Big Decision

Standard

My wife and I have launched ourselves onto an uncertain path. Back in March, we made the decision for her not to sign another contract for this upcoming school year (yes, she is a teacher). For us, this means the loss of the comfort her paycheck brings; for me, it means stepping up to the plate. Even better, for our son, this means that he has his Mom full time. What could be better than that?

I am not sure what the next few months or even the rest of the year looks like. I do know that God is in control. Please know that I do not say that in some sort of trite way but as someone who truly believes it. This does not mean that I do not have moments of pure freaking out. I want to know how things are going to pan out. I want to know the future. I want control!

In all of this though, God is teaching me to let go.

Advertisements

What I’m Learning: About Stress

Standard

In this season of life, I work as an administrative assistant at a local architectural firm. Essentially I spend my time balancing the front office (clients, ordering, etc.) all the while providing assistance to 2 bosses and 7 employees of varying titles. I often find myself being dragged and pulled in opposite directions based upon some sort of cryptic hierarchy of needs. While my position can be stressful, I do enjoy the field I work in.

When I am not at work, I am a:

  • Husband
  • Father
  • Son/Brother
  • Friend
  • Blogger/Writer
  • Bible Study Host/Teacher
  • Video Game Connoisseur

I also spend various evenings and early morning hours devoted to learning the craft of web design. We all need a dream, right?

Something that I have been learning, lately, is not to let other’s stress become my own.

Putting stress within its proper context, is an art that everyone should practice daily. Below are a few examples of deflecting stress:

.: Example A :.

You have designed a web site for a company and have given them the keys. You no longer have anything to do with the site. Soon after, one of their employees comes to you wanting to change a portion of the site. Happy to help, you listen as the employee describes something the site was never built to do. Graciously you smile, tell the employee to check with the companies designated web master, and you move on.

.: Example B :. 

It is 4:30PM on a beautiful Thursday afternoon. Office supplies have dwindled down to the last paperclip. A fellow employee vents to you that they are about to use said paperclip and that you need to go out and get more, stat! In the most professional manner, you assure your co-worker that supplies will be ordered tomorrow. The paperclip crisis, small as it is, has been averted.

Stress isn’t worth it.

Off Campus: Bryan is over at Theology Gaming today. Come visit!

Standard

Theology Gaming

Tried my hand at an interview. Special thanks to Mr. Josh Cauller for being a great sport. You’ll have to let me know what you think. Don’t be cruel.

The Theology Gaming Sessions: M. Joshua Cauller

My goal in these sessions is for you, the reader, to become better acquainted with the writers of Theology Gaming. So, without further ado, this week we have an interview with Mr. M. Joshua Cauller.

Q: Tell us about yourself and how you were first introduced to video games.

Josh: Christmas 1989, my cousins got a Nintendo Entertainment System with two controllers, the gray light gun, and Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt. Suddenly, the Nintendo officially became the coolest thing in the universe. I mean that thing even beat Transformers. And nothing was cooler than Transformers in first grade. Instantly, I learned what the word jealousy meant. My family certainly wasn’t the poorest in West Philly. But a $100 game system was an unheard of luxury at the time. Plus, my mom was pretty opposed to me owning something I could get addicted to. She said she heard stories of kids at the handicapped kids’ school who literally couldn’t do life without those things. So for most of my childhood, video games represented envy. .: Continue :. 

Rewind Wednesday: Invite Christ Into Your Hobby

Standard

This morning, as I was reading through Bill Farrel’s The 10 Best Decisions a Man Can Make, I came across a passage that talked about inviting Christ into your hobbies. The beginning of Chapter 8 asked a question:

“What do you like to do to relax or have fun?”

The book followed up by asking you to:

“Brainstorm ways to invite Jesus to be part of this activity in your life.”

Bill gave a few personal examples of him inviting Christ into his hobbies: 1)as he is out in the garage tinkering around on his car, he prays and just generally communicates with God just as he would a friend; 2)as he is out exercising, Bill listens to worship music and sermons. Both examples show how easy it is to invite Christ into our down time activities.

Now my own personal ways of winding down do not include physical exercise nor picking up the odd tool and “tinkering”. I know that I need to be more active but I prefer reading a good book or enjoying a video game. I honestly cannot remember a time where I have ever invited God to take up the second controller (figuratively). I don’t think I have ever asked God for the amazing dexterity to accomplish a specific Mario jump either. No, I just mindlessly play and let the digital world envelope me as I would a movie. What does this mean?

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

As a Christian, everything I do is to be done to the glory of God. I need to be keeping God at the forefront of my mind. Even as I play a video game, I need to not be mindlessly consuming but actively engaging the media. This means filtering the game through what I know is truth in scripture; this also means asking God for the endurance to take on that last boss fight. Video games can easily be all about the glory of the player, I want that glory to instead be directed at my Creator.

The Fulton Incident

Standard

Note: I came into contact with Jordan Ekeroth sometime last year when he started his Follow and Engage blog. A blog that was very near and dear to the mission I set out to accomplish with JBG. Since then, I’ve managed to keep up with him via Facebook and follow his exploits as a new writer for GameChurch. Via twitter the other day, I noticed that he was launching a book, “The Fulton Incident”, and so I thought I’d take it for a whirl.

The Fulton Incident

Jordan Ekeroth’s debut novel, “The Fulton Incident”, opens with a man who is barely getting by. Drowning in business and student loan debts, Josh Fulton, Ekeroth’s protagonist, is living out the new American dream. When not running an auto repair shop or pining away for the girl that got away, Fulton bravely goes on mission trips into the city to feed the homeless. Josh is a typical American leading what many would call a normal life, when he happens to notice a political figure at a local hotel. Armed with a camera, Fulton captures this figure with a woman who is not his wife. The lift hill of the roller coaster is about over at this point of the novel. The rest of of “The Fulton Incident” is a steep decent down a course filled with intrigue, suspense, and motorcycle-driven action. But is any of what Josh Fulton experiences real?

.: The Good :.

One of the subtle themes of the book is that of creating idols. In Josh Fulton’s case, her name was Angelica:

“They stood smiling at each other for a few moments and despite the cacophony of distractions surrounding them, neither was willing to break eye contact. Josh felt as though in those few moments, this girl he’d just met somehow saw deeper into his soul than anyone, possibly even himself, had ever seen.”

Angelica ends up going away. Josh never sees her again. He constantly wonders what and why all the while building her, in his mind, into something she could never have been. I’ve seen a lot of guys do this with women who have broken their hearts. I like how Jordan plays with this theme.

.: The Bad :.

“He told me that he had been so tired of the world that day. He had seen so clearly that he had been living for nothing but his own comfort. Everything that was his life: his job, his friendships, his hobbies, his religion, existed only as a system for him to avoid any real pain, and thus avoid really living.”

What does this mean? Are we relegating different pain levels?

When we first meet Josh Fulton, he is in a world of real pain. Lost relationships (Angelica, his parents), ticking time bomb finances (he could lose his auto repair shop), these are real pains.

How is Josh not living? He owns his own business, he is active in ministry, the guy clearly has a life. What about Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 –

18 This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart. (NIV)

There is a quiet undercurrent in this book that attacks the Christian norm. This is good. However, there is also the message that we can only find purity in life when we lay down our possessions and go live in the slums. Not sure about that.

Overall the book is a page turner, I couldn’t wait to see where the story was going to go next. By the time the story rounded into the station, I found my curiosity satisfied. “The Fulton Incident” is one heck of a ride well worth the $2.99 admission fee.