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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Koe no Katachi

I want to say first off, I am not Deaf. I know very little about Deaf culture or the struggles that the community, the Deaf themselves, or even their families, would face, when integrating into the hearing world. The opinions here are my own, and based on a limited knowledge base, where Deaf culture and  Deaf life is expressed. If I am wrong, I’ll take it, along with any corrections and new bits of information that would help develop better …. well informed … (vocabulary…) opinions.

Koe no Katachi – The shape of voice – a story about a boy who’s continually guilty about having bullied a Deaf classmate when they were in elementary school, and feels that the having no friends thing that came up after the class basically threw him to the wolves after her mother called the school to address the situation when her eighth pair of hearing aids in a month or so gets damaged, was deserved.

But no, wait! I swear it’s better than I make it sound.

Seriously, please you need to watch this if you already haven’t.

The high points for me in watching this are well, not numerous, but there are a few. One being that for the many years I’ve watched  anime, there were few that actually showed protagonists with disabilities as ruling or functioning or even just living and exceeding expectations. In fact I think the same is true outside of anime.

Well, there was FMA. And Switched at Birth. And Toph was pretty badass as a bender. and as a character in general.  But I think for every one show I’ve watched, there are probably like 30 that didn’t explore a character as having a disability.

Honestly, it was a little bit….. refreshing?  I guess? that Nishimiya was capable, but we see her struggling to communicate with her classmates. Which leads to another thing I liked about it. Parents sometimes opt for mainstream education for their children, which is what happened in the movie. And also, how her classmates had trouble communicating  with her.  Which led to conflict, which leads to movie plot, which-

Okay, but here’s the thing, mainstreaming deaf children would have some difficulties. Which weren’t addressed effectively in the school. There was a little attempt for integrating Japanese Sign Language into the classroom, with a session before classes begun, to get the students to understand their fellow classmate a little better. And Nishimiya does get a chance to sign and communicate with her classmates in her own language, something that the other students – and I – take for granted. Ishida, himself, takes JSL classes later on, and we do get to see him sign with Nishimiya later when they reconnect. That tickled me, being a language nerd, because outside of photographs of one JSL sign, -baseball- I dunno much about it. So it was nice to see. We don’t really see much classroom action, but when we do, I have to admit, the lack of an interpreter was obvious. When it was Nishimiya’s turn to read, other students had to prompt her.  Why not have an interpreter for her tho? Expense?

Also kids are meaaaaannn. Most rejected any chance to better understand the new Deaf girl or learn from her. Poor girl had 8 pairs of hearing aids damaged in one form or another. And multiple kids were responsible for bullying her or allowing her bullies to continue, then throw one of their own under the bus. wow kids. Y’all are cold.

I liked, too, how Nishimiya’s family stepped up for her. Her grandmother learned sign language, her mother basically bitchslapped anyone who bullied her daughter for her deafness. But within the family unit, her deafness was just another part of life for them. Her younger sister looked out for her, but it wasn’t just because of her deafness. She looked out for her, as any sister would for her siblings – who do you like? how did they react? why confess nowwwwwww????!!!! Overall, her deafness didn’t hamper how she interacted with them, whether verbally, through text, or through signing. And I loved how  the  writers almost made it a point to show not only how difficult it can be for the deaf, in a world that doesn’t cater for lack, but also, how normal life is for Nishimiya. She’s a teen dealing with teen troubles. She’s as normal as anyone else.

I could probably continue to list things that I liked about it, where learning about Deaf culture and Deaf life is concerned, but I think I’ve trampled through enough spoiler territory for one day.

At the end of the day though, it falls pretty snugly into Slice-of-life boy-likes-girl/girl-likes-boy territory. If you’re like me and a closet romantic, you’d like it. You get lots of that, which seems to be a staple for a good half of the Slice-of-life anime I’ve watched. But what makes it different is the expression of a very real divide that really needs to be addressed.

It did as the title promised, and presented the need of voice, and to be heard and understood. For both Nishimiya and Ishida.  Nishimiya got communication with the hearing.  Ishida learned to properly express himself to others. They’re the perfect parallels,  from their being bullied and targeted to their obvious struggles with their lives, and their relationships with  their families. They are the same, despite their differences. The movie didn’t only focus on that by making Nishimiya’s Deafness the key plot. Instead, it incorporated it, and mixed it in effectively. Nishimiya was a part of a whole in their group of friends. She was equally affected by the past and present as everyone was.

