Priorities: God vs Man

I was driving to work today, and an odd thought came into my mind. The thought was of priorities, and how we can often have very different ones. One example came to my mind about different priorities my fiancée and I have. I studied music at Uni, and hence have a very different perspective of rehearsals than my fiancee. We’re in the Songsters at my Corps – a choir that gives a message during the morning service. We rehearse each Wednesday, and sometimes, my fiancee has a slightly “less professional” attitude than myself. Where as for me, I can’t stand being late for a rehearsal, let alone missing one without a valid reason. If it were up to me, I would be arriving at least 15 minutes before the rehearsal was due to begin, where as my fiancee would prefer to arrive right when it’s due to start.

My priorities during rehearsal are also somewhat different to those sitting next to me. I pay attention, sing, run through my part in my mind when the conductor is working with other parts, and stop singing when he requests. Others will muck around, not pay attention, and continue to sing for a little bit after the conductor has finished. We have different priorities, based on what we have experienced.

How do we reconcile different priorities between each other? Also, how do we reconcile when our priorities are different to what God’s priorities are? Continue reading “Priorities: God vs Man”

Recommending Christianity

I recently commented on a post on an Atheist’s blog. She went to a Multi-Faith forum, where she discussed Atheism, and got offended by some of the Christian’s comments. And fair enough – the Christian speaker practically described atheists as “rebellious cranky kids who want to be able to run around having promiscuous sex and drunken parties.” In reality, Atheists are people who have seriously thought about their faith and their beliefs, and often have thought about God more than most Christians. As I commented on her blog, I’m not going to get into trying to Convert them there, because it’s not the place.

But a comment following on from my comments got me thinking. Commenter Andre said “You achieve no tangible results by attempting to convert people, and it is frankly crass, disrespectful, and downright insulting.”

Maybe it is. I know for me, I get a little bit annoyed when people try to convert me to another religion. So when talking about our faith with non-believers, should we consider a different tactic?

Christianity as a Band

A long time ago, a friend of mine told me to check out his Cousin’s band, Sounds Like Chicken. We had a listen to the CD, but it didn’t really grab me, so I left it alone. A little while later, while in the local Christian book shop, Koorong, I saw their next EP and thought that I’d give it another go. I had a listen and heard songs such as this one:

I really liked the CD, and started to get into them. Every time they came to Perth, I went and saw them, and really got into their music. They were (and still are) my favourite band, but have since broken up to pursue other avenues.

When we recommend a band to someone, or a movie, we’re telling them that we’ve discovered something we really like, something we’re passionate about, and we think that they might like it as well. If they don’t, that’s cool – we know that everyone has different tastes in their music, and movies, so that’s fine. But also, just like I eventually decided that I loved Sounds Like Chicken, even though I wasn’t really taken by them when I first heard them, we may later rediscover a band and decide that we now like their music, where as we didn’t before.

I feel that sometimes, we need to recommend Christianity much like we do music – especially when we’re amongst our friends. Be willing to tell people about this really awesome thing you’ve discovered – Christianity – but don’t be offended if they’re not interested in it. They may have different values. They may be in a different situation. As is often said – the seed has been planted, and though we don’t know how long it will take to grow into fruition, or even if it will survive, so long as we are planting seeds, the possibilities remain. And remember to allow the recommendations to rest if someone dislikes it. I know for me, the more someone continues to tell me something I don’t like, the more I dislike the idea, and sometimes the person.

For example, I was watching Sunrise one moring, and Howard Sattler, a talkback radio presenter for 6PR in Perth was discussing asylum seekers who arrived by boat. He was saying that we should send all the “illegal” arrivals back to where they came from, despite the fact that Australia has a legal obligation to assess all asylum seekers cases who arrive in Australia under the UN Refugee convention, and that if they are legitimate Asylum Seekers then sending them back to their home country would place them in more danger than they were originally in. The more Howard spoke, the more I disliked his idea, and the more I disliked him – to the point that I’ll switch off if he is on Sunrise now. Likewise, if someone is not interested in Christianity – the more we push it, the less interested they get.

Instead, convert with your actions. Live your faith, in every aspect of your life. People will see how you live and wonder “what makes them so different?” My beliefs brought me many opportunities to talk about my faith on Tour. Because I wasn’t drinking, it gave rise to a number of questions as to why. While I may not have pushed conversion on them, just by talking to them lets them know about Christianity – and the seed is planted. What they do with that seed, that is for the Holy Spirit to work on – whether through myself, or another person, or through the person themselves. The important thing is that we show respect, and not be, as Andre put it, “crass, disrespectful and downright insulting.”

