Eberron

Those of you who are regular readers know that I have been feeling the need to create lately. Well, instead of doing something productive I have turned back to D&D and am currently working on a role playing game set in Eberron. I had an errand to run this morning in Columbus so I went to the bookstore and bought me a book set in the Eberron world. I started reading it, and while it isn’t high literature, it made me smile.

It has been a long time since I read a pulp fantasy fiction book. You know the ones that I am talking about, those little $7 books that are like romance novels for boys. I have to say that of all my guilty pleasures those types of books are the one that I am most ashamed of, but I love to read them.

So for my wife, who I have made fun of over the years for her love of cheesy Christian romance novels, here is a whole load of ammo that you can use against me, but I love cheesy fantasy novels. There I have admitted it, and that is the first step to overcoming.

Eberron Outreach

Well, our role playing group grew so large that now we have spit into 2 different groups. I played today with the loud kill everything and steal their loot group and tomorrow I think I will have more fun with the careful planning, try to work stuff out with words first group. This is the only week that I am doing 2 a week and will instead alternate Saturday and Sunday groups. It is taking a chunk of my time, but it is working. There are people coming to church who have never come before and I am getting an opportunity to build relationships with some people who don’t normally have positive adult influences. It is cool that it is also fun too.

Role Playing Gospel

I finally got a chance to play D&D again, but this time was a little different. I convinced one of my students to DM (or basically run the game) so that I could just be a player. This works better for me because I don’t have a whole lot of time to prepare, but I can carve out of block of time every two weeks or so. It also is cool because I can finally be a player. I almost always have to DM so I don’t get much chance to play, but I have to say that playing is very fun.

So what about the gospel part? When I was DM the players had a hard time getting into character and actually role playing. Since I was running the game it was hard for me to actually help them to learn to role play any better. But today as a player I was able to set the example as a role-player (even though I was a bit rusty). As a result all of the players spent more time role playing. It was really cool.

So I was thinking about Christmas and about how God became one of us. God was willing to humble himself to become like us so that we could get to know Him. He became like us so that we could touch Him and know Him and become like Him. I understood that better today as I helped to teach not by being someone above those guys, but by being someone who worked beside them. 

I don’t really know if that is life changing or not, but it was something that I saw today.  

Geekstravaganza

Geekstravaganza

 

My volunteer technical director (and co-host of God Geeks) is heading off to college. This past week was his last Wednesday night so in honor of him we did an all Geek youth lesson that I lovingly called a Geekstravaganza.

It was the first lesson that I wrote fresh in a long time. I have been doing things from Lifeway and then stuff from our Dating 101 since December so it felt nice to get back into the writing again, even if it was themes that we have covered many times before.

The Geekstravaganza was broken into 3 parts:

1) You are a super hero. You have powers because Jesus said that you have power. In Ephesians 2 Paul elaborates on that and says that you have the same power that raised Christ from the dead living in you.

2) But the world likes to drag you away and use that power on frivolous stuff. I used the old addage of a carrot on a stick to talk about how MMORPGs (like World of Warcraft) keep you playing. In the same way the world holds out stuff and says if you come and get this stuff you will be happy. When in the end all that makes us happy is following God.

3) So you are powerful and God has a place for you, but there are all sorts of distractions that pull you away from following Him. That means that you have a choice. I used 4 scenarios (and a 20 sided die) to give people a choice to do the right thing or to look out for themselves. I broke them into groups of 4 and then read the scenarios. Once they made their choice (it was always a binary decision) they rolled the d20 to see the result of their actions.

 

Here are two ideas that we used during the lesson. To do the scenarios you will need at least a d20 (available at any hobby shop) and you may also need a d4.

Cookie Cutter Christians

Geekstravaganza Scenarios

Being a Tank

Do you play WoW? If you don’t even know what those letters mean then this post may not work for you. I sort of pride myself in being able to explain things to people who aren’t interested in them, but honestly this may even be beyond my level of expertise, but I do have something sort of spiritual to tag onto the end so if you want to stick around you may get a short devotional thought for your effort. If you don’t I will understand.

The game World of Warcraft is wildly popular. That is really an understatement. Ten Million people pay $15 a month for the right to play this game with their friends. If you don’t play it is hard to describe what it is all about. There is a fantasy styled world with lots of computer controlled people, shops, cities, monsters, and dungeons all set up and waiting for you to interact with them. In addition to that there are hundreds of people just like you controlling 3D models of dwarves, elves, humans, orcs, and a variety of other races who are all running around in this world as well. As player you interact with other players and with the computerized world.

While you can play this game alone it is meant to be played with other people. The game really shines when you start finding other people to play with. There are lots of people who have dedicated nights when they log on to meet up with a group of friends (their “raiding party”) and play through content in the game.

To succeed in this social environment part of the game everyone has a role to play and they must play that role or the group will fail. Some people are there just to inflict damage on whatever enemies you face. Others are there to heal the rest of the group and some of the people are there to be the tank.

I recently started being a tank and I have to say that I love it. Now don’t start thinking about a real tank. This is still a fantasy world we are talking about. The tank has one major job. He wades out into the thick of the enemies and basically picks a fight with them. Then he has to stand his ground long enough for the rest of the people to kill the enemies. His job isn’t to inflict the most damage. His job is basically to keep the people from attacking the other people in his group. He even has special gear that makes enemies want to attack him more.

Now I like being the tank for two reasons 1) because I don’t do well hanging back in games and 2) because I feel like it is sort of noble in a weird video game sort of way. There isn’t much glory in being the tank, but the rest of the group can’t survive without you.

Now to the spiritual point. I think sometimes as pastors we are called to be the tank for people in our church. As a “professional” I feel like it is my job to do whatever I can to help the people who volunteer to succeed. If this means that sometimes I need to step in front of a cruel word and take the blame for something that may not have been my fault so be it. I am the tank.

Of course to do this you have to have the right sort of gear. It is important to be able to stand up and take criticism and that is never easy to do, but if we are willing to do that for others then we can sometimes turn the tide of a difficult situation long enough for a peaceful resolution.