Joe and the God who helps

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Joe, over at Theology Gaming, writes about Dark Souls and community. You can read more here.

There’s a life lesson in here somewhere. How many times in my own life have I set out with unwavering determination to accomplish a thing, armed only with my own knowledge and experience? More frequently than not those experiences serve to remind me that I don’t know as much as I thought I did. It’s certainly not that I think I know it all; I just think I know enough.

I met my wife in hell

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I met my wife in hell. In the bowels of a Christian haunted house. I was playing some sort of motorcycle riding bad boy; she was playing the role of my sister. Nothing weird, just evangelism.

I remember my dorm floor chaplain asking me to be in the play. I wasn’t interested. And yet felt that I needed to be a part of this “scare people to Jesus” movement.

At our first practice, I was immediately attracted to the other woman playing my sister. You see, we had two casts that rotated turns acting throughout the night. No polygamy or Arkansas relationships going on here. Turns out I was attracted to a mean married woman. I’ve never known much about the lady folk beyond Jane Austen.

We rehearsed, rotated through the different walkthrough sets, finalized how things were going to go down. I didn’t notice Tabitha until the next night.

We were between scenes. It was late. I was laying across some chairs, tired. She didn’t see me and almost sat on me. We laughed. I knew I could talk to her about almost anything. I told her something about my Grandpa Ayers, not sure what. The sister I hadn’t paid a second thought to was suddenly front and center.

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Tabitha and I always laugh about how we first met. How we were both in a place where we had given up on dating, on finding the “one”. Heck, Tab wasn’t even supposed to be at school that semester. A cancelled class, much to her displeasure, put her on campus at the same time as me. God is funny.

Life hasn’t turned out the way either of us thought it would. I’m still working in an unhealthy work environment with zero room for advancement. We haven’t been able to have any more children beyond our only son. The Special.

I think we’ve been in a period of refocusing. Trying to figure out who we are as a family and who we want to be.

I’m not sure what the future holds. We could be leaving East Texas; we could be adopting children. I have no idea. But I do know that obedience to God, that stepping out and following Him, has always been hard but good.

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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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.

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)

We are the gatekeepers

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In Raising a Modern-Day Knight, Robert Lewis encourages dads to model positive media behavior. He says that sons are always watching and listening. Using dad’s actions as a way to filter the world.

Talk about a big responsibility.

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In my house, I’ve realized that my wife and I are gatekeepers. Curators. We preview and engage all media consumed. Not out of some crazy quest for control but out of love for our son. My experience with Aliens, at the neighbors, in first grade, not going to happen to him. This allows us to introduce age appropriate entertainment. Books, movies, television and games consistent with our Christian worldview.

Sometimes these experiences bring about questions and conversations. Which is fantastic. Just the other night we had a short discussion on Five Nights At Freddy’s, a playground topic.

I am learning that I have more influence, as a parent, than I ever knew. I want Wyatt to grow up to make smart decisions, in all areas of life. Media discernment is a great first step in establishing healthy cultural engagement.