A Christian Gamer’s Guidelines

I’ve been thinking more about the post I wrote a little while ago entitled “A Christian Gamer” where I walked through some of the issues I was being challenged with at being a Christian, and a gamer, and how to reconcile those things. With most of the games that I play at LAN’s being violent games, how was I to reconcile that with my views as a Christian. And when you take into consideration the Salvation Army’s reasons to abstain from Alcohol, Cigarettes and Gambling because it harms other people (as well as yourself), how can I reconcile my gaming, which appears to harm some people?

As I have been thinking about it, I have decided to come up with some “Guidelines” – I don’t want to use the word Manifesto or Creed, as these are not necessarily beliefs. These guidelines are just some observations that I want to use to try to shape my gameplay into a more Christian role.

Firstly, I would call my beliefs Moderate to Liberal. I don’t believe that we should abstain from everything that is not in the bible. I feel that there are Christians who take what is written in the bible so seriously that it scares people away from Christianity. Yes, I believe the Bible is the word of God, and that we should read it, and embrace it, and know it fully (something that I am still striving to achieve), but I also believe that we need to read the bible in context – in the context of when it was written, and the context of how we apply it today. I believe that in reading the bible in the context of today, how we apply it to our lives, we must be willing to step back, and take a more general look at the meaning of the passage, of the chapter, of the book, and of the Bible in general.

With that in mind, here are my guidelines.

1. Get my priorities sorted.

Love the LORD your God with all your heard and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Deuteronomy 6:9

I have heard, in relation to becoming a priest, that your priorities should be “God First, Family Second, Church Third.” This way, you serve God, you provide for your family, and then you look after the church. It’s a matter of determining where your priorities lie, what you feel is important. This is reflected in the scripture above. Jesus said that this was the great and first commandment. Love God first, then your family (Ephesians 5:25; Proverbs 22:6), then the Church (Galatians 5:13). For me, while I enjoy Gaming, it shouldn’t come at the expense of more important things. If I haven’t spent time with God today, then surely my time can be spent better than playing some game. If I haven’t spent time with my family, then gaming surely can wait.  This then leads onto the second guideline:

2. Don’t  Get Obsessed

You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God

Exodus 20:4-5a
I have heard all too many stories of people becoming obsessed with games, particularly MMORPG’s such as World of Warcraft. I have even heard of Game Addiction Rehab Clinics in places such as Amsterdam. If I am not careful, I could be drawn into these games, and not realise it. Therefore I must remain vigilant so as not to become obsessed. Exodus 20:4 talks about false idols. In the context of the day, these were idols, statues that the people would make and worship, believing them to be gods. But in today’s society, our idols are much more secluded in nature. We don’t have physical golden idols, but we do have TV, computers, magazines, celebrities – things that take our focus away from God. The first guideline helps with this, ensuring that I remain focused on God and Family. I will never rush home to play my game (this includes searching for a computer because I forgot to water my Farmville farm – which won’t be a problem as I don’t play that).

3. Game in Community

Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, heal the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-15
One of the great things about gaming is that it brings you into a community. For me, I have a group of about 4-5 friends that meet up semi-regularly to play. For some of these guys, they might not go to Church regularly. By gaming with them, it opens up opportunities to chat with them about Christianity, and also to maybe invite them along to church one day. Gaming by yourself is fun sometimes, but that community aspect is one of the real joys of gaming. At the end of Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, he gives the final instructions above. It all boils down to respect in your community. Verse 14 says “And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” For me, in relation to gaming, this verse is vital. For in community, we can chat to others about their issues, we can encourage the timid, be patient with everyone. We can make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, and try to be kind to each other and to everyone else (Verse 15). It is in community that we can follow God’s word. Hence, when we game, as often as we can we should try to aim to do so in community.

This also goes into helping others make sure that they don’t get obsessed with their gaming. Remember, the reason why this issue spoke to me was because there are people out there who are affected by games. People who do get obsessed, who can’t distinguish the difference between a video game and real life. By gaming in community, we can look out for the signs of these people, and – as Paul writes – “help the weak,” we can help them through any issues that they have, either through a chat, through possibly bringing them to Christ, or through getting them in contact with people who can help.


As I said, these are by no means a manifesto or creed – just some guidelines. So I would encourage others to suggest things that I might like to include. I haven’t tackled in this edition what games to play, as I feel that by following the above guidelines that it’s not so necessary – but perhaps you disagree. Does “Thou shalt not murder” include killing in video games? Comment. Discuss. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Easter Camp 2010

Easter Camp 2010 Poster

Over the weekend, I had the amazing blessing of being a leader on the Salvation Army Easter Camp. Running from Thursday Night until Monday Morning, we had an awesome time having fun, learning about God, and making new friendships. The theme for the weekend was Torn, based on the part of the Gospel story that when Jesus died on the cross, the curtain of the temple that shielded the Holy of Holies was ripped in two from top to bottom. Continue reading “Easter Camp 2010”