What do I think of Ian Murray’s book published by Westbow Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Recently, I did buy a few books on Kindle on the topic of God and video games. I said on Facebook that I was doing this kind of study and my friend Ian Murray got in touch with me to recommend his book. Actually, I had already bought it and hadn’t even realized he was the author.
I finished it last night and did enjoy it. One caution for me though, and this is not about the book per se, but since I know Murray from Facebook and he’s usually had Veggietales character in his Facebook profile, well guess how I heard the book being read mentally. Quite interesting to think of Larry the Cucumber talking about Grand Theft Auto V.
Something different about this book is it’s not really a defense of video games, despite that being in there at times. It’s more about relationships. Someone doesn’t have to be a gamer to understand this book. In a sense, non-gamers especially should read a book like this.
After all, gaming is sometimes a maligned hobby. Why not go out there and do something instead? We live in a society where sports can be glorified and many of us who are nerds just don’t care for sports. (Besides, keep in mind that it’s common for the city that wins the Super Bowl to go rioting after to celebrate. When was the last time you heard about rioting after something like the Pokemon World Championships?)
Actually, I think gaming can be much more intellectual as a good gamer has to think about a lot of things and think about them actively. If I plan an MMORPG like Final Fantasy XIV, I have to think about where I am, where the opponents are, what abilities they are using, and about my fellow teammates who I normally don’t know and what their jobs and abilities are.
Murray’s book does treat gaming as a serious hobby, but his book is more about how gamers and non-gamers can relate together and how gamers can live an effective and evangelistic life. Some Christians might think this doesn’t make sense, but is that being thought of when you watch a sporting event or streaming services? However, gaming is many times a communal activity, especially in the age of the internet where we can play games together online. (I still contend nothing beats having those people in person and playing that way. I can still remember the classic Goldeneye done that way.)
Murray also recommends you listen to someone before you become a judge to that person. Before condemning the person playing the game, try to understand why they play the games. Odds are the person has received the judgmental side before. There might come a time for confrontation, but first try to understand the person, which might make it all the better for you if you think you have to disagree with their choice as you will now be coming from a place of knowledge.
Murray also gives a call for those of us who are gamers. Are we examining ourselves regularly to make sure we’re living Christlike lives? Is mature conduct in a game affecting us? Could a game be by and large harmless, but there is something about it that affects us? If so, perhaps we should avoid that game.
I do recommend Murray’s book. It’s short and easy to read and someone can read chapter by chapter or just go to select chapters. On Kindle, it’s also an inexpensive read as you can get it at the time of writing for less than a dollar. If you are a gamer or want to relate to one, this is a great one to go to.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)