What is a “Geek”?
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you are a self-identified “geek.” Recently, I’ve heard that word’s usage in a much greater capacity and in a much more positive connotation than I remember in times past. Apparently, we’re living in the age of the “geek,” with pop culture fandom at an all-time high. It’s always been true that words in the popular lexicon change meaning over time, be it in slight or great ways. In an effort to understand this great idea of “geekdom” I hear so much about, I consulted the expert source: Merriam-Webster. The first full definition I found was:
1) A CARNIVAL PERFORMER OFTEN BILLED AS A WILD MAN WHOSE ACT USUALLY INCLUDES BITING THE HEAD OFF A LIVE CHICKEN OR SNAKE.
I’m not even joking… that’s absolutely terrifying. If this is indeed the age of the “geek,” I’m locking my doors.
2) A PERSON OFTEN OF AN INTELLECTUAL BENT WHO IS DISLIKED.
This usage is definitely not a term of endearment, and traditionally this is the demeaning label many grew up with. Growing up, I was always at the top of the class, and the “geek” label came my way. Personally, I struggled with accepting it long ago, especially during those fragile years of adolescence when we are hardest on ourselves. I’ve seen many take a label given to them by their peers and allow that negativity to direct their lives in an unhealthy way. Surely, this isn’t the best meaning of “geek”.
3) AN ENTHUSIAST OR EXPERT ESPECIALLY IN A TECHNOLOGICAL FIELD OR ACTIVITY.
FINALLY, I found a definition I can get on board with! I mean, it almost makes me sound like Iron Man, and that’s never a bad thing. I am absolutely an enthusiast of many things, and while I may not be the expert, I try to know all I can about the movies, games, and television shows with which I connect. It’s just who I am. When I get behind something, I’m all in. I’m not just watching the movie; I’m buying all the stuff around it and loving every minute of it. I’m reading the backstory and learning all the relationships and personal histories of all the characters, even the minor ones. I am absolutely a “geek,” as that term reflects my passion and enthusiasm for all the things special to me. Under this term, conceivably, a person could be a “geek” about any number of things, and this sets my mind spinning as to the reach and importance of Geeks Under Grace.
I remember coming upon the Geeks Under Grace community and thinking, “A community for people JUST LIKE ME: CHRISTIANS GEEKS! How revelatory!” I’ve held great friendships with many “geeks” from all over, but sadly, the idea of a geek and a Christian in the minds of many almost seemed like mutually exclusive ideas. I’m not trying to toot our horns, here, guys and gals, but “geeks” tend to be quite capable in being a thinking crowd, and we run the gamut of professed beliefs I’ve found with many professing to have no belief in God whatsoever. While different belief systems can lead to interesting conversations, many “geeks” turn the other way when Christianity is brought up, leaving us “Christian geeks” feeling like even lonelier loners. I believe community is a necessity for us, and I’m thankful to find it here.
GEEKS FOR CHRIST
Still, in writing this piece, I felt the question needed to be asked: if being a “geek” isn’t some strange, terrible thing but instead a reflection of passion, enthusiasm, and expertise, shouldn’t every Christian be a “geek” then, by default?
Deuteronomy 6:5 (NKJV) You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
Shouldn’t we be passionate about our faith, enthusiastic about drawing others to Christ, and experts of the Holy Scriptures that give us life and direction? Shouldn’t we be sold out for Jesus Christ, and shouldn’t the world see that naturally in us?
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV) Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
I don’t think that in reading a Scripture such as that that one can make the stance that Christians can be casual, as so many professing Christians seem to be. Truths such as this show we should be hardcore in our passion to know as much as we can about Jesus Christ, the one Who died to give us life. We shouldn’t feel the least bit ashamed of what we believe, and we should know exactly what it is that we say we believe. We should not only know the Bible and what it says, but we should also be active and enthusiastic students of the Word, knowing what is said in context and “dividing” the Word as it says, being able to sift through the confusion that is so readily apparent in regards to what the Bible actually says to our modern world. Our passion for Jesus should only be rivaled by our passion to see others come to know the same Savior we know, and that passion shouldn’t be extinguished when we are around them.
We should be “geeks,” in regards to our relationship with Jesus. People should be able to see the reality of our faith as readily as if they were to see us representing a character in cosplay or as definitive as our knowledge of literary or cinematic canon. They should hear our enthusiasm for Jesus in explaining the intricacies of His beautiful love letter to humanity, just as they would hear it in the myriad of hearty discussions we have about the media we love. They should see us readily going the extra mile to serve others and see the servant heart of Christ when we do it. There is no question in my mind that with the natural enthusiasm we “geeks” have for any number of things, we could change the world for Christ if we can port that passion over to Him.
How do we do that exactly? Sometimes, we have to die to the flesh, to our own desires. Keep in mind, the desires we must put aside aren’t always something bad; sometimes, it means taking time from one thing we enjoy and putting it to something greater.
Luke 9:23 (NKJV) Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
That can be incredibly hard sometimes, especially when our Netflix queue is full or we have friends online ready to play. Last time I checked, there are only 24 hours in the day, and even with the very best of intentions, our days can be easily spent with no regard for God. Still, my reading of the Gospels showed Jesus living a life that set aside personal comfort for a greater purpose. Knowing that, we should follow Christ’s lead and set some things aside, if not in their entirety then at least in moderation. We must give Christ the time He needs daily to grow in influence over our lives. If not, we will not be active disciples changing the world for Him.
1 Corinthians 1:9 (NKJV) God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.