Love Thy Nerd is an online community dedicated to “loving nerds, engage culture, build community.” As nerds ourself, we wanted to sit down and chat with one of their members, Madeline Turnipseed, who creates content and regularly participates with LTN events, conventions, and more.
Check out our interview with Madeline below.
Hey there! Tell me how you first got into gaming?
Like most people, I started playing games when I was small with my family. Rummikub and Go Fish and Chutes and Ladders and, yes, even Monopoly helped me on my way to becoming the gamer I am today.
What is Love Thy Nerd?
Love Thy Nerd (or LTN for short) is an organization that took Jesus seriously when he said to love our neighbors. We’re nerds, and we’re Christians, and, historically, Christians have done a poor job of loving nerds in their communities. We want to change that, and we want to highlight all the things about nerd culture that aren’t just awesome but help us to be better people as well.
How did you find out and get involved with LTN?
I was fortunate enough to be included in the formative stages of LTN and I’ve been writing, editing, and podcasting with LTN since. I love to highlight stories from people who were challenged by something they encountered in nerddom somewhere that made them look at who they were as a person and how they could change for the better.
Why do you feel LTN is important?
I think people outside of nerd culture and outside of mainstream Christian culture think that the Satanic Panic was a thing that happened in the 80’s and is in the long past. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s the case. LTN has been both a safe haven and an empowering force for Christians who also happen to be nerds to go out and fly all their flags at once. They can start running D&D and board game nights for their youth groups. They can ask how their friends from the card shop are doing and see them as people, not just a deck build. They can stand up against hatred and bigotry and be a force for good in the world on every front. LTN wants to empower people to do this.
How has gaming and LTN changed your life?
Some of the best friends I’ve made have been through gaming. It truly is the Magic Circle, with its own rules and realities, making things possible that might not be otherwise. Tabletop gaming is an equalizer when done well, and it’s my goal for every table I’m at to work that way.
LTN was more of a logical continuation of where I was in life when it came into being. I’d been around and been disillusioned by so many Christians who only wanted to show off how good they were, or who wanted to talk bad about or down to people who weren’t as “godly” as they were. And I’d seen firsthand how many wonderful relationships form when people passionate about a common thing (NaNoWriMo, in this particular instance) start caring about each other beyond a shared activity. Loving neighbors isn’t lip-service in my personal faith, and I wanted to help other people find a way to do that, to have tools to help explain it to people still stuck in the 80’s, and to build a future where nerds don’t feel like they need to hide who they are. We’re not there yet, but we’re making strides.
What is one thing you want people to know about LTN?
People of all faiths (and who profess no faith) are a part of our online community. We work to see people as people—not projects, not notches on a Bible. If I don’t have a real relationship with someone, they’re not going to listen to anything I have to say, no matter what background they come from.
How can our readers get involved/support LTN?
LTN has an active Discord server and Facebook group and streams regularly on Twitch. Start there and say “Hi!” if you join! Our community has nerds of all stripes and we’d love to have you. Check out lovethynerd.com for articles, podcasts, and how you can join us in loving our nerdy neighbors.
Do you have a “Greater Impacts of Gaming” story that you’d like to share with our community? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d love to chat!