Whichever Shoe Fits

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Back in February, Tabitha and I were sitting in the auditorium at church listening to a guest speaker. I was having trouble paying attention, my mind wandering, until the speaker started talking about the Stages of Hurt:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

God spoke to Tabitha and I in that moment. We both realized that we had been cycling through those stages for years. Years. Not always in that exact stage order but something quite like it. You see, we have been trying to have another child for about 9 years now. Seeing what ultimately are the Stages of Grief, written down on the conference handout we were attending, did something. I could finally see the bigger picture. I could see how a friend’s baby announcement would suddenly shoot me into anger or even bargaining over not being able to have more children; I could see why, at times, I’ve been depressed.

In that moment of epiphany, Tab and I both felt that God was calling us to step out of those stages. We felt Him calling us to more.

So we talked and met with wise counsel at church. My church’s youth pastor and his wife sat down with us over dinner. They listened to our story and shared their own (I can’t put into words how much this meant to us). We learned that we weren’t alone in our experience. After meeting with them, we decided to contact the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. We attended an informational meeting (which was awesome). Soon after, we signed up to take adoption certification classes (PRIDE) which lasted a few weeks. We have since finished up:

  • Turning in financial information
  • FBI Database fingerprinting
  • Having a fire inspection of our home

We have a:

  • Health Inspection for the house
  • And an Home Study/Interview left before we are certified to adopt. We are almost there!

If you think about my family, as we move forward in this process, we are asking for:

  • Prayer (if you are not the praying sort, positive thoughts then)
  • Discernment
  • Wisdom
  • That God would lead our adoption caseworker to the child He wants

Excited to finally share this news with ya’ll. More to come.

Pressing Forward – What Remains of Edith Finch

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Stayed up last night and pushed forward in my What Remains of Edith Finch play through. I am loving how personal, how intimate, and how superb the game’s storytelling is. I feel like I’ve been invited to peak behind the family curtain, so-to-speak; invited on a woman’s search to understand her family. I think deep down, we all want to understand our family’s past as a way of processing the present.

Never know what you’ll find in the bathroom. A book that leads to secret passage? Yes, please.

There is something about this house that makes it unlike other homes in video games. This house feels lived in.

So much detail.

Never know what you’ll find in the basement.

A walk along the beach in the moon light, why not.

I am surprised by where this game is able to go.

What Remains of Edith Finch has reminded me of the power of the video game medium. I can’t wait to continue pressing forward. Will post soon.

The Halls Head West – Part Three

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The Mission San Luis Rey grounds feature an area that the friars used to bathe and to wash their clothes.

First, the brothers would descend this expansive stairway.

This would lead them to a aqueduct-fed bathing area. Yes, those are goldfish crackers in the bottom left of the photo (historic/beloved food of kids ministries everywhere).

Water would pour out of the gargoyle’s mouth. Mmm, tasty!

Another view of the area.

Heading back towards the Mission, we saw:

The oldest pepper tree in California.

The pepper tree is through the archway, to the right.

We then walked through the graveyard.

The Franciscan Burial Crypt. Let’s get closer!

Locked and barred to keep Lara Croft from doing any tomb raiding.

Loved the metal work on the crypt gate.

Our trip to Mission San Luis Rey was amazing. I enjoyed how peaceful the Mission and the grounds were. Also love that this is still a working Mission used for theological studies.

King of the Missions, indeed.

The Halls Head West – Part Two

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After Disneyland, our trip was a bit more low-key. We had a chance to see my Grandma (who I hadn’t seen in two years), play some Dutch Blitz with my Mom’s family, and even go bowling.

My mom won both games. That seemed to be a theme throughout our visit no matter what we played.

Tab and Wyatt studied California History this past year. So we went and visited Mission San Luis Rey. As someone who holds a degree in History-Political Science, I was super impressed with the mission’s museum.

A sheep skin hymn book.

The door from Walt Disney’s Zorro.

A letter from President Lincoln giving the Church their land back.

After touring the museum, we headed outside to walk the grounds.

If you missed Part One, click here

For Part Three, click here

Fear, Geek Culture, and the Church

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Photo by James Pond on Unsplash

Michael Mendis, writing for Geeks Under Grace, recently wrote a piece titled “Geek Culture and the Church“. As he weaves through the history between the church and geek culture, he touches on something I have always found interesting:

Over the years I have heard numerous stories about Christian geeks who feel that they have to hide their hobbies from fellow saints. I’ve met a well-respected leader in a church who can’t reveal to the rest of his leadership team that he plays Dungeons & Dragons. A gaming missionary I have worked with tells a story about how he once visited a church to talk about gamer culture, and after his presentation, two people came up to him—back-to-back, but independently of one another—to privately confide that they were gamers, and that they were afraid to tell the other people in their church.

On a basic level, I get that we can’t 100% be ourselves at church. Fellow Christians may struggle with things that we do not, making it un-wise to talk about whatever it is in front of them. I get that. But playing video games, to me, is just as normal as watching television or following sports. In all my time, living in the buckle of the Bible Belt for over sixteen years now, I have never felt like I needed to hide the fact that I enjoy playing video games and tabletop games (and I get that my experience may be unique).

I remember approaching my pastor, soon after college graduation, about how I wanted to start a video game ministry. He encouraged me to talk to our youth pastor; who then encouraged me to think outside the box and not go to seminary. “Just do it”, he said like a Nike commercial (it was deeper than that). I’d like to think that my experience here isn’t unique, I was encouraged by my East Texas based church staff, not discouraged from where I felt God leading me in that moment.

As I edge closer to 40, I have learned to not be as worried about others opinions, to enjoy what I like. I have found that there are others out there, in the church, who share my hobbies. I want to encourage you not to live in fear. Be passionate about what you are passionate about. Own your video games, your hunting, and your love for modifying old cars.

Update 5/23/19 – My wife lovingly reminded me that I have encountered instances, at church, where fellow Christians have been less than loving about my hobby. Funny how one forgets such things when not in the moment. As with anything, I think you quickly learn who you can talk to and who you should avoid talking to about nerdy things. Such is life. – Bryan

Press Start – What Remains of Edith Finch

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Developer Giant Sparrow’s What Remains of Edith Finch has been on my radar for quite sometime. Thankfully, one of the PlayStation Plus games this month happens to be the above said title. So I fired up the game for the first time tonight. Enjoy my opening photo safari below.

So much lovely detail.

How curious…

Built by Sven.

Sirius Black once had a family tree…

More photos to come, I’m sure, as I continue to play.