On the day this article is posted, I will turn 30 years old. On this date, I will have been a born-again Christian for 20 years, a vocational minister for 12 years, and a pastor for almost 7 years. On this date, I will have a seven year old daughter, a son who just turned one year old a few days prior, and another child on the way in just a few months. I work a full-time job apart from my pastorate, and I write for Geeks Under Grace because I have a passion to reach geekdom for Christ.
My story may be similar to many of our readers in certain ways, but the circumstances of this weekend have put me in a philosophical mood in regards to my outlook and my particular stage in life. The day of my birthday falls on the day prior to Easter this year, a time to look deeply into all that Christ did for us, does for us, and will welcome us into upon His return. That event alone should cause every Christian a moment’s pause and reflection. In some weird form of Hollywood scheduling, my birthday also follows the release date of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, a film whose concept seemed impossible to me for so long and has mesmerized my imagination for far longer than I would care to admit.
It’s happening…IT’S FINALLY HAPPENING!
You may be reading this and wondering, “What is he getting at?”
If I’m being entirely honest, I have known Batman and Superman, at least as cultural images, longer than I’ve known Jesus. I was raised on an abundant knowledge of comics, movies, video games, and technology. I’ve been a self-identified geek longer than I’ve identified as a Christ-follower, but there is an emerging realization for me: this geek is changing.
If you look upon the history of my life, Batman v. Superman shouldn’t be just a movie. It should be a verifiable life event for me. Yet, I don’t know if I’ll even be seeing it opening weekend. This is coming from a guy who went to see Green Lantern (yes, that Green Lantern) at a midnight showing, knowing he had to be at work a few hours later. When it comes to all things comic-book movie, I’ve been there day-one since X-Men back in 2000.
Now, I don’t mean this piece to be an indictment of the Zack Snyder film or the emerging DC cinematic universe growing out from it. What I’m saying is that, by objectively looking at my life, my focus this weekend should be on one thing, but it isn’t… at all. If there was anything I looked forward to this week, it was accompanying my daughter to her Daddy-Daughter dance at school this past Tuesday or sharing a birthday party with my young son. Some may think, “Yeah, yeah, yeah… listen to this softie.” I do have children, and being their parent, I love them dearly. Yet, even if I had never married and been gifted with them, I still would be different now than I was in the past. What I hope to relate to readers is that whether you’re 9 or 90, life will change you in ways both great and small. And if you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, change should be sought out and expected as something beneficial.
I have had many experiences of playing games all night until I couldn’t hold my eyes open anymore. I shudder to think of the money I’ve spent on my DVD/Blu-Ray collection over the years. I currently have a stockpile of comics, physical and digital, that are borderline encyclopedic, in regards to the sheer volume of content. At this very moment, I have more media than I could consume, even if I had nothing else but free time, but I still find myself anticipating the release dates of so many things.
Every time I go into GameStop, I see something that catches my eye. Daily, I check my Facebook feed and my usual list of websites to grab any detail I can find for the movies and games on the horizon. There has never been that one media experience that has satiated that desire within me, and I don’t think there ever will be or could be. There will always be a game I want that I don’t have yet; there will eventually be a console released that will make my Xbox One obsolete, and I will move on to whatever it has to offer. The thirst for such things will never be fully satiated, and the anticipations of today for that “thing,” whatever it is, will be replaced tomorrow. I have begun to believe that all of that anticipation for things, earthly in nature, can sometimes work against me in subtle ways. Still, anticipation, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing; in fact, it is necessary for the Christian, as you will see.
Solomon, a king with everything a man of his day could want or need, began Ecclesiastes with some powerful words in regards to all that surrounded him:
ECCLESIASTES 1:2 (NIV)“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”
I know my geeky audience. I am part of it. We take what we enjoy very serious; it’s part of who we are, to a degree. Yet, if we will objectively look at our passions in light of Eternity, these things don’t last. They’re earthbound, locked to this particular aspect of our existence. Now, can I deny the personal realizations I felt the first time I read Watchmen, the first time I watched Star Wars, or the first time I played Journey, among countless other things? No, I cannot deny those things, nor can I accurately relate to others what each meant to me personally, even in relation to my walk with God. I’m a strong believer in God using unexpected means to speak to us; why else would I be a reader of and writer for Geeks Under Grace? Still, the point I must make is that we cannot center ourselves entirely around the entertainment we consume. Otherwise, what measure of ourselves is left to partake of what the Lord wishes to pour into us?
