Recently, our church got a new pastor. I’m not a big fan of change. It’s really strange, because change has really been beneficial to me, so I don’t know why I always resist it. But, anyway, after saying goodbye to a pastor I loved and adored, I got to be part of saying hello to a new pastor that I also, already love and adore. When saying hello, you usually introduce yourself. As I began to tell her what I do on a daily basis, helping to put together a comic about gaming, I realized, and even said, “I’m weird.”
In conversation, my pastor, myself and others all concluded that everyone is weird in some sort of way. I agree. Next week, I told her, I’m going to be with some of my own strange sort of people at the biggest gaming convention in the world, Gen Con in Indianapolis, Indiana. Every year, we make the pilgrimage in a yellow truck filled with boxes and boxes of books that we load up and unload. We set up in the Exhibitor’s Hall at our booth, and we wait the onslaught of crowds, some with Iron Man or Batman T-shirts, some wearing costumes, and others armed with huge backpacks where they can put all of the “swag” they acquire at the convention. There will be excitement in the air, a carnival feel, and friends around every corner.
I sometimes feel that I am doubly weird because I’m a gamer and a Christian. I’m not the only one, of course, but, I lived through the days when playing Dungeons and Dragons was held up as an evil activity that would drag young people into demonic activity, cause them to kill their parents, and rip them loose from reality. Even today, I hesitate to tell my fellow churchgoers that I not only play role-playing games, I help write them, and I help my husband make a living satirizing and paying tribute to other geeks like me. I am never sure how they will receive me. Some might question how much of a Christian I could be and still be a part of that world. Others might just see me as a strange, geeky person that they cannot relate to. You just never know. and, it’s not just churchgoers who think those kinds of things about gamers.
But, I also often hesitate to tell other gamers that I’m a Christian. At least I used to. A lot of gamers were burned by the D&D hysteria brought on by a few televangelists with a need to sensationalize a creative hobby that has its roots in the fantasy worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. A lot of them want nothing to do with judgmental Christians who look down on them as Satanic, or weird.
I tend to be a person who worries too much. So far, when I’ve had authentic relationships with people, they’ve seen that I’m just a person. So in general, I haven’t had too many people reject me for being either a gamer or a Christian.
Next week, I’ll be among people I don’t see on a weekly basis, like I do the people at my church. And, I can’t wait to see them. I can’t wait to get a hug from my weird and wonderful friends from Australia, who will be there. I can’t wait to romp through a pretend dungeon with them with bean bags for spells and foam swords. I can’t wait to see my friend from Texas, a former NASA scientist who makes great costumes and who belly dances, oh, and who is also a Christian. I can’t wait to see my buddy, Geekpreacher, a Methodist minister from Tennessee who runs a Christian gamer’s guild and holds a worship service at the convention on Sunday morning. I can’t wait to see if there are any new games to get my hands on, or if I can buy some cute little, useless Trekkie toy to put in my display case next to my Hobbit Hole replica or my dragon carving.
I can’t wait to have a few laughs over dinner while wearing one of my goofy hats. I can’t wait to walk the streets of Indianapolis and see the people drive by in cars, staring at all the geeky goodness.
I love my Wacky World, and I feel perfectly at home in that place where geekiness and faith combines. If you’re heading to Gen Con next week in good old Indy, stop by the Kenzer and Company booth and give me a smile or handshake, or even a hug. I look forward to seeing you.