NOTE: For those new to the term "cosplay" please refer to our Q&A article, Should Christians be involved in cosplay?
I love the cosplay community so much. I love their laughter, their costumes, their nerdisms, and their openness. They have taught me so much about grace and love. Beauty and mercy. Forgiveness and hope.
Cosplay is so fascinating—it gives a person the ability to become something different entirely. This can be extremely exciting or problematic depending on how a person handles the "power." While some aim to become the character they are depicting, others—myself included—want to become walking art. Creativity is natural for humanity for we are created in His image (Genesis 1:27). Not to mention, God created this rock we live on and creativity itself.
So yeah, it's okay to be inspired by another person's art and want to go play dress up—even if you're a teenager, young adult, or even a parent. It's totally normal to spend weeks feeling the urge to create an awesome costume. And going to a convention or having a photo shoot done to display your work? That's totally normal too. Nerdy, for sure, but perfectly normal regardless. Every artist wants to show off what they created. Every artist somewhere deep down wants their creation to be seen.
Know where we get that from? Remember who our Father is? Romans 1:19-20 says that God has shown His "eternal power and divine nature" clearly through His creation. Likewise, our creations can speak volumes about who we are.
God made us to be designers in some capacity or another. In Exodus 35:35, Moses reports that God specifically gifted two guys, Bezalel and Oholiab, to build the tabernacle: "He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, or by a weaver—by any sort of workman or skilled designer."
This is a balance that can only be set between you and God. Only He can tell you what is beneficial to you and what isn't (1 Corinthians 6:12; James 1:5).
I've heard one pastor describe this kind of balance as "rice cakes." A rice cake is something that is neither good nor bad in itself, yet the person eating can decide whether it will have nutritional value or be hazardous. You could put a little light cream cheese and lean turkey on it to make a healthy snack, or you could slather it in peanut butter and chocolate chips. The rice cake remains the same, but the nutritional value of each choice is vastly different.
I've found this "rice cakes" theory to be true for me in both my spiritual and creative walks. Cosplay is so much fun and certainly a proud outlet for creativity, but it can be a dangerous minefield if you don't have a solid sense of your identity in Christ.
John 1:12-13 says, "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." After your core is established and secure, you can start having identity in the form of friendships, things you like, etc.
The cosplay community is great, by the way. I know I stated that earlier, but it so true. They have open arms and are there for their fellow nerds. If something happens to a cosplayer or fellow anime fan, you can sure bet five people will jump up in the first 10 seconds to help. I have never met more people that are friendly right off the bat than I have met at conventions.
You know what the best part is? They are people. People who are beautiful not only in my eyes, but in the Father's eyes as well. No matter how anyone is dressed, remember that; they are beautiful creations God designed in the womb—just as you were especially designed personally by the Maker of the universe (Psalm 139:13).
If you find yourself at a cosplay convention, remember: meet people, show them love, and know who you are, know what you believe and how to shine God's light. And of course, HAVE FUN!
Sarah is involved in student leadership at both a state and national level. A woman with a passion for people and cultures, she enjoys traveling far and wide on adventures with her camera. Her photography is published both online and in print, including in an award-winning arts journal.