Christians don’t talk enough about how life gets really freaking confusing, especially when you’re following Jesus. Then, when that thick cloud of disorientation comes, it’s easy to lose your senses. Most of our GameCell crew doesn’t follow Jesus, but I wanted to prep them when they do follow him and find themselves feeling super confused. So we dove into the story of Job a bit. And we talked about the occasional benefits of confusion – especially in video games.
Alex, Vince, Greg, Yoshi, Garrett, and I filled my living room. We had two new guys, Greg’s buddy Brandon and my buddy Scottie. We hooked them up with gamer Bibles and told them Jesus loved them. We all shared our names and favorite games (Brandon’s was The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time). Then Greg passed out the first question:
1. Can you name a confusing experience you had with games?
Garrett said “the whole Metal Gear series.” Everybody laughed. We talked about a lot of other games that include strange and challenging bits. Yoshi mentioned Dark Souls.
2. When has confusion been a good thing in your life?
Vince mentioned how it’s when we’re confused that it prompts him to ask questions. He said curiosity wouldn’t exist without confusion. The rest of us shared about other ways that confusion has showed up in our lives. Greg mentioned some classes in school that really made him dive deeper.
Here was where it was important to emphasize that God doesn’t aim to confuse:
“…God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” – I Corinthians 14:33 NKJV
3. Why do you think Bible stuff seems boring?
Brandon chimed about how a lot of the words in the Bible are really hard to understand. Greg mentioned that a lot of things he hears about the Bible don’t make him curious. Alex Carter gave his “I dunno, come back to me” that he sometimes does on these more-pointed topics. But since he’s been with GameCell since the beginning, I figured it was high time to press him for answers. I pressed him to really give an honest answer. He brought up Kim Davis. He talked about how others’ expressions of Biblical life really turned him off. So I asked him if my expression of Biblical life turned him off too. He said no, and that he thought our approach to following Jesus was an exception. But that he was still hung up on the offence he took with divisive Christians in the national spotlight. I encouraged him to ignore those folk and really pick things up locally. But he still felt like it was a brick wall of sorts.
4. What do you do when you’re confused?
Garrett picked up his phone, triggered Google Now, and asked, “What do I do when I’m confused?” His phone responded, “Look at these images!” And his phone was suddenly littered with random memes involving pugs and other assorted animals. After busting into laughter, we realized this was his honest answer. Then we laughed some more.
I mentioned how I tend to sulk for a bit until I get into a place of prayer. Then God typically brings an abundant degree of clarity when I lean on him. But I wanted to talk about how, sometimes, we don’t end up with clarity, but it’s important to stay on the line and not walk away.
So we looked at the book of Job.
Brandon became Job as I launched into a lazy speed-run version of my live action Bible stories, where the audience becomes Bible characters. I told Brandon (now Job) that his kids all died the same day his livestock and servants died. Then he got sick and covered in boils. I don’t think Brandon liked that part of the story. Then the better chunk of the story is Job’s “friends” arguing with him about how they believe God only lets bad things happen to bad people. It doesn’t go well:
Bildad from Shuhah was next to speak:
“How can you keep on talking like this?
You’re talking nonsense, and noisy nonsense at that.
Does God mess up?
Does God Almighty ever get things backward?
It’s plain that your children sinned against him—
otherwise, why would God have punished them?
By this point, our crew was effectively confused. I did the thing I hate Christians do with the book of Job: sum up the whole thing with how it ends. I hate jumping out of the tension of the book, but it’s helpful for getting to the point of the evening. I left the crew with a kinda churchy benediction:
May you seek for the Truth in confusing times and remember that God wants to be your clarity when you’re lost in confusion.
Then Garrett led our group in prayer.
Our games for Confusion night included:
- Extreme Exorcism
- Her Story
- MGSV: The Phantom Pain
- Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows
- Skyshine’s BEDLAM
- Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings
- System Shock – Enhanced Edition
A central GameCell tenet is “Listen to the New Guy.” But I forgot that when you give new guys a choice, they tend to pick what they think the rest of the crew will like (multiplayer games). And we don’t learn anything from them or enjoy what they might enjoy. Ah, lessons for next time!
Brandon picked the first multiplayer game, ChargeShot.
It’s almost as manic as this trailer indicates:
Scottie picked the second mutliplayer game, Extreme Exorcism.
Scottie gave Vince the last pick. And since Vince hadn’t played anything like Metal Gear since Snake’s Revenge on NES, he picked MGSV: The Phantom Pain. So we played through the intro. But it was a bit too intense at times for Vince. So he passed the controller when it got too insane. Scottie took the controller and we played the whole way up to the Fire-Whale!