Fear Of Whales

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Christ’s Alignment

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It’s clear to me where Christ stands on the scale of Alignment he is obviously Neutral Good, The same alignment as Dirty Harry, the same as Spiderman, Luke Skywalker, The Boondock Saints, and The Doctor.

Jesus cares about others more than himself, he is not self seeking, he is not attracted to violence or detriment, he seeks justice and peace. And he does not give a rip what the rules are supposed to be, not according to human standards, not according to any standards but The Father

Christianity is not a Chaotic institution. We don’t seek to overthrow governments and instate theocracy (yet). Our Bible encourages us to “Be subject to governing authorities” (Romans 13:1) and Jesus himself advocated paying taxes (Mark 12:7 and others) Together these sorts of teachings have been absorbed in america into a generalized teaching to “obey the laws of the land”

But let’s not forget that Jesus was tried and sentenced to capital punishment by governing authorities. That all the first disciples were martyred or fell into serious legal trouble, and that Christianity has been and remains to be illegal in numerous countries throughout the history of the world. Forming a contradiction between out command to “obey the laws of the land” and our command to “go and make disciples of all nations”

So we Christians have modified the teaching into a distortion of its self “Obey the laws of the land except where they directly contradict scripture” which is strange, because Paul never said that. Somebody just made that up to make the teaching work, which is a big theological No No.

It turns out “obey the laws of the land” is not a verse at all… Well it is…(D&C 58:21-22) Written by Joseph Smith and considered essential Latter Day Saints scripture, but it’s not a bible verse (not one that I’ve ever found anyway) and as to Romans 13 it needs to be understood in context; Literary and Historical.

Literarily Paul has just finished talking about humble service in Christ, and helping your enemies, he moves there to submitting to Rome. And historically Rome is that same government that killed Christ, that persecutes Christians, where Christianity persists to be illegal (or will soon be depending on what year you believe Romans was written)

The teaching in context is not “We are Lawful Good” it’s just not. The teaching is “We’re not Chaotic Good” “We’re not the Zelots, we’re not here to overthrow Rome by force, we’ll just be a redeeming influence even as they kill us” that’s Neutral Good.

but American Christianity has stopped being revolutionary, it’s stopped being subversive, It’s stopped being like the Church in Rome which was Neutral Good while threatening to be Chaotic Good . The Church in Kansas is Lawful Good and is threatening to become Lawful Neutral

And the world already sees us as Lawful Neutral (they don’t value our standard or morality) and as we shift down the scale From Good to Neutral what do you suppose they think we’re turning into?

Let’s fix this.

Written by RyanGaffney

January 26th, 2011 at 12:01 am

Alignment

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Christians don’t like Dungeons & Dragons as a rule.
We generally suspect that it just may possibly be a little bit The Devil.

But since when have I ever payed attention to christian social conventions? I think D&D provides some great fodder for analogies. Since when you boil it down it’s a rulebook for a simple created universe, it can often help us understand our own complicated created universe.

For example, when dealing with a characters allegiance, D&D found that the universe did not work well enough with a dichotomy. It’s not fun enough to create a world full only of “good guys” and “bad guys” so they invented the concept of “alignment”

D&D (3rd edition) measured characters according to 2 axis. Good vs Evil, and Lawful vs Chaotic with the understanding that some characters are neutral on each axis. Good vs Evil, measures how altruistic the character is, vs their willingness to benefit at the expense of others. Lawful vs Chaotic Measures the characters willingness to follow rules vs their propensity to break them. So all together it results in 9 possible alignments.
I’ll go through them here:

Lawful Good: This is the Law Abiding Model Citizen. Exemplified by Superman. He always does what’s right and good, fighting for truth justice and the American way! All the universe’s unimpeachabley moral characters are Lawful Good. They also tend to have perfect teeth and well behaved children

Neutral Good: This character cares about right and wrong, and if a law gets in the way it needs to be broken. Think Dirty Harry Callahan On this one. The first movie (if you haven’t seen it) Features a scene where Harry shoots a bad guy who has a little girl locked up somewhere in the city. The villain was helpless on the floor, but wouldn’t reveal the girls location, so harry stepped on the wound, and tortured him until he revealed her location. (a lawful good character would have had to call an ambulance, and risk letting the girl die)

Chaotic Good: These guys care about others more than themselves, They will fight for what’s right, but they hate rules and break the law at every opportunity and often hope to topple the government. Robin Hood is a perfect epitome of Chaotic Good. In the eyes of the law he is a thief, there is no question about it. But he’s doing what’s right in his own eyes to rob the rich and give to the poor.

