One of my favorite parts of working for Love Thy Nerd is the opportunity it affords me to chat with people outside the church. Don’t get me wrong, I love church people. I am one, after all. But living in the Bible Belt and working in Christian ministry, I just wouldn’t normally bump elbows with non-churchy people very often. And as it turns out, these conversations with people outside my Christian circles have become really important to the practice of my faith. In fact, I can confidently say that this is important to the practice of everyone on staff at Love Thy Nerd. Nerds have often been neglected by the church and we are committed to changing that by loving and serving our nerdy neighbors—so committed that we started a nonprofit dedicated to doing just that and equipping others to do the same. In fact we are hosting a conference to this end—a time for nerds who too often only interact online to come together, play games, and join one another on a mission far bigger than themselves.… gamers and nerds are often ignored or misunderstood by the church, and I don’t think Jesus would be down with that. I think He would to flip that narrative.
In case you didn’t know, I co-host a podcast for Love Thy Nerd called Humans of Gaming in which Chris Gwaltney, our Chief Executive Nerd, and I chat with game designers about games, life, and belief. We always ask them if faith is or ever has been a part of their lives. We also ask them what they believe now and why they believe it. One of the most common questions I get about the show is, “How do you get people to open up about what they believe?” The answer is: we simply tell them up front that we are going to ask these kinds of questions, and we promise to listen. As we’ve listened, we’ve heard a recurring story—the story of people growing up in the church only to leave it later in life because they no longer feel welcome or understood.
Anyone who identifies as a geek or nerd can probably identify with this. The church often isn’t a particularly comfortable place for folks like us. Sure, most churches these days put up with gamers and nerds, but that doesn’t change the fact that the church has often disparaged nerdy passions and interests as childish at best and demonic at worst. And yet Jesus was known for hanging out with tax collectors and sinners, so much so that the Pharisees accused him of being a glutton and a drunkard (Luke 7:34). He was neither, but he went out of his way to hang out with people who were.
What does this have to do with nerds? Jesus deliberately spent time with people the religious leaders of his day looked down. I think followers of Jesus ought to strive to do the same. Don’t mishear me, I don’t think gamers and nerds are the tax collectors of our day—but I do think gamers and nerds are often ignored or misunderstood by the church, and I don’t think Jesus would be down with that. I think He would to flip that narrative. That’s what LTN Con is all about.
LTN Con is an opportunity for nerds who too often only interact online to see one another face to face in a space where they will be loved, listened to, and embraced. It’s an opportunity to unabashedly be a nerd with other nerds. More than anything else, we will be playing games, hanging out, and listening to one another geek out about our nerdy hobbies and passions. However, we also hope that at LTN Con you’ll learn more about nerds and nerd culture and how invested Jesus is in both. We see this humble conference as an opportunity to join Jesus in His business of flipping the script on who we love and how we love them. So join us in Dallas on October 4-6 to be equipped and encouraged to join us in our mission of being the love of Jesus to nerds and nerd culture.
Sign up before August 15th for 25% off your registration!