So how did my talk at Defend 2023 go? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I was a last-minute addition to the conference giving a talk on video games and Christianity. I do remember I slept the night before, but I was nervous, which I was assured was normal. A regular speaker at the conference told me he always gets nervous before every talk and if you’re not, then there’s something wrong.
So my talk is scheduled for Thursday at 2. I had told Paul Copan I would be leaving his plenary a little bit early so I could go to the room to get ready and he thanked me for letting him know that. I went to the room and got everything set up, including my powerpoint, and I had three videos I played also during the talk for added effect.
One thought I had had was “Would anyone really show up?” Fortunately, I saw a couple of people come in and so that at least meant some people were interested. However, I soon found out that I had nothing really to be concerned about. People were interested in this topic.
Considering the size of the room, this was a full crowd. What about those people sitting on the sides? That’s because we had to bring in chairs for people to sit in eventually. It wasn’t just college age kids. There were several people in there, even ones who don’t really play video games themselves.
Fortunately, my powerpoint presentation worked well. I had mentally timed out how things would go and they went quite well. Something that surprised me when I was doing this research was that it touched on areas I had not thought that I would touch on. Obviously, this talk would be about topics like violence in video games and sexism and things like that. Right? Nope. Those were just side issues I gave references for at the end.
I ended up quoting John Cassian and Aquinas talking about acedia, known as the noon-day demon. This was a sort of boredom that came from life and how this is one reason we need quests in our lives. This is something I’ve been writing a lot on while reviewing Life Is A Game.
All of this was exciting to go through, but this isn’t even the best part so far. The best part was when Q&A came. Now normally, this is always the best part of any talk. However, something happened in my session that I had not seen happen in any other session. This is not to say it didn’t, but I had been in a breakout session whenever possible and I had not seen this take place.
It started with a guy who had a question saying that he was really good at a game called Apex and he could go professional or he could be a youth minister and should he do the fleshly thing and go with a lot of money or go with a calling. Now I do question the idea of callings like this, but the first thing I said was “Why assume going for a job that pays well to be fleshly?”
Soon, someone else spoke up and talked about what a good influence he could be in the world of Apex if he went that way and that’s when I was able to sit back and oversee a lot of what happened, but I realized what was going on was incredible. Organic discussion. The people in the class were interacting with one another’s questions and sharing their own experiences. For me, that is the best indication that it went well.
I did also stress this is an area that needs more research and I suspect I will do a lot of that. One point I pointed out is that I did an Amazon search for a book discussing if Christianity is fun. How many books are written on that topic? None. At least I didn’t find them.
There are 3.2 billion gamers in the world today. That’s 40% of the population. We need to reach them for Christ. Shouldn’t we understand them?
(And I affirm the virgin birth)