2015 – A Year In Review

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2015 has been a roller coaster year.

We’ve Explored

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Should Men Put Video Games Away As “Childish Things” For Their Wives / Girlfriends?

I have known countless guys who have given up their favorite hobby due to a spouse or girlfriend disapproving– I am sure that this is true for the female species as well. Once upon a time, these guys enjoyed playing video games. They used them to drop stress levels, rest, and relax. For some reason though, chemistry, the alignment of the stars, who knows, they end up coupling with someone who disapproves/looks down upon their hobby. So they have to quit, have to walk away from something they love to be in love.

Read more here

We’ve Been Real With One Another

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Longing For That Missing Person

Social media is filled with photos of babies. Beautiful children who are all snugly and cute. While I am excited for my friends and family who are pregnant, there is always this void that gnaws at my soul.

Read more here

We’ve Shared In The Joys Of Parenting

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Boys Club

Best part of our day was in the backyard. Wyatt wanted to go outside and play Transformers. So we each picked a weapon. I grabbed a foam sword, he grabbed a Nerf gun. Somehow we never got around to playing. Wyatt was too concerned with making up rules, structure, to our play. I got bored. So I grabbed his gun and took off. There were tears over my dual wielding weapons.

“You can’t have two!”

Read more here

We’ve Read Some Great Books

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Scary Close – Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy

I first discovered Donald Miller in college. I was at a point in my life where I wasn’t sure about my Christian faith anymore. There was a disconnect between the Christians I read about in the Bible and the Christians I met everyday. Tired of the hypocrisy, I found honesty in Miller’s Blue Like Jazz. Someone was finally writing from a perspective that felt authentic. God used Miller’s words to remind me of the freedom we have in Christ; He used Donald Miller to bring me back to Him.

Read more here

We’ve Called Each Other To More

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A Call: Moving Beyond Artificial Relationships

Surface level relationships will never go beyond the surface. Diving equipment, time invested in person, allows us to get to know one another better. Being purposeful in our pursuit, this is key. We have to make time to have time to spend with others; We have to get over ourselves, move beyond technology.

An invitation to go for a walk, time set aside to enjoy nature and listen. Spending the lunch hour eating with a friend. Time invested. Physical time. We need more of this. We need to do this.

Read more here

I’m not sure of the places we’ll go in 2016. But we can explore, share, and be real together. Here is to another great year. Happy New Year!

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Book Review – 42: Discovering Faith Through Fandom

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Eric Anderson and Nathan Marchand invite you along on a 42-day journey. A journey filled with Star TrekDoctor Who, and the worlds within and beyond Marvel.

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42: Discovering Faith Through Fandom bridges the gap between pop culture and the Bible. When successful, soaring to personal heights that speak to the soul. On off days, testing the cultural and spiritual bonds woven together to the point of collapse.

Despite a few daily entries that felt forced, I enjoyed my devotional journey. Each daily entry features an introductory Bible verse followed by a narrative. The narrative then ends with a “Quest for the Day”. Offering a time of action, questions to journal through, and reflection.

Note: The “Quest for the Day” section is where the devotional fell apart for me. I would find myself skimming over the questions. Failing to engage with the book any further. If the extra scripture reading listed was added to each entry, I might have read it.

Eric and Nathan’s book is perfect for those interested in the junction point of pop culture and faith. I appreciated the chance to read and review their book. Which you can buy here.

Thanks guys!

Best Theology Video Games Of 2015 – Destiny: Taken King

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This year, I had the chance to help the guys over at Theology Gaming with their Best Theology Video Games Of 2015 list. Had fun writing about Destiny: Taken King.

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Best Mirror Of Our Faith Journey
Destiny: Taken King

Sin. Repentance. Redemption. Destiny mirrors the faith journey of the Christian. Made in the console shooter creator’s image, this 2014 title launched with solid mechanics and an uneven tale. Broken from a story perspective, mired in sin, Destiny was yet embraced by the gaming populace.The Dark Below and House of Wolves expansions launched the game into an orbit of repentance. Redemption found in the Taken King. Sin, downfall, always but a step away. Developer Bungie continues the journey through the valleys and mountain-top experiences of game development.

