Faith & Fandom
Fanboy Faceoff: Handling Conflict
Out of the many situations that have spawned in the aftermath of the first book, one I never saw coming was an opportunity to write for Clevver Movies. A friend who had picked up my book put me in contact with one of the producers of “Fanboy Faceoff.” This internet based show basically pits the hosts in arguments of fictional battles and lets the fans decide the victor. I wrote a sample battle between two blue hued mutants and eventually got the job. So now out of nowhere I’m writing on a regular basis for a show, which gives me geeky “Street Cred,” and it’s spread to me writing for some of their other shows as well. On a side not it also has dramatically slowed down the process in which this book is completed and in your hands (if anyone out there is actually reading this anyway), but I’m seriously not complaining. I thought I would be writing 8 scripts and then they would move on, but I’ve been writing for them weekly for over 9 months, gotten over 4 Million views, and there’s no sign of slowing down. When the first video of mine premiered I was so pumped. I spent all day watching the view count rise and “likes” pile up, and reading every comment.
That was a horrible mistake. The comments got me. People frenzied to argue with my points, but even more than that, people just frenzied in arguing with each other. There’s a reason we are called fanboys, we are really passionate about our fandoms. So I was tempted to do what any reasonable person would do...I wanted read and reply to every single comment that took a shot at my thoughts or made an invalid argument. I thought once I did this it would be done, I could rest and move on, but no. I realized that every comment I would have made would have gotten like 9 more comments and then start more arguments. I would have spent more time commenting on that video than I did writing it. Sadly this is often how we treat people in regards to faith, whether it’s dealing with believers, unbelievers, spiritual questioners, or dogmatic disciples. We find a reason to argue and we just keep going. A lot of times the arguments are about stuff we don’t even know about personally, but we got taught something once and so we cling to it. Emersion Vs Dunking. Pre Trib VS Post Trib VS Amillennial. Calvinism VS Arminianism. Eternal Security VS Losing Salvation. We take sides and we argue, and when we think we are right not only in our sight but in God’s sight, we tend to fight a little harder and be a little bit less compassionate with those who are so “obviously wrong.”
Through all my years of faith and the countless arguments I’ve seen, participated in, and initiated, one thing I’ve come to realize is that very rarely is someone’s perspective changed by an argument. If someone’s view, especially about serious life issues, is going to change, it’s going to be because they were seeking the truth and searched till they found it. That is why I think the Bible is so clear with us that we don’t even need to be involved in these kinds of “beefs.”
“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:23-26 And “But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.” Titus 3:9
All arguing does is fuel further arguments. Rather, scripture shows us that through kindness and a teaching and teachable spirit, we can instruct those who are willing to listen. We also need to ask ourselves if these arguments are worth fighting over. Do these things actually change the grace and salvation God offers? Does it change who Jesus is?
Is it essential to salvation? If not, we probably don’t need to waste our time. I’ve written over 50 scripts for Clevver now, and you know what I’ve learned? As the writer, don’t read the comments. It’s not worth it, it doesn’t help, and it doesn’t change what I’ve written or how I feel about my work. Since learning this I enjoy the process a million times more. If we learn to do the same with our faith, we can find similar peace. This isn’t a pitch for universalism. The Gospel is the Gospel; Jesus is the way of salvation (just making that clear). In regards though to our “preferences,” “denominations,” and random “theological battlegrounds” we probably have some room to let go. We don’t have to fight every battle.
I’ve also learned the importance of considering other peoples perspectives, cause let’s be honest, most of us are set in our opinions and have no interest in other perspectives. Each episode of Faceoff includes two opposing viewpoints, so it requires seeing things from both sides. Now I’m normally neutral to the arguments so it doesn’t really matter to me, but when I got the assignment to write about a certain Caped Crusader VS a certain Patriotic Shield Slinger, it got personal. In my mind I knew who should win. Because one of them was my personal hero, it didn’t matter who he’s “VS.” With enough prep he always wins. I know this is blind fanboy devotion, but bear with me. So when I had to write why my personal hero would lose, I seriously had to reconsider my blanket answer and think about how others see it; it made the process much easier. If we could do this when it comes to spiritual arguments, consider how much understanding we would approach a disagreement. Think about it, knowingly take the side you disagree with and try to see any truth, logic or perspective in what they have to say. Scripture gives us a great example in this.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” – Philippians 2:3-4
“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” – Proverbs 18:2
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”- James 1:19
Yes I learned to see a perspective where my hero could lose....I totally disagree that he actually lost the battle, but I could see the perspective. Maybe we can keep this in mind the next time we have a faceoff of our own. Are we battling the way God would have us? Who actually wins by the way we fight? Normally this is the point in faceoff where I’d put “now it’s time for our viewers to decide,” but we would be a lot better off if we sided with what God declares instead of our own opinion.