The Geek in the Pew

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Did you know there are geeks in the pews? Being a Christian is hard enough (yes, I know we’re saved by grace not by works, but still, it can be hard) and then put on top of it that you’re a geek? Dude. Hard.

But, wait, what is a geek you ask? Good question (and not because I asked it).

Here’s a quick test:

Do you know the meaning of and even origin for the words: frak, smeg, frel, nerf hearder? Do you know the difference between a megabit and a terabit? Have you heard of Schrödinger's cat? Do you have the NASA website bookmarked on your laptop, desktop and phone’s web browser? Do you understand the awesome that is the Heisenberg Compensators? Have you ever had a fight with a friend over two guys named Kirk and Picard? You cried when Superman died? WOW for you is an acronym not an expression? When someone mentions the Battle of Yavin IV you know the importance of that war? You know who Jar Jar Binks is and you know why you don’t like him?

If you answered yes to any of these then you know what’s going on. If you don’t I’d like to tell you the importance of ministering to the Geek in the Pew.

For the longest time, many of us kept our geekiness a secret lest we be found out. We’d speak in code and if you understood what we were saying, then we knew it was safe to reveal our geekiness. There’s a fear in revealing our excitement about sci-fi, fantasy, computer, science and comic books. Yet this is how we relate to this world, how we see things. A real fear is that if we reveal our membership in geekdom, we might be called childish, immature, frivolous and even have our very faith in Christ challenged (no joke). And so we keep quiet about it.

Until recently.

There has been a rise in Geekdom as of late from The Big Bang Theory on CBS to the recent crowned Miss America coming out and saying she’s a huge history geek and loves Star Wars. More than that, the things we’ve “geeked” out about over the years have now become the foundation which is driving science, philosophy, literature and, hopefully, even ministry.

Star Wars and Star Trek are no longer in the column of pop culture, they have become part of our North American DNA and even the DNA of the world. It is a common language I’ve been able to speak with people across all races, genders, and religions.

There is a need to minister to the geek in the pew. They are Doctors, scientists, music teachers, housewives, farmers, dentists, nurses, and even (gasp) pastors.

You’d be amazed what Biblical truths can be geekily applied for someone struggling with fear and grieving the loss of a family member. Or using Star Trek when explaining how the Holy Spirit works. Or X-men when discussing grace.

The geek is on the rise and will be and most likely already is the next leader in your congregation. Accept the geek. How? Maybe toss out a reference here or there (knowing that you might face the wrath of fanboy if you get it wrong but also the grace of the geeks for trying), or even asking to watch the first three non-1997 versions of Star Wars with them will begin to help.

How might you reach the geek in the pew? 

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Community Builder

Love it! I'm an IT geek but also a reading nerd. I get all happy inside when our pastor makes references to Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia, or quotes from "Wired" magazine. :)

Live long and prosper!

Community Builder

Love it! One time when preaching on Rack, Shcak and Benny being tossed into the firey furnance I said 'It's a trap".. Some people actually got it.

Glad you have a pastor who uses those references.

As an IT geek and Reading Nerd, any other suggestions on reaching the Geek in the Pew?

Participant

When I preaced about predestination in Rom 8:29, I substituted  "it is our destiny" for "we are predestined" and try to say the word "destiny" with the cadence and basso profundo of James Earl Jones. "It is our DEStiny to be made like Jesus."

Got a few chuckles.

Community Builder

Sweetness. I like that. Have you used other referneces in your messages as well (like star trek, etc?)? I'm always looking for new ways to sneak in Geek referneces including "Sin is an epic fail" into my messages. What suggestions might you have?

Participant

Well, I used to say that at the fall and/or the time of Noah, God could have just pressed CTRL-ALT-DEL and started over. But that reference hasn't worked for a while.

About being dead in sin, I once said that we're not just "mostly dead" we're "completely dead" (an homage to The Princess Bride - love that movie!).

Some just wouldn't work with the folks I preach too. Like "God's grace is like the Tardis: bigger on the inside than the outside" since I don't know if there is anyone else in my congregation who have even heard of Dr. Who.

If I think of any more I'll post them. I need to be working on my message for tomorrow!

Community Builder

Okay, I'm stealing the Dr. Who quote for twitter. BTW, have you seen the discussion forum post in pastors called "Dress Code"? I've worn a bowtie the last few times in homage to the 11th doctor.

Participant

Yes I saw your post.

I've not seen the newest reincarnation of Dr. Who. I don't think it's available with our cable provider (if it were, I would know). Last I saw were the 9th and 10th Drs.

I can't say I'd wear anything in homage to anything on TV, but I don't have anything against bow ties.

BTW, do you realize that the answer to life, the universe, and everything = 7 X 3 X 2 (7 days of creation, by the Triune God, for the 1st 2 humans).

BTW, is this forum the online equivalent of the restaurant at the end of the univers? ;-)

Community Builder

Love the breakdown of 42. Gotta use that sometime. Do you have your towel handy?

Nice Josh!

Community Builder

Glad you liked it Aaron.

Any suggestions for reaching The Geek in the Pew?

No special strategy from me. Just the general showing interest in people, asking them questions about what they are interested in, letting them talk about what excites them most.

Hey Josh ... We've enjoyed sermons illustrating biblical messages using the Matrix movies.  That meant a lot to us geeks in the congregation.  I think it's also especially meaningful to our high school youth.

Blessings,

--John

Community Builder

I've heard of churches (and youth groups) doing that before. Glad to hear the good reception. Out of curiosity, have y'all ever used other movies the same way?

Who doesn't love Jar Jar Binks?!?! 

Community Builder

[quote=Joy Engelsman]

Who doesn't love Jar Jar Binks?!?! 

[/quote]

Don't geta me a started on the Jar Jar. Hesa big one mesa donna likea. Da Jar Jar isa da one who asked for da vote for the big meany Chancelor to be emorer. Mesa no like him.

Read Jonah 4:1 and 4:6 from Hebrew and it sounds like Yoda. . . 

Displeased was Jonah with great displeasure

Happy was Jonah with great happiness

Star Wars and other geeky things are great intergenerational communication tools.  My 6th grade daughter and a few others (the rest are all guys) in her class know all the Episodes by heart.  We geeks are in every generation!  

Guide

Geek disappointment in church: Years ago, I asked a parishioner if I could borrow the videotape he had made of the most recent episode of Star Trek: Deep Space 9. I knew he recorded every episode, and I had forgotten to set my videorecorder for that one. I never saw the episode though. When I asked him, he exclaimed, "And lend out one of my original master copies!?"

Oh well, live long and prosper anyway!

Community Builder

When I was in college and seminary, my wife and I gaurded our DS9 and Voyager tapes like hawks. I know where the guy is coming from. BTW.. you remember which episode it was?

Guide

Yikes, Josh, you've exposed me as a mere pseudo-Trekkie. I don't remember the name of an episode that I missed 18 years ago.

Community Builder

I keep forgetting it was that long ago. I've seen so many re-runs of the series over the years I forget sometimes.

Community Builder

Just a follow up to this blog post. Here are two sites that examine geeks in the pew.

www.geeksinthepew.com and http://thechristiannerd.com/

both are good sites about being a geek in the pew.