Grand Con

See Nerd Chapel at Grand Con 2015! Go to

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

GrandCon 2018

Greetings Warriors and Scholars!

GrandCon 2018 was a success. Over the 3 days I connected with several faces I don't see very often who have been following Nerd Chapel for some time. I also met new people and some people I see a bit more often. This show has a special place in my heart. I consider it to be the flagship show for Nerd Chapel. For the first time I had buttons for sale and stickers to hand out.

All the games I hosted went over very well (Pandemic, Unauthorized, Commissioned). I also played 2 rounds of Coup and got to play Scream of Die, a new game just about to come out where you play as monsters that have become little kids and are trying to get candy.

Photo Credit: Katelyn Campbell

Photo Credit: Katelyn Campbell

For the Sunday morning service we had about 40 people, which is even more than last year. Definitely our highest attended event yet. Portal Dragon team members Jon and Liz Meitling led worship. They did a fantastic job. My buddy Darrin Ball led us in communion and brought us a devotional based on LotR. I spoke about Truth by using "Legend of the Seeker" and jumping around the book of John quite a bit to find different pieces of our discussion.

GrandCon is a different experience for Nerd Chapel than other cons as a community has built up. Most cons I have a table as a visible connection point but here we have a combination of the table, games where people interact and the service on Sunday morning. This is happening naturally so nobody has to push it.

I also had the pleasure of  help from a new ally. One of the team members for A'Campbell Consultants joined me just for one day of the con. Katelyn Campbell was a great help and company. Glad to be able to serve with her.

This was a successful weekend indeed. Next I will be at Fantasticon in Fort Wayne, IN. This show will just be a table but it is always a good time. This is one of the shows I know Nathan Marchand will be able to hang out with me at.

Thursday, September 13, 2018


Greetings Warriors and Scholars!

A couple weeks ago I made a trip down to Georgia for DragonCon. I am trying to get out of the Great Lakes region once a year to network and explore and this year I felt this would be a good stop. I have been connected with the Bridge, a Christian nerd community that has been involved with this con for years) on FB for a while now but I had not met many of them face to face before so this was a chance to do that.

In short it was an amazing weekend. My time with the Bridge included helping with the table, walking with them in the parade, attending the Sunday service, and a few opportunities just to sit and talk. I also had the pleasure of hanging out with Hector Miray, who writes the Faith and Fandom series of books. I was surprised to find a panel on the Catholicism of Skully from The X-Files and I attended a panel on Christians in Dark Fantasy. This was an amazing time.

Along with all of this, I enjoyed panels for Warehouse 13, the Librarians, Doctor Who and a panel with Lou Daimond Philips and Mitch Pileggi.  I also got some photo-ops with a few actors. 

DragonCon is a lot to take in and figure out. It stretches across many city blocks with 5 hotels hosting a variety of events as well as 2 other buildings hosting gaming and the exhibit area. It felt very chaotic but it was a lot of fun and has way more opportunities than you will be able to take advantage of. I did not do any of the gaming at all but I did walk through and take a look at the gaming area.

This weekend, Sept. 14-16 I will be at GrandCon in Grand Rapids, MI and the next weekend, the 22-23 I'll be at Fantasticon in Fort Wayne, IN.

Here are some pictures from DragonCon but there are many more on Facebook if you find the Nerd Chapel page.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

"Comic Con Christianity"

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

Image provided by author.
I recently got to read a portion of a new book recently released. "Comic Con Christianity" is written by Jen Shlameuss-Perry. She looks at issues of the Christian life both from the perspective of a fan-girl and as a catholic. This caught my attention for a couple of reasons. Firstly is that I have not seen very many ministry resources for nerds and geeks coming out of the Catholic quadrant of the Church. Note, when I say Church with a capital "C," I mean all who follow Jesus as the Son of God, born of a virgin, liver of a sinless life and bringer of redemption through his death and resurrection. I have served in ministry alongside Catholics in a few occasions and have come to respect many of them, even if I disagree with their organization on a few things. Next, this is coming from a contributor to Geekdom House. A Christian/Nerd bridge building organization I have heard about and with which I might have had some small online interactions or perhaps some interactions with at Gen Con at some point.

