check it out! I’ll also see how I can weave it into an article in the future. Thanks for the tip Kory, please keep sending them!