Christianity and Tabletops

I usually start these articles with “Christianity vs -” but I think the break from the norm makes it more appropriate.

I’m ridiculously into Critical Role, about two years too late. I’m only on ep 57? I think? and they’re already on their way to another …. arc? show? come January. I love the characters, They’re relatable on most levels, and I love the drama-rama in everything. Matt Mercer is an excellent DM, a wonderful storyteller. And, honestly, I’m trying to follow his example for my own sessions between me and my players.

Beside the point here. But really it’s awesome, and if you haven’t already, check it out.

Okay, but now, I’m honestly getting to why I’m doing this up.

A bit of spoilers ahead, so you have been warned.

 

Like significant to the plot spoilers

 

Not inside joke spoilers, which I think are miffy, but okay.

 

Seriously, real spoilers.

 

Which gets me thinking, since it’s really important to this article.But seriously….

 

I shall forge on, because as I said, it’s important to the article.

 

But it is plot heavy stuff. Just saying.

 

  

The interaction between Pike and her patroness goddess Sarenrae and Vax’ildan and his patroness goddess (waaaaay down the line) the Raven Queen is so…. familiar. I’m in Pike’s shoes spiritually speaking. My family was converted to Christianity before my father was born, and so it’s easy for me to take for granted everything that I’ve experienced spiritually – the blessings both known and unknown, life, power, authority, comfort, ahhh, what else? Basically, everything that has allowed me to be who and what I am, even up to the doubts and just – pissy – moods that sometimes go against it. And Pike does that sometimes. Her ancestors experienced the pardon and transformation and blessings and warmth of Sarenrae, as has Pike. Yet, sometimes, it feels like she’s taking her patron for granted, as a means of power to draw from as needed. Like a bank.  And I know I do that as well. And it’s not the best way to go about it. But we’re both born into our religions; it’s an easy trap, really. I mean she knows Sarenrae will be there. I know God will definitely be there. Not necessarily in a way I want or expect, but I know I can count on Him.

And then there’s Vax and his interaction with the Raven Queen. She drew him to her, even allowing him to bring his sister back from Death, once he pledged himself to her. And he did. After much fighting against her. After much doubt. After finally realizing that there isn’t anything to fear with her. He still fears. But, I think he understands there will be comfort in her for him. So far, she has come through for him, saving him as necessary and coming when he calls. And even in this last episode I watched his prayer as a (multiclassed level 1) paladin was as simple as it hurts, please help (adlibbing, but yeah).

That prayer alone. It wasn’t big or extravagant. It didn’t start with Oh great Raven Queen goddess of Death we celebrate you – no. It was a sincere plea. And he was able to heal himself through her until the problem could be properly sorted. He received comfort and peace when needed. And wow. Prayer is important to me, so imagine me seeing elements that I…. am familiar with, or have been taught coming into play in someone else’s gameplay.

(Wow, Liam, your little bit of roleplay months ago is actually having real word significance on a  fan. There is no way I can not appreciate you. Or your character. Seriously, I’d already loved Vax and his love for Vex and now…. thank you? I guess? for this little spiritual reminder. Or conviction I think may be the word)

There is a lot to say in  the things that we come across. It’s easy to see why blogs like Between the Tangles exists. Even in fandoms, we see things that hail back to our Christianity. Granted, if I looked more into the bible, the way I look into…. just about any fandom I’m in, i’d be a proper theologian.(maybe. not really)

It’s easy for me to hear a preacher say “try to be a Mary, not a Martha” but even though I know a bit about them, I mean, I’ll get there with them, but for now, I think I’ll look to Pike and Vax. I  want to be like Vax. I want to fully give myself to God. Not necessarily without doubt or fear. But with full acceptance. And I thought I did, I really did think so. But there is still a little Pike in me. I still call when I need help. Primarily. Almost always only when I need help or need something. I can’t blame it on being born into it so I can take God for granted, while someone who experienced God firsthand while they were out in the world, just doing whatever  they did before could do magnificent things for God as new (Gen 1) Christians.

Maybe next time I’m a PC in D&D, I’ll be a cleric.

But that’ll open up a whole nother can o’ worms.

 

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Christianity vs Life – Identity crisis

What’s so amazing, so bloody amazing is that for the first time in a year, I actually don’t feel like bible study has become a chore for me. It has, for the first time in a year, become something that I’m excited to get into more and more, and I’m a little upset that I have to work in a couple hours, so I can’t get into it more right now.