In the seven years I’ve fathered my daughter, I don’t think I have functioned far off base from what any father in my shoes would set out to do: I have tried to show her the things that made a big impression on me growing up. In the journey of my childhood, those things included Star Wars, Disney, Indiana Jones, LEGO, and superheroes of all varieties. After showing her, she took right to some, while others, she never will. I know that that is perfectly fine; I want her to have unique things she is personally passionate about. Still, there’s no denying that it is a joy to share some of these experiences with her.
However, there has been one overarching direction I have stressed to her throughout her childhood, and I’m starting to see that it’s beginning to stick. I have done my best to point her to Christ, in word and in deed. She hasn’t come to the point where she has accepted Christ yet, but she is slowly learning more and more about Jesus everyday, and it is my heart’s desire for her, as well as for all of my children in their own time, to come to know Him as Savior and Lord of their life. I want to know my children will be with me, not only here, but further. That stirs me to act.
Now, in the eternal scheme of things, what things hold the most importance? In heaven, will we be asked: “How high was your Gamerscore?” I say, “Of course not,” even as one who is guilty of picking up multiple Achievements over the years from games shamelessly played only for that reason. In the end, the size of our media library won’t matter, but what will hold significance will be if we knew Jesus and were good stewards of the time and talents we were granted to grow the Kingdom in the places we were put in life. Sincerely, I’m not trying to be a killjoy of all things I enjoy. I’m really not, but I have to evaluate all things in our lives, in light of Eternity.
I’m going to ask some hard questions to consider very seriously (questions I’ve pondered and found myself lacking):
Have we felt compelled to talk to another person(s) about Jesus recently? If not, why not?
Are we living with an anticipation to see God’s Kingdom grown? Do we believe we can do anything to see it grown?
Are we anticipating Jesus’ return, or is it something we rarely, if ever, think about?
Enjoying the things our community geeks out about is a truly great thing to be a part of, but they should never be the central source of our joy; Christ should be.
PSALM 16:11 (NIV)You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence,with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
I have good news in anticipation of Easter: even if Batman v. Superman is the greatest superhero film we’ve ever seen, or a monumental failure, CHRIST IS ALIVE!!! Nothing can change that fact! Not only is He alive, He is returning one day for His people. Even in this world that increasingly finds new and more powerful ways of working against us maintaining even the most elementary of spiritual convictions for the sake of His Kingdom, HE WILL RETURN!!! Despite the particulars of this life not going exactly how we ourselves would choose and even pushing us to the point of disappointment, God will prove Himself faithful in the promised return of Jesus. We can count ourselves among those redeemed when we stand with Christ, here and now.
We have a diverse readership, and maybe my perspective is a natural part of getting older and having children, but I do find that I’m becoming less impressed by the world and more impressed by the promises of Scripture. I’m anticipating seeing my Redeemer and experiencing Him to a greater degree, and I eagerly await seeing those I know and love come to have that same desire as well. I want to know Jesus better today than I knew Him yesterday, and I want you to as well. My anticipation is shifting, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. It’s necessary for the change Christ desires within me and around me every day.
Colby Bryant currently serves as the Music/Youth Minister of Oak Grove Baptist Church in Hugo, Oklahoma, and he served as Pastor of Archey Baptist Church in Soper, Oklahoma for several years prior. He and his wife, Stephanie, have three children. He enjoys adding to his extensive knowledge and collection of movies and TV by watching and collecting as many as he can, and he gets in as much video game and tabletop playtime as his schedule will allow.
*** John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, "I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life. NO ONE comes to the Father except through me." ***
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