Book Plunge: The Toxic War on Masculinity Part 7

Are men dumb? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Across the board, are men dumb? No. Some are brilliant. Some are dumb. The same applies to women. (And if you think otherwise for either one, that says a lot about you.) Unfortunately, in our society, men are usually seen as the dumb ones.

I really enjoyed watching Home Improvement with my family. I still enjoy it today, but I have to agree that it’s clear who is the brains in the family. Tim is an idiot who screws up consistently and he needs his wife to make sure that he handles things properly.

Usually in a show, the woman is the voice of reason. The guy is the one who is just thinking about sex, watching sports, and drinking beer. Men have a really bad reputation in our society.

Suzanne Venker, author of The War on Men, writes, In the span of just a few decades, America has demoted men from respected providers and protectors of the family to superfluous buffoons. Today’s sitcoms and commercials routinely paint a portrait of the idiot husband whose wife is smarter and more capable than he.

Pearcey, Nancy. The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes (p. 191). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Churches aren’t safe either. As Pearcey says:

Even churches sometimes send negative messages to fathers. One of my graduate students, Grace, leads the women’s ministry at a large Baptist church. She told me, “On Mother’s Day, we honor mothers, passing out roses. But we spend Father’s Day scolding men and telling them to ‘do better.’”

Pearcey, Nancy. The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes (p. 191). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Pastors. Hear me on this. If you spend Mother’s Day praising the mothers and Father’s Day scolding the fathers, you are contributing to the problem. Either praise both or scold both or tell both how they’re wonderful and how they both need to improve. I recommend the last one. Point out to them how essential their role is in society and then tell them how they can be even better at it without assuming that they’re miserable failures.

You all know I’m thoroughly conservative, but when I saw this quote in Pearcey from Obama, I had to say “When he’s right, he’s right.” I would honestly at least want to stand up and cheer if I heard this.

In the words of former president Barack Obama, “We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child—it’s the courage to raise one.”

Pearcey, Nancy. The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes (p. 192). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Could that be political pandering? Sure. All politicians do it to some degree. It’s also right.

Something I have heard black conservative commentators say about LeBron James is that he needs to stop being a race hustler. The man has been faithful to his wife and raised his children. That should be his main message he has out there. Fatherlessness is a huge problem in the black community.

Pearcey also says fathers have often been reduced to just pals. The problem is kids have plenty of friends they can be pals with. None of those friends can be a father.

There’s no doubt that shared recreation fosters positive father-child bonds. Some of my students say they cherish memories of their father coming home from work and throwing a ball with them in the backyard. Nevertheless, the idea that the father was primarily a playmate or buddy was new in the nineteenth century, and it entailed a steep loss in status. It contributed to the idea that fathers were not essential to family life.

Pearcey, Nancy. The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes (p. 196). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I liked times my Dad and I played games together. I remember playing Jaws and Golf and Dr. Mario for instance. When I come to see my folks, we inevitably break out a round of Trivial Pursuit. I liked hearing my Dad tell stories about when he was in college and when we see superhero movies like Batman movies, he can tell me about what those heroes were like when he was growing up and I can tell them what they are like now.

Also, I have come to see many shows thanks to my Dad and inevitably, I know them better than he does. My Dad grew up watching Adam West in Batman. Today, I know the series better than he does. He watched Cheers when it came on. Again, I know the series better. Finally, definitely Smallville, and yes, I know that series better than the Smallville magazine writers did. Before I moved to New Orleans, we were watching The Flash together.

But I could do that with any of my friends too. The most important gift given was affirmation and being a Dad growing up. No one else could do that. Fathers. Plenty of children can be friends to your kids. Only one can be a Dad to them.

I also encourage fathers of girls to do this. When Valentine’s Day comes around, don’t just get something for your wife. Get something for your daughter too. Treat her like a princess. Why? Because you want it that when she starts dating, she won’t settle for a man who doesn’t treat her as good as her Daddy does.

By the way Dads, help out your wife at home too. Pearcey says there are benefits.

And if that’s not enough of a motivator, Sandberg and Grant report that couples who share housework and childcare also have more sex. As they put it, “women and men who ‘work hard’ also ‘play hard.’” Apparently, this last finding sparked considerable interest, because several other researchers have studied the same phenomenon: “Men who do more housework and child care have better sex lives and happier marriages than others” (John Gottman, Why Marriages Succeed or Fail). “Men said the happier their wives were in the division of housework, the happier the men were with their sex lives” (Newsweek). “Couples enjoyed more frequent and satisfying sex for both partners when men made a fair contribution to housework” (Science Daily). “Men’s performance of child care is generally associated with more satisfaction with the division of child care, more satisfying sexual relationships, and higher quality relationships” (Gender and Society). “Couples report having more and higher quality sex when they are satisfied with their relationships. . . . Relationship quality and stability are generally highest when couples divide up the household labor in a way they see as equitable or fair” (Council on Contemporary Families).

