Here on the Dungeon Master Pastor website my tagline is that this is “Where following Jesus and fighting dragons meet.” Fighting dragons at the Dungeons and Dragons table helps people to learn that the challenges are possible to overcome, but following Jesus is what helps me know that that’s not just a fantasy. Following Jesus has taught me that the challenges in our life are real, and that they can be overcome through faith.
Four years ago when my son was born he was diagnosed on the newborn screening with a disease called spinal muscular atrophy. It’s a devastating disease, one that treatments were just coming out for and were still experimental. In some ways the treatments my son received still are experimental and it remains unknown how long they will work to keep this disease at bay. SMA is a disease that that takes lives and threatened to take the life of my son.
In addition to that, in recent years a close family member of mine became overwhelmed by the stress of life and developed a severe bipolar disorder. Over the last few years, they have been hospitalized half a dozen times, up for months at a time.
It has been an extremely challenging time in my family’s life, but through my faith I know that it is also possible to overcome these challenges and get through this hard stuff. Not only that, but faith gives me an understanding that circumstances like these are not judgment. They are not a reason to lose hope. Instead, faith gives me the very hope I need to persevere and not lose myself in the midst of all this.
My faith in Jesus has really carried me through and shown me that yes, the real life dragons – those like disease and mental illness – you can overcome them. You can face the challenges and come out on the other side with your spirit and soul intact. And not only can you face them and endure them, but you can discover immense beauty and joy in life at the same time.
I have a theology of joy and a love for play. Often in the seriousness of everything that faces us in life, we can lose sight of freedom, joy, and fun. But the joy of Jesus shows me that yes, there is a way to hold onto the seriousness of the world’s problems, but also to do that without forgetting that we are ultimately liberated and set free through Christ from ever being defined by them.