Are You Blessed?: Recapturing What It Truly Means To Be Blessed

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Blessed had become a dirty word as far as I was concerned while my wife and I struggled with unexplained infertility. Hearing the things that people saw as evidence of God’s favor had put a bitter taste in my mouth. I wasn’t bitter things were apparently going their way and God possibly had a direct hand in making sure things worked out for them.  I was bitter about what it implied. If getting the job or the house or the car or the new pair of jeans at the right price meant that you had God’s favor, then what did it say about the unemployed, the homeless, the people that have to ride the bus, and those who get hand-me-down pants? Are they not favored? If they don’t have God’s favor then does that mean they’re cursed?

This came to a head for me one Sunday morning during baby dedications when it was repeated a few times that babies are a blessing. Not to say that children are not a blessing. Still when you’re sitting there childless and enduring months of infertility treatments, it’s like a punch to the gut. It’s easy to wonder if maybe, just maybe, God has cursed you. It’s easy to start wondering if there is something you did to really tick God off and he’s not going to bless you until you make amends. I’m sure I’m not the only Christian who has had dark moments like this when you look at what seems to be the overflow of the lives of others claiming God’s abundant blessing and wonder where you went wrong.

It’s not as if this kind of thinking doesn’t have a biblical precedent. Look no further than Leviticus 26, subtitled “Blessings for Obedience, and Punishment for Disobedience”, to see where it comes from.  In an ancient world dominated by pagan religious practices shaped by the pursuit of the gods’ favor, God did this to show his people and the nations that he was the one true God. So when the prophet Elijah predicts that it won’t rain for three years, except by his word, it wasn’t to simply punish the people. It was to demonstrate that God was real and Baal was not (1st Kings 17.1-7), which is exactly what happened three years later on Mount Carmel (1st Kings 18.20-41).

Of course if we understand Jesus’ ministry in light of these things we understand that the New Covenant, established by Jesus’ death and resurrection, does not include the if you do this, then I will do this equation. Because Christ was obedient unto death, we have God’s favor. Because Christ was punished for our disobedience, God is with us. And because Christ, our mediator has ascended to the right hand of God, those of us who are being sanctified always have God with us (Hebrews 10.12-17). In other words we are blessed in good times, bad times, ugly times and everything in between.

So when Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven”, he’s saying God is with those who we assume according to Leviticus 26, he is not. When he says, “blessed are the hungry”, he is saying God is with those who we assume are cursed. In fact Jesus completely turns Leviticus 26 on its head, and he warns against assuming that just because things are going you’re way, [“Woe to you who are rich”, “Woe to you who are full now”, “Woe to you who laugh now”, “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you”] that you’re blessed and experiencing God’s blessing.

I think this is important to know because there are still churches that preach Leviticus 26—at least the blessings part—so loudly people get the message without ever listening to a sermon. It is important to know because if life is really hard for you individually, it can be depressing to log on to Facebook and see what people are claiming as God’s blessing.. I think it is important because I know good Christian people who are growing angry with God, or walking away from him, because little if anything seems to be going their way. It is important because there is a growing movement of believe-ism claiming if you believe hard enough God will bless you so your life goes well and your dreams come true. Jesus is little more than a genie granting countless wishes and the Bible is the lamp. It is important because the truth of the matter is God’s blessing and favor is as simple as his presence. His presence and desire to be with us in good times, bad times, awful times, and everything in between… God is with us. When we understand that we don’t have to be the person in the poem Footprints who looks back and wonders why God abandoned them. When we understand that we may not even have to be carried at all because we know God is walking alongside of us always.

Party and Rest or Die: Cause Even a Black Man Can Turn Pale

Our facilities manager described me as being pale. Our HR manager detected some exaggeration, “Pale? He’s black. How is it that he looked pale?” Our facilities manager reiterated, “He was pale.”

I don’t doubt her because that is how horrible I felt that day. Two days after Christmas I went into work and lasted one hour before I had to leave. On my way out the Senior Pastor took one glimpse at me and told me to go home. I think I had just enough energy to drive home and no more. Thankfully I made it home and slept pretty much the rest of the day, and much of the next. Considering that the mother of all flus had been going around I was a little paranoid and checked my symptoms on WebMD. I discovered that in all likelihood I was suffering from fatigue, which considering what the past two months had been like I wasn’t surprised in the least.

