Thanks for Sharing

I was honored to be able to spend time with the incredible community at the Megacon Fan Days this weekend. What a wonderful and diverse cast of characters, and yet it’s a place where everyone was accepted and welcomed as fans, friends, and family. I was asked to speak at a panel titled Religion in Anime and it was a wonderful opportunity. Everyone was super kind, respectful, and we had a great discussion about God and giant robots.
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I appreciate the art and story telling of anime, and I love the passion of the otaku community. Anime is not, however, my personal platform for geeking out, so I still have a lot to learn. During my panel, I let the audience know up front that I was still new to anime. Even though I was very well studied on the particular television show and movies I was referencing during my message, I worried that my credibility as an orator on the subject would suffer. To my surprise, however, it had the opposite effect. The fans in the room, during our Q&A time at the end, used that opportunity to share with me the anime they thought I would enjoy, or from which I could find religious themes.

While some fan bases might see that as a chance to be arrogant to the uninitiated, to gang up and use their fan knowledge as a pedestal from which to look down on an outsider and a noob, this crowd did no such thing. My naivete was instead seen as an opportunity and invitation to share their passion and to open the door for someone to come unto their circle. I immediately wished the church could be more like that.

Christians, or perhaps a better way to say that is Church People, can sometimes (not always, thank goodness, and hopefully not often) be seen as elitist, aloof and even judgmental when presented with someone who does not live by or share their values and beliefs. I wonder if, and more reasonably how, the world would be different if followers of Christ would extend the same level of passion and inclusion as the anime fan community. Their passion is not just to experience the art, not just to consume the culture, but to “evangelize” to those who have not yet heard. To share, not with condescension, but with conviction. To invite not with disdain but with a genuine desire for others to experience the wonder of the thing they enjoy.

It’s a wonderful thing to make someone want to love the thing that you love simply because they’ve seen you loving it. (click to tweet)

Let’s really think about it, church. It all really comes back to loving God with all your heart, soul and strength, then following it up with loving others. That’s what Jesus did. And he didn’t even have to dress up like a green haired warrior with a giant sword and cat ears to do it.

 

 

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Superman, Where Are You Now?

With all the news about Paris, all the social media awareness and displays of support, we all are unified by our disdain for the loss of human lives and our repulsion toward the cowards who think, who arrogantly assume, that God is honored by their hate and murder.

I feel foolish, then, given the gravity of the situation, when my mind goes back to the movie Superman II. In it, terrorists take hostages in Paris for their cause of some such demands, and they threaten to level the city with a hydrogen bomb hidden in the Eiffel Tower. Lois Lane, ever on the prowl for a scoop, finds herself in the middle of the drama and Superman, as he is wont to do, shows up and saves the day.

Here are the highlights in case you missed it.

 

 

Back in real life, it’s difficult to be suddenly reminded that there are no super heroes. No one can fly in and save the day, at least not in the way we dream about. We are thankful for the police, fire fighters, and other emergency personnel who risk their lives to save others, but in my mind I wish all it took to make our cities safe was to light up the Bat-Signal. We commend the soldiers who protect the safety of their nation and who fight a battle on foreign soil, trying to choke out terror in its hive, but sometimes it would be nice to see justice delivered faster than a speeding bullet. We are thankful for the voices of sympathy and support that come from every corner of the world during seasons like this, but sometimes I fear gestures of support aren’t enough.

There is only one super man, that is the man Jesus Christ. There is only one Prince of Peace, and He is the one who shows His love in such a way the He died for both His friends and His enemies. In these times, I am thankful for God’s grace, for His justice, and for how He created US, you and me, to be the arms of His love. Let us love and pray for the innocent, the wounded, the frightened. But let us also do what no one other than Jesus can do… let us pray for those with blood on their hands. Let us pray that God would forgive them, to help them, somehow, be free of the hate, of their blindness, of the twisted awful system that creates and celebrates monsters.

It is a long shot, and I admit it might never change them… but I suspect it might change us.

That’s something even Superman couldn’t do.

Tony T Speaking at Megacon Fan Days

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The Nerd of God.cast is excited to officially announce that I (@ItsMeTonyT) will be speaking at Megacon Fan Days in Orlando, FL this year. In cooperation with Wasabi Anime, I will be sharing on the topic Religion in Anime, or as I call it, The Gospel According to Neon Genesis Evangelion.

