Category Archives: Special Guests

Salt and Light(s, Camera, Action)

Like most of the world, I am currently obsessing over Black Panther; so much so that I’ve seen it multiple times in theaters (all this without MoviePass™… talk about dedication). The film boasts a dynamic plot, character build, and a seamless integration into the Marvel cinematic universe. The characters were well-written, and the cast lends itself to make the plot all the more enjoyable. To their credit, there was a natural chemistry between the cast members. Throughout the film, newcomer Letitia Wright proved her skill and natural charm while delivering lines like “Guess what I call them? Sneakers. Because you… never mind.” While Shuri may have been written with a certain charm, I feel as though this came naturally to her. On and off screen, Wright has been a showstopper with her attitude and humility.

Wright has been incredibly outspoken regarding her faith in media, on her social media, and during filming. In an interview with Vanity Fair, she remarked “Everybody has their thing that they’re truthful about. My thing is just a love of God … so that’s what I’m going to do.”  Black Panther director Ryan Coogler also noted her charisma on set, calling her “the love and the light” of the film. During an interview with UK talk show This Morning, the hosts asked Wright about her past with acting; specifically, they questioned her about the fact that she considered giving up on acting altogether. Her response revealed that she experienced trials, but was able to overcome them through her relationship with Christ.

I needed to take a break from acting because I really idolized it. So I came off from it and I went on a journey to discover God and my relationship with God, and I became a Christian. It really just gave me so much love and light within myself. I felt secure, and I felt like I didn’t need validation from anyone else, or from getting a part. My happiness wasn’t dependent on that, it was dependent on my relationship with God.

God desires godliness everywhere, including the film industry, and we are called as Christians to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16). In an industry that is seemingly riddled with scandal, Wright’s faith is both encouraging and refreshing. She has spoken boldly in the past about her faith, and I don’t imagine that changing anytime soon. This has the ability to shift the conversation in a world that is in desperate need of the Gospel. But, it can’t be left to just this actress alone; bold as she may be, she is only one. There is a whole world in need of the Gospel, and the impact would be tremendous, but the laborers are counted as few (Matthew 9:37-38). Each of us is equipped differently, but we all have the ability to shift the conversation, just as Wright is doing in her work and life. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, do it all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). In that, we set ourselves apart and allow Christ to work through us.

alexsimonAlexandria is a worship coordinator for Driven Youth Ministries, and small group leader for Shift Preteens and The One Young Adults. She has a passion for Marvel Movies and graphic novels, as well as Lord of the Rings or anything fantasy. Find her on Twitter at @faitdetoiles

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*Exclusions Not Applicable

There is something wildly fascinating to me about comic conventions. But here’s the catch… I have never, ever been to single comic convention (side note: this is why I’m so excited to be going to MegaCon Orlando in May).

Fans leave the convention center on day one of Comic-Con International held at the San Diego Convention Center. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Invision/AP)

That said, this is going to be based on a lot of speculation, but hear me out: there is such a sense of camaraderie among those who share similar interests. I jump at the opportunity to experience new events, and I love learning about comic artists, upcoming movies, and video games. For those who have grown up appreciating nerd-culture, there’s an investment in attending a comic convention because they have grown alongside their favorite characters and universes. This community is cultivated on a kind of give-and-take of knowledge and passion for geek things.

There’s also this really incredibly inclusive aspect to nerdiness that you don’t have to meet requirements of a certain kind of “personhood” to actually be a nerd. There are people from all walks of life who find themselves fascinated by all things geeky. I have a friend from Lille who introduced me to my first graphic novels, a friend from the Bronx who sent me a documentary on comic artists, and a friend from Encarnación who convinced me to read sci-fi novels. The point is this: there is no guideline on who can or cannot be a nerd, and there is certainly no “*Exclusions apply, see back for details” on any comic, book, movie, video game, or convention. This is a community of people who, even for just a day, lay aside their differences to come together based on a common-thread appreciation of an art form.

If it is true that there is no *Exclusions apply, see back for details on anything nerdy, then it is even more true for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He came not to condemn the world, but to save the world… the ENTIRE world (John 3:16-17). The Gospel is for men, women, all sinners, and all those sinned against. Christians come from a multitude of circumstances, experiences, cultures, and heritages. Based on that alone, it is evident that you don’t have to be a certain kind of person before becoming a Christian. Jesus has extended adoption to us through His death and resurrection, to call Christians children of God (John 1:12-13, Galatians 3:26-29). We are known as God’s children by the love we have for one another, despite our circumstances, experiences, cultures and heritages. Jesus is the common foundation on which we build our lives, and that alone unites us in a unique and profound way.

alexsimonAlexandria is a worship coordinator for Driven Youth Ministries, and small group leader for Shift Preteens and The One Young Adults. She has a passion for Marvel Movies and graphic novels, as well as Lord of the Rings or anything fantasy. Find her on Twitter at @faitdetoiles


An Unexpected Journey

So, you know the scene in The Hobbit when thirteen unexpected guests show up, knocking on the perfectly round, green door to Bilbo Baggins’ hobbit hole? Bilbo opens the door for each group, the final group including Thorin Oakenshield and Gandalf the Grey. These unexpected guests welcome themselves into Bilbo’s perfectly-kept home, disrupting what started out as a normal day; everything had been turned to chaos! In the midst of Bilbo’s obvious bewilderment at this disruption to his routing, Gandalf invites him on a grand adventure, and explains that his acceptance of the invitation will land him an important role for the duration of the journey.