That being said, the little bit that I did do just…. mind blowing, how the things I had to force myself to read earlier, (took me 9 months to read 9 days worth of scripture. I’m still not done there) now come into play, with examples.

Lemme – beginning.

Anyone who knows me, knows that for years in secondary school,  I was a fan of Vic Mignogna. I still am, but  I’m not as vocal about it anymore. He’s an amazing voice actor, and a fun guy, and I still really appreciate him. What I do admire about him and will always do, is that he is a Christian, and strongly, never hiding his love of Christ. It’s why I’m a Ranger ^~^a

I was watching his video at Colossalcon this year (2017 for the archives). and he was talking about how God loves us, and how He would give us a chance to accept Him. Our identity as His creation, and reaffirming this, in spite of our bouts of low self confidence. About how we find satisfaction and contentment in  God.

After that I was listening to one of Joyce Meyer’s sermons about how our thoughts affect our walk with God. To me, these two videos were unrelated. Honestly, I just clicked them both thinking 1) I haven’t listened to Vic in a while, and 2) if I’m probably gonna keep missing church because work and any excuse, I may as well listen to a sermon, so Joyce.

And yet, as unrelated as these two people are, they both talked about the same topic at different events  to vastly different groups.

After the videos I looked into the scriptures that Joyce used to back up her topic, and you see more into the persona of God, about His characteristics,  about His actions for the sake of Humanity. You see the relationship Man has with God, where David speaks directly to Him in the Psalms. You see in Jeremiah 29:11 where God speaks directly to humanity where His plans for us can only benefit us. You see where humbling yourself (1 Peter 5:6) isn’t necessarily about subjugation to Him,  about submission before a fearsome god, but about trust in Him and belief in His Words. I haven’t gotten too far in the list yet. I did intend to sleep, but I started thinking about this and well….  ┐(‘~` )┌
I’m thinking about how in Jeremiah 29:11, God speaks directly to mankind. I have… for you.  I started thinking how belief in God’s Word and His promises and that implicit trust could only benefit us. 1 Peter 5:6 – humble yourself before God’s mighty hand and in time He may life you up.  Jesus humbled Himself. before God. Jesus did,  humbling Himself and trusting in the promises of God for mankind. Noah did  the same in Genesis , and believed the Word of God and he got life (survived the flood) prosperity and benefited. He wasn’t perfect, neither was David, but both were blessed following the Word of God. I started thinking about – David had that relationship with God. He knew God’s actions were for Man’s benefit. He knew that God’s thought  were for us and about us. He praised God for this remarkable reason. It’s mindboggling  that He’d think about us. About a single person. About me.

So both videos talked about knowing our identity as God’s loved ones, about our identity in Christ. If we were not sure about who we are as Christians, as believers, as followers in Christ, we’re probably either doing something wrong, or we just don’t understand. We really do need to get into the Word to see the scripture to understand the message and , even, I dunno, pick out examples that proved it.

I think what excited me was the fact that — for the longest time, for more than a year, I’ve steadily felt less encouraged in church, and more empty.  Which was aggravated more by the fact that shift work makes it hard for me to go, even though I’d try to push to go when I can. Steadily growing dysfunction at home isn’t helping either.

I’m not gonna lie, I started to question who I was anymore outside of the church. I think I blogged about it before. I felt that outside of church, outside of ministry, any time away from a strong foundation left me feeling so out of it. I did, I did say  I felt like I started to regress, and head back into things I’d previously left behind. Lately, I’d also picked up new things (D&D!) which, while really fun to plan, and play, and just do, it started to take up most of my time. I started being a little afraid of it. Not much, not intellectually, but spiritually, I knew I was using it to fill in for what I was missing.

So to get this little bit was so much to me. I’m so grateful, and honestly, I’ll take what little I can. Because even a little can be a lot. Crumbs from the table can be satisfying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Potter and the new Generation

That title alone got your interest, didn’t it? Well, if it dinnae, then do I have the clickbait for you! Well, a third, if that sentence didn’t do it. As a Christian, I’m gonna let my kids read Harry Potter. I’ll probably have to get an entirely new edition though. Mine are falling apart.

It’s a part of an ongoing list of movies, tv shows and books that I’m compiling, from  my life, from 7-27, that inspired me, that I loved, and that had subtle impacts, and, in the case of Harry Potter,  Major impact on me.

