Skip to main content

lessons from a video game



define: transitive verb 1a : to determine or identify the essential qualities or meaning of; b : to discover and set forth the meaning of; 2 a : to fix or mark the limits of.

Last weekend I learned to play a new video game (not that I play many at all, my favourite being a boat racing one - Hydro Thunder woohoo!) that involved characters fighting each other in kickboxing. It was fun at first as I learned all the moves and got in a few punches and won a spar or two. Then the person showing me the game changed from being my teacher to being my opponent and *argh* I lost time after time after time and pretty soon had racked up a score of 14 - 0. So I tried to play the solo game against the computer and after a few good rounds, ended up with a character I could not beat and each time I tried, I did worse and worse until it seemed pointless to even try. So I gave up, threw the controller down, let my anger and frustration show, even shed a few tears and in general wondered why I ever tried to learn this stupid game. I felt inadquate and slow and slightly foolish and stupid. I hate those feelings.

Sunday night at church I was listening to God during worship and he asked me why, "What do you let define you?" Will you let wins and losses, other people's comments and difficult situations, strong emotions and harsh words tell you who you are as a person and direct your actions and attitudes? Or will you let the character and voice of your creator and lover be the determining factor in your decisions and reactions? I pick the latter, because the former just tosses me around like a leaf in the wind and I lose myself in the turmoil.

This is a tour guy in the Quaker House in Philadelphia.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

fun with hermeneutics

I am a reader. The stacks of books in my bedroom, living room, and office, many of them still waiting to be cracked open, testify to this fact. I love to read, but I also know that not all reading is the same. Some is more work and some is more pleasure. A light work of fiction requires little of me but to engage my imagination and be carried away by the story. Online reading requires a bit (or a lot) of discernment to make sure the sources are reliable and the facts check out. Academic reading requires me to reason through the arguments being made and connect them to what I already know or have read in the field. Reading an ancient text requires that I suspend my 21st century perspective as best I can and learn a bit about the worldview and language of the time. Acknowledging a text's context, intent, and genre enables me to hear the words and ideas in such a way that my view of history and the world are enlarged.

Reading, interpreting, and understanding the Bible are important …

stained and broken

Recently, I was asked to speak at another church, and the passage of Scripture which was assigned to me was John 1:6-8. "There came a man commissioned and sent from God, whose name was John. This man came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe [in Christ, the Light] through him. John was not the Light, but came to testify about the Light." (John 1:6-8, Amplified Bible)

The first question I usually ask when reading something in the Bible is this: What does this tell me about God? Two things are immediately obvious - God is a sending God and God wants to communicate - but there is a third which merits a bit more attention. Though God could communicate directly with humanity, sending truth and love to every individual via some divine mind-and-heart-meld, God chooses to send messengers. Not only that, instead of introducing Jesus directly to the world as the main event, an opening, warm-up act appears as a precursor. What is the point of incorporati…

what binds us together?

For the past few weeks, I have been reading a book by famed psychiatrist M. Scott Peck which chronicles his travels (together with his wife) through remote parts of the UK in search of prehistoric stones. The book is part travel journal, part spiritual musings, part psychology, and part personal anecdotes. A mixed bag, to be sure, and not always a winning combination. At one point, I considered putting the book aside, not finishing it, but then Peck started writing about community. He is no stranger to the concept. He has led hundreds of community-building workshops over the years, helped start a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering community, and written a compelling book about the topic, one which greatly impacted me when I read it oh so long ago.[1]

In preparation for a course I am teaching next year, I have been doing quite a bit of study on unity and community. Once you start thinking about it, you see and hear evidence of it everywhere. (See my blog on the impact of b…