What would Buffy do?

Now there’s a question!
“What would Buffy Do?” is a recently published book written by Jana Reiss (Ph.D in religion no less) and subtitled, “The Vampire Slayer as Spiritual Guide.”
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Yep I know, it sounds soooooo cheesy and when I picked it up in Waterstones it was with a kind of derisive amusement but actually its fantastic. (Stay with me on this one).
Reiss maintains “Buffy is a classic medieval morality play — only with skimpier clothes, wittier dialogue, and cutting-edge alternative music,” and goes on to look at Spirituality, Community, Humour and Life’s journey as experienced in and through the seven series of Buffy. Obviously in the course of that it’s a valuable insight into the resonance it has with so many fans and their own spiritual search and struggles. One of the things thats great about Buffy (and hence the way the book unpacks it) is that Spirituality is explored in the context of a friendship group and also in the midst of real struggles, not the vampires as such but very real struggles of doubt, self worth and depression. The mixture of community and real issues is profound. Spirituality that a post-christian culture can relate to and embrace.
“What would Buffy do?” is therefore a great book to read and an interesting question to ask if you want to look at Spirituality in our post modern culture!
Worth putting up with the contemptuous look from the Cashier in Waterstones who assumed (wrongly) that this was a deeply sad self-help book!


After writing this particular “post” I stumbled on this superb summary from Todd Hertz, associate editor for Campus Life magazine
” In the fourth season, Xander explains why Buffy is a hero to him. “When it’s dark and I’m all alone and I’m scared or freaked out or whatever, I always think, ‘What would Buffy do?’ ”
Like much in the show, this works at multiple levels. It’s a satiric jab at those tragically unhip kids who wear WWJD bracelets. It’s another litmus test (are you among the chosen who are cool enough to watch this show?). And yet it’s not simply a joke—far from it. It’s an acknowledgment that in a world of ambiguity, a world where good is in mortal combat with evil, we desperately need a reliable guide.
Is it possible to cry for help ironically—and really mean it? If so, maybe this is what it sounds like. “What would Buffy do?”

One Reply to “What would Buffy do?”

  1. I can’t believe it… Ian is speaking in FAVOUR of Buffy and uncharacteristically I’m going to speak against her. So firstly… let’s make this clear. I LOVE the series. It was one of those shows I would NOT miss. When it came to an end I was sad to think there would be no new episodes. However as much as we might want to look for religion in Buffy, we have to acknowledge that in all Buffy’s battles against evil she never seeks the help that surely all of us as Christians would seek. Those people who are Christians in the series are usually monks who are not long for this world. There are churches but never people praying in them and in the final series a priest who turns out to be really evil.
    So when you think “what would Buffy do?”… I’m with you as the character made some AMAZINGLY loving and self sacrificing decisions and performed incredible acts of bravery but just remember that Buffy never purports to be a Christian and wears a cross as a kind of talisman with no real exploration of the power of God and of Jesus Christ.
    So of course use Buffy as a way of exploring Christianity but do remember that it is a non-Christian fantasy story and use Buffy as a modle but remember that her decisions are not prompted by a belief in GOD so much as a belief in GOOD.

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