Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Network

Tek Ma Te Warriors and Scholars!

Well, have you seen Ant Man yet? I did! I laughed several times and really enjoyed the relationship between Scott Lang and Hank Pym. I thought that they kept the montra "It's all connected." quite well.

One of those little connections was pretty big news. During the second montage of Luis explaining a complicated story of how he got some information, we heard this: "We got one who jumps, one who swings, one who crawls up walls." The first MCU reference to our friendly neighborhood Spiderman!

Now, this is really exciting, but most of the blogs and articles I've seen about this have not talked about something. There is a network. This scene showed us that as various small time heroes have stepped out to fight crime something else is happening. A network of people has been built that is providing routes of communication and support and networking. Presumably, the network has reached from NYC where a conversation between one of it's members and an Avenger all the way to San Francisco where our man Luis is telling Scott Lang about the conversation. I am unsure of the location of the club where this conversation happened, but I'm guessing it was in New York.

Now why is this important? Well, because we find at least some people who do not have cool tech suits or super powers joining in a huge work that is all about fighting evil and crime. Not everyone making a difference in the MCU is a spy or a great engineer or a super soldier. Some are just normal people who want to help out.

In the church we tend to take certain gifts and abilities and treat them as some sort of ultimate achievement. Some do this with the gifts of teaching and preaching. There are churches out there where it is all about the preaching pastor and that is it. Some do it with speaking in tongues. They claim you must do this to show evidence of being truly saved. But what does scripture say?

"There are different kinds of gifts but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work." 1 Cor. 12:4-6
Paul later goes on to describe the church as a body. This is where we get the phrase "the Body of Christ". He comments "how can you see without an eye?" and "how can you hear without an ear?" Some people have a gift for helps. They just come in and help around the church by cleaning or setting up tables. My brother, Dad and I are on the tech team. My Dad runs a video camera multiple times a month and I run lights and my brother runs sound. Some have an amazing heart and ability for prayer. They never really "teach" or set chairs up or stuff like that but they will pray for hours every week for people in the church and within their influence.

EVERYONE is important. I remember that line from the 11th Doctor, "In 900 years I have never met anyone who wasn't important." God feels the same way and he has given you a gift to serve with. You might have to do some exploring to find it, but it is there. There are a lot of online spiritual gift surveys to take to find it, but in the end you will need to step out and try something. Your gift might be really helpful in areas of your church that you have never thought about.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

How "42:Discovering Faith Through Fandom" Came into Being

Greetings Scholars and Warriors.

Thanks to Ruth Pike for her hard work on cover art!

If you have paid any attention to the Nerd Chapel FB page, then you know that Nathan Marchand and I have completed a new collaborative work. 42:Discovering Faith Through Fandom is the result of a vision I had probably around 2 years ago or more. I realized you find many daily devotionals for hunters, sports fans as well as gender and age specific ones; but none specifically focused on Nerd/Geek culture. When I started working on it, I felt God nudging me to bring Nathan on and I think that was a great idea. Nathan is a published science fiction author who has published both as a "self publisher" and through a publishing company. He was able to bring a lot to the project with his knowledge of editing, formatting, and pursuing publishing possibilities. He also found our cover artist, Ruth Pike, at a dance group he attends.

We chose to go the route of self publishing because very few publishers fit the niche of "Christian and Geek". Most Christian publishing companies don't understand Nerd culture in any way and most fantasy or science fiction publishers would never consider publishing a devotional. We did talk with one company but they are so far behind they would not have been able to even look at it for a year, let alone make a decision or get things going.

Here are a few of the daily titles in our book:

The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything
The Resurrection of Spock
Spiderman and the Pong of Vengeance
Beware the Dark Side

Nathan will have copies at his table in author's row at Gen Con 2015. We also are donating some to the Christian Gamers Guild booth at Gen Con this year. I will have copies at the Nerd Chapel table at Grand Con 2015. Copies are also available online:


If you would like to check out Nathan's other works, go to:


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Jurassic Dualism

Found at imdb.com
Sunday I finally got to see Jurassic World. I very much enjoyed watching the dinosaurs chase everyone. I did not like the lack of characters from the original but I do think that they paid homage to it and it was nice to see a another Jurassic movie back at the main island instead of the backup site.

