Thursday, November 6, 2008

Acroyear, Shaitan and Brotherly Love

[NOTE: This blog was re-edited on Friday at 8:25 am. I had to pull back on some comments. God is the better judge.]

I did it again. I went and bought some comics, something I haven't done since June.

And I saw that they had what I'd been covering this week, The Micronauts in the back issue bins - so I grabbed up issues 9-12 (a steal) and re-read them.

Issue 12: Prince Acroyear is in a blood-feud with his half-brother the albino Shaitan - there was hatred and violence and judgment - with Prince Acroyear sadly killing - though he wished it not - his former brother in a battle over the cliffs of Spartak.

"So - brother - you s-still know how to kill?"
"Such was not my desire, brother."

You wish it never came to this, brother killing brother.

It happens. Personally, I have fairly negative memories of my brother, eight years my senior. He was either angry at me or angry at someone else. I knew the scripture "If a man says he loves God yet hates his brother, how does the love of God dwell in him?" and felt shame and guilt. I knew I did not love my brother.

The Bible doesn't hold out a lot of hope either for sibling love: Cain kills Abel, Joseph is betrayed and sold into slavery by his bros, David is ridiculed by his, and James and John were called 'sons of thunder', probably from fighting all the time - yeeeeeeesh.

Once I knew Christ, I saw something else about that passage: it was not my physical brother John was talking about. It was my spiritual brother. Remember how Jesus even pushes his own family back when He says "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

So I thought about that. It is harder to find your spiritual brothers at times and at other times it is not. How can you tell?

"By their fruits you will know them."

"By your love one for another, all men will know you are my disciples."


I just got an email from a man who was trained at Wheaton College, with a Masters in Evangelism and Spiritual Development. He is not following Christ anymore. I guess he is a half-brother.

He corrected me however on an assumption I made this Monday: I assumed the Christian Children's Fund rejected the donation from Gen Con for spiritual principles. I know I cared nothing for Christ as I played my games, and assumed that since they were a Christian organization, their loyalty to Jesus Christ precluded any associations that might be detrimental to proclaiming His kingdom.

Nope. They just had strict policies about HOW their name was used and WHO could use it.

From the e-mail of my "half-brother", a letter from CCF on this donation that was rejected:

Dear Concerned Gamer:

Thank you for writing to Anne Goddard and sharing your concerns. Anne was traveling when she received your email. We discussed your concern and she asked that I respond on her behalf. Please know that we take your email very seriously.

There appears to be a misunderstanding which I would like to correct. When Gen Con contacted CCF about its auction, we were pleased to accept donations. However, we couldn't lend our name for publication because our policies have specific criteria for endorsements.

We were unaware that this had caused any problem or concern for Gen Con until we began receiving emails. This decision was in no way intended to be a reflection on Mr. Gygax, gaming enthusiasts or the game Dungeon and Dragons. We have the utmost respect for the gaming community and were touched by the generosity expressed through your auction. We were disappointed that we were not the recipients of the donation but we were pleased that another worthy organization benefited.

We realize this has become a topic of discussion in the gaming community and we hope you will help us by sharing this response.

The needs of children are great and we welcome your support. Should you wish to learn more we invite you to visit our website at www.christianchildrensfund.org.

Again, I thank you for taking the time to voice your concern. Your passion for gaming and your support for children are admirable.

Sincerely,
Cheri Dahl
Vice President,
CCF - International Communications and Fundraising

Now I don't like one aspect of this e-mail. CCF was supposed to be the beneficiary, and this is talking about endorsements. Gen Con staff also weighed-in recently to do some damage control:

I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight on the Gen Con Indy 2008 Charity issue, as there has been a lot of misinformation spreading like wildfire on various forums, blogs, etc.

First allow me to explain how Gen Con goes about selecting its show charity. The process is very simple. We generally choose several potential charities based on the following criteria…
  • Is local to the (Indy) area
  • Supports children
  • Preferably has a focus in math, science or gaming related activities.
Staff then votes individually on which charity we would like to support at the show; majority wins. In 2008, Gen Con decided on a different route in choosing the charity, due the death of Gary Gygax, Gen Con’s founder. It was without question that the charity for 2008 would be one of Gary’s favorite charities. In choosing the charity for 2008, Gen Con had heard through several channels, including a close friend of Gary’s family, that Christian Children’s Fund (CCF) was one of Gary’s favored charities.

