Open Letter to the Preacher who Hates Video-Games

Dear Preacher who Hates Video-Games,

Why did you have to do it in front of me? Why did you have to muddle law and gospel in front of me? I’m the wild-card young guy with not that much to lose who is moderately engaged with the B-team of Christian bloggers. I’m probably gonna write about you.

I liked your church, man. I’m looking for a church in St. Louis. Yours was small. It’s young. I met someone I go to law school with. Then you had to go do your thing.

The sermon wasn’t that bad. It was a bit boring. That’s all, though! Other than that, I can conceive that someone may have heard the gospel. Minus, of course, the one part that made me write this blog.

I don’t even remember why you said this. In case you forgot what you said, here is a summary of what came from your slightly overweight but hiply-bearded self:

Something something not playing freaking video games. Don’t get me started on video games. Every time I say something about video games I get six emails from guys whose feelings are hurt. Listen to me: [you raise your voice at this part] There is kingdom work to get done! If you are playing video games, what you are saying to the world is: I don’t care about God’s kingdom, I’d rather sit here and play this video game. [you lowered your voice at this point] Okay, stepping off my soapbox. [People chuckled. Me not so much.]

“Gosh, Jake, it’s very uncool to call me overweight. You seem to be a bit damaged. I’ll pray for you, but also be careful with your tongue in the future.”

Listen to me: There is kingdom work to get done – if you are not in shape, then your ability to get kingdom work done is greatly hindered. Seriously. Get in shape. When you eat that extra chicken leg, what you are saying to the whole world is: I don’t care if my bad cholesterol takes me off the planet a few years early. You are saying to the world: “Who cares about kingdom work? I wanna put this delicious battered hunk of grease into my gullet, chew it up real slow, then wash it down with this carb-heavy craft beer.”

See how that works?

Yeah, that’s how that works. Your waist testifies to some weak law in your life, but you stand up proudly proclaiming thunder from Sinai.

“But, Jake, how do you know what is going on in my congregation? I mean, what if there is an epidemic of lazy young dudes in my church who spend all day playing video games?”

There isn’t. Some dudes like to play video-games. Some dudes like chicken wings. Jesus loves you both. Personally, I lean towards the chicken wings. The last video game I played was RBI Baseball 1993 on my Sega Genesis.

But.

But ever since you opened your mouth the video-gamer doesn’t know that Jesus loves him. Or, if he does, he thinks Jesus is awfully pissed off up in heaven that the gamer spent the last week playing Call of Duty Zombies with his non-Christian friends, all the while sharing with them snippets of your sermon from the week before.

What did I just do? I created a vision where gamers are accomplishing some glorious Christian works, one that furthers the kingdom.

In reality, I think they should love God and play all the video-games they want. Nervous, justification-seeking exertion probably isn’t helping the kingdom anyway.

If you were trying to discuss the doctrine of vocation, please spend some time with my buddy R.J. who knows how to encourage people to love others without threatening to withhold God’s love.

And you. I think you should buy a Play Station and chill out. Otherwise, I’m going to delete anything moderately entertaining off your iPhone. And ransack your house for coloring books, because what does Christ have to do with Crayola?

Your friend,

Jake

P.S. You can chock me up as the seventh guy who got his feelings hurt. But only if you chock Jesus up as the eighth.

P.P.S. We are all gluttons in our hearts. There is plenty – PLENTY – of grace for our inward and outward gluttony. You seen pictures of Luther? They say the camera add ten pounds, but how many cameras were on him when they took this?

Martin-Luther  by Cranach the Younger

5 Comments

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  1. Jake;
    Your 1st paragraph had me smiling,.. “Why did you have to do it right in front of me?”
    Been there, done that.
    It’s all about teaching my friend.
    Keep on teaching in the “wild-card young guy” way you know.
    Remember that the weaker brother, especially if he considers himself a teacher of God’s Word, needs to be taught – sometimes with gentle reproof, rebuke if necessary (especially after being taught and his continued refusal to hear).
    I know it’s frustrating, especially when you have that pastoral instinct that others are being harmed, but teaching the truth in love is our first responsibility.
    It will be good to meet you when you’re back to the Gateway city.
    Until then, keep knocking down the barriers to grace that you do so well.
    Rich C

    • As part of the “C” team bloggers.. I appreciate this so much… I wonder sometimes if people are simply unwilling to submit to church/pastoral authority or is there really an epidemic of REAL disgruntled Christians desperately seeking grace in the pulpit.. I couldn’t have said it better.. That’s why your on the “B” team and I’m on the “C” team..

  2. I love this. And honestly, I loved the B team blogger thing. Love that you’re willing to say that’s a thing.

  3. I’m a preacher who doesn’t know how to play video games, but boy, do I KNOW HOW TO EAT. I love this post Jacob. Thanks for reminding me to stay off soapboxes that having nothing to do with what Jesus has done for us.

  4. As a slightly overweight bearded guy I’m not quite sure if I’m offended or not. Maybe it’s not gluttony but other health issues. In any case, my heart is both sick and gluttonous that is true.

    As someone who has played video games for most of his life, I understand the desire to urge young men toward something greater. In fact the more I spend time reading and learning and spending time with The Lord the less entertainment media appeals to me. I just feel like it is wasting my time to be with a game or tv season for 20 hours plus. In fact sometimes I have to force myself to just enjoy being entertained.

    Time is growing short it seems and even for a young fatty like me it is clear that there is infinitely more of God to be had.

    The thing about it is that video games and tv/film is that they so easily distract me from the deep and complicated longings of my heart. It’s easy to get lost there and numb it all out. So I understand his passion in urging people out of that. I also know that if we want men to “be men” whatever that means, we have to point to the one place that will deaden the hold of sin on our heart. A heart that will take good things and worship them as ultimate things. A heart that is easily distracted and overtaken with itself. We point to the one that can restore. Why? Because there is more to be had. There is more than we settle for.

    I urge my brothers in Christ to look to Him. To press in. To maybe play less and read more. Because I want more for them. Because sometimes it’s lonely to feel like you are out on that road by yourself.

    All in all though the song says it best: Turn your eyes upon Jesus look full in His wonderful face and the things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light if His glory and grace.

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