A Quill Pen

Just as most issues are seldom black or white, so are most good solutions seldom black or white. Beware of the solution that requires one side to be totally the loser and the other side to be totally the winner.

The reason there are two sides to begin with usually is because neither side has all the facts. Therefore, when the wise mediator effects a compromise, he is not acting from political motivation. Rather, he is acting from a deep sense of respect for the whole truth.
-- Stephen R. Schwambach

Never mind what others didn't do. It's what you do that counts.
-- net fortune cookie

Hello, fellow IR participants. This note is my best shot to communicating as clearly as possible some of the reasons behind my resignation from the APA zine Interregnum.

In my Firestarter #18 zine I replied to Dale Meier's zine re having Christian themes in one's games. My intent was to suggest that, while GMing, one should exercise extreme caution when implementing personal beliefs in one's game -- especially if those personal beliefs are not necessarily shared by everyone in the game.

I tried to be sure it was a balanced zine, in that it did not accuse anyone of anything, and I tried to make my statements clearer by using gaming examples from my life.

In Dale's reply I saw (quite possibly erroneously, of course) a certain defensiveness. This led me to worry -- had he felt I'd attacked him? If so, I'd certainly failed in my attempt to reasonably communicate and discuss this issue via zine.

A few months later on the web I happened to stumble across the journal of the person I used as an example in my zine. Since I do not respect this person very much I was not terribly disturbed to discover they hated my zine. However, it was the comment of a friend that knows her that made me take pause. His comment was, "Well, you do seem to dislike Christians an awful lot, Collie."

I was a little shocked at this statement, since I don't consider it true. I had to stop and think, to try to figure out why he'd say such a thing. It was but the work of a moment to discuss this issue with my friend, since we were face to face; to both better understand what he meant, and to clarify my position.

Succinctly, it is not Christians I don't care for. I know several intelligent and thoughtful Christians, just as I know several believers in Wicca, Buddhism, and Islam whom I find interesting, mentally challenging, and/or inspiring.

What bothers me is people who either expect or allow others to think for them. I have no respect for people like that, regardless of whether their parameter of mental laziness is ivory tower elitism, religiosity, or any other speculative framework designed to assign responsibility for their lives to anyone but themselves.

However, while my friend and I were able to reasonably discuss this and clear the issue up, a nagging thought remained -- to whom else had I accidentally given unpleasant and erroneous impressions? Bigotry, in any form, disturbs me greatly... and equally disturbing was the thought I'd somehow convinced folks I was a bigot when it came to Christianity.

I've been giving this problem quite a bit of thought, and this is part of the reason I've had no zines for the last few issues of IR. Currently I've not yet resolved how to handle this, but I do feel extremely unhappy at the thought my comments might have caused folks (Christian or otherwise) in IR to feel uncomfortable about writing zines, or unwelcome in IR.

This is one of the reasons why I've decided to resign from IR. It's my hope that with my departure any awkwardness, and the quiet attrition of contributors, will be removed as well.

Let me be clear on one last point, however. I'd like to offer a sincere thank you to all the IR participants. I've very much enjoyed the writings and discussions for/in IR up to this point, and I'm truly sorry if my writings caused anyone to feel unwelcome in IR. Also, if anyone has any further questions or comments please feel free to email me.

He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.
-- Thomas Paine (1737-1809)