My youth ministry professor used to refer to Leviticus 23 as the “Party and Rest or Die” commands of the Old Testament. It’s ironic that the same God that gets the rap of being a cosmic killjoy and a general party pooper pretty much commands that we party and rest regularly. Even to this day God appointing times of rest and celebration is probably the most overlooked commands in the entire Bible, by believers and skeptics alike. These commands are not controversial or hot topics because they are not followed by or in the same breath as the phrases we find numerous times in the book of Leviticus, “shall be put to death” or “is an abomination”. I’m here to tell you that on December 27th 2012 I felt like I was being put to death and I felt like I was an abomination. Not to say that God was making me feel that way as a form of punishment, discipline, or to get my attention. However, it got my attention. I needed to be more intentional in getting rest. With a wife undergoing chemo treatments and an energetic two year old I can’t afford to not rest to the point that I hit the wall like that again.

Is Rest a Moral Issue?

For all the precedence that pornography, sex, drugs and apathy towards God take as the main moral issues that face today’s Christian youth, why is rest not one of them? Considering how much experts and sociologists have been saying that today’s teenagers are busier than any generation before them why isn’t rest being treated as a moral issue? Considering that many sociologists are saying that the High School years may well be the busiest time of an individual’s life, shouldn’t the issue and practice of rest be a front burner topic? For our young men who are tracking towards a white-collar industry where “time is money”, long hours is the way of justification, and productivity is their righteousness we can’t treat rest as a side topic. For the young women who are slowly discovering that they are “expected” to be a superwoman, where to be a woman means mastering the to do list, only to be mastered by the to do list, we can’t breeze over this portion of scripture.

Reclaiming Partying and Rest

The importance of and proper practice of partying and resting must be reclaimed. For many teenagers who put in 35-40 hours of school, 15-25 hours of homework, and 10-25 hours of extra-curricular activities a week, they need to learn the discipline of a day of rest now not later. College typically offers them more free time than they know what to do with, and yet doesn’t prepare them for a life in the workforce or running a home. Entering into adulthood without learning how to intentionally rest is to their detriment. Partying by teenagers (and adults) is too often defined by activities that encourage chaos (lack of control and order) impairs the ability to remember, and leads to exhaustion. Youth Pastors need to teach and encourage students how to celebrate properly as opposed to simply instructing them to avoid partying the wrong way. Parents need to instill a rhythm of intentional rest for the family so that it is more natural for teenagers to implement when they become independent.

Here are a couple of tips and thoughts on how to properly party and rest.

1. Running errands and otherwise knocking out things to do is work, not rest.

2. Resting means doing things you enjoy that are relaxing, Things that are rewarding are fulfilling but not restful. Save the rewarding things for the other six days.

3. Day of rest doesn’t have to be the same as the day you go to church, but should still involve reconnecting with God in some manner.

4. Proper rest helps maintain the balance between “man defining his work” and “man being defined by his work”.

5. If you do not rest you will slowly become undone.

6. Proper partying or celebrating allows our present to be informed by the past as opposed to our present being lived in the past.

7. Partying has purpose (typically remembrance), has food, has beverage, and has order. It does not involve disorder (over consumption), destruction, and chaos.

8. The feasts or celebrations of the Old Testament celebrated what God had done, what he was doing, and what he would do.

9. If you do not party and celebrate then life loses meaning.

10. Napping is restful, but rest limited to sleep is incomplete.

11. Partying is fun, but partying hard puts life in jeopardy.

I Really Hate It When…

It’s a fairly harmless question, no ill will intended, and yet it raises the hair on the back of my neck. It’s sometimes an exercise in self-control because I’m tempted to answer sarcastically to make a point and likely offend the inquirer which would achieve nothing. But the fact of the matter is I’m not crazy, I’m not brave, and it doesn’t require courage to take MY group of junior high students out in public on an activity or event. Myself and the other adults that have committed to investing in the lives of young teens who are not our own are regularly affirmed for our bravery and courage to take 30-40 junior high students out to the beach, the mall, wherever, and asked afterwards if we survived. I’ve said it before from the pulpit but I’ll say it again here. We have a good group of kids.