Lawful Neutral: These characters often find the business of morality muddy and confusing. Or sometimes they are undereducated and unaware of the larger issues at play. But the law is clear and they will follow it. Most “townspeople” or NPCs will be Lawful Neutral. The infantry of both sides of any war consists of Lawful Neutral folk. To give you an iconic example, I nominate Sherlock Holms (or any famous police officer) It doesn’t matter whether the perpetrator is good or bad, only if they are guilty or innocent of the crime.

Neutral Neutral: If you just, flat don’t care. You may be neutral neutral. Boba Fett, would be a good example. He’ll work for whoever pays him, do whatever they pay him to do. He really doesn’t care.

Chaotic Neutral: Some characters hate law and order, but not because they want evil to triumph, but just  because they hate law and order (Usually they’re insane) Jack from the Shining is Chaotic Neutral. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. But so is Captain Jack Sparrow he’s more interested in living the life of a pirate than he is in hurting anyone in particular.

Lawful Evil: This may sound like a contradiction but it’s not. Most evil characters end up being Lawful Evil. Adolph Hitler was Lawful Evil, as is just about any evil warlord. The Emperor from Star wars is Lawful, so is the Alliance from Firefly, the sheriff in Robin Hood, and every lawyer

Neutral Evil: Sometimes this is called the “true evil” alignment. They have no qualms about killing their partners or switching sides, and they will mow through anyone they need to to get what they want. but they will not go out of their way to cause mayhem if they see no benefit from it. Dracula is a great example of a Neutral Evil Character.

Chaotic Evil: The evil characters from your childhood that are so one dimensionally evil it’s silly are often Chaotic Evil. Think Dr Evil on this one. Lawful and Neutral Characters may justify their actions by appealing to other standards of good, but Chaotic Evil characters know they’re evil and like it that way. They might threaten to blow up the world to get money, but they also might just do it because they want to Mwa Ha Ha Ha Ha

So Now that we’ve been educated about D&D philosophy here’s the question. What alignment is Christ?

What alignment are we called to?

I mean He wasn’t evil right? So that leaves 6. He was probably good but I could hear an argument for Lawful Neutral…
What say you?

Comment me up and I’ll have my answer next week at this time

Written by RyanGaffney

January 19th, 2011 at 12:00 am

Language Learning

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I believe that the language a person speaks is one of the most important, if not the very most important factor in determining how they think. If you speak English you think in English, and that comes with all sorts of connotative meanings to English words.

I’ve studied some Spanish, but not nearly enough to begin to think in Spanish. When I speak Spanish, I have to translate what my friend is saying into English in my head, then formulate a response, and then translate my English response back into Spanish.

Eventually through practice I’m told it’s possible to develop enough fluency for me to begin to think in Spanish, and I aspire to do that, not only because it would help me avoid embarrassing mistakes, but also because Spanish has a different feel than English and learing to think in Spanish could hardly help but open my mind.

When I think of what it means to “Know Jesus” I have very little choice but to use that English word “know” in my head. “Know” is related to “Knowledge”. It associates in my head with facts and figures and books. I automatically think of knowing Jesus in terms of what I believe, and whether or not those beliefs correspond to reality sufficiently.

If I spoke Spanish I wouldn’t have that problem because I would find in my Bible a variant from the root “conoser” which is related to “ser” meaning “to be” it is a word that refers to familiarity, as in “I know my friend Jessica” while contexts like “I know the formula for the area of a triangle” use a different Spanish word. (“Saber”) so the biblical term would associate in my mind with the person of Jesus, as an associate of mine, and being familiar with his ways.

And that’s just one word!

Do you know how many words Spanish has!!!

So I’m excited by languages and language learning, I think it’s a force for peace, unity and broad mindedness. Which is why I was so incredibly excited when I found this.

It’s called “Where Are Your Keys?” and it’s an open sourced language learning game put together by some nerds in Portland who are obviously insanely awesome. I’ve not played it, They’re in Portland, but I’ve read up on it and watched some videos, from what I can tell, it’s like Mao, but instead of a soul crushing sensation that you are wasting your life, you get to learn Mandarin.

I think the church should rock this thing. Do any of you readers know anybody in Portland?

PS. If you don’t know what Mao is, e-mail me, we’ll get a game on!

Written by RyanGaffney

September 24th, 2010 at 9:13 am