May The Fourth Be With You

This week, Star Wars geeks everywhere are speaking in languages we don’t understand and referencing things like wondering if Rosetta Stone has a CD program for Aurebesh.

If you are like me, well, what the hell is Aurebesh?

If you ask it out loud in a Starbucks, guaranteed some geek will peek over his comic book and give an answer like, “Aurebesh was a writing system used to transcribe Galactic Basic, one of the most used languages in the galaxy. In the Outer Rim Territories, Aurebesh was sometimes used alongside Outer Rim Basic, another alphabet.”

And then, he’ll throw out a look like, “Don’t these people know anything?” before tucking back into whatever is going on in Stan Lee’s life.

Okay, so maybe you are like me. I love Star Wars, and I have seen all of the movies multiple times. But I don’t know anything about Aurebesh. In fact, the depth of my Star Wars trivia knowledge doesn’t go much further than ‘Who is Luke Skywalker’s father?’

My oldest son and my oldest stepson may not speak Aurebesh – I am guessing they know what it is – but they are certainly not that guy at Starbucks. But still, there are the t-shirts, giant collectible Stormtrooper figures, Wookie underwear, posters – my oldest stepson has the blue prints for the Millenium Falcon on his wall – and the gadgets.

So, obviously, they are both excited that Friday, May 4 is International Star Wars Day. If you have never heard of it, um, May the fourth be with you.

I grew up involved with the Anglican Church in Prescott, where my grandparents were both heavily involved. Later on, while I played football, I was involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Faith has always played a role in my life. My ex, meanwhile, was an agnostic.

So it makes absolute sense that, at some point, my kids would want to talk about religion and try and figure out where they stand. I remember the day that my oldest son approached me about religion.

“I had to fill out a form and it wanted my religion,” he told me.

“What did you put?” I asked, puzzled.

“What do you think I put?” he replied, seasoning his answer with a dash of his old man’s sarcasm.

“I don’t know,” I replied. “In fact, we have never talked about religion before – well, except for the time I volunteered in the nursery at Calvary Christian Church in St. Catharines when you were two and I caught adult chicken pox and was in bed with a temperature of 105 for a week. So no, I don’t know. What did you put?”

He shot this look of swagger at me, and said it matter of factly.



“Yes, Jedi.”

I paused for a moment.

“Can you put that?”

“I did. So have thousands upon thousands of people around the world.”

He went on to explain to me that in 2001, a movement started around the galaxy – or in the UK if you want to be a little more precise and normal – where people started to put ‘Jedi’ or ‘Jedi Knight’ down on their census forms for their religion. It started with a morning radio host musing about the idea. Don’t all messed up ideas come from morning radio hosts?

Jedi quickly rose to become the seventh most popular religion in the UK, behind Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism and Buddhism.

While the religion peaked in 2001, there are still many Jedi Knights around the world. The web-based Temple of the Jedi Order (TotJO), based in Beaumont, Texas, seems to be the online vortex of the Force.

In the US, TotJO is recognized as a legal charity. The organization offers a description of itself on its website.

“Temple of the Jedi Order (TotJO) is a legally recognized Jedi Church and ministry of Jediism. While our focus as an organization is on Jedi religious practice, our doors are open to everyone and participation with us does not require Jedi faith. We are a group of individuals coming together in a community to promote goodwill, understanding, compassion and serenity. We pursue a spiritual and human awareness so we may serve the world.”

They also throw out a disclaimer.

“Here are some things TotJO is not: we are not a role-playing site, we do not teach mystical powers or how to build lightsabers, we are not a dedicated Star Wars fan site, we are not affiliated with George Lucas or Disney and we are not for people who just want to wear a badge reading ‘I’m a Jedi’.”

Who would even want a badge that says ‘I’m a Jedi?’

Oh, yeah, right, the guy at Starbucks. Never mind.

I am not sure what kind of celebrations there will be at home Saturday. Star Wars Day will come and go in my life. I will spend the evening doing what I do most evenings. I will watch the Yankees game on the baseball package with my scorebook in my lap, being a total geek.

And as geeky as I am, baseball and Star Wars are two parts of my life that never intersect.

Well, other than the fact that the Yankees are giving out Gerritt Cole Jedi bobbleheads Saturday.