Just this weekend we took 34 of them to the mall to do Christmas Shopping. No one “got lost”, was left behind, was a nuisance, or tempted us to purchase one of those kiddie leashes usually reserved for toddlers. Personally I had a group of 11 of them with me, and it was quite enjoyable and easy. They stayed together, they communicated with me if they were going into another store, they knew where to wait for the rest of the group if they finished in a store ahead of the rest of us. They didn’t complain about little stuff, they were patient with one another, they were polite and courteous of other shoppers, didn’t break anything including the hurricane simulator that they managed to stuff way too many persons into, and no one sneaked out of the movie we went to see as a group. I really didn’t even have to keep track of them because one of them took it upon himself to keep tabs on everyone else (in a way that didn’t get under their skin) and keep me updated on who was in what store in the vicinity that we stopped in.

This past weekend was not an anomaly of their normal behavior when we take them out in public. It is what we’ve come to expect, because that is what they’ve consistently demonstrated. As I said to one of the other adult leaders, “In nearly seven years of working with this group they’ve never given me a reason.” They’ve never given me a reason to be suspicious of them, so naturally I become a little annoyed and even irritated when people talk about them in a way that assumes that they are nothing, but trouble waiting to happen. I’ve been thinking about why I get irritated by inquiries of my survival, and affirmations of my bravery and courage, and here is what I’ve landed on.

1. I can only speak for my group. Common consensus is that Junior High age kids don’t have a long attention span, are combative of authority, are squirrelly and extremely difficult to manage. While I can’t speak for early adolescents universally I can speak for the group that I work with, and I would say that they are a joy to work with. Their attention span can be very long as long as whatever it is their being asked to sit for merits the attention. They thrive with well defined boundaries and feel safe when they know they can trust those in the positions of authority.

2. I don’t know what they’re like at home. But I know that they come from good homes. Whether it be two parent or one parent homes, the overwhelming majority of students I work with come from families with parents who take the role of parenting seriously and are not trying to be their child’s friend. Certainly all of them test their parents at home as is only natural for adolescents. However, many of them are mindful to represent their families well, and have been warned of consequences for not holding to a certain behavioral standard when under the authority of other adults they’ve been entrusted to. I’m thankful that across the board the parents within the local church body I am a part of make our life easier as youth leaders by holding their children to a high standard in the home. I’m grateful that though some students may push it at home with their parents they know how to act when their parents aren’t around, because of their parents.

3. They listen. They hear when you sell them short. This is something that I was guilty of when I was lamenting (on a previous trip) how a previous class spoiled us as adult leaders because there were a handful of them always intuitively stepping up and looking for ways to serve the group (which is uncommon amongst any age group). It got back to me that some of the students overheard this and were a little hurt because they interpreted it as me not being happy with them and not liking them as much. The innocent comments of survival bravery and courage are most often made in the presence of the students and I can’t help but consider the inference they must hear. I imagine that they hear that adults think they are nothing more than wild animals that are hazardous to your mental health. Early adolescents are understandably insecure enough with all the changes they are undergoing without it being inferred that to spend time with them means your very survival is at stake, and requires bravery. The last message any early adolescent needs to receive is that they aren’t normal.

So if you happen to ask me, even in jest, if I survived a youth event, or compliment me on my ‘bravery’ for giving my time to spend with Junior High age students and I hesitate or look puzzled for a moment you know why.

Connecting the Pieces of the Puzzle: A Cool Moment in Sunday School

So I just have to brag on my students for a moment. We’ve been going through the Old Testament in Sunday School since the beginning of September. The whole point being that they become more familiar with God’s story in the Bible and how it all connects. As children they heard different narratives from scripture in a random fashion that kept them totally disconnected from being the complete narrative that they are.

Yesterday we covered Genesis 29-31 where Jacob has given away 14 years of his life in service to Laban to have Rachel as his wife, even after being deceived into marrying the markedly less attractive sister Leah after the first seven years of work. I spent much time explaining to them the complicated web of relationships and personal brokenness (Jacob’s obsession with Rachel, Laban’s obsession with his wealth, Leah’s obsession with being loved, and Rachel’s obsession with herself), all coming to a climax in Leah and Rachel’s baby race, where even the servant of each wife is brought into the middle of quite literally. Of course the sisters spirited competition to give Jacob sons results in him having twelve sons the last of which and put an end to it all, because it was the first and only born from Rachel.

