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A Half-Baked Idea

This post is meant as a simmering pot, to help me think as I write these thoughts down. Hopefully they will make sense to anyone reading (especially you, Brando, once you get home and everything).

Today I saw a link for this video game: http://www.biblearcade.com/games.htm (Brando, I can’t get the hyperlink working…). For those who may not know, this game is a complete copy of Bejeweled, an immensely popular game is quite fun and rather addictive. The premise of Bejeweled (and, consequently, this knock-off game entitled Jewels of Sinai) is that you have to match up three like objects in a sea of other objects. It’s fast paced and kept me playing the few times that I have played it.

I’m going to be very simple with my language here. Why must there be a Jewels of Sinai? It is essentially the same game, except that instead of a simple game with no plot (as if there needed to be one) there is a game attempting to teach a bible story. Pardon me, but since when do we need a bible story in such a game? Will it teach anyone anything deep about God as they furiously click to gain points and lead God’s people to Sinai? Does that question even need to be answered?

What I see here is a trend that seems to be emerging in Christian merchandise, especially Christian video games (think this game about Moses: http://www.thedeliverancegame.com/?gclid=CPTNzsaXwooCFRssVAodx2W2kQ ). It’s the trend that says that all the world’s media must be evil, so as Christians we must make replicas that take out the trash and keep the good. This was the case with the movie Facing the Giants (which, by the way, I did not see because I heard from multiple sources that the acting was atrocious).

Now, hear me carefully. I do believe that Christians should produce art. In times past, some of the most beautiful artistic works were made by Christians (a la Milton’s Paradise Lost, Augustine’s Confessions, or Lewis’ works). However, recently this Christian Industry Machine emerged, promising a plethora of artistic talent, but by Christians. Whereas before the Christians were fine with working from a “secular” publishing house, now Christians must be a part of CCM if they are to be a “Christian” musician. Now Christians are to be under a Christian publishing house. Now Christians must only listen to “Christian” music (as if music were saved), read “Christian” books, watch “Christian” movies, and play “Christian” video games (where “Christian” is described as coming from a publishing house, record label, movie maker, or game developer known as “Christian”).

This doesn’t exactly sound like in the world but not of it. I would argue that the art that these “Christian” venues often promote is second-rate, often merely aping some secular style rather than being truly fresh or original. That’s a sweeping statement, but I believe it can be backed up by many examples (for which I don’t have the time…Brando, have a few?). One example is “Christian” music, which is often simply a re-packaging of a secular artist’s style.

I lament this state of things. Why did the shift occur? Why do we now have a “Christian” market, instead of Christians in the market? Why do we have a “Christian” Music Industry, instead of having Christians in the music industry? Why are there now “Christian” game development companies making the same game as a good secular game, instead of Christians making a brand new, fresh, and innovative game that will blow people away.

Art reflects our Creator and Savior. Why should we settle for having a “Christian industry” that promotes art that doesn’t reflect as much of God’s revealed glory as, oftentimes, the skill of the secular artists do? It sickens me that Christians are not at the forefront of culture. Why are we in the back, bemoaning the terrible culture that is emerging from those evil secular people? We, as representatives of Christ, should reflect Him and His glory through skillful, creative art better than non-Christians. We have a reason to other than self-glorification. We have Christ to exalt! What a waste it would be if we backed away from the world and created our own bubble of art, instead of creating art that glorifies God and shows His majesty to all around!

Those are my thoughts, raw and unedited. If they do not make sense, I apologize. This post is like raw material. It may form the basis for many posts. Brando, if you see this while you’re in San Fransisco and you have a minute, give me your thoughts…

Chrisitan Nolan

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David Waiting on God

One of the most exciting stories in the Bible is the Israelite king Saul’s pursuit of the future anointed king of Israel, David. David is getting more and more fame in Israel, and Saul, who has already been told that he is going to be replaced as God’s anointed, begins growing jealous of David. He attempts to kill David a few times, forcing David to go on the run.

Now imagine being David. You have been told that you are to be the next king of Israel. You have defeated a giant, and are praised by the people for being a champion. However, your king’s jealousy is forcing you to go into hiding for your very life. Most people in those circumstances would kill their pursuer if they got the chance. After all, isn’t he the anointed of God? Shouldn’t he be the king of Israel anyway? It is obvious that Saul is living an unrighteous life, and does not honor God. So shouldn’t he be dealt with?

David answers this question with a resounding “no!” He refuses to kill Saul, and grows very angry with those who take life and death into their own hands later. His idea seems to be “God has promised that I will be king, so I will leave the timing up to him.” What amazing trust in God! I know I am tempted to take circumstances into my own hands on a regular basis. “Hasn’t God called me to something else? Why should I wait before seizing this opportunity – it is there for the taking!” However, I believe that God does not always call me to immediately seize an opportunity just because it is there. I need to proceed cautiously, and see if there are good reasons to wait. I also need to be patient if God closes doors that I think should be opened – he has a plan for this. Just because God is calling me to something does not mean that I am to do it this instant – God may have good reasons for me to wait. May I be patient with God’s plans for my life, especially when I feel he is going slowly. God always has a reason, and that reason is for my good.

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