Grand Con

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

My first JAFAX Experience

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

I hope you had as good a weekend as I did. This weekend I brought the Nerd Chapel Sunday Morning Service to JAFAX, an anime convention in Grand Rapids, MI. Let me tell you about my weekend.

Friday started interestingly before I even got to the con. While eating a donut at Rosa Parks Circle, I met a guy named Justin who is a former Army Ranger. We discussed faith, God's big plan, etc. It was a great conversation and he seemed to leave more encouraged than when he had come over. I then went on and sat by the resting place of former president of the USA Gerald R Ford for a minute to pay my respects. After that I found a series of plaques discussing Native American tribes in the region to read. Then, before the con, I read some chapters out of "Holy Heroes:The Gospel According to DC and Marvel" by Scott Bayles.

So, on to the con. This was a "reboot" for JAFAX. They had formerly been a college con with no charge for attendance. Now they are no longer at a college and for the first time had to have registration and charge for badges. The wait on Friday was a very long one. I spent more than 2 hours in line and some said they were in line for 4 hours. I think they may have had issues with wifi that contributed to this and as a gesture of apology they allowed those who only got Friday badges to come back on Saturday for a free badge and do the exploring they missed the day before.

Anime and Japanese art are the main focuses of JAFAX. There were a couple of booths selling kimonos and booths selling anime videos, various cosplay items, art, etc. The panels were plentiful and they had 2 viewing rooms for anime shows. I attended one panel on making a hero and another with voice actors reading scripts from movies and such with differing voices. There was also a tiny table-top gaming room. On Saturday I cosplayed as Martian Manhunter and was not the only DC cosplayer. I also saw some Marvel cosplayers and 1 Star Trek cosplayer as well as some Star Wars in the mix. See pictures below.

Over the weekend I had some very friendly conversations. People seemed quite open to the idea of a "nerd friendly church service" at a con. We had 7 people plus myself attend and although some came late, I was just glad to have them come at all. The message was based on the concept that all humans are "Ronins" (masterless warriors) in some way but that God still wants to adopt us. We looked at how this all began with Adam and used David as an example of an adopted Ronin.

I think this was a successful weekend. Next year the registration bugs should be worked out and I expect a good experience then as well.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

JAFAX and GrandCon 2016

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

Nerd Chapel is currently scheduled for 2 conventions this summer and early fall.

June 26 we will be bringing our Sunday Service to JAFAX in Grand Rapids, MI. This is an anime convention that used to be run as a free event at Grand Valley State University and was run by a student organization. This year is their first year launching out into the real world and we'll be in downtown at the Devos Place. We will be in Panel Room 1 at 10am.

September 18 Nerd Chapel returns to GrandCon! We will not have a booth this year but we will be holding services at 9am that Sunday in the seminar room. I'll be hosting several games that weekend including Pandemic, Commissioned and Monsterpocalypse.

I'll let you know if more opportunities come our way but for now these are the two big ones for the foreseeable future. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Searching When Others Won't

Greetings Warriors and Scholars!

"The Truth is Out There" This phrase flashed across TVs for almost a decade. Fox Mulder and Dana Skully were the focus of a show we all know as "The X-Files". This show is an odd mix of serious episodes set in a world with a hidden conspiracy and strange episodes that were just odd and strange.

I am currently watching this on Netflix and right now I'm in the season when Fox and Mulder have been kicked out of the X-Files office and kept on menial, boring assignments. They are checking up on fertilizer orders and doing mundane background checks on people. Yet, Fox has not given up on his dreams (or nightmares depending on how you view them). He is searching for proof of aliens, of spiritual anomalies, of anything abnormal...just not with the full support of his superiors.

Another character who acts like this is "The Question." Unfortunately, I have yet to get a hold of any of his comics (which are of the DC universe). I have seen him in "Justice League Unlimited" This is a great cartoon in which I thoroughly enjoyed his interactions and watching him hunt down any clues he could get in his hands. He was the crackpot of the Justice League. Very few people liked him, but his skills got him in, even with the acknowledgment of Batman.