As I am saying all of that and saying, “And the twelve sons are the ones that eventually became…”, and before I could get the words out of my mouth the collective light bulb of many of the students about nearly exploded. In the blink of an eye they started to piece together little bits of those disconnected stories they had heard all their lives and things they had always just accepted or knew about started to make sense! Without me telling them they (1) realized that these were the twelve sons (of course Benjamin would be born much later) for whom the twelve tribes of Israel are named (2) that the last son and only one born from Rachel to that point was Joseph (3) and that is why Joseph was the favorite of his father Jacob and therefore why his brothers hated him so much. The same favoritism that Jacob showed Rachel was given to Joseph and indifference same indifference shown towards Leah and the servant girls he likely showed towards his other sons.

It made my day that 35 minutes into a lesson with it’s fair share of random tangents and technical difficulties they were tracking in a manner that clearly indicated that they were thinking, comprehending and concluding on their own.  It was really cool to see how impressed they were with themselves for putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Not in an arrogant way but in a way that says “This makes so much more sense. These seemingly random stories that I grew up with aren’t so random now that I have more information”. Not that it never happens, but it was just really cool to see it happen in such a vivid way.

Ministry to Introverts: Trying to Figure it Out

This is something I have done a lot of thinking on lately, “How do you minister to introverts?” A few months ago I wrote a blog/article, “Is Youth Group Optional?”, where my opinion was fairly unequivocal.  My reply to whether or not youth group should be optional has not changed, however it must be said that making youth group involvement for a student who is an introvert by nature is a much more ominous task than it is for students who are not.

Extroverted kids typically want to come to youth group especially a youth group at a large church. They thrive in large group settings. They are energized by environments that are high energy, and high volume. They love being around people. Extroverts may well make up most of the population or at least that is the perception because… well… they are so easily noticed. Often because of that perception introverts are perceived as not being normal, and given an unfair rap.

Generally introverts are perceived to be socially awkward, too quiet, and sometimes not as smart as their louder, more gregarious, engaging, and charismatic counterparts. All that to say introverts are often thought of as having issues, and not normal.

I don’t want to swing the pendulum the opposite direction as some have done and suggest that it is actually the extroverts that have issues and are inferior. I simply want to point out a few things I’ve learned and observed as I am learning how I can better minister and facilitate life formation for introverted students whom I’ve observed are less likely to even want to come to youth group.

  1. Large Groups Are Exhausting. In the same way extroverts are energized by crowds, introverts become drained when in the company of a large group of people. It’s nothing personal against everyone else. It’s just the way they are wired (by God). In my youth ministry context this means that while these students may find Sunday School very intellectually stimulating they have to endure being in the company of 50+ plus people in a very social atmosphere for a good chunk of time before I even begin to teach. For some this means they are mentally exhausted before I even begin to teach. For some introverts this feeling of exhaustion is so profound and intense that they feel it well before they arrive in the large group setting at just the thought of going.
  2. Small Groups Must Be Small. It only makes sense that introverts would fair much better in a small group setting as they are less likely to become exhausted, or at least not as quickly. However, the issue becomes whether or not the small groups are truly small. For some even a group of 10-12 is too large whereas a group 6-8 could make all the difference between them being able to engage.
  3. Engagement Looks Different. Studies of introverts vs. extroverts have shown that extroverts tend to be more spontaneous whereas introverts are more deliberate. In other words they often think before they speak, make a decision, or act. This is a strength that can often be perceived as a weakness in a culture that values self-expression which often values mere expression over content and means of expression. Introverts need to be given the freedom and space to deliberate in their response and engagement because often times it results in something very profound and insightful being said and shared. Likely you know someone who says very little but when they speak everyone listens because every word is rich, because you know they always taken the time to really think about what they say before they say it.
  4. They Are Normal. I am becoming more and more convinced that the greatest need of a young teen is to know and feel normal. So much about them is changing and it creates an overwhelming sense that they are weird and that something is wrong with them. Whereas extroverts will tend to act out and seek attention when they feel uneasy about being normal, introverts will become even more reclusive.

Conclusion

I’m still trying to figure out what is the best way to minister to introverts. I’m not okay with the fact that many of the students who fall through the cracks in a large youth ministry contexts, like mine, are introverts. I understand that their involvement is going to look different even borderline nominal but I still desire that they would benefit from a ministry that is exists to minister to them too. I’m still trying to figure out what the best way is to accomplish that. For now the two best things I’ve found so far is to connect with them personally, acknowledge and affirm.