The portion I got to read is all about villains. What drives them? Why do we sometimes feel for them even in their terrible choices? How are we similar to them? In this chapter she looks at familiar villains like the Joker, Darth Vader, Magneto, and even Loki but she also shares scripture with us. She helps us look at who we are and challenges us to be aware of our own likeliness to make depraved choices. Along with the villains she has us look at Jonah, Job, and even spends some time in Wisdom, a book the Catholics see as canonical but we Protestants do not. I enjoyed reading a portion of it in this chapter and getting a look at it through her eyes.

She explained in a FB message why she chose to send me this portion:
"I picked this one because it's my favorite chapter. My Master's thesis was on Religious Education as a Ministry of Reconciliation, and everything I do as a pastoral minister and a person stems from my belief that that's what I'm supposed to be about."
Reconciliation is indeed the focus of the last portion of the chapter. Forgiveness would also be a good section header for it. After all the disillusionment experienced by the nerd/gamer/geek culture with the Church, should we not be concerned about it? Even as humans, regardless of our hobby preferences, we need it.

I think this book will help some nerds, both Christian and non-Christian, look at who Jesus is and what we can do to follow Him. I think nerds who are not following Jesus will find her work thought provoking and perhaps even fascinating. If you have a follower of Jesus, esp. a catholic, who does not understand our fondness for these stories this book might help them to see how these stories point back to the redemption provided by Christ. Note this is based on one chapter of the book and not a read-through of the entire book.

To learn more about the book, click here.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Gen Con 2018

Greetings Warriors and Scholars!

I just got back from Gen Con a few days ago. What did I see? I saw a lot, and that is putting it mildly. Over the four days of the con I played 13 games I had not played before. I also was privileged to be on the Christianity and Gaming Panel and still had some time to help author Nathan Marchand with his table in Author's Avenue.

Photo courtesy of A'Campbell Consultants
The panel was a great opportunity to join others in a discussion on how gaming interacts with the Christian life. This is held by the Christian Gamers Guild each year and I have been to the panel before but this was my first time on the panel. People asked questions about going deeper to share Christ with other gamers, about worldview issues and concerns over fictional deities in some games. Also on the panel was a cosplayer and literature expert named John Stanifer as well as Abigail A'Kessler and Katelyn Campbell from A'Campbell Consultants, a couple of ladies that love to help people, churches and other organizations use games for building community. You can see their website:

Now to some games! I won't go over all of the games I played, but here are a few I wanted to tell you about.

Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks.

I did not even get a full demo of this coop, but I was still so intrigued and excited for a Doctor Who game that I bought it. Definitely excited to get it to the table! You must get all of the Tardis pieces to Galifrey before the Dalek ship gets there. Along the way you will fight various monsters from the show and gather companions from throughout the history of the show.

5 Minute Marvel

This was a very fun, cooperative game. If you have played 5 Minute Dungeon you know the basic idea of this game as it is a re-theme. That being said, I really enjoyed myself playing this at their demo booth. It was a very fun experience and I plan on purchasing it at some point.

Ghost Fighting Treasure Hunters

I loved the giant, light up board they had for demoing this game!
This was a neat surprise and also cooperative. The game itself has been out for a couple years but they showed a new expansion with this demo. I had not expected Mattel to put out a game I would enjoy so much or that could be so fun for gamers. The game is about kids fighting ghosts and collecting treasure but the new expansion adds a basement and some story for what is causing the ghosts to haunt the place.

The Kings Guild

This is a fun game still taking pre-orders. I like worker placement games but I don't own very many and this was a very fun time. You are building a guild by collecting resources, adding rooms to your guilds hall, and providing items and weapons for heroes in their quests all to get the attention of a council so your guild can the official guild of the kingdom. You win by having the most points.