That Dragon, Cancer – Official Release Trailer My Friend Josh Made

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My friend M. Joshua Cauller makes video game trailers. Today, his trailer for That Dragon, Cancer was released. I’m very proud of Josh. Trailer made me cry.

My favorite scene was the telling of the story of Jesus and his disciples on the boat. A storm rises up, everything thinks they are going to die. Where do you think Jesus is? Asleep. The waiting room imagery, of being overwhelmed, contrasted with this story is remarkable. Our stresses, our worries, Christ in control the whole time. Love it.

The Christmas Monster

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The holidays are a battle. A war filled with presents.

The Christmas list is a list that must be structured to maximize gifts received. I’m not sure what year I learned how much family members spent on me for Christmas, but I did. Strategic planning ensued. I would organize my list so that the most expensive items were at the top of the page. As one would read down the list, the items became cheaper. I would even take this a step further by listing the items retail price. I was a monster, used to three family Christmas events. One with my dad’s parents, one with my mom’s parents, and one with my immediate family.

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Sometimes monsters look cute. I mean, handsome.

My Aunt Jody has no children. She loves giving; she loves Christmas time. On the other side of the Christmas campfire, my mom felt the need to compete with my aunt and grandparents. Growing up, she co-owned a craft business with a friend. My mom would spend hours out in the garage, cutting out craft pieces with her scroll saw. She would then paint these items, piece them together, and then go to a weekend craft show to sell. Generating money for Christmas that we did not have. I remember my Grandma and Grandpa Ayers coming out to help her paint and get items ready to sell. The holidays were stressful for my mom. I’m sure she wouldn’t tell you that. I’m sure as a kid I couldn’t have told you that my mom was stressed over having to compete. But she was.

The gift overload distorted my view of Christmas. The season became all about what I could get. I didn’t see the stress it was causing those around me.

My mom has since learned to let go and not compete. But I’m still learning, shaping, what Christmas looks like for my family. I don’t want Wyatt growing up thinking that Christmas is about maximizing what he can get. Sure, maybe kids do that to a point. But I do not want to raise a Christmas monster.

What does Christmas look like for you and your family? How do you go beyond presents?

Night Terrors

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Wyatt had another night terror.

I walked into his room to find him yelling and looking around for something on his pillow. His eyes darting about, as if tormented by unseen things. I asked him for five dollars. Nothing. If he had been awake, that would have brought a quick response. He continued moan-yelling, speaking in an asleep language.

I crawled into bed with him. Rubbed his back. Told him to go to sleep. We laid there for awhile. His eyes darting, refusing to stop their dance. I told him it was okay. Everything was okay.

Growing up, my sister suffered from epilepsy. I have seen things that I wish I could un-see. Prayed desperate prayers to God to take away her seizures. Which he did. But I can’t shake the images of her eyes darting about. Her seizures remind me of my son’s night terrors. Two completely different things, I know. Both haunting.

After awhile the heater kicked on. Wyatt finally calmed down. I left him and got back in bed. My mind awake.

Parenting is hard. I often feel as if I am failing as a dad. And then I have a moment where my son needs me.

I just want to be a good dad. A dad who has an actual relationship with his son. I try to move beyond what was modeled for me. Overcoming the past by active engagement.

The night terrors will one day cease. Wyatt will grow older, mature, and one day move out. I hope that the foundation I am building in our relationship is enough. I don’t want him to realize, as an adult, that he and I have nothing to say. Life is too short and precious for that.

Off Campus: Best Theology Video Games of 2015

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Helped work on a Best Theology Video Games of 2015 list with the guys over at Theology Gaming. Want to invite you to check it out. It’s good. Made me want to play Metal Gear Solid V.

I even make the bold claim that Destiny: Taken King is the Best Mirror Of Our Faith Journey. Read to the end.