Yesterday, I attended A-Kon for the first time. It was a wonderful experience, and certainly the best I”ve had at a con. There were certainly minor issues (and maybe major ones I’m unaware of), but that’s to be expected. Overall, I had a tremendous time with staff, guests, and attendees.
I tried to reflect a bit on why I enjoyed the con so much. Certainly, being the largest convention I’ve attended (for the uninitiated, A-Kon is a Dallas metroplex convention and the largest in Texas), there was just a lot of stuff to do. And I liked being lost in a sea of people and felt comfortable both because of the large crowds and because I noticed a lot of people my age or older.
But another reason for the comfort was simply the people. I felt that despite age and interest gaps, there was a celebration here that was common. Charles Dunbar has written on conventions as pilgrimages. They don’t definitely are, but I additionally felt a church vibe from A-Kon, as well. At the least, I felt there was a general tone that I hope to see in my own church and that I hope other churches capture as well – a welcoming, loving, inclusive attitude.
I stick out at A-Kon. I was moderately well-dressed; I was labeled as press; I came by myself; and even if there were some people my age, I still skewed older. Yet, I felt comfortable there. When people who might stick out at a church attend worship service, it would be easy for them to feel uncomfortable. But kindness and genuine interest toward and love for a person can alleviate many of those feelings. Hospitality is important to convey the love of Christ – and it’s perhaps something many of churches can learn from convention culture.
On and end note, here are some of my favorite cosplays from the event, with some links to Beneath the Tangles articles involving the characters (where applicable):