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    The Geek Church Experience

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    Paeter
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    The Geek Church Experience

    Post  Paeter on April 19th 2012, 3:43 pm

    As I grew up my parents were wary of me becoming too interested in any fiction with heavy supernatural themes. The D&D cartoon was ruled out pretty quick. And though they watched Ghostbusters with me, my mom was cautious (though still proud) when I made up my own Ghostbusters story and recorded it on tape. (My first audio production with scary demon voices in it!)

    Many years later in my church's college group, a well-meaning leader carefully probed me for details about the "role-games" I loved playing so much, which were clearly sending up red flags for him.

    A handful of years later, while serving as my church's worship pastor, a couple scheduled a meeting with me to express their concern over the fact that I played paper and pencil role-paying games.

    And just after my oldest was born, some pent up stress over my choice of hobbies finally exploded out of someone on my wife's side of the family.

    Over the years I've had my fair share of misunderstandings, though not really out and out "judgment", except perhaps in that last example. (BTW, we've long since had several good talks and gotten into scripture together. My nerdy hobbies are no longer an issue for them.)

    When talking to Tom Vasel (The Dice Tower) recently, he shared that he also experienced some misunderstanding and judgment earlier in life (he's about my age) but not much in recent years.

    So my question for all of you is, what has your experience been in the past with other Christians when it comes to your geeky side? Have you never had any problems bringing the two together? Have you experienced multiple misunderstandings or even judgment regarding your geekiness? If so, has it lessened over time? Is there even a significant challenge in bringing geeks together with other Christians these days, or are we just being oversensitive?

    I'd love to get a read on the experiences and opinions of those in the community. I want to be careful this doesn't turn into a venting bash-fest against the church or Christians, but I definitely want honesty. My chief goal in most everything I do for Spirit Blade Productions is to encourage geeks to engage in the Christian life and equip them with scriptural truth. So getting a sense of the experiences out there might help me focus my efforts a little.

    Thanks!


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    Nathan James Norman
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    Re: The Geek Church Experience

    Post  Nathan James Norman on April 20th 2012, 10:51 pm

    There were a number of times I was attacked . . . but I can remember one particular moment around 16 or 17 where I was confronted by a group of adults in front of my entire youth group over playing pen and paper role playing games. Man, that really hurt me. I pretty much learned to hide all of my geekiness for a long time.

    In truth it probably wasn't until about 22 that I crawled back out . . . and that was ironically because some of the students I was serving were geeky themselves and I was determined to protect their personalities and interests.

    I think it's better today, in general, for geeky Christians to enjoy geeky stuff. The realities of STDs, teenage pregnancy, drugs, substance use/abuse, moral relativism, and everything else have slapped the "Christian" sub-culture in the face and has us scrambling to deal with these real issues rather than the boogie-monster issues of the 80s and 90s.

    Today, I'm pretty much an open book and I haven't really received too much push-back for it . . . other than the occasional "that's weird" comment. Since moving and joining my new church family, they are very aware of my geekiness. Someone in the church even bought me a gift certificate to the local comic shop for me!

    tmorrill

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    Re: The Geek Church Experience

    Post  tmorrill on April 22nd 2012, 8:44 am

    Since my geekiness is primarily sci-fi so aside from occasional comments from people about how I was a nerd of that there was never a lot of pushback about the shows I watched and the books I read.

    Depending on the type of church I find when I get to Montana I'm half-expecting to get some push back from some people about the music I'll be listening to (Christian rap and what not). We'll see though.

    Nathan James Norman
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    Re: The Geek Church Experience

    Post  Nathan James Norman on April 22nd 2012, 3:30 pm

    tmorrill wrote:

    Depending on the type of church I find when I get to Montana I'm half-expecting to get some push back from some people about the music I'll be listening to (Christian rap and what not). We'll see though.

    Music can be a really hard one as well. I haven't really heard too much talk recently about "Christian rock/rap/etc., being evil," but there was a time when good pious Christians weren't supposed to be listening to that stuff.

    I hope that these days everyone realizes that these are issues of taste, not theology.

    tmorrill

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    Re: The Geek Church Experience

    Post  tmorrill on April 23rd 2012, 7:37 am

    Nathan James Norman wrote:
    I hope that these days everyone realizes that these are issues of taste, not theology.

    Absolutely, with one caveat (and I'm sure you'll agree with me) that goes without saying, but due to the nature of this medium I feel obligated to mention anyway.

    If there is music (or game, or video, or whatever) that is claiming to be Christian and the lyrics don't match up theologically with the Bible, then a more mature Christian should talk to whoever it is that is listening (playing, watching or producing if they have the ability) to that.

    That being said, it's critically important to direct the criticism towards the message, and not the method otherwise you're just wasting time.

    cleireac

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    Re: The Geek Church Experience

    Post  cleireac on April 23rd 2012, 11:02 am

    I agree that I think things maybe getting a bit better. Steve Weese, one of the founders of Fans for Christ, wrote a great little book called "Jesus Loves the Freaks" which deals with how Christians should approach others who are different in their tastes in fandom. It also speaks to how Christian geeks should respond when their choices are criticized.

    I'm in the ministry myself, and for a long time, I hid a lot of my geeky stuff (except for my involvement in SCA) because I thought I might confuse people. But then I saw that there were people who were not being reached because of my not being involved in the geek culture, and there were young people in my pastorate who were struggling as much as I did.

    I decided to embrace my inner nerd.

    To this day, though, I still wonder how much to reveal to people who I'm not sure would get it. But at least now I have a Starship Enterprise model in my office (My wife mostly did the decorating there, and is in denial of my confessed geekiness, but she's getting better).

    tmorrill

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    Re: The Geek Church Experience

    Post  tmorrill on April 23rd 2012, 3:57 pm

    cleireac wrote:But at least now I have a Starship Enterprise model in my office (My wife mostly did the decorating there, and is in denial of my confessed geekiness, but she's getting better).

    What Enterprise? Very Happy

    cleireac

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    Re: The Geek Church Experience

    Post  cleireac on April 23rd 2012, 4:13 pm

    tmorrill wrote:What Enterprise? Very Happy

    TOS. So it's not even the NCC-1701A.

    Actually, its a Hallmark ornament with a base that plays the theme music from the TV series when you push the button.

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    Re: The Geek Church Experience

    Post  tmorrill on April 23rd 2012, 4:16 pm

    cleireac wrote:
    tmorrill wrote:What Enterprise? Very Happy

    TOS. So it's not even the NCC-1701A.

    Actually, its a Hallmark ornament with a base that plays the theme music from the TV series when you push the button.

    Awesome! I'm jealous.

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