Pearcey, Nancy. The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes (pp. 204-205). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Also ladies, this is a deep need for your man and meeting that will motivate him more and more.

But how do you do all this with a work schedule?

That’s for next time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

 

Book Plunge: The One

What do I think of this novel? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’ve already interrupted one book to talk about another book and now I’m interrupting that book to talk about a third. This one will be short. It’s only going to be one entry.

I’ve been making it a point to read more fiction lately. I don’t mean Christian fiction. I just mean fiction. This is in addition to mystery novels that I’m also reading. The last book that I read in this category and finished yesterday is The One, which you can buy here.

Please keep in mind that this is not a Christian book. However, it is certainly a book that is thought-provoking. Just know if you’re a Christian you won’t approve of everything in it.

Dating is hard. I know it. I hate it. You have to go out there and find the person and then spend so much time with the person before you decide you want to marry the person. What if there was an easier way?

In this novel, there is. You can just take your DNA and send it to the Match Your DNA company and they will run it through their database and find the one person that is meant for you based on your DNA. Who is that one person that you will click with and form a relationship with?

This is something that most everyone is doing in the society. There are concerns about couples who are not “matched” and many couples sadly get divorced so they can be with their “match.” Couples who marry without a match are seen as passing up “the one” that is meant for them.

A little side note here, but before you roll your eyes at the concept, if you’re a Christian, remember that too many of us have a concept of how we have to find “the one” that is meant for us. Verse in Scripture that says this? None. We just throw it in with the same errant concept of “Finding God’s will for your life.”

Anyway, the novel follows five characters. I don’t want to use the term protagonists because you will not like all five of these characters. All of them use the Match program and while there is some good that comes of it, overall, I conclude there is far more harm. Something that was meant to lead to better relationships seems to lead to harder ones.

Really, I can’t say much more beyond that because some of you might want to read it and if you do, I don’t want to spoil it for you. The main thought I had going through this book was that we praise science all day long in our society, and I’m certainly not saying science in itself is an evil, but there are some decisions that maybe we just shouldn’t be leaving to science. Maybe sometimes we should make the decisions ourselves instead of having others do the thinking for us.

Fortunately, we’re not in any danger of that today. Right?

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Pokemon Go Avatars

What do I think about the recent Pokemon Go update? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Those of you not knowing about this might wonder how this is apologetics related. Trust me. It is. We are in a culture war with a cancerous movement trying to destroy everything it can and now, it has headed for the gaming industry with games trying to be more and more “Woke.” This is also part of the effects of a group known as Sweet Baby Inc.

Fortunately, a web site has been set up so gamers can know when games come out that are infected with DEI standards. Vote with your wallet. You can find that here.

And look what is on the list.

Pokemon Go.

I hate saying that because I loved Pokemon Go and I had been playing it since day one. I was out going to the park with others playing together and walking around my campus regularly. The game was highly beneficial for me.

But then this avatar update came out.

Now before, I didn’t really care about my avatar. Several people did. Some people spent money buying items so their avatar could look a certain way. I don’t really care for that spending, but if you have it and can do it and want to, who am I to say otherwise? I would only put free stuff on mine.

Then one morning recently, everyone woke up to find that their avatars had been changed. #1 group affected? Women.

If you look through the link, you can find pictures of women that have been changed to be more androgynous. Gone is anything that might look curvaceous on a woman. Hips are gone. Chests are flattened. Facial structure is destroyed.

That’s not even the worst of it. You also have avatars that clearly have a weight problem and are, well, revealing. Please do not look at this if you have small children present.

Checking the original file on Pokemon Go from DEI Detected, you might have noticed by now that part of the work they did was with a consulting group called Gaymer X.

No. That is not a typo.

By the way, a few years ago, the CEO had to step down due to reports of sexual misconduct. Who would have thought?

Well, after Matt Conn stepped down as CEO, he was quickly replaced by Toni Rocca and just a few days later, well wouldn’t you know it? The same thing happened again. What are the odds?