If I can connect with them or find someone to connect with them personally, it increases the likelihood of their future involvement. Introverted students whom I’ve acknowledge their introversion and how it can make youth group an exhausting environment for them, helps them feel understood and not quite as weird as they otherwise would. Lastly, the students whom I’ve had a chance to affirm their introversion as a gift, a strength, and just plain normal I’ve seen grow more comfortable and less exhausted by coming to youth group, because they know that I see them as being normal.

If you are an introvert or the parent of an introvert I’d love your thoughts and feed back.

Video Games a Tool of the Devil (So I Was Told)

Where’s the passage about video games?

A friend of mine used to have this saying that I’ve claimed for my own use like Bruce Wilkinson claiming the Prayer of Jabez, “The devil is being made real in my life”. For example, stubbing my toe, my first iPad sliding across the leather seats in my car straight onto the pavement thus cracking the screen, the innumerable amount of acorns in my front yard, and the cable going out in the middle of a big sporting event on a beautiful clear day, are examples of when the devil was being made real in my life (Okay not really but you get the point). It was a way of humorously putting things in perspective that we have little if any control over, which don’t have life altering significance, and yet could cause us to act very un-Christlike if we’re not mindful.

I recently heard a speaker declare emphatically, “Video games are a tool of the devil!” Which if it’s true then I can reasonably conclude that the devil has been a very real part of my life for nearly thirty years. If true, then the devil, or at least his tool –console, -station, -box has been a part of approximately 82% of my life. If true, then I must admit that I’ve had some very entertaining, fun, engaging, and bonding moments with others that the devil or at least his tool have been right in the middle and a cause of. This past weekend I was asked to speak to a group of parents about video games. I was the third speaker in three weeks who talked to them about technology. Prior to me they had been instructed unequivocally to get video game systems out of their house. The reasoning for this imperative is that video games are highly addictive and by having them you put your child at risk of becoming a monster.

In case you’ve heard something similar, wondering what you should do, or need convincing that video games are not inherently fraught with peril, I would like to share with you my perspective as someone who has been alive almost since the beginning of gaming. I am a recreational gamer, and spend a great amount of time with teenagers.

A Brief History [Note: if you really don’t care, don’t have time, skip to the next section]

Video games go back forty years or so when the first video game systems were, Colecovision, Intellivision, and Atari. It’s amazing to consider how these systems and the games for them still have a pop-culture appeal to them. Many of the games can be played on the most up to date systems in their original format. The iconic image of that era in gaming is the Atari game Pong; its one-dimensional plane, slim vertical rectangular bars that simply went up or down as the square depiction of a ping pong ball (that’s right they couldn’t get the graphics to depict anything close to a circle) was volleyed across the screen. The controller, a masterpiece of anti-ergonomics, was literally a box with one red button, with a joystick that resembled a church steeple protruding out of the top. Games were repetitious hand-eye coordination drills, containing simple objectives (get the frog across the street without being ran over, drowning, or eaten), and difficulty was increased by simply making everything move slightly faster than in the previous level. Two-player mode often consisted of taking turns, and trying to beat the other person’s score. Characters depicting people were a collection of boxes and rectangles lumped together to resemble the stick figures on road signs.

Fast forward to present day where the dominant gaming systems are the Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3, and Xbox-360. Hands down the iconic game is the Call of Duty Franchise (the fact that games are often referred to as franchises should indicate how much has changed over time). You are able to play in full 360-degree environments, that consist of entire worlds instead of nuanced levels. 3D gaming is an option if you have the necessary components. Characters are in the likeness, down to facial expressions, of the celebrity actors that voice them. By emailing a few profile mug shots of yourself to the game servers, you can be provided with an in game likeness of yourself for many of the sports games. Four people can play simultaneously on one system, and if you are online then it can be as many as 16 on gaming systems, and tens of thousands in PC Games like World of Warcraft. Controllers have a directional pad, two miniature joysticks that also serve as one of eight buttons, two triggers and up two four pads. If that is too confusing you can just get a sensor bar and be the controller. Once limited to a list of highest scores, game systems have enough memory to not only store an encyclopedia’s worth of data and information, but you can also fully customize or edit much of it. Online play allows you to see exactly where you rank compared to the rest of the world. The games themselves can be epic stories that involve numerous multi-faceted objectives and tasks that require nimble fingers and a sharp mind.

I could go on and on, but as it says above this is a brief summation of how much games and gaming has changed and progressed.

