Book Review – 42: Discovering Faith Through Fandom

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Eric Anderson and Nathan Marchand invite you along on a 42-day journey. A journey filled with Star TrekDoctor Who, and the worlds within and beyond Marvel.

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42: Discovering Faith Through Fandom bridges the gap between pop culture and the Bible. When successful, soaring to personal heights that speak to the soul. On off days, testing the cultural and spiritual bonds woven together to the point of collapse.

Despite a few daily entries that felt forced, I enjoyed my devotional journey. Each daily entry features an introductory Bible verse followed by a narrative. The narrative then ends with a “Quest for the Day”. Offering a time of action, questions to journal through, and reflection.

Note: The “Quest for the Day” section is where the devotional fell apart for me. I would find myself skimming over the questions. Failing to engage with the book any further. If the extra scripture reading listed was added to each entry, I might have read it.

Eric and Nathan’s book is perfect for those interested in the junction point of pop culture and faith. I appreciated the chance to read and review their book. Which you can buy here.

Thanks guys!

Off Campus – 42: Discovering Faith Through Fandom – The TG Interview

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Hey guys, I’ve been enjoying your book, 42: Discovering Faith Through Fandom. How did you arrive at making a devotional? Do you really think faith and fandom mix?

Eric: I definitely think they mix. I am constantly finding things in TV, movies, comics, etc. that remind me of Biblical principles or seem to parallel stories from the Bible. One time I even felt like God was really using a scene in a movie to speak to me. I was watching The Amazing Spiderman 2 and it was that scene toward the end where the kid, still in elementary school, runs out into the street in his Spiderman costume all ready to take on this crazy guy in a mechanical Rhino suit. Just at the right time Spiderman comes in and says “thanks kid, I’ll take it from here.” At that moment I felt like God spoke directly to me: “It doesn’t matter what is going on, you step out to face something huge in my Name and I’ll be there! I’ll take on the battle for you.” I even teared up as I was sitting in the theater watching it.

After I started the blog portion of Nerd Chapel, I realized that there was a lack of a daily devotional for nerds/geeks/gamers. You see them out there for hunters, sports enthusiasts and many that are gender-focused, but none for this crowd. I felt like it was something I really wanted to take on and could really fill a notch in our niche community that has not been filled previously. There are more online blogs like mine, but no one had really taken on a planned journey in the form of a book. I asked Nathan to join me because I knew he would be able to figure out things I could not figure out and that he also has a heart for this same audience.

Nathan: It was originally Eric who came to me to write this devotional. He called me and said, “You ever notice how there’s a devotional for just about every subculture you can think of but not one for geeks and nerds?”

“Yeah.”

“Let’s make one!”

It was as simple as that…initially. We spent many hours figuring out how to structure the book. Eric initially wanted it to be read over the course of 40 days, but when seeking ideas from the Fans For Christ Facebook group, it was suggested we make it 42 days long in reference to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy since “42” is the “Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.” It was a great place to start and entrenched the book in geek culture.

Eric and I split the writing duties in half–i.e. we each wrote 21 entries–and made sure we didn’t repeat too many of the illustrations. Eric wanted it structured so readers would progress through the spiritual disciplines without making it obvious they were. While the book was his vision, I did most of the editing and handled the publishing end. We initially tried to submit it to a small Christian publishing house, but they were swamped with submissions, so we decided to go the self-publishing route because we didn’t want to wait. It was smart in the long run because that publisher went out of business.

To answer your second question, I do think faith and fandom can mingle. As I say in the book, God has imprinted Himself in everything, and that includes the stories and activities nerds and geeks love. Superman is a Christ-figure. Jedi live by arguably Christian principles (though their philosophies are bit more Buddhist in nature), and both Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings were written by devout Christians. Not to mention, as humorously pointed out in a College Humor video, religion and nerd-dom have much in common. Perhaps those connections weren’t intended (even by Lewis and Tolkien), but they can nonetheless be mined from those things.

Read the rest of the interview over at TheologyGaming.com.

Life Update: Dimensional Shifting

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So what’s up with you?

I spent this past Friday night and then most of Saturday helping my in-laws paint their new house. The existing interior pink paint was slowly transformed with different tones of blue and a splash of green for the dining room. The house is coming along (another coat of paint is needed in two of the bedrooms) and should be move in ready by this weekend. I’m excited. Nothing like new adventures.

Speaking of adventures, I keep plugging away on my job hunt. I think I’ve narrowed things down to sales, marketing, or human resources. I am definitely ready for a change out of my office manager role. Ready for a new office environment that is both emotionally healthy and challenging. Now, I just need to crack the code for receiving an application response. Could involve a U-boat in the Atlantic with Bon Jovi, who knows.

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I found myself telling my son the other day something I never thought would come out of my mouth, “stop dimensional shifting!” We were playing Guacamelee! on the PS4 and had just obtained the ability to shift dimensions. The boy couldn’t stop pressing the “shift” button. Which equaled me falling, repeatedly. The joys of fatherhood.

If you have a moment, I did get a chance to host the Theology Gaming Podcast last week (which you can check out here). Had a great conversation on the topic of emotional health.

One of my fellow Theology Gaming University members sent me a copy of his book to review. The book is titled 42: Discovering Faith Through Fandom. Short and sweet review: Pick it up if you like a devotional that mixes nerdy topics with Biblical truth. Longer review incoming. Just ignore the book’s cover art in the meantime (my only criticism so far) as it does not represent the amazing content found inside.

Outside of getting to meet the boy’s teacher this week, not much else is going on. What about you?