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    Christian SF/F/H author here

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    Christopher Schmitz

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    Christian SF/F/H author here

    Post  Christopher Schmitz on February 6th 2017, 2:55 pm

    hey guys, I was visiting Kathy Tyers website when I was asking her for a blog interview (she's one of my writing heroes) and this site came up as a recommendation. Glad to find it.

    I write SF/F and H and working on a few new projects... while I love fiction, I also write some nonfiction and was hoping to touch base with some other Christian geeks to talk about gaming and your perception of it and the perception others have had of you for being a gamer/geek from the Christian community. For example, I remember when Harry Potter 1 was in theaters and some neighboring churches protested... probably the biggest thing they could do to alienate nonbelievers at that time. I'm also hoping to talk with Michael Stackpole (another of my icons) to discuss the essays he wrote in response to Pat Pulling (if you didn't know, she launched a successful 1 woman crusade to demonize RPGs, fantasy, and rock music and have wholesale genres categorized as "satanism/occult tools." ...in fact I was fired as a pastor for writing fantasy fiction.)
    I'll talk more at length about the particulars of the project in the projects subforum once I've got a clear heading but in the meanwhile I wanted open up some dialogue. I'm excited to find this forum.

    If you want to check out some of my stuff you can look me up online--can't post any links till I've been a member for a bit, but I do have a website and offer free books through it. My fantasy series is kinda "if Frank Peretti wrote Game of Thrones" though my overall writing tone is very Stephen King. Let's talk fiction! How many other authors are there around here? I'd love to connect.
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    mikel.withers

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    Re: Christian SF/F/H author here

    Post  mikel.withers on February 6th 2017, 4:06 pm

    Howdy, Schmitz!
    This is a good starting point, if a tad on the slow side.
    Some of the people around here are, indeed, authors, and we are all (to some degree) geeks.
    I think you may just find people a bit more toward your way of thinking, as far as finding where scifi and Christianity meet, or engaging the world through speculative fiction, or entertainment and resources for Christian geeks.
    Your best bet would be to come right out and ask whatever is on your mind, as a lot of our interaction comes from seeing "new" post icons on the side, unless I am much mistaken.

    But wait, there's more!
    Are you part of any other geeky Christian groups?
    Look up the Crossover Alliance, Theology Gaming, The Tavern (because all great rpg stories begin in an inn) which is also known as Innroads Ministries...all on facebook.

    What gaming do you do?
    GOtta go, wife is texting me... time to go home from work. I'm stalling, and I don't know why!
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    AdamCollings

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    Re: Christian SF/F/H author here

    Post  AdamCollings on February 6th 2017, 4:59 pm

    Hi Christopher.
    Yep, there are a few of us authors here. I write sci-fi and fantasy. Most of what I've written so far has been specifically for a Christian audience, but I'm about to release a space opera for the general market.

    This is a great community. I think you've found your people. Also, be sure to listen to the Spirit Blade Underground podcast on the home page of Christian Geek Central. Peater does a great job of putting it together every week.

    And ... Kathy Tyres knows about CGC. That's cool.
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    Christopher Schmitz

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    the call of my people

    Post  Christopher Schmitz on February 6th 2017, 7:45 pm

    haha, I think I probably DID find my ppl. thanks for the welcome... I've honestly been looking for a good online community for almost a decade. I've been a member before at places like the Christian Gamers Guild, but it was never quite the right place (mostly couldn't find a foothold in the format)...

    anyway, I run a pretty decent Youth For Christ outreach ministry and have been here for five years and have no plans to ever leave. Since I've always gravitated towards geeks and nerds (even though I should be a jock and am often found pumping iron in the gym my heart bleeds Stan Lee and D20). I know how sometimes the church world can be pretty touchy with RPGs, CCGs, etc and so I waded in when some of the teens and adults did regular meetups to play MtG, including a local pastors kid, so I felt safe enough to share that I, too, am a gamer (as I mentioned before I once pastored at a place where I was told Star Wars was satanism, and was later fired when some parishioners found out I was half done writing a fantasy novel--they also didn't appreciate my MotU action figures on my office desk.) I try to play it safe because of the past burns... but a couple of my adult volunteers mentioned they used to be D&D gamers and wanted to use Pathfinder (basically 3.5 rules) as a way to do some outreach and I gave them the green light to reach kids however they feel they can.

    Our game group blew up. I had to learn rules so I could DM and we had multiple, maxed out (player numbers) games running in our after school center. It literally opened up doors with atheist kids who just wanted to play games (and we've got some quality DMs) and we were secretly building relationships, of course. Led a few of those kids to Christ and now they're literally doing apologetics with their atheist friends (and pray for even more--I've got an atheist kid I've been working on almost 2 yrs now who mentioned last week "I might try your Bible Study in the next couple weeks.")