The Big Picture

Gaming is not just gaming anymore. It is a full-fledged community, where people have an opportunity to create, find community (make friends), be accepted, have belonging, and compete… all in the comfort of their home. And yet gaming is still what it has always been, recreational entertainment and escape. It is especially appealing to males as they relate and make friendships primarily by “doing” things. As a youth pastor gaming is one of the greatest tools for forming relationships with my boys. I can have a presence with them without physically being in their house. Equipped with headsets we can talk to one another about all kinds of things as we play games online.

One of the reasons I have a boys sleepover at the beginning of the year where we play video games all night is because I’ve seen how much they unite by simply gaming together. To put it in perspective this wouldn’t have worked a little over ten years ago. It would require eight TVs and eight game consoles for sixteen boys to play at once; eight pairs playing with or against one another. Now with only four TVs and four consoles, sixteen of us can play with and against one another in the exact same game at the simultaneously. At the end of the day I have a platform to talk to them about more significant and meaningful things because I’ve shown an interest in something they’re interested in.

Are They Addictive?

            There have been some extreme case stories being shared to support the argument that video games are inherently bad and fraught with danger.  A few extreme stories, while scary, do not make for an airtight case against them. That’s like concluding that you will never let your child get a driver’s license after hearing some testimonies from MAAD. Even the milder stories of kids “becoming overly competitive or aggressive because of playing video games”, is a really tough case to support. Some people, in particular boys are naturally overly competitive and aggressive. They’ll make anything into a competition, whether it’s athletics, or seeing who can tie their shoes faster. Surely we aren’t going to remove everything from their life that could bring out their competitive nature.

What’s A Parent to Do?

1.     Don’t Panic—How is gaming any different than reading a book getting into a book club, and watching the movie of the book and discussing that too? The only difference is that it can be done much faster and it’s foreign to you. Unless of course you read or knit or whatever as an escape too.

2.     Set Boundaries—Boundaries equal time constraints and doing first things first. I wouldn’t totally discourage gaming, but at the same time there are a few things I would keep my eyes on. Boundaries over time should be loosened in order to prepare them to self-mange when they become independent. You don’t want them going over the top when they go to college because they were never allowed to play before.

3.     Know the Games Story—Discovering what is blatantly morally objectionable or offensive is simple. Games have ratings and there are plenty of resources out there that will you inform why a game received the rating it did. Grand Theft Autohas made headlines for how morally corrupt and reprehensible the objectives of the game are as you play the character of a gang-banger. Even someone with a minimally tuned moral compass knows the objectives in the game do not translate to a life of honor in the real world. No correlation has ever been demonstrated that games of that nature increase the likelihood that a child will engage in criminal behavior. However, what often isn’t as blatant and overt is the worldview of the game. Most games involve a story and every story has a worldview (most any cultural artifact for that matter). What worldview is presented in the game they are playing? What are the values that the story of the game is presenting? What is the origin story, the problem and cause of evil, and what is the solution to the problem of evil? Does its depiction of dealing with the problem of evil delve into morally grey areas like utilitarianism, and other ethical conundrums (virtue ethics vs. pragmatic ethics)? If so these are great opportunities to have discussions with your teenager about the ethics presented in relation to real life problems.

4.     The Real Hook—Earlier I mentioned that the big picture change in gaming is that it is a place where, men in particular, find acceptance, belonging and community. As a youth pastor I desire that students find acceptance in Christ, belonging in Christ, and Christ-centered community to be a part of. I trust that the vast majority of Christian parents want the same. When we find all those things in Christ as we are designed to, gaming takes its proper place as a recreational activity.

5.     Give Them a Story to Live—If you’ve ever read anything by John Eldridge you know one of his tenets is that every boy and young man is looking for a great story to be a part of. Ultimately they want to be the hero in that story. Even Hollywood gets that as there is a movie coming later this year about a video game villain who aspires to live a better story. He ventures out of his game to find a game where he can be more than just a villain. He can be a hero! Donald Miller in his book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years talks about a friend who’s daughter was involved with the wrong kind of guy and making bad choices. When this dad gave his family a better story where they got to be a part of something real, that dealt with real life, real world problems, she turned her life around on her own because quite simply her dad had given her a better story to live than her boyfriend had.

Closing Thoughts

Video games, and most any cultural good, are not inherently bad. Matthew 15.18 quoting Jesus says, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person”. Could the same be said of gaming? How someone spends their free time, or does for recreation doesn’t disorder them. It’s not the value they give an activity that disorders a person. It’s the value they think the activity places on them that disorders a person.