#36: Closer to God
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2019 issue.
At the end of my first ‘season’ of confessions, I talked about God-given creativity inspiring Traveller games or writing. It works the other way as well. I don’t know anything quite like Traveller for drawing me closer to God. I may be in a minority of one here, but the way the game embraces everything you could possibly be interested in often amuses me and surprises me. I’m wary of boring friends or family with my constant (mental) refrain of “oh, that would make a great setting, story, character, culture, bit of colour… for Traveller” in just about any arena of life. The whole universe is fair game! I’m aware I only scratch the surface and tend to be fairly Third Imperium-centric – but only for want of time, not for lack of interest in all the other places and milieux I could visit.
But even limited like this, there is hardly an aspect of Traveller that doesn’t awaken my sense of wonder. Character generation makes me pay attention to people around me more so I can better develop PCs and NPCs; biographies and obituaries have the same effect; adventure construction makes me take note in books, TV, and film to see how others put exciting things together; news items become Travellerized; psionics can help appreciate the mind; and world building of course has its own particular wealth of areas to explore: animal tables encouraging me to learn about wildlife I see or read about or watch online to better produce critter encounters, paying more attention to botany so I can create alien flora, studying history and languages to beef up my own cultures, enjoying the wonders of local space missions to inspire scenes and descriptions of the far future. Perhaps it’s more of a stretch but I can even find interest in ship building, or weapons or trade rules in admiring human ingenuity. I’m delighted with the variety of departments in Freelance Traveller I’ve been able to contribute to.
Because I view God as the architect of all the above, I find that my own paltry efforts give just the tiniest glimpse into godlike activities and definitely add to the awe and praise scripture exhorts me to give to God as I reflect on creation around me. Who knows, perhaps Tolkien’s Ainulindalė in The Silmarillion has it right and one day this will be all our activities? For real.
Isaac Watts’ well known hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” finishes up with the words:
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
I might have been known on occasions as “the guy with a universe in his bag”, and my contributions to Traveller are most certainly an offering far too small, but I thank my heavenly creator that my exploration brings me just that little bit closer to eternity before we meet, as 1 Corinthians 13:12 puts it, face to face.