Agents of Mayhem

Based on the video game of the same name, this is a light miniature based game that does feel like a lot to learn your first time playing. There are quite a few symbols to learn but it is doable and you get to make significant tactical decisions. I did lose, but my team did destroy a building and I kind of destroyed my own Golem trying to destroy another one. In my defense that building only had one hit point left. I think after another time or two playing I could get used to the symbols and enjoy it quite a bit.


I played this with some guys at the Love Thy Nerd meetup. It is a tile laying game based on laying decorative tiles for a building. You take turns pulling tiles from a supply and putting them on your board. At the end of each round if you have a full row of the same color you then place one of those tiles on your board, gaining points for that tile and tiles in the same row and/or column. Fun puzzle game and worth noting that it won the Spiel Des Jarhes this year. If you have not hung out with Love Thy Nerd yet, check them out.

Star Trek Fluxx

This one I played at another gathering; this time for the Tavern, the FB group for Innroads Ministries. I am in the group but had not met very many members face to face yet. So this was a great opportunity to connect. There were at least 3 tables with games going but I found myself playing a lot of Fluxx, most of it being Star Trek. There are actually 2 different Star Trek Fluxx games: one for the original series and one for TNG. There is also an expansion that lets you put the two together. We played one round with the original series and one round with both decks put together. I had a lot of fun with it, even as the rules changed continuously as we played different rules cards. If you are not familiar with them, visit the Innroads website here or the FB group here.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Kryptonians, Time Travel, and God's Supremacy

Greeetings Warriors and Scholars!

Found on
I finally saw the Season 3 finale of Supergirl. At the core of this episode is her heart to bring freedom and act mercifully. Spoilers ahead. While facing three Kryptonian women and a final form of Reign, things don't go as planned. 2 members of her team are killed and she immediately regrets how the fight went. Feeling compelled to press on, she does something a bit to Christopher Reeve. She goes back in time by using a Legionnaire ring and a disturbance in space. Christopher Reeve's Superman did it in his first movie by flying around the world in the opposite direction of rotation really, really fast. His goal was also to save a life, that of Lois Lane. I am not sure that would work!

Time travel is something of an enigma. We know we are moving in a direction in time but there is no evidence we can move back in time or hit a fast forward button to see what is ahead. There is a Psalm that says that 1,000 years to us is like 1 day to God and there are a couple times in the Old Testament when God does actions that would suggest moving in time or slowing it down. Or in the least that He is controlling the celestial bodies that we use to understand the passage of time.

In Joshua 10 we find a story with a battle that Israel fights against several armies at once. In verses 13 and 14 there is this song and a quote from another record of Joshua asking God to hold the sun still for the remainder of the battle. According to Joshua it stands still for a full day, making the daylight last twice as long. The other document is quoted as saying there has never been another day like it.

In 2 Kings there is a story about King Hezekiah. He is sick and at first God says "Put your things in order" but then later decides to heal him and add 15 years to his life. Then, as a confirmation, Isaiah asks if he would like the shadow on some steps to go forward 10 steps or backward 10 steps. King Hezekiah is not foolish and realizing that forward would be "simple" he asks for the sun to go back 10 steps and it happens.

What we have in these events is 2 pictures of God operating outside of our universe to affect it. He is essentially affecting the rotation of the Earth in front of human eyes. I remember being at an outdoor concert a few years ago in Muskegon, MI at Unity Fest. There was a moment during a worship song when the son, which was setting, got brighter and then went back to normal. Say what you want, but it was a beautiful moment. There is also an old story about the band Degarmo and Key. They were short on money and could not pay the band members. Sitting at a house meeting together they prayed and as they ended there was a knock on the door. A church had felt called to take an offering for them and the pastor was hand delivering it to them. That money had to be collected and he had to get in the car and leave before they started praying.

