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Jesus Geeks: Free to let the geek flag fly

Rev. Nathan Webb wanted to bring the church to the communities of nerds, geeks and gamers he participated with online. This started an adventure through which he found those communities had a lot to teach the church about connection, support and faith. Get ready to let your geek flag fly as we learn about the surprising ways faith forms community in digital space.

Episode 3: Free to let the geek flag fly

Video Transcript:

I think that you are a nerd. Yes, you, don't look around and see if I'm talking to someone else. I think you are a nerd. And I mean that with love and grace in my heart. 

I’m Nerd Pastor Nathan Webb of Checkpoint Church, an online community for nerds, geeks and gamers.

I nerd, therefore I am. 

I've watched thousands of episodes of anime.

I've read thousands of chapters of manga.

I've played thousands of video games.

I've watched thousands of hours of television shows.

I've consumed a lot in my short time so far on this series of annual trips around the sun.

So, why - with all of the things I have enjoyed - would I pretend to have seen something that I haven't?

For instance, I've never seen an episode of Star Trek.

I've watched a mere season and a half of Dr. Who. 

I've never rolled credits on a single Call of Duty. 

I have the things that have made me and I'm happy with the choices that I've made along the way. 

One of the most common critiques that I hear about this church for nerds, geeks, and gamers is that we are too niche of a subculture. But these critiques can only possibly come from someone that has never bothered to give it a look.

I would implore even the nerdiest nerd to go to a Comic-Con and see if they could name every single cosplay. 

Did you know there is a subgenre of gaming that exists entirely of Online Reality Shows that happen mostly on private Discord servers? Did you know that there are people who spend hours translating games from the Ace Attorney franchise that were never released in the US?

I meet a new kind of nerd nearly every single day. Nerds are not just a cover-all, but a way of living, a mosaic of people-groups that matter to Jesus. 

They are a people defined by what they love. By a passion. 

I have experienced every single moment of the Dragon Ball franchise in television form, video game form, and manga form. I've written fan fiction and grew up pretending to be Goten while my best friend was Trunks. 

I am a Dragon Ball nerd. 

I have played every moment of every Danganronpa video game entry. I storm the wiki articles online. I have a Monokuma onesie. I own a copy of an unofficially released novel called Danganronpa Zero in kanji and I can't read it. But it's mine.

I am a Danganronpa nerd. 

I could go on, but I chose these two because, odds are you've heard of Dragon Ball, but you've maybe never heard of Danganronpa.

I could pick anything off of my nerdy shelves and tell you a story about them. I have them because I'm passionate about them.

These are the things that make me, me. But I'm not alone. This is what makes the nerd, nerd. 

It feels unique. It feels niche. But the truth is that you're a nerd, too.

Do you rush to IMDB while watching a movie to learn all of the trivia that you can?

Do you get excited about finding a new recipe to try out in the kitchen?

Do you love when Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter drop a new feature?

Do you have alerts set up for your favorite author when they drop a new novel?

Do you have a thing that you are passionate about? Welcome to nerd-dom. 

We all have our own unique flavors, but the secret to a nerd church is that it has always been.

All churches are nerd churches. Because the nerd is simply someone who is passionate. 

We are all differently gifted in our passions, according to the grace given to us. If you are a book nerd, then read in active discussion with others. If you are a cooking nerd, then share your creativity with fellow kitchen enthusiasts.

Some are called to prophesy, others to serve, others to teach, encourage, give, lead, but others still like you and like me are called to nerd out. Share these things, that's the calling.

Do not hide your nerd under a bushel basket, but let that geek flag fly freely for all to share in.

I nerd, therefore I am.

And I think you are a nerd.

Nathan Webb is a major nerd in just about every way. He loves video games, anime, cartoons, comic books, tech, and his fellow nerds. Hoping to provide a spiritual community for people with similar interests, he founded Checkpoint Church--"the church for nerds, geeks and gamers." Nathan can be found lurking on some visual novel subreddit, reading the latest shōnen entry, or playing the newest Farm Sim. Nathan is an ordained provisional elder in the United Methodist Church in the Western North Carolina Conference. He hosts a weekly newsletter podcast: To The Point.