Leah Libresco on LARPing and conversion

Leah Libresco on LARPing and conversion October 9, 2012

LARPing (Live Action Role Playing for all you non-Geeks) is basically a new form of combined gaming and storytelling (think D and D) in which you get to inhabit your character’s skin.  Fundamentalists were greatly exercised about all this some years back, since stuff with magic and spells  and stuff was regarded as pure evil (except when Tolkien and Lewis do it).  Of course, the reality is that fantasy and science fiction, like all other forms of human imagination, can be used for good or evil.  One thing it has led to, as Leah points out, is encounters with the holy as LARPers put themselves inside the skins of, for instance, Nightcrawler: a devout Catholic mutant from the X Men.

The Catholic tradition has long gotten that we internalize the truths of the revelation best by seeing it lived out in somebody else.  So Paul says, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ” and tells us to make use of the “riches of his inheritance in the saints.”  We are baby duck and we imprint on others.  What the cult of the saints (and great fiction) does for us is give us human beings who show us how to be human and saints who show us how to be saints).  They aren’t perfect, but then neither are we.  So they give us doorways into Christ.

All of this is deeply incarnational, which is to say, deeply Christian.  It is the curse of our age to fear and suspect human models and insist instead on diagrams and abstractions.  I am Christian, in no small part, because of Christians I have known.  Far less important are abstract ideas.  That’s why sinful Christians (and I’m down there with the worst) are so damaging to the Faith, while stupid ideas typically have much less impact.


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