Keep in mind right now as DEI Detected says, this is just Niantic, the company behind Pokemon Go. This is not Pokemon or Nintendo, but now is the time to send a message to these groups. Pokemon’s last big games, Scarlet and Violet, were not received well and now they face competition from a game called PalWorld. They do not want to lose a company base right now.

So there are several options.

First, Pokemon can remove all rights to their property from Niantic and give the same game to another company that cares about the players and what they want. Pokemon needs to be a family-friendly game. Niantic has done incredible damage to the brand of Pokemon by doing this.

The second option is not likely, but that is for Niantic to undo the changes, sever all ties with Gaymer X permanently, and profusely apologize to the players. They sadly have a history of not listening to their players. We need to show them the consequences of not listening to us are greater than the consequences of working with a company like Gaymer X. I have since this deleted the game from my phone. Until the changes are made, I am not coming back.

That being said, we need to always hold out the opportunity of forgiveness and reward it. We need to let companies know that if you honor the customers, the customers will honor you back. If we say under no circumstances will we change our minds, we are not giving these companies any incentive to change.

All of this matters because this is an erasure of femininity. If you decided to start playing the game now and had to create a new character, you cannot choose male or female. That is gone. You can only choose a body type.

Women were meant to be beautiful and removing beauty from women is an attack on women. Men and women are not interchangeable. We need to recognize and celebrate the distinct differences between the two sexes and the positive contributions both make.

Players. Vote with your wallets. That is the only language that is understood. I really hope this changes because I got a lot of joy out of playing the game and interacting with others. Either the Pokemon Company needs to grant the rights of Pokemon to someone who will actually honor the customers, or Niantic needs to honor the customers themselves. We, the players, must refuse to compromise on this because our opponents are never interested in compromise. We give an inch and they take a mile and it will keep going.

For now, I’m going to be playing other games instead. I wish it could be otherwise, but I would rather have my standards than sell them out to play a game.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

What Christians Can Learn from the Woke

Can we learn anything from them? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I posted on Facebook recently about watching a WhatCultureGaming video recently about video games ruined at the last minute. It was about the damage done to a game called Mask of Eternity and how some Christians had taken charge of the material of King’s Quest and have everything thoroughly sanitized. The end result was intense damage to the series.

What’s really sad as I said is that we as Christians tend to do this often. We make media that for the most part is just awful. No one wants to do anything with it. I’m not at all saying we should never make material that is for us, but if we are making material that is meant to be evangelistic, we are failing at it.

I am not at all saying to forego biblical orthodoxy to make sales, but I am saying that it doesn’t matter how orthodox or accurate your material is if no one wants to engage with it. You could have the best material in the world, but it requires for it to be effective for someone to interact with it. If they’re not doing it, then you are not reaching anyone then.

One of my friends commented saying that this reminded them of what we see from Woke material nowadays. Disney has recently experienced a large number of bombs in their material. Why? Well, they want to say it’s because the audience is bigoted and any number of reasons, but the real reason is people don’t want Woke.

The reason is the audience knows that they are being preached to. They know that that character that is same-sex attracted is being included just for service to the ideology. The fans know that Aragorn in the novels is not black, but what does Rings of Power care about that? (Never mind how Netflix goes with that.) Having a Latino family was not a major seller for Blue Beetle.

Why? Because these people are bigots? No. It’s because the message is being forced to us. We don’t care about how diverse the cast is if we don’t care about the content and when you focus on the diversity instead of producing good content, people don’t want to see it.

We are doing the exact same thing. We are making content that people do not want to see because we are so focused on getting that Christian message out there and it has to be spelled out explicitly. There has to be a moment with a cross and a message on how Jesus died for you. The Christians have to be wonderful holy saints who never struggle. The non-Christians have to be bent on evil at every single step.

Nothing will reach that Chrisitan audience like telling them they are lower in every way to their Christian counterparts, even though many of them don’t experience that in real life.

Look instead at franchises that do it right. How many non-Christians do you know of who have read the Narnia books and enjoyed them? I’m going through Young Sheldon now and I recently saw an episode where Sheldon, who is an atheist, gets introduced to the Lord of the Rings series. Did Sheldon realize he was getting a Christian worldview secretly taught to him? Doubtful. There are plenty of fandoms still built up around Tolkien’s work and without him, those of us like myself who enjoy RPGs might have never had the chance.

Some of you might not think Harry Potter is a Christian series, but even if you don’t, look at the way she did it. She got her message out by producing content children wanted to read. Children wanted to read books that had hundreds of pages.

