All the Christian Stuff, Plus all the Cool Stuff?

I just read about a new video game that’s being released in October, based on the “Left Behind” stuff. The game is called “Left Behind: Eternal Forces,” and just so you’ll know that I’m not making this up, you can see more info here, as well as here (Tyndale’s own description and defense of the game).

Here’s a description of the game, from Leadership Blog

Tyndale’s new video game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces, is set for release in October, and its already coming under fire from both conservative and liberal Christians. Set in present-day New York City, the game pits the army of the Antichrist against born again Christians. Players are rewarded for winning converts or killing those who resist the gospel. Dialogue in the game includes Christians shouting “Praise the Lord” before blowing away unbelievers. (Note – that’s kind of funny).

Well, this is a public blog site – I’ve been pretty surprised in the past about who actually reads it (sorry again, all you Southern Baptist people) – so I’ll keep my personal opinion to myself. Let’s just say that since I’m not personally a pretrib rapture guy, and since I don’t have any adolescent teenage video-game-playing boys in my house, we probably won’t buy the game.

But I was struck by one comment in “Leadership Blog’s” description of the game, from one of the game’s co-creators: “It’s got all the Christian stuff, plus all the cool stuff.”

What??? I see a lot of problems with statements like that.

  1. It reminds me of when I was a kid at lame church youth functions, and during those rare moments when the thing actually was fun, some adult would gather everyone together and say something like, “OK, we’ve all had fun tonight, but now it’s time to talk about the Lord.” Which presents only one message – there’s fun, and there’s the Lord, and for heaven’s sake, don’t get the two mixed up.
  2. Whenever I go into Christian book stores, I don’t see all that much “cool stuff.” I see superficial books that look like they were written in about five minutes, CD’s that all sound pretty much the same, and poorly designed artwork and t-shirts. It wouldn’t exactly kill us if cool people started putting cool stuff in Christian stores. I’m not sure this video game is it, but you get the idea.
  3. I think there should be video or computer games based on Biblical themes or stories, definitely. But I’d want to do something that was more interactive, like “The Sims,” where you can actually get in an become part of the story.

For example, in the “Feeding of the 5000” game, aimed primarily at K – 2nd grade Sunday School classes, children could play the game and select from a variety of responses at various points in the story, without changing the actual Biblical outcome, of course. When the disciples go to Jesus and tell him the people are hungry, and he says “You feed them,” there could be two options: the disciples could say something like, “What a great idea. I sense a miracle coming.” Or, they could start fighting among themselves about who had the best idea (which was actually typical of them anyway). Either way, the outcome would be the same.

When they find the little boy with the loaves and fish, the disciples could ask him in two ways: “Hi there, son. How would you like to be part of history and help teach a valuable theological lesson?” Or, these scary, smelly fishermen turned disciples could march up to the little boy and say, “Hey kid! God wants your lunch, right now! Hand it over!” Which would then open up possibilties for the little boy to have a crisis of faith, and later be able to discover the REAL Jesus, not as he was represented by the disciples, and lots of valuable lessons could come from that.

In addition, by playing Biblical games where, no matter what choices you make the ultimate outcome is still the same, it reinforces the theological truth of the sovereignty of God, which will make all the Calvinists happy. As I recall, there aren’t that many Calivinist video games out there, so it’s time we came up with some.

These ideas are just off the top of my head. I’m sure there are others out there.

The point is – let’s get away from the dichotomy between “cool stuff” and Christian stuff.” Let’s try to just be real, and present our stories in a skillful, compelling way. And a few cool video games might not hurt either.

Oh yeah – on the pretrib rapture thing… It’s not that I’m totally against the idea, it’s just that I find stronger scriptural support for a different theory. But if I’m wrong, and there really is going to be a rapture – I’m definitely down with that idea… or maybe more accurately, I’m “up” with it. Whatever – you get the idea.

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2 Responses to All the Christian Stuff, Plus all the Cool Stuff?

  1. joannmski says:

    That’s a very good point. Christian and cool are always separated. I noticed in Family Christian store’s ad that there will be a new line of films called FoxFaith. (that in itself is sort of funny too). Anyway, they all look like they should play on Lifetime or something. Where’s the good stuff?

    Also, it seems like it would be fun in real life if we could just whip out the old AK47 and blow away those who resist the gospel… 😉

  2. Perry says:

    I have an article written by an old friend, Jim Hodson. Jim used to host “Real Videos” (as opposed to unreal ones?) on Channel 40 in the early 80s with Matt Crouch, when MTV was starting out and Christian TV started copying them.

    Jim wrote about how Christians always follow the rest of the world when it comes to music, bumper stickers, t-shirts, movies, etc. In this era, there is very little originality that comes from the church. This video game is a prime example.

    “Praise the Lord,” indeed.

    The most significant thing the Church has given the world, and what has lasted for centuries but is now in short supply, is sacred music. Sacred music’s brothers and sisters are works by Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikosky, et al…in other words, the world’s most beautiful music came from a tradition birthed in the Church. And the world has tried to copy that, and they sometimes do a good job of it. But turned around, I think the Church doesn’t look too good copying the rest of the world.

    I would love to see “contemporary” worship styles descend and traditional, sacred music elevated once again. This is, after all, our contribution.

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