From Shelley of Faithful Bloggers: It is one of my most favorite things to see someone using their natural passions and things they enjoy in a manner which brings honor and glory to the Lord.
Not being a fan of video games myself, I admit I was skeptical when the random number generator choose a gaming site for the next directory spotlight. However, I reached out to the owner of the site and found a man who not only loves the Lord but who could write on a topic which I am unable to write about.
Whether you are a "gamer" or not, I encourage you to read His spotlight post. You will be glad you did, especially if you have children or grandchildren who enjoy video games.
It is my honor to introduce you to a man who is using his passion to honor the Lord....Michael Morejon.
From Michael: I want to start this post off by thanking Faithful Bloggers for the opportunity to be spotlighted. I know my blog seems out of the ordinary, but allow me to introduce myself and my purpose for writing. My name is Michael Morejon, born in the USA, but all my family is Cuban so I am a proud Latino!
I have been playing video games since I was very young, and have never given it up. This hobby has helped me in many ways, from releasing stress to helping me understand life from different perspectives and connecting with others. Recently, it has opened doors for me to write for various websites, be featured on podcasts, and more. My readers have seen God in a new light, that He can be found even in our down-time activities like video games.
I just want to see God’s kingdom expand into culture, for me it’s through being a gamer/geek and being able to relate to those like me.
As long as people are being impacted by the words that I write, that's the whole goal of my writing. If it's me talking about how Legend of Zelda can relate to living like Christ, or that we need to spend more time with God instead of gaming, I want to explain to geeks and gamers in their own language the gospel.
I got the idea to start writing about this topic through prayer. I had asked God several times as to how could I use the time I’ve spent watching anime or playing video games for Him.
I have been a writer since middle school, although I barely wrote since then to be honest, but I had the idea inspired by Holy Spirit to put my faith and hobbies together. As I began, I would just write about any game that I was currently playing and a certain scene or character. Then, I would think about how that could relate to a verse in the bible or a lesson that I have learned. It actually became pretty simple, and so I continued to produce content.
Christians are often afraid of culture, as if some demon or darkness will jump on them.
Yes, Christ did say that we are not of the world (John 17:16), but we aren't called to avoid it. Matthew 13:31-33 has two powerful parables about how the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed and yeast. Both mix into the world (seed into the ground among the other plants, yeast into all the dough) and bring light into dark places. Yeast is needed to make bread, just as believers in Christ are needed in these places like video games or other geek sub-cultures (anime, comics, sci-fi, fiction books, etc). The gospel is not meant only for the four walls of the church, we have to bring it outside as well!
Something that I realized is that there weren’t any guides at all (when I started writing) for Christians who were skeptical of the genre.
What games were OK to play? Did the game have too much violence, demonic imagery, cussing, sexual content or otherwise offensive? Sure, there’s the ESRB which is the rating every game gets (which I recommend everyone read before they pick up a game), but those parameters aren’t the same for God. Maybe it’s rated T for Teen, but there’s content that a teenager shouldn’t be viewing, or the adult believed the child that it was OK and they didn't check themselves. The rating is only there because they have to put it, but there are many games that push vulgar content to see how far they can go.
Sometimes a game is rated T for teen, but has sexual images or occult practices.
It may not have gore or lots of blood, but certain things pass the rating and can be in the game. Remember, games make you feel like you are immersed in their world, just like when we watch a movie or TV show. We enjoy it, laugh, cry, get scared or remember memorable scenes for the rest of our lives. They leave an impact, whether you want them to or not, and the same goes for video games. When you are going to choose a game to purchase for your children, I have several suggestions that will help weed out certain things you may not want them to see or experience.
Check the rating - I mentioned this already, but it's very important. If you see that it says things like "Sexual themes" or "Gore" then that's what you will be getting. Don't think it will be very tame either, some games are already out there that practically have pornography like Mass Effect Andromeda or Grand Theft Auto.
Ask what the game is about - The cover may look clean, but you never know. This is also a great way for parents to connect more to their children. Most games are played by yourself, so showing interest may encourage them to open more up about the game, why they want to buy it and the kind of content it has. You may not understand the game but if you hear them explain something you don't want in your home, then have them explain more and make the decision to purchase it or not.
Watch gameplay footage online - Search the name of the game on Youtube or Google and watch or read up on it. You can see it in action in a few moments which can help you decide if this is a game you want to be playing or allowing your children to play.
Go to Geeks Under Grace to search for a review - I used to write for this website, which is (at the moment) the largest Christian geek site online. They write reviews on video games, comics, movies and everything in between that a geek may enjoy. Search for the title of the game and check out their content section to see if it's clean or not. (See an example here)
Pray and ask the Holy Spirit – The most important one of all is to pray. If you feel in your spirit that it’s not appropriate, make the decision. Parents most of all, must be vigilant in not allowing vulgar entertainment and content in their home. Whether it’s a video game, movie, music or magazine examine it.
Video games are not all bad, in fact there are some Christian game developers who are making waves in the genre. From games that deal with difficult circumstances in life to ones that allow you to be part of the battles in the Old Testament, there’s a lot happening! It’s an exciting time for the industry, as there is more freedom to make games that reflect our beliefs and people willing to buy them. I will leave some articles that will inform you a little more on this topic and why it’s important not to ignore this huge, growing trend that has been around for decades. God bless, and feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns, I am here to serve!
Michael Morejon is a teacher who is a life long gamer. When not conquering distant world’s via console, he can be found reading, watching anime or Netflix, writing, or just enjoying life as a geek in the city. He aspires to travel to Japan and possibly…never leave.
Michael can be found online at: gamingandgod.com