Friday Meanderings

Last weekend [Dad McMains->] spent a couple of days with us while [Lana->] was off at a church retreat. He and I and the kids spent five or six hours playing Lazer Tag, running all around the yard, through (and on) the house, waging epic, sweaty battle. The new gear is fully as much fun as I’d hoped, and the time with Dad was great — hopefully we’ll be able to do that a bit more often, now that both of our schedules are a bit less demanding than they had been.

I’ve nearly wrapped up my first DVD project with Final Cut Express and the new iMac, and am generally pretty happy with the way things are coming out. I’ve got a little more tweaking to do, but it was exciting to be able to pop a near-finished product into the DVD player last night and see it on the big screen. (The project is a pseudo-documentary of the recent trip to Santa Fe. It came out, once edited, to about 13.5 minutes — a little longer than last year’s Chicago video, which surprised me, as I didn’t think I had as much material to work with this time around.)

I stumbled across another article about Christians Making Videogames this morning. (See [What Would Jesus Play?->] for some earlier thoughts on the subject.) It’s especially interesting to me that most of us Christians who make videogames, or indeed most forms of art, insist on very explicit communication of an unambiguous message. One game mentioned explores the Egyptian plagues, another encourages you to bring the Bible to a cultural group which has lost access to it; in another the player battles demons and searches for a missing pastor.

Contrast this with the way Jesus taught: in parables, often opaque even to his disciples. It seems, however, that we’re uncomfortable with ambiguity, with letting those hear who have ears to do so. Certainly some of this is borne of a sincere desire to have people understand the good news of the Gospel. However, I suspect that if Jesus had a marketing department, they wouldn’t have let him get away with parables. Videogames tend to entertain less when one tries to saddle them with a message; so also is the gospel made weaker when it’s recast as a diversion, especially one that tries to be a commercial success. And Jesus, whom we purport to serve, had a thing or two to say about serving two masters.