Friday, November 30, 2018

Mathetes to Diognetus Chapter 6

This quote from the 6th Chapter of the Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus demonstrates why I believe a Christian world-view works so well in the context of D&D:
what the soul is in the body, that are Christians in the world…The soul loves the flesh that hates it, and [loves also] the members; Christians likewise love those that hate them. The soul is imprisoned in the body, yet preserves that very body; and Christians are confined in the world as in a prison, and yet they are the preservers of the world.
Take a look at this prayer from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom:
Enable us to offer You gifts and spiritual sacrifices for our own sins and the failings of Your people. Deem us worthy to find grace in Your sight, that our sacrifice may be well pleasing to You, and that the good Spirit of Your grace may rest upon us and upon these gifts presented and upon all Your people.
Note that the phrase “all Your people” does not say “all Christians.” It is intended to include everyone:
Again we offer You this spiritual worship for the whole world, for the holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, and for those living pure and reverent lives. For civil authorities and our armed forces, grant that they may govern in peace, Lord, so that in their tranquility we, too, may live calm and serene lives, in all piety and virtue. And remember those whom each one of us has in mind…Remember, Lord, this city in which we live, and every city and land, and the faithful who live in them. Remember, Lord, those who travel by land, sea, and air; the sick; the suffering; the captives; and their salvation. Remember those who bear fruit and do good works in Your holy churches and those who are mindful of the poor, and upon us all send forth Your mercies.
If one goes to the Anaphora of the Liturgy of St. Basil, this list is even longer and more specific.

In other words, the Divine Liturgy is not done just for the people in the pews. It is offered up for the entire world. From the perspective of spiritual warfare, Orthodox Christians (and, in particular, monastics) are front line fighters taking on the demons where they live and trying to make the world a better place through asking God to have mercy and forgive all those that we bring to mind — even those who hate us and hate God.

In context of D&D, especially when one considers such tropetastic, classic modules as B2: Keep on the Borderlands, this life style of going out to where demons reside (i.e. Chaotic monsters) and to do those things that the rest of Civilization isn’t willing to do to make Civilization a safer place is exactly what the D&D adventurer is actually doing.

The typical D&D character doesn’t quite fit into the social norms of civilized society, and may even be despised. Yet, because they are going out into the lairs of various monsters, they are keeping society safe despite themselves.

Thus, in this nascent campaign world, when charges are leveled against the Christianity/Church analogue those charges are going to be false. The Church is out to help society, to improve the lives of everyday people. They will be willing to risk their lives to do so. Thus, despite all of the risks, all of those Christians from all the various walks of life within the empire are going continue to strive in their own ways to make the world a better place.

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