Of course, I’ll be bring it back to God, to the bible and the Church. But I wanna let them see the world as depicted in these forms of media, and just how the world seems to work and evolve. I want my kids to do some critical thinking, to understand why and how God applies, and just who God even is to them. And how we should treat each other and ourselves. I want them to develop strong identities and be comfortable in who they are and who they are in Christ.

It seems odd, I guess, to want to show God to children with some decidedly unchristian pieces of work (I’m also Including San Manuel Bueno, Martir  and Laberinto   by Borges… or any existentialist piece, because I’m that insane),  but I really think these pieces helped me seek out God some more. I know how crazy it sounds, but I also know that without a search for something more, without wanting to see further than what I saw, without wanting to understand something greater, I couldn’t have decided to be where I am, and to get where I’m going.

So yeah, I know that the witchcraft in Harry Potter and the darker themes in it would put off most Christian parents, and I understand why. Witchcraft is a very real thing. It’s dangerous, and it can open you up to so much that you may not understand. And I will explain that, including my own desire as child and teen to want to explore that myself. But you can’t deny that the relationships developed and explored in the series can only be beneficial to a developing child. They’ll see examples of good and bad relationships, parents who do what is hard because of what was right. How harmful ideas are perpetuated, and how they are erased. How people treat others. They’ll develop their own ideals and ideas, based on what they’ve explored and seen and experienced. And I want them exposed to these and others. I want them to see these through their own eyes, as taught by a mother who experienced life in and out of the church as well.

Before I chicken out

This is a topic that I’ve had in mind ever since I started this blog  years ago. But this is something that I really do need to address. This will affect the way I’m viewed, by myself, by my family and friends, by my followers and readers.

I’m afraid that this may cause me to lose some, but I honestly hope that isn’t the case, mainly because I could really use you all for support and accounting.

Bad habits are fun to create, hell to break. And I feel like that is meant literally.

Sex.

Basically.

That’s my habit. A major one.

Lemme explain.

I haven’t actually had sex yet. But sex and sexual actions are a vice for me. I keep saying that I need to break out of it. For reasons personal, spiritual, and emotional.

 

It started years ago, maybe more than 10 years ago, and it’s built up steadily over the years. It was a way to explore and get to know myself. Then a way to gain control over myself. A way to calm me down, to get sleep after studying, to give a sense of stability that I felt I needed.

Then pornography, getting more and more wild, getting deeper and deeper into learning and understanding  different fetishes and the like.

One good thing, I know what I would consider allowing to happen to me, and where I would draw the line. Almost a bittersweet consolation.

Still, as a Christian woman, this isn’t something I want hanging over me. I want a husband, I want a family, and I don’t want them to be subjected to the things I was, growing up – pornography and adultery being prominent regarding this particular subject. I really don’t want to perpetuate the cycle, and suggest that it’s okay for my sons and daughters to do.

In my head, I know that this is wrong. In my spirit, I’m constantly aware of the sinfulness behind it. Sex isn’t bad, but sexual immorality is. And these things fall under that. Emotionally, I don’t want to bear any more guilt about it. And it will get worse once I’m in a relationship if it continues. Given that last point, I’m glad I’m not in a relationship now.

Yet in my body, maybe in my heart, I really don’t want to stop it. It gave me  a sense of control over myself. It’s helped me sleep when I couldn’t. It pandered to the idea of being sexually wanted by men, even if it was a general audio, with descriptions of women vastly different to me.

It’s terrifying writing this, given that while a fair share of the female population do watch porn,  it’s not something many admit. Or even admit that it’s a problem. We’re aware of men’s sexual habits and vices that break up marriages and relationships, but we don’t talk about women’s.

And I think that’s how I want to start this spoke in the wheel. Admit that as a woman, I do this, admit that it’s a problem, admit that as a Christian that I’m seriously messed up and have seriously messed up. And start breaking it.

 

 

Pinterest worthy Prayer life

pinterest

I love my prayer journal. I love my bible study journals. Multiple, because, why not? Plus, I mean, multiple days for multiple topics, and there was so much pretty things and stationary and sense of purpose….

You see what I’m getting at?

I dunno when it happened, but it just dawned on me that so much of my journaling was – probably is to be honest – just about the action. having journals, making use of all those notebooks and  pretty journals I collected over the years, then having an excuse to buy more. It’s bible study after all. Improving prayer life. Learning  how to be a better Christian.

And yes, all those things are necessary. All those things are important in and of themselves. And having specific themes and topics studied and put down for later reference does come in handy. You are studying after all. Just like school, it’s good to have notes at your fingertips when it comes to learning, and being ready, and preparing to apply it.

