WARNING: Heavy nerd zone ahead. If’ you’ve never played role playing games or watched Lord of the Rings, this will sound like gibberish. Might sound like that even if you are a fellow nerd.
There is this very nerd-funny web comic that presents the story of Lord of the Rings as if it were a session of a role playing game. (See, I warned you.)
In one of the many panels, the author ends the panel with a good point:
Remember, nothing will spice up your campaign quicker than long descriptions of NPC’s doing spectacular stuff while the players sit around and watch.
Isn’t that part of the challenge of all our God-talk? We cleave so hard to “justification by faith alone” that we basically reduce much of this grand adventure with God to sitting around and watching Jesus do everything. Indeed, we say all the really important stuff is done already and certainly is not done by us.
There are good theological reasons for this, but don’t we run the risk of making people feel as if they have no role? They are passive recipients of salvation.
Yes, I know we talk about holiness and sanctification as the work that comes as a result of faith. But doesn’t that end up being a bit like having your older brother push out of the way to build the cool new model ship you got for Christmas, and then when he finishes it say it is okay because you get to look at it and dust it off?
Maybe not that bad, but faith – to be an adventure – needs to be about doing, not watching. If the big, crucial things have already been done, then rather than talk about those, we should focus our attention – and our talk – on the things that we can do and need to do to make faith live.
Just a thought from a nerd.