What struck me was how many characters showed the true polarism of humanity. We have such a huge tendency for both good and evil. For our purposes we will look at one of those characters: Zach.

Zach comes to the island with his brother and is not exactly doing great at it. He pulls his brother away from their escort to go see things without her, is sometimes very mean to his brother, and then even takes his brother through a crashed gate into a restricted area and ends up putting them both in danger. This along with checking out girls while he does have a girlfriend back home.

As the movie progresses, he starts protecting his brother. Not with the action soldier ways, but in significant ways. He never leaves his brother's side in all he craziness and does keep him from harm in a couple of occasions.

This is just like us humans, right? We have so many low points as well as high points. Every religion and many other philosophies recognize that we have such a great capacity for both sin and goodness. Paul talks about this fight within us in Romans 7. He mentions that he himself has to constantly fight because he finds himself doing what he doesn't want to do. In all the Bible, only Jesus and Daniel are never reported of in a bad light by the Bible itself. All our heroes like David, Abraham, Peter make some really bad choices as well as really good ones.

In Romans 8 Paul comes out and admits that only Jesus can help him with his sin issues. He later talks about being "more than a conqueror" through Jesus. You see, the thing that separates Christianity from other religions is not our view of man. That tends to stay the same because we have a pretty realistic view of ourselves because we have to put up with each other every day. What is different is our view of God.

In religion life is all about working really hard in hopes of impressing a deity or earning some sort of rewards. Jesus called Himself the "way the truth and the life" and Paul speaks of salvation as a gift:
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

Some preachers have focused so much on our depravity as human beings that they have missed out on the uniqueness and amazing qualities of what God created in us. We do have great propensity for kindness, grace and love. You may feel like you have way more bad than good, but Jesus can help you with that; both in how you see yourself and in your habits and choices.  You see Jesus would rather get in the dirt with you and help you to move in faith toward your better qualities than leave you to try to change alone. If you want to get more into dealing with sin on a daily basis, go see my video "Changing Lanterns". 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Celebratory Protest

Greetings Warriors and Scribes.

So, I want to tell you a story about a lady named Laila. Laila is a woman who has been seeking asylum in Austria. She speaks not only German fluently, but Farsi and French as well. She is engaged to a guy who has already been accepted and granted asylum. She was going through all legal expectations, such as visiting the police station every 3 days. One day she went in and they arrested her. The Prime Minister had decided there was no space left in the country and apparently that they should not even give a chance to someone who could be a contributing member of society.

My friends in Vienna know her. They go to her church. A church that is devoted to immigrants and sharing Jesus with foreigners. So what did they do? They prayed and they protested. They joined with activists in standing outside her jail for 2 nights. This grabbed a lot of attention. Members of parliament used her story to express why there needs to be changes in policy. Her story was on national news and even on the big ad screens in the subway stations.

The police took her to the airport. But it didn't go as planned. The flight crew refused to fly her. REFUSED TO FLY HER! The police ended up taking her back to the station and the plane took off with the rest of the passengers bound for their destination. A few hours later she got released by the police.

I happened to be on route to Vienna the day this was happening and stayed with my friends that night. So I got to attend a celebratory protest. Yep, you read that right. CELEBRATORY PROTEST. I had never really protested anything. My views of such an activity were limited to news and movies. The one I always remember the most is Planet 59. Such a fun movie. I am glad I got to go see a different side of life; and of the churches work in Europe.

I like rules. I am a board gamer and we tend to be pretty serious about such things. This showed me something about rules that aren't working well. This was not an illegal immigrant. Laila had no problem going through legal hoops to achieve this goal but all she was getting was an unjust push out the door.

I respect her church for taking peaceful measures to challenge the issue. Often in ministry it is so easy to feel like you are getting nowhere....and this is one of those stories that just shouts out "HOPE EXISTS!"