"I'm just trying to reach out to people that I feel are overlooked by the church. This culture is how I got into the church. I hung out with friends that were into the church and were also into the same stuff I was."
His song, "For My Nerds," off his new album +20 Damage is a declaration of why Alex creates his music. The lyrics are a challenge to Christian communities to engage nerd culture in healthy ways rather than hostility. Alex remembers his shock as a kid when he discovered one of his Christian friends was not allowed to play Pokemon because it had been deemed "from the Devil." His experiences like this are shared as a part of the narrative of the song: "The church condemns what we love, like Pokemon, and then wonders why that we're always gone."
"I'm just trying to reach out to people that I feel are overlooked by the church."
Video Games Aren't Sinful...Or Stupid
Mark Driscoll is a high profile pastor that does not often shy away from controversy. While attacks on Pokemon may have been the method of hostility gamers heard from the pulpit in the late nineties, in a 2011 sermon, Driscoll unapologetically communicated the negative stereotypes and assumptions against gamers today: Video games are for lazy, young adult men who need to get up, quit gaming, accept Jesus, and do something with their lives.
Many among those clapping and cheering at these words probably went home to watch the Sunday afternoon football game and fervently cheered for their favorite team. The same principles Driscoll applies to video games could be applied to people enjoying competitive sports, but imagine the outcry if he had said these things about football!
The point here is not to point a finger at Driscoll or Mars Hill Church. Far too many Christians share the same attitudes expressed in this sermon; it's just that they are not quite as vocal about it. If the church desires to mend its relationship with nerd culture, it needs to be slow to judge, slow to accuse, and quick to listen.
If you're interested in listening to some of Alex Hurt's unique Christian nerdcore, you can download all of the songs from his new project free of charge here. If you're interested in connecting with Alex, check him out on Facebook and Twitter.