Sumela_Monastery-3Merry middle of December! It’s not Christmas yet, but my girlfriend has been down here for the past few days and that’s been a lot of fun… …I didn’t get much reading finished… …somehow, I’m okay with that at the moment. I did see Exodus: Gods and Kings though, and I noticed that Sam mentioned it in his post yesterday, and I was also interested to see it. However, I was under-impressed. The acting was good, and I will say there were some things in the movie that I liked. I was actually rather fond of the way they did the crossing of the Red Sea, but I was unimpressed with ‘Moses the guerrilla warrior’, and I was extremely unimpressed with they way they handled God. While I generally have no problem with a wide variety of means of representing God in media, and I even like some executions of ‘God through the child’, this movie’s presentation of God as petulant child who needs a spanking was… definitely not my favorite. Anyway, I have an exercise for you. This is a setting exercise, and most of you have probably done these before, but just in case: I’m going to give you a set of criteria. Your job is to design a setting based on those criteria.

Your Criteria:

1) Your setting must be a modern day fiction or urban fantasy setting.

2) Your setting must include (or simply be) a remote monastery.

3) Your setting must include some kind of representation of Christianity (while I am a Christian, this doesn’t need to be a pro-Christian representation. If you want to use your setting to critique something that bothers you about Christianity, I have no problem with this. However, keep it realistic. Christians, both as individuals and as organizations, have plenty of real failures that you shouldn’t need to invent strawmen in order to critique them. Also, remember that strawmen never actually make strong critiques… there’s a reason that books like The Scarlet Letter stay around for a long time and movies like Religulous don’t).

4) Your setting may include super-awesome martial artist monks if you are prone to lean that way. However, don’t feel like you have to if you don’t.

5) Your setting must include some kind of non-American physical game (i.e. things like Rugby, Kendo, Curling, or caber tossing are all acceptable, as long as the game isn’t common in the US).

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