Thursday, July 21, 2022

Role-play v witness

From another interesting Russell Moore column, "God, Steve Bannon, and Thor," about fantasy role-playing, often harmless, but not always:
As a kid in the 1980s, I heard dire warnings from my evangelical elders about the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons. It was, we were told, a foothold of the occult.

Although I never played D&D, I didn’t take these admonitions all that seriously, because I reasoned that the same logic could be applied to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings or Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia.

Now, in the 2020s, I am wondering if my evangelical elders weren’t partly right about the way fantasy role-playing can paganize a culture—just not in the way they expected. ....

A Christian vision of heaven is not Valhalla with wine (or grape juice) instead of mead. Valhalla—and almost every other pagan vision of an afterlife—looks backward. It’s the echo and celebration of the warrior’s success in the life that was.

The kingdom of God doesn’t find meaning there. It brings meaning by joining our stories with an altogether different narrative—the story of Jesus. His life is our life. His glory is our glory. And Jesus redefines what wisdom and power really are—by embracing an object found most baffling by the Romans and other pagans of his day: the cross. ....

Maybe more people will see that there is indeed a cloud of witnesses all around but that we don’t need them to cheer for us. We just need to bear witness, alongside them, to the One who “endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1–2).

And because of this, we find meaning even in the stories of the unnamed faithful who ended their lives in what looked like humiliating defeat (Heb. 11:36–39). We find significance, not like Odysseus seeking a name in the annals of history, but like the thief on the cross—whose name is unknown—who asked of the One crucified next to him, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).

Our culture of fantasy role-playing is leading us to some perilous places. Sadly, we often replicate it even within the church. There are dragons indeed, both within and without. Yet sometimes the dragon is not the one we’re slaying in our fantasies but the one offering us the illusion of belonging, glory, and meaning—the very one that will just chain us up in one more dungeon.

The world needs a different story—and Christians have one. Let’s remember it. Let’s sing it. Let’s tell it. And, by God’s grace, let’s live it. .... (more)
Russell Moore, "God, Steve Bannon, and Thor," Moore to the Point, July 21, 2022.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. I will gladly approve any comment that responds directly and politely to what has been posted.