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Monday, November 21, 2016

Melody Against Chaos

Greetings Warriors and Scholars!
So, last night I excitedly turned in to watch "The Librarians" on TNT. Flynn Carson, his Guardian and his team of Librarians are at it again...and they did not disappoint. They are trying to get back to the feel of the movies which did come across a little bit in this episode and you could also see a strong taste of Doctor Who in a few scenes. Spoilers ahead my friends.

This week they went against the Egyptian deity of chaos, Apep. He was trying release "pure evil" and had this little trick. He would often get people fighting each other. A wave of blackness would spread out and everyone would turn on each other. He used this several times over the episode but it had a short range to it.

After the second time of experiencing this, Eve noticed that she was free of the screaming at others after getting a certain distance. She pulled the others out and they all realized what he was doing to them. He was creating chaos so they could not work together. They had a simple way of dealing with it: they got unified. They came out singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic and when he tried his power on them again it failed. Their signing built a harmony (pun intended) that could not be undone. Then they told him who they were. In a scene which felt like the end of Matt Smith's first episode as the 11th Doctor (even with similar music) they stood and told him who they were and stood against him.

This scene reminded me of 3 of significant tools/principals of spiritual warfare.

First of all, unity is hugely important. The Bible warns us time and again to cooperate.
"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:2
 "Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you." Luke 9:50
But how do we build unity?  We do it by serving each other, by serving with each other, by worshiping ,etc. I have made it a point to be involved in many "multi-denominational" events and groups in my life. From a Christian club at my high school to couple of community service days to the Journey to Bethlehem (imagine a giant huge living nativity where you down a trail meeting the wise men and the shepherds, etc. Alternatively, think of it as Bible reenactors).

Second, "do the opposite". The word from Greek that we translate as "repent" was a military term. It essentially means to stop, turn 180 degrees and walk the other way. Not all temptation has a demon or a fallen angel behind it, but sometimes they like to take our natural temptations and encourage such activities. When you choose not to act in a way you are being tempted and go do something else, it sends a message to any spirits around: "I am for Jesus and nothing else owns me".

Finally, worship is important. The scripture tells us that God inhabits the praises of his people (see Psalm 22). And connected with my mentioning of unity above, we are told in Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3 to "sing songs and hymns and spiritual songs". Ephesians tells us to sing them to each other. When we praise the God of creation and worship Him, it reminds us who we serve, why we serve, and where our hope can be found.

The Librarians won this battle. They stopped Apep with unity and doing the opposite of what he wanted them to do and with music. They got the key he needed to open the portal and this round is over. We should all learn from their example. Right now so many groups in our nation are being played against each other. That does not have to win. Our hope is in Christ, not any government. As we share that hope with others by action as well as words life will move on. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Should I Respond?

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

A couple weeks ago I saw a post in a board game group in FB that caught my eye. It was a general post that I think was asking for suggestions of games. There was one guy who commented on there about the Christian faith of the guy who posted. He essentially claimed that mankind doesn't need religion and basically attacked faith.

I had so many things I could say, but I said nothing. You see, Proverbs warns us about answering some people who start arguments. He was looking for an argument and showed no interest in understanding other people.

Here are a few questions to ask when seeing such comments and posts:

1. Are you calm enough for a healthy conversation or are you just responding out of anger or another negative emotion? Getting riled up and angry does not point people to Jesus. There is such a thing as righteous indignation but Jesus rarely ever used that. He tried grace mixed with truth more than that and he really loved using story telling to make points.

2. If this is a comment on a post, is the orginal poster responding? If not, then do you really need to? Sometimes it is best for the poster to respond first. Other times it might be ok for you to respond. This is one of those questions of observation. Just feel it out.

3. Does the commentator or poster seem interested in healthy conversation? Are they asking a question or using logic? Sometimes it is better to leave attacks as they are. Ignoring a bad direction can leave you open to pursue a better one.

4. If a comment, does it fit the goal of discussion set by the actual post? Is it a rabbit trail? We have all seen strange comments. You have probably also seen people lead huge argument trails in a post that have nothing to do with the post. Again, some things can be a ignored.

Many people of different paths and beliefs have often gotten flame wars going because they would not ask questions such as these. There are reasons we should "think before we leap".  Remember, you do not have the time or the necessity to respond to everything you see on the internet. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

My first Fantasticon

Greetings Warriors and Scholars!

This last weekend I had the privilege of a table at Fantasticon Fort Wayne. This convention is a travelling convention that goes to markets with little to no con experience available. I was selling 42:Discovering Faith Through Fandom and just being a friendly face for the Kingdom. This convention did not feel comfortable with a chapel service but I did get to do some networking as other Christians who were vending different items came to talk with me. Nathan Marchand, my co-author for 42, had the table next to me with author Nick Hayden. Nathan's brother also joined us with a table to sell his artwork.

Since I arrived way early during setup on Friday, I went around and managed to help a few other vendors in with setup. Then Nathan and I went to a Halloween dance party at the Fort Wayne Ballroom Company. He went as Spock and I was Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Over the weekend, I got to talk to many people. Some were just appreciative to find Christians who embrace nerd culture gracefully. Some were Christians who were excited that someone had written a devotional for their sphere of influence. A couple of guys who were there as part of Huntington Universities Digitial Arts program thought the book would be a good resource for a ministry major who runs their D&D group and were hoping they could use the entries to start off their game nights.

One girl I talked with was so glad to see a Christian embracing nerd culture. She doesn't go to church any more, partly because a youth pastor had told her she was a "blasphemer" for reading science fiction. My head immediately dropped in frustration toward those in the church who make extra rules because they don't understand another person's hobbies. Didn't Jesus Himself have a few words about extra rules?

Did I have an amazing conversation that led someone to Jesus? Well, not in the sense of a huge prayer and drastic life change. I did start to build some bridges, though. I think I also helped chip away at walls that have been built against faith simply by being friendly.