Grand Con

See Nerd Chapel at Grand Con 2015! Go to http://grand-con.com/

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Warriors and Scholars

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

Next week I leave for Europe for one of several adventures this year. I'll be hanging out in Germany for a week with Fans for Christ Europe. We will be attending Fed Con as a group. Our hope is to meet people and be a presence of Christ at the convention just by being friendly.

This summer I have a couple of things I'm running lights for, such as a kids camp at my church and probably a youth camp for my church as well. But then I get to go to Gen Con and hang out with the Christian Gamers Guild. I'll be volunteering at their booth so stop by if you are there!

There is always a question of how our relationship with Christ is both part of our daily life and how it impacts those around us, even as we attend conventions or just hang out in comics shops or gaming groups.I'm sure you have noticed that I have begun using a greeting on most of my posts. "Greetings Warriors and Scholars." Today I want to use that to share a few thoughts.

Warrior: This can come across as harsh, or even aggressive for those who are not following Christ. Sometimes when they hear us talk about being a "warrior for Christ" they are rather put off. Partly because some Christians have tried to use politics or various communication stuff in some bad ways. And should we forget the horrid acts of many "Christians" during the Inquisition and the Crusades? So what do we mean by this? Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 that our battle is "not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces in the heavenly realms." Again, this can sound a little weird. "Rulers" and "authorities" in here does not mean human governments. These are all words that Paul used to describe different ranks of Satan's cronies. We are warriors not against any people, but against a spiritual enemy that often uses people and encourages poor choices to do great harm. How does one be a warrior? By not causing harm. By praying for others. By helping people. When we do helpful things, it moves against the harm in the world. When we pray, it should always be about redemption, not "us vs. them".

Scholar: What do scholars do? They learn stories and tell them to others. You could also infuse "scribe" in here. Part of our life should include study of the story of God. How he has been involved in the world in history and how He is involved right now. We do this when we read the Bible, when we sit with others and listen to their testimonies, even as we take in various media. The scribe part, of course, would come in with sharing those stories. Telling people the amazing feats of our God and even of His presence in our difficulties.

This year Nerd Chapel is excited to be once again at Grand Con but we are expanding. This year not only will there be a chapel service (which is currently submitted and waiting approval) but we have already been approved for having a table in the exhibit hall.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Angry Fans Stop Assembling!

So, this last weekend I went to see Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron just like a few million other people in America and around the world. I enjoyed seeing all these characters back together again and enjoyed the surprising moments of the film. It was an emotional roller coaster that deserves respect and enjoyment. I did notice a few things that are different from the comics, but I was "eh, oh well". I was enjoying the movie to much to worry about it and there were so many things that they got right!

Then come the new week after the first weekend and the film's director Joss Whedon decided to close down his twitter account. Now, I don't now why he closed it down. Maybe he just wants a break from constantly telling people what was happening in his life. Maybe he got frustrated. I don't know, but the internet, as it often does, exploded with rumors and articles saying that he was doing so because of angry tweets and communications directed at him by comics fans who were angry about the movie. After this, James Gunn came out in support of him and shared a very good post on Facebook about how difficult it can be in directing and how frustrating when you constantly get angry posts about your work.

Anger is a natural emotion. It can be used healthily at times. In fact, the Bible does show some examples of righteous anger. Such as when a prophet was angry with King David for his sin of adultery and murder or when Jesus was angry at the merchants who were taking advantage of people in the temple grounds when such areas were supposed to be a place for prayer. Unfortunately, anger is often used unhealthily. The Bible has a few different verses for us to consider:

"In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold." Ephesians 4:26-27

"A fool gives full vent to his anger but a wise man keeps himself under control." Proverbs 29:11

"My dear brothers and sisters, take not of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." James 1:20

The Bible never tells us not to every be angry, but it does tell us to be slow to anger. To listen and observe. I am sure there are zillion different things that many different fans would have liked to see in the movie, but Joss and Marvel chose a specific direction and went with it. Fans often get angry about things in movies and especially so when those movies have a loved and established source material. But how should we handle this? I don't think filling someones Twitter or Facebook accounts with angry rants won't help. Fill your own with your frustration but don't throw it all at someone heavily.

Words, in any and every form, including online communications, are powerful. Think about your words and how they will affect someone.When we act out quickly in anger it muffles communication and only brings pain to those involved with the situation. Would you want the pressure of casting roles like "Hawkeye", "Thor" or "Vision"? Would you want the pressure that if you get it wrong all these fans will be angry? Oh, and just to be clear; yelling "I would get it right!" doesn't count as a legitimate answer to these questions.

May we, as fans of spectacular fiction and amazing stories, be kind and respectful toward those who are trying to keep these alive and give us new art and stories to enjoy. It would certainly lighten their load.