Crossposting from FA, since LiveJournal will automatically spread this to my other accounts....and yea, it's time to test your tolerance....
I usually write con recaps and had intended to with the convention I attended this month, but something has been nagging at me. Now, the convention itself was a blast and, for me, it was they typical fursuiting hijinx.
Before I go forward, I must go back to the time of the last furry convention I attended, roughly 7 years ago. At that time, I was recently recommitted to Christ. As I have grown in my faith, I have been challenged by the Holy Spirit on several fronts. In that fight, I was called to limit my participation in the fandom. I still attended local events, but I kept the fandom primarily at arms length. During that time, I was delivered from several sinful things that are prevalent in the fandom and were potential stumbling blocks to me. The nature of these things is not entirely relevant to the telling of this story and will distract from my point. I am now strong enough in my faith that, with prayerful discretion, I can stand in the face of these things and even help others who might be struggling with them.
During that time, I did not stop attending conventions, but I found that I enjoyed non-furry conventions more. Primarily because, at furcons, when I am in costume, I simply blend into the crowd. And with a heart condition, I suffer far too much to simply blend it. As one of the only furries at a sci-fi con or an anime con, I stand out and get TONS of attention. Also, I have found that, sci-fi cons have a robust debate environment. As someone who holds generally unpopular views, I am, not only tolerated, but over time, and because I am, myself, very tolerant and civil, been given the opportunity to participate in debates and to share my beliefs with others. Ironically, other fandoms have demonstrated far more acceptance and tolerance than the furry fandom.
I have to admit, perhaps I've been a bit spoiled by this, because while Leo is perfectly welcomed as a furry, I (and the individuals I attended this convention with) am clearly not. As is typical in liberal environments, tolerance only applies "so long as you agree with me".
My issue is not with the atheists and agnostics. They are consistent in their opposition to what I believe. It is those who profess to be Christian to whom this is really written for. I have 2 observations to what I saw and experienced that weekend.
POINT 1: "Hyphenated Christianity"
2 Cor 5:15-17 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Galatians 3:27-28 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
There is a tendency in our world today to boldly express our identity, but as a Christian, my identity is entirely and solely in Christ. While we all have interests, hobbies and talents, and it is healthy to have those things, it is not healthy to place our identity in those things. This is the reason I was lead into a hiatus from the furry fandom. My fursona was an idol in my life and I had to either reconcile that, or give it up altogether. Where I used to see Leo as an actual part of my personality, he is now just performance art. A character I pretend to be sometimes for the entertainment of others.
If we are truly Christians, then that is what we are. Not Baptists, or Catholics, or Pentecostal or even hyphenated terms like "Liberal-Christians", "Christian-Conservatives" or even "furry-Christians" (as I used to refer to myself). This, of course, becomes even more insidious when you place your own sin nature in front of Christ which brings me to my 2nd point.
POINT 2: "safe zones"
2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
I really could just drop the mic and walk away after citing a verse that so clearly demonstrates why any REAL Christian would not need a "safe zone", in fact, for the true Christian, persecution will come and we are to rejoice in it (2 Cor 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.). No doubt you will see that in the comments here. So for all you delicate little flowers out there, devout Christianity is probably not for you. But wait, there's more.....
When you are attempting to justify an action of life style that so clearly goes against God's will, you have to find echo chambers to yell into. Not only to justify yourself against those of us who will rightly rebuke your actions, but even more-so to drown out the voice of the Holy Spirit, deep inside of you, who is insisting that you are outside of the will of God. And therein lies the problem. God will not recognize your safe zone, but over time, he will leave you alone and let you have the the desires of your flesh (Romans 1). And if you have read this far, pray that that never happens to you....
But what we are seeing with this phenomenon is prophesied.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.