I'm a Christian.
Not just sort of a "yeah, I suppose God exists and I go to church now and again" Christian, but an evangelical Christian who loves Christ with all his heart, believes deeply in the love and truth of the Word of Jesus, and believes that God created the world, all the individuals therein, and that everyone--yep, even us gamers--is His child, worthy of love and respect, no matter how we might disagree with their actions or choices. I believe that God loved the world so much, that he sent his only begotten Son, to live as a man, to die without sin, redeeming us so that we can spend eternity with him. I believe Christ is the Way and the Truth and the Life as deeply as I can. I believe that the life without Christ can never be considered complete, no matter how rich or learned or well-liked or how many followers an individual has.
Over the years, especially before I came back to Christ, and laid down the burdens of cynicism and anger that life had given me, I was not always a nice person online (shocker, I know). I can only apologize for that, and to anyone who was hurt along the way. Everyone--even the people I disagree strenuously with--is a child of God, and I was not true to that. Even now, I fail, because I am human.
Much about the angrier, younger me has changed. I don't see my religion as an accessory or afterthought in my life; Christ is the center, and everything is seen in His light. In that sense, I don't just feel I need to share this, but to explain why the tone of this blog may have changed.
So why am I writing this now? I suppose in part, I've noticed around the blogosphere and on Google+, many of us Christians sort of creep around the edges, worried to incorporate any mention of our faith lest we be seen somehow as overbearing or primed for ridicule. But, in the end, it comes down to this: Jesus states in Matthew 10:33 (ESV), "but whoever denies me before men, I will also deny before my father in heaven". The Christian perspective and Biblical worldview should be the way a Christian views all things in his life, from his family life to his job to yes, his hobbies.
This can be a very intimidating hobby for Christians. Let's face it, since the early 1980s, Christianity has been seen as at war with tabletop gaming. I think as a consequence, many of us are extremely gun-shy about bringing our religion up, when it should be a source of comfort, of happiness, and the guide for how we treat others in this hobby and in our lives. We don't want to "weird people out", or be seen as some caricature, or have people throw whatever stones they care to. The thing is, we are partaking in a hobby that comprises a small part of a short life. Our interactions online, even in the most mundane conversations, might be the only example individuals ever have on how a Christian lives, or the only time they hear anything at all about the word of God. Sincere and firm in my convictions, why wouldn't I share to the best of ability what is so very important and life-changing?
So, ultimately, I guess if you're not a Christian, know that I still love gaming, and that this is still a gaming blog. (I'm not going to just start blogging about Dragonraid). I still love many of the same games, and will still write about many of the same things. some of the people I love and respect in this hobby are not followers of Jesus. But Christ also wants us to live an edifying life, and that should extend to my words on this site and online. I felt I owed you an explanation for when it does come up--and moreso than that, to let you know that Christianity isn't just one type of person or church. It isn't really found in a person or church at all--both of which are fallible and imperfect. We are tabletop gamers, and minis players. We play D&D and Pathfinder and Savage Worlds and Castles & Crusades and Star Wars and FATE and plenty more games besides. We get angry and sin and mess up--but we have the perfect grace and unending love of Christ as a comfort and a compass. (And yes, for all of us, we remain a work in progess!)
If you are a Christian, it's not just that we don't have to be hesitant or afraid to share our faith; in fact, that's the opposite of what Christ expects. The Great Commission says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:16-20). Know that there are others of us out there, that we're there for support and encouragement, and that you should never let the temporary slings and arrows of a transitory world stop you from living the life you're meant to live. Share and live your salvation in this hobby, and be a light unto others. Don't be meek, or afraid, or worried you'll rock the boat. If salvation is truly as important to you as it should be, then wouldn't you do what you could to share it with the folks, fans, and creators we all respect and admire so much? And if a few people don't buy our books or unfollow us, what are those losses versus what is at stake? As the Apostle Paul said, "For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ" (Phil. 3:8 ESV).
So, that's that. A few paragraphs that took me far, far too many years to type. Whether or not you're a Christian, if you want to talk about any of this, you can always email me at mail.rpblog(at)gmail.com. I'll have a review upcoming of a couple of products hopefully this week, and we'll continue with our gaming stuff, hopefully with kindness, grace, and a love of the incredible blessings we are given to enjoy in this hobby. And if I happen to roll a natural 1 on that from time to time, just remember I'm not perfect--just forgiven.