Still, I have to admit Pinterest is a good source to start, but I think I’m getting a little too tied up in the presentation and potential of it all. I have my own method, and it’s working great for me. Still I’m looking for more, and how to be more creative, how to make my stuff more Pinterest worthy.

It cheapens the whole process. Almost falsifies it, I think. I dunno.

Presentation is important, true.

But life isn’t always perfect or presentable. There are ups and downs. Messes, perfect triumphs however big or small.

When I started my prayer journal, I knew it  wouldn’t be perfect. I knew there would be scratches and messy colouring, perfect handwriting, messy handwriting, lots of rewording because I never properly think through what i want to say and how I should say it. And in the beginning, remembering this, I was happy with it. I felt more…. purposeful. Now, looking at the posts and submissions on Pinterest, I’m getting a little less happy. Feeling like I could do better. Do more, make it prettier. Same with my bible study journals.

That’s a mistake on my part.

It’s a new day and a new chance to get back on track. First step is to admit my problems and mistakes. Next step is to do.

Maybe it’s time to close the tab.

 

Les Miserables -Javert

I haven’t posted anything in a while. At least not like this. I’m not entirely sure where or how this will be going, but I do know, I want it to be substantial.

Okay, yeah, Les Mis: The Movie came out like….. was it 2012? I didn’t get to see in on the bigscreen like I wanted, and I def wasn’t gonna stream it because tv shows to catch up on. Actually, no that’s a lie because I’ve streamed enough movies during that 4? year period. Haven’t I?

Beside the point.

What is my point?

Javert. My favourite character among a cast of endearing characters. As much as I’ve youtube’d enough Les mis performances and anniversary specials and movie clips, none has really stood out to me like Javert.

This is a man who knows right from wrong and is willing to uphold the pillars of the law to make sure the right thing is always done.

And yet, he’s faced with Jean Valjean, a man who committed a crime of necessity,  and is also a good man, a man who’s done right by a woman he fired, by ensuring her child’s provision and safety.  A man who saved another from under a cart. A man who’s done right by his adopted daughter by saving the boy she loved. A man who’s done right, by promising to give himself up to the law, to ensure that the boy he saved is given the proper medical care, after removing him from the barricades. A man who – here’s the kicker – released from custody, the very man who was after him for years. 

It’s not like Norrington from Pirates of the Caribbean  who knew his duty, but who adapted his strategy when facing Captain Jack Sparrow, because this man was branded and punished for being a pirate, despite saving the lives of 100 people from slavers – thus making said pirate the worst pirate. Jack did wrong, but he was still a good person at heart. So,Chaotic Good.

Where am I going with this? Well, Norrington seemed to understand the multifaceted character of people, and adjusted to suit. Javert on the other hand, had little understanding. It’s his fatal flaw. As God-fearing and law abiding as he is, his two dimensional view of good and evil tore at him, and tortured him when faced with Valjean. His love of God and his love of law and order in society – that’s not wrong. It was why I like him. And it broke my heart to see him throw himself to his death. 

But here’s the thing

Javert has been described as a legalist, in that his “moral foundation … is built strictly on legalism”

It’s true enough that Javert did pray, and swear to God (by the stars), and have enough biblical knowledge to have a pretty emotional song (I quite like it). But I wonder. Javert is legalist. And the musical turned movie summarized his character but the basic structure is the same as in the novel. So, across the board, this is him. He’s legalist –

So devoted is he to this choice that, Hugo writes, “[h]e would have arrested his own father if he escaped from prison and turned in his own mother for breaking parole. And he would have done it with that sort of interior satisfaction that springs from virtue.”

So,  I have to wonder, or conclude, or assume, that the God of the church in ~1877 may not be said to be Javert’s god. It was the law. It was his two dimensional view of right and wrong. His devotion to it dragged him around France persistently after a man who dodged him for ~10 years. It seemed right to do so. Prisoner 24601 Jean Valjean refused to go for Parole . This man who escaped the law and the punishment that Justice claimed he deserved, needed to be apprehended. At any cost.

When faced with the idea that everything he knew and had accepted before was wrong, Javert couldn’t handle it. How could God allow this? How could Javert, who  was righteous, and good, and dutiful, and law abiding, not be able to bring this chaotic, turbulent man to justice? And why is God showing Valjean as a good man, he did wrong, stealing from honest, hardworking people who put in the effort to earn a livelihood? Was it God? Or was it the devil in disguise sent to torture him?