We have a job of hunting truth as well. Proverbs 25:2 tells us:
 "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings."
There is a lot out there we do not yet know about. God wants us to investigate. Unfortunately, the Christian church isn't doing a lot of this. Sure, we pray and seek God (as we rightly should!). But do we honestly believe that He has way more out there for us? I feel like MUFON and sasquatch investigators have more excitement for the unknown than we do...which is sad since we know a God who is literally INFINITE!

I would also add that we should not be scared of things such as aliens or bigfoot. Do we really think our God would just stop creating with us? Sure, that was a big event and we do seem to hold some sort of special place in the world/universe, but most composers and painters didn't stop after their greatest work. If anything the keep on creating. For all we know, He might create a different species every day somewhere on this planet or our in the stars. He never said anything in the Bible about stopping His creative work.

Recently, I have seen two articles about Michio Kaku stating that he believes an intelligent force had a hand in creation. He has all but said he believes in God, although I think his view of God is rather impersonal. After looking at all he is finding in physics, he feels there is to much order in the world to believe it is fully random. This is an amazing thing for a man from the world of science to say. It is also a bit risky when you have so many atheists in that world clamoring to make claims that there is no evidence of God.

Romans 1 talks about God placing hints about Himself in nature. Are you looking for them? Are you asking Him for them? The amazing thing is with all that God created, He also came to meet us in the form of Christ. He came to introduce Himself to us and is still doing so but we just walk on looking at other things. Don't be like that.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Jekyll and Regina Fail

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

Quick announcement, Nerd Chapel is pleased to announce that we will be doing a Sunday Morning Service at JAFAX in Grand Rapids, MI June 26. If you are at the con, come join us! We'll be in Panel room 1 at 10am.
Regina had had it. She was sick of her dark side. Sick of her past as the Evil Queen. Yes, I am referring to Once Upon a Time. Disney has a penchant for showing us moments when people realize they need to change. Normally these are heroes like the Beast or Aladdin. But now the Evil Queen is joining that crowd on OUaT.

WARNING: Spoilers for the recent season finale of Once upon a Time.

A number of our heroes found themselves in a new land in the recent season finale. A land for people wandering out of other lands. I was liking it as it had a steampunk feel but yet there seems to be a lot of stories to work from in this place. In another part of the finale they had found a bunch more books just like the book that started it all, except that these books all had different stories. I want to see more of this land! I think this is what Neverland should have been in this show.

Our friends found themselves taken by someone in an insane asylum. A servant on the premises wanted to help them but the warden wanted to keep them locked up. Although he did find a use for them so he let them escape. Here is the thing....the warden and the servant were the same man. Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hide. Perhaps they come from the land of science we saw briefly a few seasons ago? Well, the good Doctor had finally found a serum that would allow him to fully separate from his darkness and not go through transformations any more. But this meant both of them would be walking around...looking each other in the face, and challenging each other.

After they fully escaped and were back in our land, Regina was just sick of her sin and darkness. Doctor Jekyll had some of his serum left. So she took it. Facing her old self literally face to face, she reached in and pulled out the heart of her evil self and destroyed it. In a way this fits with Jesus teaching. In Luke 9:23 he tells us we must take up our crosses, die to ourselves, and follow Him. Did you notice a difference though? Jekyll's way involves either a: allowing the sin to run free or b: killing someone with your bare hands. And here is the thing, b doesn't work. The Evil Queen seemed to die at that point, but she did not.

What we are called to do is to die to our own sin, but to allow God to work in us for our own change and growth.

""I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." Galatians 2:20
"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:1-2

If you saw the  Finale, you know that now they have Mr. Hide and his friends in Storybrooke and the Evil Queen lose out in the rest of the world. Fortunately, God has other ways for us to each deal with our dark side.