God is the creator of all things. Colossians 1:16-17, speaking of Jesus, says:
"For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
Time travel is not a normal thing for us. We don't get to go back and redo our actions like Supergirl did in that episode or as Bill Murray does in "Groundhog Day". But God is so much bigger than our time or our sin. He has already paved the way for redemption in Jesus and from time to time He does like to play around with physics. We call that a miracle. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Summer/Fall 2018

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

Here is my schedule the next few months:

July 20-21: KoganCon in Grand Haven, MI
  • Hosting the Boardgames area, 
  • Nerd Chapel Panel
July 28-29: Get Geek'd Entertainment Expo in Lansing, MI
  • Table
August 2-5: GenCon in Indianapolis, IN
  • Christian Gamer's Guild events: Christianity and Gaming Panel on Friday afternoon and a Christian Worship Service on Sunday morning. I will be attending both of these.
  • I will spend some time at Nathan Marchand's book table (hours yet to be determined).
August 11: True Believer's Fest in Kentwood, MI
  • Table
  • Nathan Marchand will also be there so come see his other books and get your copy of 42:Discovering Faith Through Fandom signed by him if you have not already done so.
August 30-Sept. 3: DragonCon in Atlanta, GA
  • The Bridge will have a table and a worship service as well as a gaming time and a group in the Cosplay parade. If you will be there see if we can connect.
Sept. 14-16: GrandCon in Grand Rapids, MI
  • Table
  • Chapel Service on Sunday Morning
Sept. 22-23: Fantasticon in Fort Wayne, IN
  • Table
October 20: Newago County Comic Con in Fremont, MI
  • Table

Synths and Meekness

Greetings Warriors and Scholars!

Found on
Have you been watching "Humans" on AMC this season? This show is about androids gaining free will and emotions of their own in our present world. I am 4 episodes in to season 3 and it is getting interesting. Spoilers ahead. If you remember from the season 2 finale, the code allowing Synths to gain their own feelings and will was released into the open. Now, hundreds or even thousands of Synths are trying to make it through life, of some sort, with distrust and anger around them from others. Some have turned violent while others are seeking peaceful initiatives to handle the situation.

At one point Max, played by Ivanno Jeremiah is talking with a small camp of Synths that he is leading. He tells them:
"To human eyes we are all guilty. We are all killers. That is how they will see us now so we must be beyond reproach. We must stay open. Show them mercy when they extend none. Forgiveness when they deserve none. And when they strike us down, we must reach out to them. Some will reach back, not many. But those that take our hand will not let go. Believe me."
"You mean to surrender."
 "No, to appeal to what is best in them."
Have you heard similar discussion before? Martin Luthor King said similar things when he was leading the peaceful protests of the civil rights movement. Gandhi had similar views for his movement to gain freedom for India.  Jesus also taught such ideals.
You have heard that it was said 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth,' but I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.                        Matthew 5:38-42
 Jesus goes on in the next few verses about loving our enemies. Not he does not say that we do not have enemies, but that we should treat them as anyone else. At one point he says. "If you only love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?" (Matt. 5:46).

Keep in mind that meekness is not weakness. It is controlling your power and trusting God to handle it. Essentially, it means allowing God to decide when and how you use your power.

There is no scripture that says that vengeance is never earned, In fact Romans 3:23 tells us that "...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." But we are also told in Romans 12:19 to "...leave room for God's wrath..." It is not our job to dish out punishment. That job belongs to God alone. Instead, we are encouraged to offer friendship and peace. This is not always easy and is not always "cuddly" either. There will be disagreements and we must work together in spite of them rather than try to push on each other. You don't have to be a Carebear or a Pony, but you do need to treat others with respect. Sometimes the most powerful thing a warrior can do is to take a hit and not hit back.

In our social and political climate right now we need these skills more than ever. I am not perfect at all of this myself but fortunately for all of us there is grace and help from Jesus if we accept it.