    One of my main reasons for gaming besides direct outreach is that my son really gravitated towards it. when he hit 12 it seemed like he wanted nothing to do with me anymore and really withdrew... except for gaming (and it's weird because from the outside looking in he's kindof got a perfect nuclear family thing going on--but everyone has those growing pains). It was our commonground and so I bought him some MtG and got him plugged into a pathfinder group. it quite honestly let him be who he was and put us in the same room so that we could relate. but, teenagers... man.

    I'm sure there's more...
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    mikel.withers

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    Re: Christian SF/F/H author here

    Post  mikel.withers on February 7th 2017, 9:44 am

    : Putting on old man voice : I used to be athletic... Now I'm a geek.

    I remember, as a kid, my dad got a new game for the family to try out, and he opens the box, and a die 10 comes out...and he threw the game away because it was demonic. I have no idea what that game was, but the d10 was enough to spoil it for us. So, I get a bit of where you are coming from.

    I think it is terrific that you are using hobbies to bring people together in fellowship, and toward Christ. I learned, early on, that it is the gaming group, more than the game itself, that influences what you get out of these "suspicious" games.
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    Paeter
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    Re: Christian SF/F/H author here

    Post  Paeter on February 7th 2017, 10:55 am

    Welcome. Christopher! (I moved the topic here, where we normally do intros and misc topics)

    My hat goes off to you for the hard ministry work you've been through. I was on church staff for 4 years, 2 as the worship pastor, before I started Spirit Blade Productions (parent of CGC). Our church is very Bible focused with an emphasis on the importance of the original language texts over any particular English translation. So I was blessed to have leadership that was not led by tradition or superstition. But I still had to have a difficult conversation or two with church attenders who were "concerned" about my love of PnP RPGs. I can't imagine suffering termination over it. So glad you're still doing ministry! It's so important for geeks, and especially for the local church, to have people teaching and serving others who are able to discern scripture for what it actually says.

    Also sounds like you have some amazing stories to share in connection with your RPG ministry!

    I can echo the value of gaming in building relationships. I served as a leader in our college ministry for four years and developed connections with a circle of guys over a monthly geek game night at my house. I also recently started a quarterly "Grown Up Game Night" at our church and am launching a monthly "Guys Night" that will include gaming this coming Saturday. (Woohoo! Freshening up on those "Galaxy Defenders" rules!)

    PnP RPGs will always be the pinnacle of tabletop gaming for me, I think. But I haven't had time to do GM prep for almost a decade, so board games are my thing more at the table now.

    Is your Youth For Christ ministry connected to a local church, or does it have some other organizational structure?


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    Christopher Schmitz

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    Re: Christian SF/F/H author here

    Post  Christopher Schmitz on February 7th 2017, 1:45 pm

    YFC is pretty huge, in fact, and have been around for a long time. Our first full-time employee was a young Billy Graham (YFC launched his ministry by setting him up on a speaking circuit). Also, a young man named Ravi Zacharias come to know Jesus many years ago during an event (YFC is worldwide).

    They are missions organization and we operate on a very relationship-based model. our ultimate goal is to plug kids/people/new believers into churches (or permanent faith-based home). We fundraise all our own support like any other missionary would do.

    I've always been a big table top gamer, too, but also dabbled in many RPGs (a deep, dark secret i hid from my hyper religious mother who actually had a copy of Pulling's Devil's Web... which I snuck away and read, laughing the whole time even though i didn't play DnD).

    One of the things that drew me to pathfinder was the amount of prewritten modules that made game setup and prep super easy. I just had to know the rules and the average party EXP level and pick an appropriate campaign. I get to partcipate as a player on a biweekly adults gathering that we play which has put some of us Christians in touch with folks in the community who we'd never otherwise meet... but yeah, I almost gave up on ministry a few times. I've got a better niche now, though, as opposed to being on staff at a church (which is how i spent my first ten years in ministry. I think we reach more kids every year with the Gospel than I did in all my previous ten years combined.) The trick is to not point that out to the churches we ask for contributions from... pride and traditions are very real and very deadly things.
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    UKSteve

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    Re: Christian SF/F/H author here

    Post  UKSteve on February 11th 2017, 12:09 pm

    Hey,

    Checking in as another author here... one Old Testament Space Opera and a couple of sci-fi comedies out in the wild at the moment, I'm sure if you look for my posts further down this forum you'll see me pimping my stuff Smile

    Most of my gaming is done on old 8-bit computers, but if I can get the back room to be a semi-permanent replica of 1985 it would be a cool place to have a regular game night too!


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