Tried something different for my men’s group this week

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Our night began with a simple question: What do you think of when I say the word Church?

One of the guys responded, “I think of what the church could/should be versus what it is not.” Reminded me of Saint Augustine’s The City of God. My men’s group is full of deep thinkers.

We talked about how messy the church can be. How Christians can unintentionally hurt one another without knowing it.

1 Corinthians 12:12-31 was our main point of discussion. The verses talk about how the church is made up of one body with many different talents/skills.

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 1 Corinthians 12:26

Ephesians 4:1-16 were our follow up verses:

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. – Ephesians 4:15-16

One Body. Many Members. 

I brought my PS4 to church. Hooked it up to a projector with a large screen in our room. It was time to game.

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Thomas Was Alone was the first game I brought out. We played a bit of Claire’s story. Noting that like the Body of Christ, Claire needed the other characters to progress through the levels. 10 minutes with Thomas seemed like enough. What I really wanted to show the group was Broforce.

“This is like Contra!”

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Broforce was the hit of the night. I was blown away by the video game skills my guys have. Had fun laughing over the insane player deaths and cartoony gore. The best part though was watching my guys work together through a level, helping each other, just like the Body of Christ.

On the Verge of Fear

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There is a fine balance between acting in a responsible manner versus reacting in fear. The church has a responsibility to ensure that all are safe that walk through it’s doors.

The responsible church has plans for inclement weather. Plans to guard against predators who prey on children.

16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. – Matthew 10:16 (ESV)

What happens when the church falters from responsibility into fear? I have been wrestling with this question. Wisdom and innocence alight in a dance. Chuck Norris hired to defend the front door.

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Miitomo

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The legacy of the Mii, Nintendo’s player avatar creations, continues with Miitomo. Uniting iOS and Android users, Miitomo is a personable social network experiment. Inhabited by Facebook and Twitter friends, Miitomo encourages and rewards players for:

  • Answering questions
  • Reading, listening, liking, and responding to your friends replies

Gamification of Social Media: Check

There is also an odd game within the game called Miitomo Drop (drop a player down a board, hope they hit something valuable). As well as options to buy and dress up a player’s Mii. Style points awarded, of course.

Beyond the spongy exterior, the heart-filled frosting of Miitomo tastes hollow. There just isn’t much to do in this app. Yes, Nintendo has done a great job building an oddball social network. I keep wondering though where the gameplay hook is.

As a longtime Animal Crossing fan, the ability to decorate your Mii’s space would be most welcome. Minigames in the vein of the 3DS Mii minigames (Find Mii, Puzzle Swap, etc.) would elevate Miitomo to another level. Nintendo excels when they take a simple concept and refine the player experience.

Miitomo makes great first impression. The missing gameplay hook, the reason to stay and enjoy this weird world, must be found. Mario is indeed missing.

Elijah, God’s Mighty Prophet By David Miles

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Elijah, God’s Mighty Prophet
by David Miles
(Review by Tabitha Hall)

This is a Zonderkidz I Can Read Level 2 book. The story is about Elijah and his trying ordeal ministering to the people of God while King Ahab is in power. The story jumps in as Elijah is proclaiming that Israel will not see rain until God says because of their refusal to worship the Lord alone. The climax of the story is when Elijah calls for a contest between the prophets of Baal and God. And in conclusion the people of Israel remember to worship God. God sends rain once again to the land. This story is appropriate for ages 5-8 years old.

This book, with its simple sentences and bright pictures, was a delight for my son to read. He asked if he could read it again. There is Bible vocabulary (Ahab; Baal; Elijah; prophet) that if discussed before reading gives the child confidence going into the book. Elijah, God’s Mighty Prophet does a good job summarizing the Biblical principles found in the story of Elijah but keeping the language at a first grade reading level. The pictures also do a good job helping tell the story but not enough to give away clues forcing the child to read the words. I would definitely share this book with friends who are looking for engaging stories but simple text for their child to read aloud.

I was given a copy of this book by BookLook Bloggers. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Are Let’s Play Videos Destroying An Industry?

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I will come out and admit that I do not know much about the Let’s Play culture. How recording a playthrough of a game, with commentary, is somehow legal. Ryan Green of That Dragon, Cancer fame wrote a piece titled “On Let’s Plays“. I’m surprised by the feedback the piece has received. Some gamers seeing it as an attack on their creative rights.

“However, for a short, relatively linear experience like ours, for millions of viewers, Let’s Play recordings of our content satisfy their interest and they never go on to interact with the game in the personal way that we intended for it to be experienced.”

That Dragon, Cancer is a short experience. Maybe an hour and a half to two hours worth of content. Having the entire game ready to view online seems like theft. As would be posting the entirety of a piece of literature to read.

I understand that there are free advertising and entertainment factors to consider. But at what point are such videos infringing upon the rights of the developers/creators?

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The film industry would be dropping legal suits like they were hot if this was happening with movies. The television industry, the same. I don’t want a Bill Watterson moment to happen here. A moment where the creator steps away so that his intellectual property’s soul isn’t sold… or in this case, stolen.

Our modern drive for wanting everything free and on demand is going to cost us. I hope that Ryan’s “On Let’s Plays” piece opens up a much needed discussion.

Racing Home

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Wyatt and I raced Tabitha home last night from church. Cruising at 60MPH, Wyatt encouraged me to go faster.

“You need to go 140MPH, dad.”

“But the speed limit is 60MPH.”

“So, there are no cops around.”

Launched us into a great discussion over how there are rules to follow, even when no one is watching.

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Parenting is all about seizing those teachable moments and acting on them.

Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. – Deuteronomy 11:19 (NIV)