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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fighting gamer gate

Hey there Adventurers of the King!

So I had considered giving you some thoughts about Halloween this week, but I feel like gamer gate is becoming to much of a deal to ignore. Notice I do not honor gamer gate with capital letters. With reports of threats regarding both death and rape toward women who are into video gaming, including the outspoken Sarkeesian woman and also famed and talented actress Felicia Day. I am a little baffled by this. I have always appreciated when I found something in common with a girl. I don't quite understand this whole control mentality.

The reason I am writing about this is because I feel that movements like this, which are blatantly seeing women as less than men and as sexual objects to be controlled, are often influenced by a spiritual force. In Ephesians Paul tells us:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)

One of the most famous video game characters of all time, Samus Aranus from Metroid was a woman. Then you have Laura Croft and Cammy/Chun-Li from Street Fighter. All of these are capable of handling themselves in battle. We should respect women who enjoy the hobbies we enjoy and in life we should fight alongside them and not against them.

Is there a place for men to be the leaders of our culture? Not if we use gamer gate to do it. When we do lead, it must be with respect, inclusive toward the women in our lives, and filled with gentleness. There are other ways for us to be powerful, such as helping the people around us or supporting causes like International Justice Mission which fights both African land stealing (which often targets single mother families) and sexual slavery.

Jesus raised the bar when it comes to treating women respectfully. He treated them as equals (for an example see John 4). After his resurrection it was women who were the first to carry the news, not men.

Anything which threatens rape is pure evil. Here is a few thoughts for fighting against this:

1. Pray against it. Pray for a change of heart in the men trying to control video game and nerd culture.
2. Men, treat women with respect. This means we control our eyes, our minds, and our hands. Most of us, including myself, have had times when we faltered. We simply need to get up, be a man, and change. But this also means that we should be inclusive toward the women in our lives, not exclusive. 
3. Women, please don't give up. Find ways to enjoy your hobbies even if a few men don't like it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mystery of God

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and the life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not understood it."

                                                                      John 1:1-5

I love the mystery aspect of who God is. When it comes down to it, we don't know nearly as much about Him as we think we do. I also love the full embodiment of creation as his work. EVERYTHING was created by Him, even if it is tainted and perverted by selfishness and pride, He still created it. Then we find the Redemptive aspect of Christ. He is the "light of all mankind".

In our human stories we try to achieve this. Think about the Force. The Force holds a certain mystery to it. It does not seem to be fully known by any Jedi or Sith. It penetrates all living things. There might even be a redemptive side to it. Think about Luke pulling Vader back from the Dark Side.

But the Force isn't as powerful as God, who spoke the universe into existence. The Force has not died to save you from your sins; nor has it resurrected to show victory over death.

Do you sometimes feel that you don't understand God? Don't be ashamed of it. We all have a hard time with something. It may be that you don't understand why He hasn't simply created a job for you out of nothing. You might not like some of His commands. You might wonder why he hasn't brought you a spouse.

The moment we decide that everything we believe about God has to be comfortable is the moment we are not treating Him as God. We might want Him to be more like a genie which does whatever we want. Perhaps you treat Him like a computer program; here are the limits and all you do must fit in this space.

Just like Aslan, God is not tame. He will make laws we are not comfortable with (such as laws about sexuality). He won't make everything easy for us. God is our creator. Does He like to serve us? In some ways, yes. But ultimately He is the one in control, not us.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Iron Man's Science vs. Asgards Magic, or Faith and Reason

Found at:
Iron Man and Thor had an ongoing argument for an episode of Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (such a better cartoon than the current Avengers run). Thor was tired of man-made technology and science causing problems that they had to deal with. Soon, the world was filled with winter as Maleketh opened the Casket of Ancient Winter. Iron Man was convinced that magic was far less useful and more dangerous while Thor kept declaring the opposite.

This debate goes on in schools, homes and coffee houses all over our world. And it is old. The Psalms refer to this debate ("The fool says in his heart, there is now god." Psalm 14:1) When Paul was in Athens, he found himself debating with stoic and epicurean philosophers. Now, as we read his discussion with them in Acts 17, we find something interesting: he uses the work of people who were not following Christ in his side of the discussion, including a description on a statue and a poem. Granted, this is more like a combination of faith and culture than faith and reason, but it is still an interesting note to make.

When Ezra and Nehemiah worked on the Temple and Walls around Jerusalem, they did so based on a faith in God and a love for His chosen people; but they built these with engineering ideas that are found in exploring our natural world. They used faith and science together.

We find many times in our narratives when these come together, although I feel like many of these are of bad guys messing with forces they shouldn't play around with. In the movie "Bulletproof Monk" we find the prophecy coming out through modern means (mechanical cranes instead of bird type cranes) and we find bad guys using technology to get the secret out of the Monk. In "Warehouse 13" our favorite team includes people who work with research and technology as well as a guy who just gets bad vibes about stuff. In "A New Hope", Luke uses the Force to aim but technology to fire.

So how did this all end for our mightiest heroes? While fighting Maleketh, they realized they were failing. Black Panther said something interesting: "In Wakanda, we use both mysticism and science". So Iron Man used the metal in his armor to weaken Maleketh while Thor sent his lighting to be the final blow. They had to use both faith and reason.

Put your faith in God and use the senses and the brain He gave you.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

God's Time and Legacy

One of my newest game purchases was Legacy: Gears of Time. This game is all about time travel and the goal of influencing technology in the past. It is very strategic. In order to effectively run some tech you have to make sure that certain prerequisites are set further in the past. It is a fairly quick game running in 4 rounds of 4 turns per player.

The only luck in this game comes in with the draw. Aside from that it is all about your own decisions. You have to pay for establishing cards with other cards, so it takes a lot of figuring to make it work.

I don't think the Holy Spirit needs luck...but I do think He works in a similar prerequisite standpoint. I think He tries to get certain works done in our lives before doing certain other works. This can be so frustrating for us though. Sometimes we feel like we are stuck and like God is doing nothing while in reality He is doing many things to change us or challenge us.

Take for example the perception of His work in revelation that we call progressive revelation. Essentially this suggests that God revealed certain pieces of His plan and redemption over time depending on when man was ready to hear them. So Jesus said some things. Paul was informed of other things through the Holy Spirit; and other things were established before either of them through the prophets of old like Jeremiah. Between the Old Testament and the New Testament there was about 400 years of waiting. Think about this. 400 years with no prophetic word or written work of God. Imagine the frustration of waiting for the Messiah while various human empires and kingdoms on Earth kept fighting for superiority. It's no wonder that people were confused about the role of the Messiah when He came. Yet He did come; and Romans tells us it was at just the right time.

God stands outside of time. I wonder what it looks like from that perspective. Seeing all of eternity and history from there. He goes and wiggles something in the 10 century BC, fixes something twenty years after this writing, and then plays around in the year of my birth. Is that what it is like? I don't know. But I know He is trustworthy (more so than us players messing with stuff when we play Legacy). I know sometimes He sits with me when life is terrible and walks with me through it; such as when I went through some rejection by women. Other times He changes things; such as when He healed me of a headache when i needed to concentrate on the English classes I was giving tests to in Amman.

I remember times when I only handled certain things well because I had already learned something somewhere else.

God is creating a legacy throughout time. He wants you to be part of this legacy. All you have to do is ask Him to include you and believe in Him. He will challenge you to change some things; yet you will be part of a much larger legacy and a much more amazing one than you can create on your own.