Basically I love this movie. I endorse it.

Go watch it. It’s worth it.

 

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.

D&D? No? ConLang, then

I ended last year really wanting to play D&D. I entered this year really wanting to play D&D. Unfortunately, with my schedule being the way it is, it’s hard for me to get a proper timing  to join a party. Although i do have an open invitation to one, so yay.

In the meantime, I have contracted the conlang bug. Well, maybe. That may not be the best analogy. either way, I’ve created four continents, all of which, naturally, will have multiple races, nations, and languages. but what languages are those? And there’s an intercontinental senate that governs a fair bit of areas, like trade and international relations and i dun’ know yet. And so many concepts are coming out of the woodwork, and thus, a need for language to define them, and, I really miss linguistics.

So, so far, I’ve decided on creating said languages, for this world. By myself, or with the help of my friends. I mean, one to help with the geography, one with the species and races, and well, me and another for the languages.  And even if this doesn’t evolve into our own little D&D-esque ttrpg, I’ll have a world and languages to help me write a story

But I now appreciate the years  that Tolkien put into his own languages. I haven’t even gotten to the vocabulary of my one language  properly yet. I’m still stuck on the phonological constraints that possibly define it.

Or maybe I’m doing something wrong?

Conlangers, any tips?

 

2016 – In Review+

Okay so naturally, like anyone else, the year he some good and bad points. I’ve shared some of mine, some of which I still am having trouble getting over or past. Still. It wasn’t all bad. 

Friends days out from January to December; going back to old fandoms and old (and new) movies (Veggietales!!!); Friends doing better in work after having a hard time of it; the plants maintained and thriving; friends married; jobs obtained and managing with healthy work relationships. 

New fandoms, old fandoms, Animarket convention (brother’s first con!) lots of D&D, comics, and of course Harry Potter. Lots of creating and crafting. Some new recipes. Less crochet but I made a couple bags with zips! So progress, even if I’m stalling. 

Sign language! 🤓🤓 TTSL level 1 course attended, but not graded 😐😐 I still practice tho. 

Now we get into it. 

Of course, after all of that, remember the one challenge I set out to complete this year? The reading challenge. It’s been my tablet background all year. Sad to say, I’ve only completed 10 out of a very doable 12. Less sad to say, it’s because other books distracted me 😋

So reading challenge above, what I completed below

 
Naturally, with Cursed Child coming out it  had to be on my list. And comics. Of course. And manga. And lit text books because they’re interesting damn it! I think the only one I really regret is Star  Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers because I think I sort of expected a Proto-GotG and got…. Misogynists in Space. Or a parody of it like, ???? 

Anyways 

So why didn’t I finish the challenge? Spoiler: it’s all books 

1) Harry Potter, because I have to reread it at some point, and I can’t just leave it alone after one. *3

2) Eragon. I’m finally  getting into the series after so very very long. But it’s taking me a while. It’s not a bad series, just, it takes me a while sometimes. *3(+1)

3)  The Name of the Wind. I  immediately had to read Wise man’s fear. It was necessary. *2

 4) comics. I’ve lost track of how many comics I’ve actually read since Hawkeye vs Deadpool , but it’s been quite a lot.  Halfway of Deadpool’s collection up to I don’t know when, Hawkeye 2012, Hawkeye 2015,2016, Dark Hawkeye, where it was really Bullseye spoiler  ,  Young Avengers, while reading Eragon’s last book, I’m also reading Grayson, I read Nightwing, reread Hawkeye vs Deadpool and Hawkeye 2012…

Umm so that’s *?? For comics read

5) yes it’s mostly the comics’ fault. 

6) and Harry’s. 

7) And maybe Albus Severus’. Because wtf would you try to make out with your Aunt, and break up Romione- TWICE!!!!

8) He broke Romione 

On the upside, I really am looking forward to sourcing more of Patrick Rothfuss’ works, and Kate Bishop is a fairly easy Hawkeye cosplay. And Scorpius is a soft little Marshmallow that deserves happiness

____

+ A lot actually happened this year. I loved every bit of it. But Books, tho. These always take precedence. Except 50 Shades. Why did I waste another day on this, I don’t know. I’ll blame my friend. Yes. Perfect scapegoat. It’s your fault, dude. 

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.