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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Being a Missional Gamer Part Two: Game Chat and Using the Trolling Channel for Good

          There is not a more poignant medium through which we can realize the effect that social media and the internet has had on our world than through the game chat channel on your average multiplayer game. Being relatively anonymous frees people everywhere to be as antagonistic as their wildest dreams, to the detriment of good sportsmanship and  conversation everywhere. Anybody who plays multiplayer games can attest to just how absolutely trashy people can be when talking to other players. Women gamers in particular have horror stories of men who charged across the line and said the most vile things possible to them. It almost seems like the most irredeemable place to try and be a positive influence.

          However, is that not precisely what Jesus so often did in his ministry? Observe his conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 or his staying at Mathew's house with the tax collectors and sinners in Mathew 9. Jesus even said himself in Mathew 9 that "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick." In other words that His ministry dealt with those whom society had viewed as irredeemable precisely because those were the people who needed Him most.

          So when we load up Call of Duty or any other game, while our first thought is often to go to party chat (or turn off the mic all together), we are passing up an opportunity to be a light in a dark place. It's easy to stand out as a Christian in dark places. What's hard is to keep standing out, and to make it plain why you stand out. Just by refraining from certain words alone you would immediately stand out in a multiplayer lobby, let alone if you were to actually make what you said to be in good taste and sportsmanship. But the objective not being to make yourself look good, but to point people to Christ, and that's where the biggest challenge of all comes in: acknowledging Christ in what you say. Paul said in Romans 1:16 that "I am not ashamed of the Gospel...", and neither should we. In fact, there is nothing to be ashamed about: we have been completely saved from an eternal damnation and made new into a holy creation. Solely by the grace of an almighty God. Not only that, but we bear the news that others can experience this transformation as well! So often though, fear makes us hold back from being bold. I am as guilty of it as anyone. Because most of us at some point have heard some of the ugly things people will often say at the mention of Jesus. We live in a hostile world that opposes the Kingdom work of Christ, and game chat can be as unforgiving a place as any on the planet. But we possess within us the Holy Spirit, and all the power we need to boldly stand for the Gospel. The real question is whether or not we will take advantage of it, and take back ground in the dark places of the world for Him. It can start with something as simple as switching to game chat in Call of Duty, and telling a lobby that Jesus loves them.

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