This is a panel that I hope people from all backgrounds can enjoy and have fun with, and I’m honored to have been invited by Tom and the Wasabi team to present again (I was featured at Florida Anime Experience in April.)

I’d love to see some of the NOGSquad come out to support, as well as to meet some of us. I might even have some giveaway stuff! My panel will be held on Saturday November 21st at 2:30pm. Pray that God uses this opportunity in a big way!

Make Contact

The next new voice you hear on the Nerd of God.cast might be your own! Starting with Episode 8 we will begin a new segment where we can read listener mail, answer questions and even have conversations in real time with you, the amazing Nerd of God Squad.

You can email in questions and comments to NerdOfGodcast@gmail.com, watch as we Periscope, or respond to our prompt on Facebook or Twitter. We want to hear from YOU!

Daniel and the Force

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If you’ve been anywhere near the internet over the past few days, it’s more than slightly likely that you’ve heard mention of Daniel Fleetwood, the terminal cancer patient who’s dying wish was to see the new Star Wars Episode VII. Fans and well-wishers rallied around the cause, with #ForceForDaniel making national news and even getting support from many stars of the films, including Mark Hamill. Today, he got his wish.

“Daniel’s final dream was just granted!!!” his wife Ashely wrote. “Today the wonderful Disney and Lucasfilm made his final dream come true, in the amazing typical Disney way, they really do make dreams come true!”

I’m glad for him, I really am. I know how real that eager anticipation for a beloved franchise can be, even without the fear of death. I personally recall, with a great degree of embarrassment, having the momentary thought, “I hope Jesus doesn’t come back before Episode III comes out.” (for the record, He didn’t. Also for the record, I would have been fine with it if he did.)

I only mention Daniel’s story to illustrate this thought; if I only had two months to live, what is it that I would hope to accomplish, what would I desire most to see come to pass?

There is nothing like staring down one’s own mortality to highlight what is truly the most precious thing in one’s life. The Bible talks about choosing wisely whom it is that we will serve, and that where we find our treasure is where our hearts will be also. We also see clearly that the things of this world are temporary, fading away in the light of eternity. I know that I’m a fan of so many movies, games, comics and shows, but I think (or should I say, hope) that given a shortened shelf-life I might re-prioritize things a bit. However, if that’s the case, and if tomorrow isn’t promised to Daniel or any of us, why do we find it so easy right now, as we are, to commit so much of our time to things that have little to no eternal impact.

I am certainly not advocating abandoning your passions and your favorite things, but I do encourage you to make sure that your life is producing fruit, that it has significance of an eternal value. Spend time with your family. Serve others with Christ-like grace. Forgive those who have hurt you. Impact a life with the good news of God’s love. Live like there’s no tomorrow, and make the best of today… and may the force be with you. Always.

Save the Date

Re-posted from Tony T’s RevolutionHeroes.com

In the video game Batman: Arkham City if you venture below the Courthouse, you can talk to an obscure Gotham rogue named Calendar Man who is locked up in a cell in the basement. The observant gamer will notice a calendar on the wall next to his cell with 12 days circled.

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  • January 1st (New Years Day)
  • February 14th (Valentines Day)
  • March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day)
  • April 1st (April Fools Day)
  • May 13th (Mothers Day)
  • June 19th (Father’s Day)
  • July 4th (Independence Day)
  • August 16th (Feast Day of Saint Roch)
  • September 5th (Labor Day)
  • October 31st (Halloween)
  • November 24th (Thanksgiving)
  • December 25th (Christmas)

If you play the game on those days in real life, then talk to Calendar Man on each of them, he will tell you a story about a crime he committed on that day. The corresponding month will also be crossed off the calendar. If you play the game on each of those 12 days for a year, you will unlock a trophy (or an achievement) for it.

People actually do this for an imaginary trophy, something that has no effect on the game whatsoever. Yet we, as believers, often struggle to commit to spending time in scripture and prayer each day, something that yields great power and wonderful results. The word encourages us to be like the psalmist who proclaims, “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You” and “When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the [night] watches.” (Psalm 6:31, 6)

Day and night God desires us to seek Him. Let us set our calendar for our daily date with Jesus… and NOW you’re playing with power!

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6

Christ Culture//Nerd Culture