Dungeons, Dragons, and First Encounters: Part 1

Do you know what I did last weekend? I played Dungeons and Dragons for the first time ever, and it was so much fun!

Yes! You heard that right! It was fun!!! Just settle down and let me explain….

A few months ago, I stumbled upon a comic book store in a shopping center I often frequent. I really don’t know why I had never noticed it before, but when I saw it, it caused me great distress because I knew I was going to have to go in there.

As things in my life have changed over the past couple of years, I have become friends with nerdy people just like myself, and with that, has come a huge renewal of many things I used to love but hadn’t really expressed in a long time. That may sound a little vague, but it’s the truth. See, I loved Dan dearly, but he wasn’t really a nerdy sci-fi person. So, over the years much of my sci-fi fanaticism had been toned way down. But then, life changed direction, and suddenly I found myself connected with people who like all the same nerdy stuff I do. To be honest, I didn’t even think people like this really existed! But here they are….on Twitter…..the introvert capital of the world. And now I am….surrounded by friends who know even more about science and Star Wars and superheroes than I do! It’s totally awesome!

Into this newfound world of awesomeness steps, Jeff.

(You know….Jeff….? I’ve mentioned him before…..my best friend…..my gaming buddy…..my “chemistry” partner *wink wink*….. *Sigh*…..Jeff…… a complicated story…..that I am not going to get into right now.)

Moving on….

Jeff and I have spent countless hours discussing everything from Star Wars to politics, pets to personal tragedy, and everything in between. Somewhere along the way, he mentioned that he plays Dungeons and Dragons (or other similar role playing games) with a group of friends on a regular basis. This revelation was intriguing exciting. Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) has always been almost mystical to me. I had heard of the game, but I really didn’t know anything about it. I had certainly never been around anyone who actually played it!

Jeff’s D&D experience made him even more alluring, but I think looking back on everything, he probably didn’t realize how interested I really was. I mean, I don’t exactly get “excited.” And I didn’t really know enough about the game to even ask questions, so I’m afraid I just came across as uninterested or bored. (But I wasn’t, Jeff! I really wasn’t!)

As a matter of fact, D&D was part of our first date. Jeff and I met in real life for the first time in Atlanta, and that is a really long drive from where he lives. By the time he got to the hotel where we were meeting, I had already been there for a while, so he didn’t really have time to decompress. Basically, he walk in, we said hello, brought his stuff up to his room, and went to the hotel cafe to eat. I didn’t really think about how flustered he probably was. I mean, I was nervous too. This was our first date, and I was worried that I was going to blank and be tongue tied. But fortunately for me, Jeff’s nervousness translates into talking a mile a minute! And do you know what he talked about? Yep. His D&D group. It was so endearing, and I had so much fun listening to him. It was during that conversation when I knew I was already in love with this man.

Now I’m going to take a moment to talk directly to Jeff for second. So the rest of you just look away for a moment. I’ll be right back.

(Jeff, I’m sorry if any of what I’ve said bothers or embarrasses you. That is certainly not my intention. Nothing I’ve said here should come as a surprise to you, and it does not change the current situation. This is simply my truth, and I can not talk about D&D without talking about you. The two are very intertwined in my mind. I really hope you understand.)

Ok. I’m back. The point I was trying to make before I got sidetracked with blissful reminiscing is that Jeff is the reason I started to think about playing D&D in an actual real way. Before him, I guess I figured people played it, but I didn’t know anyone who did in real life. So, I started asking Jeff about his gaming sessions every chance I could (without being a pest), and one time we even watched Wil Wheaton (you know…that guy who played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation) DM (Dungeon Master) his own D&D session on TV (yeah, we are that cool 😂!).

Now fast forward to a couple of months ago. Like I said, I had stumbled across this comic book store, but I didn’t go in. I had never been in a comic book store before, and the thought of going in there was very intimidating. I decided to check them out online, and it turns out that this store offers a lot of different gaming nights, including Magic the Gathering, X-Wing, and Dungeons and Dragons. I joined all the Facebook groups.

It still took me a while to work up the courage go into the store, but when I did, I was pleasantly surprised. It was awkward at first, but eventually, a female employee struck up a conversation with me and put me at ease, graciously answering many of questions. She even said she would tell the administrator of the D&D Facebook group to approve me (it’s a closed group and I hadn’t been accepted yet).

