Landon and Jan posted in the “10 ways being a <blank> prepared me for ministry” meme. So I thought I’d do the same. Here are ten ways that being a geek prepared me for ministry.
1. Imagining new realities is second nature to geeks. Some days it’s hard to envision a world where we all treat each other as God intended. Fortunately, geeks have +3 to imagination. We spend part of our time in the real world and the rest of it envisioning new worlds. My imaginary passport has stamps in it from Perth, Azeroth, Middle Earth, Pliocene Earth, Barsoom, Federation Space, Tatooine, and numerous parralel and alternate universes.
2. Even if you do everything right, things may not go your way. We can make the best plans for a new program, a sermon, or a Session meeting and still have things go wrong. Just like your plate-armored Paladin should be able to take that low-level skeleton but rolling a d20 saving throw and getting a 1 says otherwise.
3. Don’t feed the trolls. The church, just like everywhere else, has people who have no interest in anything other than taking your time and making you angry. Don’t try to “win” against them. Smile, nod and tell them Jesus loves ’em.
4. Trekkies are like fundamentalists. Hardcore Trekkies Fundamentalist Christians have pieced together an alternate universe from bits and pieces of Star Trek Biblical canon. This universe goes far beyond what the creator ever intended.
5. Geek conventions are like Reformation Sunday. People dress up in funny costumes and celebrate a niche identity that outsiders scratch their heads at.
7. Geeks can wear one of their many black t-shirts to an emerging/hipster worship service.
8. Geeks realize that differences are good, even if someone is really different. Geeks, by definition, are different and somewhat on the margins. But World of Warcraft geek and Magic the Gathering geek have no business making fun of the other for being different. This is exactly how church should be. We don’t have to see eye to eye on everything (like homosexuality or whether Picard>Kirk) to be in ministry together.
9. Role playing comes easy. In various role-playing games I’ve been a: magic user, druid, lorekeeper, starship captain, jedi, mutant racoon, post-apocalytpic car driver, and giant robot pilot. In ministry I’ve been a: preacher, caregiver, plumber, computer tech, peacemaker, lawbringer, administrator, and rebel.
10. Your worth is not determined by others. Geeks have long endured scorn from those who would like to label them as ‘less than’ because of their passions and dedications. Eventually (hopefully) geeks learn to value themselves as pretty darn great regardless of what anyone else tells them. Likewise, the church spreads a message the no one’s worth should be the product of societal norms and pressures, but that each person is pretty darn great because they are a child of God.