Garrrr, Mateys!

Ostensibly, we made the move to South Bend because we felt deeply convicted that our long-term calling in life was to serve college-age people--to be able to support and challenge them as they began to think for themselves (outside of the direct pressure of their parents)--and we realized that the only way that could happen would be to get some more professional training. For better or worse, in order to teach at most colleges/universities in the world, you need a doctorate. And given my interest in bioethics, evolutionary theory, religion and science, and football, Notre Dame came out to be the most logical place to go to school. Actually, it was a little more creepy than that--creepy in the "oh, God must be telling us something" sort of way. Every time that we questioned whether grad school was again in my future, how we could make the finances work, how we could give up the small group we loved so much, how I could leave Element--the only place that would employ a former archaeologist/youth leader/Dominos pizza delivery driver and the only graphics firm that ever mattered--strange things happened. Bills were inexplicably paid, fellowships appeared out of nowhere, random people walked up to us and said "have you considered a career as a professor?" It was all a little overwhelming. If I didn't know better, I would say that it appeared that God had initiated a very specific new phase of my journey and that I couldn't say 'no'. But now I'm nearly convinced that all of those things were only the prelude. Our real reason for being in South Bend is starting to become ever clearer: to introduce the arch-conservative, individualistic, leave-me-alone-I'm-on-my-way-to-SuperTarget world of "Michiana" (as they call it up here) to really cool boardgames. Our BoardGame Ministry (BGM as it is now called) has reached over 18 people. We've talked about Jesus with many of those 18 people and, glad to say, most of them have become boardgame-playing Christians. It is a true work of the Spirit in these individuals' lives. Where once on a Friday night, you could find them sitting at home watching Survivor episodes, sans commercials, on their TIVOs, now our Fridays are locked in furious (and spiritual) conflict with the very demons of let's-just-rent-an-Ashton-Kutcher-movie-ness. Last night (Friday) this took the form of a new and improved card game called Loot. (I think the original name for the game was Booty. I'm not sure why they switched it.) Our BGM opened with prayer--that God would bless the game, that he would bless our playing of the game, and that I would win--and an hour or so of worship. The worship music mostly centered around pirates and pirate-themes in order to prepare us for game playing. We then showed a short (2-3 min.) video announcement on our projection screen set to Michael W. Smith music. It mostly focused on the overseas boardgame design work of Reiner Knizia, reaching out to thousands worldwide annually. After the announcement, we took a collection to help continue Mr. Knizia's righteous work (I'll probably buy a copy of Tigris & Euphrates with the cash). Then we commenced with the game itself. After a mere 30 minutes, myself and my partner--Brother Andrew--were totally spanked by two of our sisters--Soo and Kim. It was quite embarrassing as they doubled our points. However, we were moved to say "Aaaarrrrr!", "Shiver me timbers!", and "Well blow the man down!" a number of times--so there was a palpable charisma to the service, which showed that God was at work even through the thrashing. And at the end, the other players knelt, tears streaming down their faces, and confessed that they would probably pick up a copy of the game, they had so much fun. So you see, just because God calls you to a place for one reason--a seemingly important one--doesn't mean he in his divine foreknowledge can't also be calling you to an even more crucial building of the kingdom! Remind me next time to talk about my new imported beer and free trade coffee ministries.


Blogger Scott Sloan said...

E, sounds like old times.

7/25/2005 7:42 AM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

Wow. Sounds like it's going well. Miss you.

7/25/2005 7:26 PM  

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