LAY KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Exploring Virtuous Decisions in Fiction
Frederica Mathewes-Green is a wide-ranging author who has published 10 books and 800 essays, in such diverse publications as the Washington Post, Christianity Today, Smithsonian, and the Wall Street Journal. She has been a regular commentator for National Public Radio (NPR), a columnist for the Religion News Service, Beliefnet.com, and Christianity Today, and a podcaster for Ancient Faith Radio. (She was also a consultant for Veggie Tales.) She has published 10 books, and has appeared as a speaker over 600 times, at places like Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Wellesley, Cornell, Calvin, Baylor, and Westmont, and received a Doctor of Letters (honorary) from King University. She has been interviewed over 700 times, on venues like PrimeTime Live, the 700 Club, NPR, PBS, Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times. She lives with her husband, the Rev. Gregory Mathewes-Green, in Johnson City, TN. Their three children are grown and married, and they have fourteen grandchildren.
Glory in His Shame: Zuko on the Road to Honor
The beloved children’s television show Avatar: the Last Airbender contains one of the most interestingly executed villain redemption arcs in modern popular culture. Zuko, son of the dictatorial Fire Lord, spends the entire series wrestling with the expectations of his father and the whisperings of his conscience. Along the way, his wise uncle Iroh provides a stabilizing force in his life, even if he doesn’t realize it. In this talk, we will journey with Zuko along his rocky road to redemption as he re-calibrates his moral compass with the magnet of perspective.
Erin Lazzari is a wearer of many hats, both real and metaphorical. By day, she is a professional proofreader and copyeditor whose clients include Baen Books and Word On Fire Press; by night, she quibbles about church architecture on Mars while working on her latest sewing project. This is her first Doxatalk.
Hopepunk Theology: Weaponizing Optimism in Resistance to a Grimdark World
Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell & Rev. Paul Schneider
The Hopepunk genre takes its name from a Tumblr post by the author Alexandra Rowland in 2017, but has existed for far longer. Currently very much a part of science-fiction and pop culture, Hopepunk has reached significant attention thanks to authors like threepeat Hugo Award Winner N.K. Jemisin. The paper "Hopepunk Theology: Weaponizing Optimism in Resistance to a Grimdark World," talks about the intersections of the Hopepunk genre with the stories found in both the Christian and Hebrew Scriptures, and compares the characters and stories found in many different incarnations of Hopepunk in our pop-culture with the religious leaders both ancient and contemporary who exemplify the best of the Hopepunk ethos which centers kindness and also resistance to Empire as not just a political, but also a moral imperative.
Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell is the pastor of Queen Anne Baptist Church in Seattle, WA. Rev. Mindi holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Linfield College and a Master of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School. She is also a science fiction author writing under the name Melinda Mitchell, and her first novel is with Mad Raptor Productions: a retelling of the biblical story of Ruth as a fast-paced space adventure. NEXT OF KIN will release in 2021. Her short fiction debut is from B-Cubed Press and will be included in Tales From The Space Force with her short story “Space Force Chaplain” also in 2021. Besides writing fiction, Rev. Mindi is the co-contributor of Hopepunk Theology with Rev. Paul Schneider and blogs weekly at Rev-o-lution.
Rev. Paul Schneider is pastor of Burien Community Church in Burien, WA. He is a graduate of the Berkeley School of Theology (formerly the American Baptist Seminary of the West), where his Master’s project was the creation of “the Oasis Project,” an interfaith ministry of presence for conventions. Paul is a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy across many types of media, and has been playing all kinds of games, especially tabletop RPGs as both player and storyteller, since grade school. He is co-contributor of Hopepunk Theology with Rev. Mindi-Welton Mitchell.
Beyond Kicking Butt: Countercultural Representations of Strength and Victory
What's the climax of a fantasy tale? We all know--it's when the swords come out, or the dragons fly in with our heroes riding sidesaddle, or the wands start making with the flashes and the crackles. And we know when a fantasy story is over because there's kissing. But which stories can show us forms of strength which aren't violent, and forms of victory which maybe don't feel great? Which stories will have you cheering for renunciation, endurance, healing, surrender, or reconciliation? Why do some of these stories move us and others seem cheap or preachy? We'll discuss all this and more, with examples ranging from horror films to Havel essays, from liberal philosophy to tales of wizards and goblins.
Eve Tushnet is the author of Punishment: A Love Story, Amends: A Novel, Gay and Catholic: Accepting My Sexuality, Finding Community, Living My Faith, and the forthcoming Tenderness: A Gay Christian Guide to Unlearning Rejection and Experiencing God's Extravagant Love. She lives in Washington, DC. Hobbies include sin, confession, and ecstasy.
Shadows and Mirrors in Time and Space
Mat. Sarah Begley
What can a show about an eccentric alien traveling around all of time and space teach us about living our own lives as Christians? Can we walk with God as we zoom along with the Doctor in the Tardis? Of course! If we take some time and “exercise our spiritual perceptions” whilst on adventures with the ever regenerating Doctor and his numerous companions, we might find God’s truths manifest in unexpected ways. Such manifestations offer an opportunity for us to consider theological truths from a different perspective and thus to bolster our understanding of these truths. “Shadows and mirrors” may include: the importance of self-denial, the necessity of community, and the reality of evil. Allons-y!
Mat. Sarah Begley is a graduate of Holy Cross Orthodox School of Theology with a MTS and ThM with a focus on iconography and theological aesthetics. She currently resides in Tennessee with her husband and two young children, nerds all.
"Watching in defiance of proverbs":
Session Two Respondent
Cindy Collins Smith
Cindy Collins Smith has made a career of teaching English at colleges and universities, but she has also contributed numerous essays to books on film, traced the development of Jack the Ripper mythos in print and screen media, dabbled in Harry Potter analysis, and served on a variety of panels at film conventions and on podcasts. Her work on Ripper mythos has appeared in Ripperologist Magazine and currently resides at Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Cindy lives in Falls Church, Virginia with her husband Brian and their cats Severus and Minerva. She presented in 2020 at Doxacon Online.
Doxacon Prime of Washington, D.C. is sponsored by
Protection of the Holy Mother of God Orthodox Church
Orthodox Church in America — Romanian Episcopate
7223 Roosevelt Ave, Falls Church, VA 22042