Weekend Reading 3 – Return of the Weekend Reading

Our Weekend Reading series continues with fascinating articles—and a few other things—from around the Internet.

 

Grant

Oddly enough, all of my suggestions this week deal with the written word in one way or another.

They will breathe with gills that make the sound of fluttering pages.
Wondermark #442, “In which Beth keeps her books” – by David Malki – read more at wondermark.com

 

From Zachary Totah over at Speculative Faith, an article on discernment in reading: “To Read or Not to Read: How Should Christians View Religious and Secular Fiction?

The problem has plagued Christian readers for decades. Should we read Christian or secular fiction? Or both? The debate has lasted a long time, and I doubt it will disappear before they remake Lord of the Rings (you know it’s going to happen eventually).

I think we’re missing the point entirely. The question shouldn’t be “What do we read?” but “How do we read it?”

From Lori Caskey-Sigtey via Gnome Stew: “Why You Should Donate To A Library Or Community Gaming Program“. As a bibliophile and friend of several librarians, this is particularly close to my heart!

Helping these kinds of programs out helps people find gaming. For the kid who uses the library because they aren’t the most social or who needs a place to go after school that isn’t their home (I’m definitely referencing myself here, the local library was my safe away space when I was young.), this is another venue for them to discover Tabletop Role Playing Games, and kids who discover it in this way are the ones most likely to get the benefit out of the program by being able to socialize with people who are as nerdy as they are.

From Merriam-Webster’s Words at Play blog: “What does ‘otaku‘ mean in Japanese?” A look at a new, fairly specialized term with evolving meanings in different contexts. Especially relevant since the word’s come into use among the English-speaking geek community.

Some feel that ‘otaku’ carries the sense of “reclusive and potentially dangerous,” while others think it could mean “mostly harmless and quirky.” In truth, the word’s meaning has shifted multiple times in recent memory.

 

Peter

As a compliment to my recommendation of Reviving Old Scratch by Richard Beck, this is the first of a batch of complimentary/supplemental posts from his blog. Beck is always worth reading, but this batch of stuff feels particularly useful for the Christian gamer.

In the Old Testament “dragons” aren’t associated with Satan. In the Old Testament the cosmic foundations of creation are described as great sea monsters–dragons–rather than as the principalities and powers. Sea monsters in the Old Testament and the principalities and powers in the New Testament are related concepts, representing creation’s deep, structural resistance to the reign of God. When Satan is described as “the Dragon” a bridge is built between God’s battles with sea monsters in the Old Testament and God’s battles with the Powers in the New.

Gnome Stew, in addition to the article Grant referenced, has a great article on what to do if YOU are the problem player at the table.

Going into the game I was determined not to be a back-seat GM. My success there was minimal. I wanted to be a resource, but I found myself speaking up with rules and precepts far more than I should have for someone who wasn’t running the game.

Wired has a fascinating article on how much (or how little) anthropomorphism is desirable when making robot assistants.

Others, like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, have no form. They come baked into simple speakers and desktop appliances. It seems most robot helpers take one of these two shapes: humanoid or monolithic.

 

Jenny

An article by Benjamin L. Corey called Loving Yourself: The Biblical Command We Tend to Forget. I know this is one that I’ve struggled with, particularly by focusing on the first part of the command. He also wrote a follow-up piece on the subject.

I believe that Christianity is a religion about love– most notably, loving God and loving our neighbors. However, I think we’re too quick to forget to extend the same to someone else the Bible calls us to love: ourselves.

Geek & Sundry has been doing a series this month on gaming stores as a lead-up to International Tabletop Day. One of the most recent articles posted, How a Single Mom Became a Champion for a Family Friendly Gaming Community by Teri Litorco, illustrates for me a picture of one of the most universally accessible game stores I’ve ever heard of. The game store in question is Break from Reality Games in Johnstown, Colorado.

“When we would go play at our local game store we didn’t really feel welcome and felt like we were bothering them with our family size…4 boys at this point. I played in a couple of tournaments where my opponent would be cussing up a storm with my sons sitting mere feet away. The bathrooms were grungy and I couldn’t let my baby crawl around. Eventually, I just started sending my sons and husband and I’d stay at home.”

It was in facing these challenges that the idea of creating a game store and community she and her family, and those like her, came to be.

And for today’s miscellany, a water wheel named Mr. Trash Wheel removes trash from Baltimore river.

Mr.Trash has been in use since 2014, removing over 1 million lbs of rubbish from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Some of that rubbish includes 8.9 million cigarette butts and half a million polystyrene containers.

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