Monday, October 8, 2007


Last Sunday, when we might have been talking about the sixth commandment but were interrupted by my departure sermon, one of the lead articles in the New York Times was titled, "Thou Shalt Not Kill, Except in a Game at Church."

Written by Kevin Moloney, the article begins this way:

"First the percussive sounds of sniper fire and the thrill of the kill. Then the gospel of peace.

"Across the country, hundreds of ministers and pastors desperate to reach young congregants have drawn concern and criticism through their use of an unusual recruiting tool: the immersive and violent video game Halo."

I may be hopelessly out of touch, but for me the use of violent video games to attract young people gives our blessing to our culture of violance and defeats the reason for wanting them in church. Some pastors and churches obviously disagree with me.

Check out the article and see what you think. You're welcome to post your comments here.


David Martin said...

I agree with you, Milo. According to the article, Mr. Barbour wrote in one letter to parents that God calls ministers to be “fishers of men.” Continuing, “Teens are our 'fish,' so we’ve become creative in baiting our hooks."

The definition of creative: "resulting from originality of thought, expression, etc.; imaginative." Taking a video game that is immensely popular to lure teenagers is not at all creative, it is unoriginal and uninspired.

Luring today's teenagers to church – given the violent world (both real and pixilated) we live in – without resorting to a blatant endorsement of violence takes REAL creativity. Whatever happened to “luring” young people to church with the unabashed love of Christ?

Thanks for sharing this with us, Milo. You are hopelessly “in touch.”

Jackie Holmquist said...

I am not a fan of video games in general. There may be studies that say it improves eye hand coordination or improves decision making times or keeps young people away from even less favorable activities. However, video games take kids away from physical activity, movement and exercise. They discourage communication/relationships with others as all attention is focused on a screen. These games also allow a person to hurt, maim and kill without consequence. The $60,000 question? Where are the parents? How do 12 year olds get these games if their sale is restricted? Where do the $$$ come from? It seems that parents have forsaken control and discipline for the convenience and ease of being a friend instead. It is hard and many times unpleasent being a good parent--no one wants to disliked or given the silent treatment or blackmailed with "If you really loved me..." It takes strength determination and , yes a bunch of inconvenience, to do the right thing. I find it frightening that any group that affects/encourages/influences kids thinks it is a good idea to use a violent, mature rated game to draw them to church. As David said--it has no creativity, originality or imagination involved.

Wow! Let me get down off my soap box!! Thank you for the article and for the "No Murder" sermon. They both provoke thought and have given me somw new perspective to consider.