Star Wars is built largely on the concept of Eastern Religions. Star Trek is built on humanism. You have devout Christians who enjoy both. I’m not at all saying they shouldn’t, but I am saying that the content was a cover to get the message out there. Many Christians are wise enough to enjoy the story without agreeing with the content, but we can still learn from them.

I commented on the original video and got told that Christian music could be an exception as it can be good. Sometimes, but consider this. Too many of our songs today are really more therapy than anything else. I don’t say this to knock therapy, but the songs are meant to help us more than to teach about God. Another point is how many non-Christians do you know who regularly turn on Christian music and listen to it? Meanwhile, how many Christians do you know who enjoy listening to non-Christian music?

Another video that got me thinking about this approach to media more was this one. If you don’t want to go to the video, which is about a history of Christian video games, let me show you some of the comments. (Names excluded)

I’m not Religious but if they actually made a bible game that was like Bayonetta, God of war or hell even something like skyrim or Breath of the wild, I’d play it

I mean, although the binding of isaac does contain Cristian aspects I find it hard to classify it as a Cristian game, since it is essentially more critical of religion rather than promoting the belief. Even if it’s not necessary outright stated that religion is bad or anything. Gotta say though, I did learn quite a bit about christianity through playing the game, both through its references and by the fact that it made me interested and there by had me look up what these characters and references was all about.

OK bur a Christian bayonetta would be ok with me. I might actually play it

And looking through, one problem said in the comments is Christians behind much of this material don’t care about the art. They only care about the message.

There you go.

I personally would like to see something like an Assassin’s Creed counterpart that is Christian. Do you know how many people have started learning about historical events because of an Assassin’s Creed game? There are plenty of ways to make Chrisitan games. Just don’t treat your audience like idiots. Trust them to figure it out. (Keep in mind, Jesus didn’t spell out His parables to the audience either.)

Then do this with movies. Do this with literature. Do this with music. Do this with TV shows.

The best content in the world won’t matter if it doesn’t reach the audience.

Learn from the Woke. Learn what not to do.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Boss Fight Games Earthbound

What did I think of Ken Baumann’s book from Boss Fight Games? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Boss Fight Games is a series of books that I am working on going through and even writing my own entry for (Looking at Final Fantasy IV) where in each book, one game is discussed in-depth. This one which was the first in the series was Earthbound by Ken Baumann. (When I am speaking of the game itself rather than the book, Earthbound will not be in italics.) Some people might recognize that name as he was a star in the series The Secret Life of the American Teenager. I have never watched this and was not aware until I read it in the book.

I remember I was in high school when Earthbound came out. The box it came in was much bigger than any other box for video games at the time, I think because it had a strategy guide with it. Apparently, not too many people were into RPGs at the time, but I was. I had played Final Fantasy for years.

What I saw in Nintendo Power about Earthbound intrigued me as it seemed to be about these delightful kids in a modern-day world fighting an alien invasion. This is a game so humorous that even the names of the enemies can make you laugh. In what other game do you fight new age retro hippies, an annoying old party man, a mad taxi, a scalding coffee cup, and a crazed sign?

That’s just scratching the surface.

So I started reading this book and it starts with Ken talking about calling his brother and their reminiscing over Earthbound together. (Even as I type this I can hear some of the music from the game running through my head.) The book really starts out in-depth as it looks at each section of the game and those of us who are veterans could still get something new out of it. However, throughout, Baumann also relates stories of his own life. Sometimes they are in relation to the game, but sometimes they seem a useless tangent.

That got to be somewhat discouraging as the first three parts of the game, Onett, Twoson, and Threed (What if I told you the next town was Fourside? It is. What if I told you the next town was Fiveway? Nope. Sorry. It’s Summers.). After this point, it looked like Baumann was quickly going through various parts of the game and skipping others entirely. It’s as if he had a word limit or some other limit and wanted to just get it all done.

Most surprising was getting to the final boss. Many of us who have played the game know that the scene of the final boss comes from when the creator walked into the wrong movie theater and saw something quite disturbing as a child and used that as the basis for the boss. That’s definitely worth mentioning, but no. It wasn’t. It was mentioned that it looked like you were fighting a prenatal version of the ultimate evil in the game, but nothing more was said beyond that. It’s really a highly philosophical boss fight.

There are some points that really show the way that gamers really take their interest seriously, something of interest to me as this is my planned PhD research. Baumann quotes John Gray at one point saying:

If the hope of progress is an illusion, how – it will be asked – are we to live? The question assumes that humans can live well only if they believe they have the power to remake the world. Yet most humans who have ever lived have not believed this – and a great many have had happy lives. The question assumes the aim of life is action; but this is a modern heresy. For Plato contemplation was the highest form of human activity. A similar view existed in ancient India. The aim of life was not to change the world. It was to see it rightly.

