Dungeons and Dragons and The Church
I have a nerdy confession to make. Are you ready? OK. I play Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) regularly. Phew. It feels good to get that off my chest. Not only do I play, but I run most of the games my group plays. I am the Dungeon Master (DM) or the Game Master (GM).
I know that when some people think of Dungeons and Dragons they think of sweaty kids with zero social skills and a very loose grasp on reality. Some people even believe that D&D players like to dress up in wizard hats and carry foam swords. This has not been the case, at least in my experience. People of all ages play D&D, players fit no stereotypes that I have seen as far as social awkwardness goes, and I have never been to a game where players wore wizard hats and/or carried foam swords.
I love playing D&D. It is fun. My favorite aspect of the game is that you get to control the story. As a player or a GM, you are engaging in a cooperative story-telling adventure. You do not get that same experience in books, movies, or even video games. The world is expansive and the only thing that can limit it is your imagination. I have played games with a gnome with a pet crocodile, a sorcerer who loved dancing more than magic, and a barbarian whose weapon of choice was a shovel. I have fought dragon zombies, I have charmed powerful diplomats, and unveiled the true identities of a vampire acting troupe.
I also love D&D for the fun character/player dynamics that come up in play. We really need every character in order to make the game run well. Lord of the Rings is usually lifted up as a point of inspiration for the creation of D&D and we can note that the characters are all so diverse. Wizards, humans, dwarves, elves, hobbits, and more are necessary to the story of Lord of the Rings. The same is true in D&D. No game would be successful if a party consisted of only one type of character. Five wizards may be very impressive as they hurl fireballs and cast lightning bolts, but pit them against a feat of strength or a locked door that needs to be picked, and they are out of luck. A good D&D game needs a variety of character types in order to be successful. The same can be said for the faithfulness of the body of Christ. The apostle Paul writes, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ…” (1 Cor. 12:12). He goes on to talk about how no one body part is more important than another. You cannot have just one part of the body in the body of Christ, “If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be?” (1 Cor. 12:17). We need the body of Christ to be as diverse as our own bodies and as a D&D party. We can rejoice that God has blessed us with such diversity within the body of Christ.
I love the church for many of the same reasons I love Dungeons and Dragons. God has given us an opportunity to dream dreams and seek out visions (Acts 2:17-18). We have God on our side, the one who created the heavens and the earth, who is alpha and omega, and who is beginning and end. With God on our side we are only limited by what we can imagine. That is what I love about Saint Bart. We are blessed with so many diverse people who are not afraid to dream big. Without a God-given holy imagination, no one would have dreamed up the Clothes Closet, hosting the Share Food Program, the Women’s Group, Craft Group, worship in the park, a dynamic VBS program, Feast of Faith, and much more! I truly believe that those visions were gifts from God and that God is not done providing visions and dreams to God’s church.
Lent is traditionally a time of preparation and deep reflection for the church. I invite you this Lenten season, to take time in prayer and conversation to dream of what God might be calling you to do- as an individual and as the people of Saint Bart. We have all been given unique gifts and talents and God calls us to joyfully share the Good News of Jesus Christ through these gifts and talents. God has been faithful to God’s people throughout the ages and God has promised to be faithful today.