Gen Con contacted CCF about our intentions and asked for a logo and some promotional materials that we could use on our website. We were informed by a person at CCF that they would not be able to provide us with these materials, apparently due to our association with D&D.
We were not comfortable with this position, considering Gary’s role as co-founder of D&D, and founder of Gen Con, and therefore we decided to pick a different charity.

We informed the Gygax family of our decision and the reason behind it, and asked if there was another charity they would like us to consider. Fisher House was suggested, as it too was a favored charity of Gary’s. Considering the outstanding services this charity provides to service members, veterans, and their families, we knew Fisher House would be a great charity for Gen Con to support. We later found out that we had been misinformed as to CCF’s position in regards to D&D and Gen Con, but by then we had already chosen Fisher House as our charity, and announcements and promotions were already made and in the works, such that it would not have been possible to change charities at that point.

To be clear, Gen Con made the decision not to donate to CCF; at no time did CCF refuse to take charity money from Gen Con. Gen Con chooses a show charity long before Gen Con Indy 2008 ever takes place. I have sent an email to The Partnership that runs www.livegameauctions.com and asked them to make sure the information being presented and discussed on their website is updated and accurate regarding this issue. I would also like to ask each of you to do your part in setting the record straight by contacting the various websites, blogs, etc. that you are active on, and where this issue is being discussed, to make sure they have their facts correct as well. The statement on Wikinews purporting to be from a Gen Con staff member is completely incorrect, as Gen Con staff has never commented on this subject …until now.

If there are any further questions or points of clarification, please feel free to contact me personally at jeannette@gencon.com.

Thank you.
Jeannette LeGault
Director of Event Programming - Gen Con LLC

Now when you read this, here's what you end up with:

1) My Wikinews quote was TRASH - it was the feelings of a gamer, but it was not from staff of Gen Con. It was mean-spirited offense publicly posted.

2) CCF thought its logos and identity were going to be used for endorsements. I guess an easy miscommunication to make, seeing how digital we are and how tight some org's hold onto their "good name", so they declined - this answers the "How in the WORLD did you think it was for endorsement and not for being a beneficiary?" question: miscommunication.

3) Both Gen Con and CCF are doing all they can to stop this "Fundys reject cash from evil D&D-ers" from spreading. Its too late for that, though. I just did a Google and the vitriol and hatred and spurning is everywhere.

Rich Burlew over at Order of the Stick seems to have been a prime progenitor of this miscommunication (he is well known by the AD&D crowd):

The charity refused due to the fact that the money was raised partly by the sales of Dungeons and Dragons materials, which as we all know, puts an irrevocable taint of evil on the filthy lucre that us demon-worshiping gamers might want to use to, say, donate to starving children. Not only is this a slap in the face to every gamer, but it is especially insulting to Mr. Gygax himself, who I understand donated to their cause many times over the years. Plus, I'm sure the children who would have gotten food or clean drinking water with that money would be sort of upset, too.
I've highlighted the misrepresentations. Obviously, Mr. Burlew is quick to blast the organization and mischaracterize these Christ-followers who feed children, all for the basis of his hobby.

That is sick.

He is even blushingly proud of his accomplishment - after more facts came out:
Anyway, this will be my last word on the issue. Despite this one-time situation, I don't think of myself as a news reporter, much less a community organizer (though I hear it's a good day to be one of those). I'm thrilled that so many members of our community felt strongly enough about the issue to write an email, whether they were fans of this site or one of the others that reported the story. It's good to know that when even just the semblance of prejudice against our mutual pastime rears its head, there are so many good people willing to defend it.
Read the highlight. Semblance? For the sake of a "semblance" he endangered and impugned the work and efforts of a life-altering organization!

He is no brother. He put his hobby - his HOBBY - over men and women who serve Christ in Third World countries.

"Blessed are you when men revile you and account your name as evil on account of Me..."

I guess CCF was blessed then.

They showed the most brotherly love -even when lied about.

Amen.

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