The next hurdle was the D&D group itself. They meet on Wednesday nights, but Wednesdays are not possible for me because of church. I wasn’t sure what to do. I almost went one night when church was cancelled, just to see what it was like, but I couldn’t work up the courage.

I started thinking this probably wasn’t going to happen and maybe I should give it up or try one of the other games when one of the guys posted on the Facebook page that he was willing to get a Saturday game going if there was enough interest. I knew this was my way in, so I responded to his post. He set up the time for everyone, and I took my first step into the world of Dungeons and Dragons!

This has turned into a longer post than I anticipated. I think this will have to be continued…

I really hope you come back to hear the rest of my story.

Tela

 

 

Climate Change…Seriously

I have a question I really want to ask. I came very close to just putting this question directly on Facebook, but then I thought better of it. This question is too complex and too nuanced to just throw out on on social media. I really want to explore it, and I really want well thought out responses.

But….I don’t want to start a back-and-forth brawl based solely on people’s knee-jerk reactions. I don’t want a visceral spew of overreaction or defensiveness based only on what people think I’m asking.

I want people to take a moment and really think it.

So, are we all on the same page now?

Good.

Let me see if I can phrase this so that I am concisely conveying what I really want to convey.

Here goes….

Why do Christians automatically bristle at the notion of Climate Change/Global Warming? Why, as a Christian, am I expected to fight against the science that shows our world climate is changing and how much we as civilized/industrial countries/people are influencing/exacerbating/causing this change?

So there you have it. The question that has been lingering in my mind for a while, especially in light of current events, but obviously, this is not the end of my blog post, so let me put in a little disclaimer.

The rest of this post is basically me expounding on this question and coming to my own conclusion. If you don’t want to know what I think about this, or if you simply want to comment/react without being influenced by my thoughts, you can stop reading at this point. Go ahead and comment if you like, though. I want to hear everyone’s opinions. I wouldn’t have asked, if I didn’t.

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I remember learning about the science of Climate Change way back in the 1980s as a child in elementary school. I might have even been as young as second grade when this concept was first brought up. I remember teachers through the years talking about pollution of water and air. I remember them showing how we are so dependent on fossil fuels and its limited supply. I remember mention of CFCs and the thinning ozone layer.

The science behind and the evidence of Climate Change has been reinforced and taught throughout my entire lifetime, and until recently, I have never thought about my Faith being a reason not to believe all the data.

I can understand why die-hard conservative Republicans can rail against Climate Change as being “faked” or “biased” science driven by the enemy, liberal Democrats. Republicans and Democrats have basically reached a place where they disagree for the sake of disagreement. There does not seem to be much reasoning going on at the extremes of either the left or right, and this automatic disagreement has become so epic that the extremes have become the norms. People with moderate/middle views…people who’s views may only waver slightly left or right depending on the specific subject being discussed……have become enemies of both parties.

Ugh! Now I’m digressing into a political ideological rant, and I did not mean to do that.

Sorry.

I only brought up politics to say that I can understand a Republican refute of Climate Change as bogus because Republicans see environmental reform as an attack on the economy. Some of their arguments are valid. Over-regulation, even in the name of environmental protection, can have a negative impact on private business, especially on their “bottom-line” which is often off-set by layoffs and/or hiring freezes, all things that negatively effect the economy and employment rates.

And we could certainly debate these economic effects, what may or may not be driving them, whether or not they are valid, or whether or not such economic concerns have anything to do with the scientific evidence, but those are not the points I am trying to make. My question is more about religion than politics. Let me reiterate my question, just in case I have lost some of you in the boiling cesspool of political rhetoric….

I am asking why my Christian faith has to be at odds with scientific evidence of Climate Change?

Why can’t I be a Christian and care about the environment? Why can’t I be a follower of Jesus and also study science?

Why?

Have Christians forgotten:
That Republican does NOT equal Christian?
That religion and politics are completely separate entities?
That caring for the environment or wanting to explore alternative energy sources is not bad?
That reasoning and intelligence are God-given qualities that He expects us to use?

Basically, my stand is this, God is in control of the destiny of this world. I believe that the complete destruction of this planet and the timing of that lie sole with Him and His Plan….BUT….that does not mean we cannot effect this planet, greatly. We can make it an awful place to live. We can actively or passively cause the death of billions of people. We can (and have) destroy countless species of plants, animals, and livable habitat.

God gave us the authority and responsibility to be stewards of this planet. Don’t you think it’s time we took that responsibility seriously?

Tela