To Bilbo Baggins, however, the very idea of that is absolutely preposterous. How could he leave Bag End and everything he found comfort in? Gandalf tries to persuade him, offering Bilbo another chance to join. With perhaps a hint of excitement as he joined in on the conversation with Thorin and Gandalf, Bilbo nevertheless goes to bed without accepting the invitation. Waking up late the next morning Bilbo finds himself alone again in his home. Having a sudden quickening of heart, he uncharacteristically grabs his things and runs out the door! What an unusual change of pace from his typical day… and when he is questioned as he is running, he simply yells back “I’m going on an adventure!”

hobbit

How would you respond to that situation? Would you stand on firm ground and say no? Or, would you say yes with anticipation of what is to come? God calls each of us into a story He’s writing. Sometimes, our fears of leaving comfort hold us back from whatever adventure God has for us. We can try to plan out our steps, but the Lord ultimately directs our paths (Proverbs 16:1,9). I truly believe that whatever God has called us to is going to be messy, difficult, and downright out of our comfort zone. Leaving the predictability and comfort of Hobbiton and the Shire was the hardest thing Bilbo Baggins had ever been called upon to do, although by journey’s end he would find challenges even greater. But there was so much to gain from all those experiences. It’s even truer for us, then, who follow God’s call! While we’ll face trials, we know that the Lord is fighting for us (Exodus 14:14). There is a full, abundant, overflowing life just on the other side of the invitation…. Where would you find yourself in that?

alexsimonAlexandria is a worship coordinator for Driven Youth Ministries, and small group leader for Shift Preteens and The One Young Adults. She has a passion for Marvel Movies and graphic novels, as well as The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and anything fantasy. Find her on Twitter at @faitdetoiles

The Language Gap

Spoilers for “Arrival” (2016)

“Artists use lies to tell the truth.” .

I remember hearing that in my first of many viewings of V for Vendetta and being intrigued by it. As a good Christian boy, and now minister, I was taught that lying was a sin and something to be avoided but could lies really tell the truth? As time has gone by I have connected this line with my love of fiction. I have come to love stories that are simple on the surface but have a bigger meaning for those who have ears to listen.

A recent story that stood out to me was when I watched “Arrival” (2016) starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner for 1 Geek 4:11’s “Must See” Movie of the Week. Part way through the movie, we get to a scene where Adams and Renner’s characters introduce the audience to something called the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis which is basically that the way that someone understands language, especially the language they speak, influences how they perceive the world. While there is some scientific stretching going on in the movie there is some great truth to the sentiment.

As a Christian geek I have often feel that there was a “language gap” when it comes to interacting with other Christians; the stories that pointed me to a deeper understanding of Christ and life were all… well geeky. It takes a certain type of person to learn something about Jesus’ parables through a story of a crazy guy trying to blow up Parliament, or about how our worldview as Christians is influenced by our language as geeks. Whenever I look back I Jesus in the Bible at Jesus’ ministry I see an artist, one who would speak directly but who would also use fiction, to connect His listeners to the Kingdom of God and to me there is so much beauty in that truth.

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Cameron is a youth minister and co-founder of 1 Geek 4:11 Podcast. He enjoys PS4, board games, Magic the Gathering, and his hobbies include pretty much anything geeky he can get his hands on (and Frisbee). You can find him on Twitter: @humarwhitill

 

“I See You MCU” Continues

The next chapter of the Avengers Saga is coming to screens in just a few months. To get prepared the Nerd of Godcast crew is joining with Scott Higa from The Christian Nerd podcast to watch and review each of the MCU movies, one per week, leading up to the showdown with big baddie Thanos.

We’ll be crossing over with The Christian Nerd every week, so stay tuned in the their show and ours as well- you won’t want to miss a marvelous moment.

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Nerd of God Daily

 

 

Road to Infinity War

The next chapter of the Avengers Saga is coming to screens in just a few months. To get prepared the Nerd of Godcast crew is joining with Scott Higa from The Christian Nerd podcast to watch and review each of the MCU movies, one per week, leading up to the showdown with big baddie Thanos.

We’ll be crossing over with The Christian Nerd every week, so stay tuned in the their show and ours as well- you won’t want to miss a marvelous moment.

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