AND one heartwrenching, stressful song later, He’s there, floating in the Seine.

I’m talking about Javert, and what I think about him. I like his tunnel-visioned need to see that justice was served to the people who needed it, however they deserved it. I like that he was dutiful to his people and his country. I like his intentions.

I like his name.

But I like him too, mainly because he’s very relatable to people like me, who try to do good. Who try to live the way God commanded. Who live closely to a set of morals, not only because it’s right, but also, because, it just helps society. It provides a sense of order, preventing chaos and trouble. It’s not perfect, but it helps.

But his flaws make him my favourite. This is a man, who unknowingly created a god out of his sense of duty to the laws of France. What the law said was right. Whatever the law deemed necessary for punishment for whatever crime needed to be exacted. It caused him to act the way he did, because the people deserved more than being taken advantage of by people who he saw as unwilling to make the effort to provide for themselves.

(I’m aware that these statements can be said by people about Christianity)

Aren’t we guilty of that though? We try to do the best we can, to be the Christians we’re supposed to be (ugh, Thenardiers echoed here), but we may unknowingly create gods from something else, even as we claim to want to serve God. I’m not innocent here, surely.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. We can’t hate on Javert, it’s really pointless. He was a broken man, left with nothing but despair. It broke my heart to see him jump though. I mean I know it was coming, I’ve been listening to the soundtrack on repeat for months and months. It was only so because, God.

I am not strong. I am weak. I actually am, it’s a running joke with my brother. But spiritually, I just  can’t some days. I won’t. Despair is a running theme, and self-hatred, among other self-harming things.

But I can’t bring myself to physically harm myself. Not- no. Never. I feel that despair, but I feel peace riding underneath, reminding me of something in a situation to overcome. I’m reminded of something, anything, that one thing that I need to be thankful for. And, God, I’m so grateful in those times.

And Javert didn’t have that.

 

 

 

 

 

Luke 23 – thoughts while reading for Tumblr bible study . I swear it’s related.

You know in the original Superbook  series where Christopher and  Joy go into the bible and experience it to understand it and apply it to their lives for whatever moral needs to be learned? I’m reading Luke 23 and I keep flashing back to the episode with the Fall of Man. Chris had tried to stop Adam and Eve from eating the Fruit of the Tree of Knowedgle of Good and Evil. The Serpent  hisses and scares them long enough for the original couple to eat.

All I’m thinking about now, is that if I was there at the events of the chapter, I’d have to stop the kids from trying to stop what’s going on because it’s necessary. It’s the only way that Humanity could be restored to God. Still, knowing why, and knowing what happens, or seeing  what happened as they did, it’ll be hard to do. And I’m picturing Chris and Joy’s faces looking up at me and it’s bad because, canonically, they’re now experiencing and properly learning what happened.

Also,  I imagine the guilt they probably feel because they didn’t stop Adam and Eve from eating the one fruit that started it all. If they didn’t, then, Jesus wouldn’t need to suffer as He did. I mean, Maybe. Because who knows what would have happened after they [potentially] stopped it.

But the story can’t change, because we’re not a part of it.  And the plan can’t change because God’s plan needs to come to fruition. For our sake.

I swear, Chris and Joy have to be the most convinced? certain? what’s the word I’m looking for? confirmed? Christians after literally experiencing the bible as they did.


So how is it related?

We all could attest to the fact that a good book draws you in and you’re attached. Experiencing things alongside the characters or you’re tuned to the feelings and experiences of the characters.  Yours and theirs contrast or complement each other as you go through the same experience in the moment.

That’s what I felt reading this.

I was made aware of the experiences of the people, of Pilate, of Herod, of Jesus too. You feel what He felt. You see what He went through, in a third-person  POV. I felt like Pilate’s decision was based on fear of this angry mob before him accusing an  innocent man. My feelings, and my apprehension, and recognition and awareness of what’s been described in the chapter- it all leads to an appreciation  of what was done for my sake, and your sake, and for all, despite none of us deserving a pardon. Despite all of us deserving punishment.

The same way that Chris and Joy felt and learned and experienced what was in the book -the Greatest Book – I was drawn in, felt, learned, experienced, and them proceeded to put myself into the circumstances in the chapter, as one of the crowd and it was scary. I mean, these people looked for the Messiah, learned about how he would come, have extensive knowledge of the sacred writings and prophecies, but were unable to recognize Him. That’s terrifying.