In pm's words
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July 14, 2015, 10:13 AM

Gaming and Faith


As many of y’all who know me pretty well (and for those that don’t yet know me well you’ll find out) I love video games. I have been playing video games since – forever – it seems at times. I have wonderful and fond memories of playing games with my brother, sister, and father growing up.

In fact, some of my earliest game related memories are when my dad was close to beating a game called Blaster Master for the NES (made by Sunsoft ). Blaster Master is a notoriously difficult game and that’s putting it mildly. I remember when he was at the final boss and I ran around to all my friends in our neighborhood in San Diego, CA telling them that my dad was about to ‘do the impossible!’ in beating the game. I remember about 5 of my friends crowding into the small room that our Nintendo was in watching him play the final boss. When he did beat it, there was much excitement all around!

Some of my favorite games are the usuals like the Super Mario Bros. series, the Legend of Zelda series, Halo, and Mass Effect. There are some odd ball favorites that I thoroughly enjoyed like Too Human on the XBOX 360 (which was universally panned it seems). Whether a game is strategy, first person shooter, a RPG, an action game, or even a small casual game on my phone; I have either played it or know about it.

Needless to say, I love video games. I love that satisfaction I get in completing tasks, living in different worlds, experiencing different stories, and enjoying the fellowship with fellow gamers. I love the interaction you get to experience in video games. Most importantly – I think games are fun. REALLY FUN.

Of course, many of you are probably thinking, “But he’s a pastor! He can’t play video games!” Well, sorry (not sorry). I am a pastor and I do play video games. In fact, I know a bunch of pastors, future pastors, and strong people of faith who equally love video games too. It is a part of who I am and I cherish those moments that I get to escape to for even the briefest of moments (that become even briefer when you are a husband and a father too).

As a pastor, I cannot help, but think about my faith as I play these video games. In fact, I think about how I live out my faith and how that it is similar to my view of video games. For me, games are fun because I’m participating in it. I’m having direct action on the character in front of me. I’m pressing the buttons, I’m completing the quests, and I’m advancing through the story.

I am an active participant.

I view my faith life in this way too.

For me, being a person of faith doesn’t mean sitting on the sidelines or just coming to worship for an hour or two on a Sunday.

For me, living this life that Christ has called us to means that I’m actively involved in it. I’m participating in this life of faith in all aspects of my life.

I’m coming to worship. I’m in prayer. I’m reading scripture. I’m visiting those who are sick and confined to beds. I’m in conversation with people about faith. I’m active in movements that point out the injustice of our world. I’m a part of my community. I’m being a model of faith for my children and the other youth here at the congregation I serve.

I’m doing. I’m getting to do. And all of it is fun.

For far too long there have been those in the church who have been just content to sit back and watch. They come to worship, they limitedly participate, they don’t feel engaged and they don’t engage in the life of faith.

That’s a problem. The life of faith that we have been gifted – this life of faith that we get to live – is one that should be participated in. We get to participate in those areas of our faith life that fill us with life and love.

We get to play and participate in the role that God has set before us. This life where we are children of God, created out of love, and redeemed through grace.

We get to participate in this life of faith not because we have to, but because we get to and it is FUN! Or at least I hope you think it is at times!

For me games are fun and I get to participate in them (which makes it even more fun). Watching someone play games isn’t the most fun, unless I’m interacting with those playing in some way (I have frequented in watching Twitch.tv streams and have hosted streams in the past). For me, games need to be interactive.

How I live my life of faith needs to be similar in that interaction. I cannot just sit by without any interaction with others. Holed up in my own little world. I need others. I need to be doing something. Not because I have to do it, but because I get to do it. God has gifted to me and to all of us this wonderful life of faith. We get to participate.

Each of us are new creations in our baptisms. We get to live the life of faith. We get to worship, and partake in communion. We get to sing, we get to read scripture. We get to serve our God and our neighbors. We get to walk with others in need. We get to point and show others where the Kingdom of God is at work.

We get to do all of that. We get to have fun.

Live out your life of faith. Have fun. Participate. Engage. Amen

- pm

 

PS - if you'd like to play games with me - you can find me on XBOX Live at my gamertag:

 

 

 

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