I actually wrote this blog entry last year but the timing was wrong, as were my motives to publish it. Today, however, is the day. I will blog again this week but, feel free to type me to death.
Okay, here goes. Not sure about this one but, a little history lesson is in order.I was born the second time in June of 1976. I was nine years old. By the time I reached Junior High I had already been trained for ‘evangelism,’ that is, the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I had attended adult classes in ‘sharing’ at my church because the kid classes were, well, too kiddish, (this problem would affect my later ministry in many ways.) So, I was ready to win converts. Interestingly enough, I never felt like it was something I was ‘supposed’ to do. I just knew that my friend Jesus needed more friends, and that I didn’t want anyone to go to hell and be separated from Him. or perhaps more importantly, miss out on what I had. It never would have occured to me to save everyone, ’cause I didn’t even know everyone, but somehow, God worked it into my pre-adolescent head that everyone I could bring to Him was one more rescued from life and death without Him.
Now, it probably should be stated here that I am not a gifted evangelist, I just loved Jesus and people and wanted them together, like a peanut butter/chocalate thing; and the truth is, I was turned down or rejected as many times. or more, than I was ‘successful.’ But some, over time, came to know Christ through my simple message of love and acceptance and despite my often sin-stained life.
During my not so epic journey through junior high, three different schools, I learned about, and became a sold-out geek for role-playing games in general and Dungeons and Dragons in specific. It expanded my community, increased my vocabulary and decision making ability and introduced me to a group of people that were as broken and needy as any I would ever meet. I had been involved in theatre since I was 6 or seven so I was already prepared for the bizarre group of people I would meet. Through this hobby, I was able to get to know and begin to help these young men towards light and rescue. Here I am 25 years later to tell you that, of my two original gaming groups, all but a handful are now disciples of Christ. One of those is my foster brother Stephen, whom many of you know.This has been introduction to my point. It follows hard afoot now.
Sometime during high school, the word got out that Dungeons and Dragons was a tool of Satan. Boy, was I shocked.Upon further research I found that many of these accusers had no idea what gaming was about or, even worse, had told lies, outright lies, about what we practiced or what was found in our rulebooks. Hmm.
I was raised in the outskirts of the ‘sub-culture’ we call the Christian ghetto, although my parents did keep a house decidely on the wall, so I had to figure out how it was that these ‘believers’ in Jesus would lie. Either money or fear, I figured out, and the damage was done. I learned that there was a form of Christianity that was more concerned with saving itself than others and I guess, after I recovered from the talespin of belief that I was in, sometime in college, I became first a dissident, and in recent years, a patriot for the cause of Christ and an accurate gospel doctrine.
My journey has been one of seeking to know Christ as Redeemer and a Friend of sinners; to understand that Holiness was about how I treated others as I proved out my love for God by loving them. My journey has been about washing the Bride and fighting fights to prove that people were worth far more than reputation; and that if I was accused of being a sinner because of my association with sinners that I was just becoming like Christ. In time, that journey has led me to this place and this time, The Well.
We are a great experiment born of a great hope and a passion for Christ, the Body and the lost. We are a try and try again project of learning failures and improvable successes. And we will find our way. But…..We will not lose sight of our goal to be different and better than where we came from.
We stand on the shoulders of sacrifice and conflict and try to reach higher and farther than we know we can on our own.We must love each other. We must learn that our differences are strengths, not fodder for warfare. We will have peace. We will be love. We will rescue, redeem and restore.
Like Eliezer, the mighty man of David, I have chosen this beanfield, and here I stand. I will swing the sword of the message that has been written into me, until my hand, frozen, no longer can relinquish it’s grip.
5 thoughts on “A Hand, Frozen to a Sword”
This reminds me of the conversation we once had about the traditional church having nothing to offer the gamers and geeks out there.
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be a gamer – a D&D gamer – and be a Christian. I’ve always imagined it to be harder than being a Pagan gamer – more struggles and obstacles to fight against to be allowed to game.
I don’t think I would have ever found the Well if it weren’t for D&D – I never would have taken the time to listen to or talk to Ben if I hadn’t been a gamer.
Truth to tell, if I hadn’t become a gamer, I doubt I would be much of anything. I might be like the pop-culture pagans that make me cringe.
Or worse: some emo-goth punk standing on a streetcorner thinking being homeless is cool. (read: half of Portland.)
If places like the Well didn’t exist, then you’d never reach people like me.
But I think this goes back to your last post, and all our talk about building relationships. I had a relationship with Ben – so I trusted him enough to let him take me to the Well.
You took the time to build a relationship with me, helping me realize I could be a part of the Well without having to give up who and what I am.
I know exactly what you mean, Jason. I’ve been dealing with the same stuff for a long time. People who haven’t allowed themselves to be changed by Christ have no fear of infiltrating churches and teaching whatever gives them the most power, the most pleasure, or the best reputation.
In C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters , one of the demons talks about how the best way to lead someone astray is not to keep them away from church and make them hate it, it’s to make them go to church and think everything’s okay, but in reality their whole experience means nothing, and they have no real relationship with the Savior. The devil wants to give them a stagnant spiritual life, and have them believe all is well.
hmm…i must ponder…
This is a great Post. In my highly unsolicited opinion…let me say why. This is the EPIC of what Christians face today. Who am I? Why am I even here? Why do people seem to despise what I am? That, my friend, is a small taste of the “persecution” of the faith. The truth is that some of the worst “persecution” comes from within. But WE ARE NOT WITHOUT!!! It is CHRIST IN US, THE HOPE OF GLORY!!! We are changed from faith to faith, from Glory to GLORY!!! We are changed into HIS image. For those who can’t see it, shame on you…and COME UP WITH US!!! For those of you who persecute…May God Bless You and TRULY, may you know what is the Breadth and length and height of God’s Love for you and may you know what IS the perfect will of God. For those of us who experience this persecution, GLORY IN IT!!! Do you think HE was comfortable? I wonder if HE got to game as He pleased. What was important to HIM? That really is all that matters. We need to Love what He loved, and be motivated by what motivated HIM…LOVE!!! Awesome!! HE IS SOOOOOO AWESOME!!! Come up hither, for one can hardly breathe!!!!!!!!!
Also, as I blither on…to “Austin”…the Bible talks about that. Many who teach false doctrines and such. No biggie. It’s part of what must come! Eat the hay, spit out the sticks and move on for HIM! Most churches I’ve seen are imperfect. That’s because we are a Body of IMPERFECT people worshipping a Perfect GOD!!! Thank God for His tender mercies!! Take the good, dismiss the bad and Love God with your whole heart, mind, soul and strength. Give Him Praise and Honor and Glory in all that you do! For it is not they, but we who give an account for our life to Christ. Whatever did not glorify Him shall be burnt to ashes. Whatever is left and not burnt…that’s what He’ll reward you for! We don’t DO for rewards, and yet we know they come. Glory to the Lamb of God FOREVER!!!