127. Can a ‘Code of Honor’ Help Christian Unity in Creative Groups?
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This week fans will be fixing to fight. This includes many Christian fans. We won’t say what they’ll fight about, except to say the topic is “prime” for debate. That’s like many topics that Christians dispute, not just relating to politics but relating to the stories we enjoy. Meanwhile in the Lorehaven Guild, we’re enjoying a respite from those clashes, and Lord willing we want to keep following our Code of Honor that applies to all members. How can Christian fans follow such honor codes wherever they go and whatever they debate?
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- Blood Secrets by Morgan Busse from Enclave Publishing
- The Lorehaven Guild: Sept. 2022 Book Quest for The Hobbit
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- We felt this topic was worth revisiting in light of that “prime” fan debate.
- However, like many of our episodes, we do want this theme to be evergreen.
- This is a spiritual sequel to our episode 115 about statements of faith.
- For all of Lorehaven, our creators must sign onto the faith statement.
- We also apply a written Code of Honor to every member of the Guild.
- Lorehaven is not a substitute for a biblical local church.
- But we do want to mimic any biblical faith statement—orthodoxy.
- We also uphold and expectations for Christian behavior—orthopraxy.
- If we know these, we’ll have confidence when we face ungodly behavior.
- This confidence is not based in power, but in Christlike truth and conduct.
1. Why we made a Code of Honor to help us respect all members
Guild leaders and members must follow the Lorehaven Code of Honor.
- Keep to the Code. Lorehaven Guild members may not necessarily agree with the Sacred Scrolls faith statement (see above). However, please recognize that Lorehaven and the Lorehaven Guild are led by Christian guides. We encourage questions of the biblical gospel, but we cannot tolerate attempts to disparage this Christian faith or dissuade other members from following Jesus Christ.
- Respect everyone. Every person in your Quest party is created in God’s image. Every novel author is also created (and is creating) in God’s image! Because all people, whether celebrity, stranger, friend, or family, reflects this very image of God, they are worthy of respect. We will uphold this biblical, gracious respect.
2. How the Code of Honor aims to discipline controversial topics
- Avoid swearing, sex-talk, and harassment. Scripture says, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place” (Ephesians 5:4). We apply this standard to the Guild. Avoid vulgarities, profanities, and misuses of God’s title (including in acronyms). Yes, some books for Main Quests or Side Quests may include language we wouldn’t ourselves use in the Guild. If you’re uncertain about a word, avoid using it, or ask a Guild guide. Members must avoid sexualized comments about characters or actual harassment of real people. This does not refer to disagreements but does include (yet is not limited to) slander or vulgar language. Moderators will help with resolutions as needed.
- Beware of political issues. Some books and their Quests may naturally explore moral issues that relate to political conflicts. We encourage gracious discussion of these ideas and themes, as specifically related to the books. But members must avoid active discussion of specific political leaders, parties, or public policy.
3. What positive themes do we promote in the Lorehaven Guild?
- Celebrate fandom! Our quest is to explore Christian-made fantastical stories as readers. Aspiring writers can find many other communities about creative work. In the Guild, we will keep all our Quests focused on delighted, discerning fans. (Fantastic authors, heed the wisdom of Proverbs 27:2: “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips”!)
- Enjoy your creative gifts. We don’t require but we do encourage Guild members in Quests to engage in virtual “cosplay.” Try taking personas of gallant knights, brave adventurers, ship captains, monster hunters, or whatever suits your God-given imaginative fancy. Quest guides will lead in this imaginative worldbuilding. If that’s not how you create, no pressure. Stay as normal as you like. Either way, whether or not we engage in virtual cosplay, we’re all fans of fantastic stories.
- Keep to the Quest road. If our Quest conversations diverge too far from the Quest’s main journey, pursue those smaller trails elsewhere. For example, if we end up discussing books different from the selection, move that conversation to another place, or request a future Side Quest to focus on that other book.
Nicholas Tieman remarked on episode 126 about Christian cringe:
Fun fact: all high budget Christian cringe is made by a single individual, Cringelore, who gained the power to transcend time and decency after being bitten by a radioactive youth pastor.
Meanwhile at Lorehaven
- As we mentioned, next week we start our expected journey into The Hobbit.
- Last week we had Marian Jacobs’s article “How I Masked My Mental Health with Costume Design.”
- We also published our book review of Immortal Guardian.
- Read our article “Three Christian Fantastical Stories to Help Your Kids Head Back to School.”
- Coming next: More about The Hobbit, plus an advance review of The Change.
Next on Fantastical Truth
Not long ago we talked about church libraries and how these resources can help Christians find the best books, including (if not now then in the future) Christian-made fantastical fiction. What then about public libraries? How can Christians best discern and enjoy this resource? We’re speaking with a public library director who also happens to be a prolific Christian novelist of sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, paranormal suspense, and beyond: Steve Rzasa. He will be the first guest of a new saga of episodes we’re assembling for September.
Explore the best Christian-made fantasy, sci-fi, and beyond, and apply these stories' meanings in the real world Jesus calls us to serve.
On one of the podcasts I listen to, there was a former teacher that talked about an online community she used to run. I don’t remember exactly how she worded it, but the core idea of her rules and moderation policy was basically this: Users on the forum will come from many different backgrounds and have a wide variety of opinions. You can argue and debate with each other, but do so civilly. If you have a problem with another user, you can contact a mod, but you have to show proof that you made a reasonable attempt to work the conflict out with the other person first.
She said that policy worked pretty well for the years that community operated. This probably worked partially because she set the precedent that people were allowed to disagree and debate, but they were expected to handle arguments like reasonable mature adults. She set the right tone from the beginning and cut down on drama as a result.
In my own life, there have been a couple of rules/methods that have been working pretty well the last couple years. One is that, if I am tempted to be angry or snarky at all, I make sure to avoid posting until I can communicate calmly. The other rule is basically ‘If you can’t say anything useful, don’t say anything at all.’ This sort of branches off the first rule, but I try not to say something unless it will contribute something constructive (or at least neutral) to the situation. Now and then I make rare exceptions, but most of the time I adhere to this rule and it’s made a huge difference.