I occassionally walk to church when the driver isn't around and today was one of those days. Of course for the past week, I've been carrying my big bag and yesterday I was lifting twice the amount of weight I usually carry because I usually tend to help the other cosplayers, whether it's taking a snapshot of them, carrying and watching their bags, or helping them out with their props (some of which can be quite heavy). So today is one of those days when I get to travel without the burden of a bag.
And yes, moving was easier than expected. Skip-hopping was so natural I didn't even have to exert effort. Even got home in record time.
In the bigger picture, every Christian church community is looking to expand its members. And this means witnessing to other people in the hopes of converting them. Not that I expect to change other people's faith via coercion, but I do want to give them a nudge in the direction they want to go (even if this means following a religion other than Christianity), and in that sense, I do believe that witnessing or sharing one's experiences is an effective method.
Of course me being a shy person (I can sense several people unwilling to believe that), approaching strangers and asking them to spare a moment of their time so that I can share my experience with God is a big strain for me (i.e. I won't be doing it unless coerced). I'd rather be a salesman selling some product; at least that way, I have some tangible item which I can sell. When it comes to religion, peddling your faith takes not only sincerity but a certain charm as well. And in the end, the only constant results you have are the variety of reactions people will have; consistency is not something associated with people's reactions.
And then it dawned on me that if I really want to be effective, I shouldn't go to other people but let them come to me. Easier said that done right? But aren't blogs like that? Blogs aren't spam, we go to them, not them to us. If you want to know about me and my faith, read my blog. If I want to share, I'll blog about it.
Suddenly, witnessing became much easier in the 21st century (but of course, missionaries will still be key players in propagating one's faith).
The fantasy genre has often been seen as anti-Christianity. And me being a fantasy fan, that's hard to reconcile. It's like the Catholic church's stand on homosexuality: sexual intercourse isn't a big issue when it comes to showing your love for others (since there are other modes of expression), but as a homosexual couple, you still can't perform it together (because it's not a "big issue" but we're making it a big issue nonetheless). With the exception of some blatantly pro-Christian novels (i.e. Chronicles of Narnia, Left Behind series), everything else is in the devil's sphere of influence.
Of course for me, that's ironic, since most of the epic fantasy genre deals with Christian virtues. I mean you have a powerful being who chooses someone to save the world, a person with his/her own destiny. I mean isn't that the same way our Christian God is portrayed in the bible? God chose insignificant people, people like Abram, Jacob, Moses, Jonah, etc. And in fantasy, it's not the princes or the great warriors but rather the common folk, the underdog, the peasant, the farmer, the commoner. The fact that you have a deity-like being choosing people to save the world is already a big step in promoting the Christian mythos. Personally, I don't like those kinds of plots but hey, the popular writers like Weis & Hickman, Terry Brooks, and Patricia McKillip uses them. And our priests and pastors asks that from us: that we can make a difference in other people's lives (it might not seem huge at first but it does make an impact) if we take steps to help and preach to them.
Second is the purpose characters are given in fantasy novels. Everyone has a purpose, even the villains. I don't think I need to quote from the bible that everyone (especially us Christian) has a purpose, even our enemies. I think a good example of this is Gollum from The Lord of the Rings novels; it's not stated as much in the movie but in the novel, several people want to kill Gollum. Even Frodo was tempted but he eventually took the path that Gandalf took, stating that Gollum probably has a purpose and didn't allow others to kill him even if it was in their power to do so. And of course, at the end of the book, we did see how Gollum was pivotal in saving Middle-Earth (Ha! And you thought George Lucas was great for creating Darth Vader!). A number of high fantasy books take the moral high ground when it comes to protagonists. And again, I'm not exactly so much a fan of these types of characters but hey, as I said before, they do make up a significant chunk (but not the only one) of the fantasy genre. Even Raistlin of Dragonlance fame, a classic example of the anti-hero, falls under this bracket.