Thinking Aloud: Growing Closer to Christ

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Note: I could write an entire series on what it means to grow closer to Christ. I realize that I barely scratch the surface of this subject and wanted to recognize that. You are now free to read.

Last year, I read an article on a Christian video game site that extolled the virtues of Telltale’s The Walking Dead series. The article talked about how the game’s protagonist, Lee, was a Christ-like figure due to his sacrificial death at the end of the game. Spoiler. All I could think was that Lee was a murderer, Christ wasn’t.

As a Christian, I should be constantly growing closer to Christ. What does growing closer to Christ look like? Is it a combo of:

  • Giving up/walking away from things that are shrouded in helpless darkness? Perhaps coming to the realization that The Walking Dead, with its unimaginative curse-filled vocabulary, just isn’t for me?

OR

  • Embracing the darkness and trying to find Christ’s redemptive story/ God’s redemptive plan in everything? An effort of trying to find the good, the light, that exists within the darkness we often consume?

Phillippians 4:8 comes to mind:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

I want to be willing to give anything up for Christ. Even if this means walking away from a gaming series that I really enjoyed, like The Walking Dead or even God of War. I want to be careful with the games that I endorse because my endorsement, as a Christian, is like saying Jesus approves of this. I do not want to lead anyone away from Christ. A difficult road to trot down.

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10 thoughts on “Thinking Aloud: Growing Closer to Christ

  1. That has always been the dilemma when Christians enter into culture: do we find the good and redemptive nature in everything? Or do we reject things outright if we see the sin a mile away?

    I tend to, as a rule, see what Jesus did. In this case, we know he hangs out with drunkards and prostitutes – people who need Him. I think a similar case could be made here, honestly. Doesn’t mean we need to PLAY those things – for example, I just don’t feel comfortable playing God of War, even if you do – but we do need to be familiar with what people ARE playing. That’s the important part.

    • I definitely agree with you.

      I’ve had terrible writer’s block lately. Looking at this post now, I see that it could have been divided into at least four different posts. I think what I was trying to get at was that as we mature in Christ, there should be changes in our lives. These changes might include having to walk away from a game/series we like. I’ve had to do this with several games and it hasn’t been fun. Especially when the games I’ve walked away from have been a total blast to play.

      • I hear you. Those are difficult decisions to make, of course, and I think every Christian has faced that kind of dilemma at some point. Do I become friends with this person? Should I listen to this? Perhaps these are uniquely “first world problems”, but it doesn’t make them any less important for one’s Christian walk.

        Rebirth requires being born again – starting over. So, in that sense, to relearn the way we should think and act wouldn’t be easy at all.

  2. mjoshua

    Good discussion with you and Zach above. I’m definitely in the middle of this same tension you write about here. I need to offer a pitch to Zach that discusses where you can and can’t play as Christ in the walking Dead. I really found Steven Sukkau’s write-up on the game to be deeply fascinating, if not troubling, when dealing with the extreme vulgarity and violence in Walking Dead. I truly wasn’t planning on playing through the whole season. But after I did, I was glad I did. I think I might even recommend the game to a lot of Christians. But definitely with caveats and lots of discussion.

    I have a harder time clearly saying yes or no to whether or not Christians should engage with something. To me, it really comes down to : are you walking with the Holy Spirit in all things? Are you being “prayerful at all times?”

    I’m no master on this subject. But I want to be. I think I captured this tension in my blog about Hotline Miami.

    • I want to read that article.

      I usually game after my son goes to bed. My wife is a school teacher so that means that she is sitting there grading as I am playing. Anywho, my wife ends up just hearing the game rather than seeing it. This has caused me to view games differently. I think I scarred her by playing through Mass Effect 2. We frequently joke about Grunt and his battle cry, “I am Krogan!”. Who knows how many times he said that.

      All of the above to say that I have become sensitive to what is coming out of the speakers. I can handle all sorts of violence. I cannot handle language. Not sure what that says.

      I once asked a friend, “can a Christian do this?”. He told me that I was asking the wrong question. Truly, if we are having to ask that question the Holy Spirit has already convicted us. Right?

      Like you said, it all boils down to the heart.

      I will check out your Hotline Miami post.

      • mjoshua

        “want to read that article” regarding just my Hotline Miami post or are you assuming you haven’t read Steven Sukkau’s post that I mention? I’m assuming his post on GameChurch at the top of this article is the one that spawned this conversation. But that’s just an assumption on my part.

        Yeah. Krogans are awesome and I know exactly what you mean about the sounds affecting your spouse. As a result, i mostly game whenever my wife isn’t home. She hates the sounds of violence, so I usually play games on mute or really quiet if there’s gunshots involved. To her, I’m “killing things and blowing crap up.” Honestly, that’s something that happens a lot despite my pacifist tendencies and indie game leanings.

        Cool to see we wrestle with similar scenarios!

  3. You correctly assumed. I’m also thinking I’ve read your Hotline Miami piece (was it on GameChurch?).

    I’ve thought about buying a good set of headphones but have been turned off by the price. Mass Effect 2 and the original Black Ops have probably affected my wife the most.

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