Baumann, Ken. EarthBound (Boss Fight Books Book 1) . Boss Fight Books. Kindle Edition.

Or how about this?

In the case of EarthBound and other games, we are given a fixed set of circumstances and qualities to live with. While we can choose our hero’s name and sometimes choose the shading of his or her final hours, we cannot radically alter the journey. Are games, then, the most accurate simulation of our unchosen lot in life?

Baumann, Ken. EarthBound (Boss Fight Books Book 1) . Boss Fight Books. Kindle Edition.

Are they? Perhaps. Could those of us who are gamers be gamers because we are tapping into a deeper meaning of life? We are wanting to experience a journey? Could this be why many of us enjoy fiction of any sort whether it’s reading Lord of the Rings, watching Smallville, as I am prone to do, reading the latest Spider-Man comic, going to see the latest James Bond movie, or playing Earthbound?

Ideas to ponder.

In conclusion, I really think every gamer should play Earthbound. Right now, it’s available for free on Nintendo Switch online if you have that. As for the book, it is enjoyable, but I wish it had been longer and revealed more of the story of the game and the making of it. Some stories about Baumann could be interesting, but only if they were connected to the game somehow.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Producing Christian Media

Can we make good material? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I recently started going through one of the Assassin’s Creed games because I have heard there is a lot of religious symbolism in there, and indeed there is. I was told to start with the Ezio Collection. Turns out it looks like the game is the second one, but that’s okay. I’m still getting what’s going on.

To explain what is making this appealing, it is set in 1474-1499. When you come across a character, you are allowed to push a button and get a brief synopsis about them and their life. Some of these are people I have never heard of, but I am learning that historians have been studying them.

I also understand the layouts of the towns are made to be remarkably just like the towns that they are in. I was looking up some information on that just now and what do I see but places like Ireland are using Assassin’s Creed to attract tourists. Gamers are wanting to go and see these places that they have played games in so much. Yes. We don’t just want to sit on a couch playing games. We want to do things.

Of course, in this game, there’s some physical activity. You encounter townspeople that want to kill you and you get involved in fisticuffs. Your character is incredibly athletic and can run and jump across roofs and climb buildings practically like Spider-Man. That’s cool, but really, for a game, it’s not really the main draw.

What is fascinating is realizing I’m actually getting to interact with historical figures. I’m playing last night and come across Leonardo Da Vinci and I’m thinking, “Wow. I’m going on a mission for Da Vinci.” Not only that, I read in the game that he was born out of wedlock and he was a horrible procrastinator. I look it up online after and lo and behold, that’s right. That is fascinating and that knowledge is very unlikely to leave me any time soon.

That left me wondering, “What if we could do the same thing for the Bible?” Imagine playing a game where you get to be a soldier in the time of David and Saul. Imagine being a peasant in Judah at the time of Jesus. Imagine being a traveler in the Roman Empire at the time of Paul. There are so many scenarios you could do.

Now I have been told there is a company that is working on making Christian video games. I hope it’s an enjoyable one because I have seen non-Christians on videos about Christians video games saying they would play a Christian game if it met one standard. It’s a really simple one.

The game needs to be fun.

Too often when we make media, we make media that we enjoy and don’t consider if anyone else will. Who goes to see many secular movies, hear secular songs, watch secular shows, and play secular games? Christians and non-Christians. Who goes to see Christian movies, hear Christian songs, watch Christian shows, and play Christian games? Christians. Do you know a non-Christian who has a subscription to Pureflix? I’m not saying Christians can’t make things for Christians, but we also need to make materials that non-Christians will want to interact with that can get them interested in Christianity.

If people are playing an Assassin’s Creed game and wanting to visit Ireland as a result, what if they play a similar game and want to study the Bible as a result? What if they get introduced to historical aspects that they never would have known of? The account doesn’t just become words on a page, but something they see and interact with and they get to see what the world of the Bible is like.

Not only this, but I think this is one of the best ways we learn. We learn by doing, and that includes playing. One benefit I have had in apologetics is I have been on the internet and debating these issues so much so where you have to know them immediately and be ready to share them. We could see a parallel in the Karate Kid with behaviors like painting the fence. Daniel didn’t realize he was learning the motions of karate the whole time.

We live in an age of multimedia and we need to use it. Now I do not know enough about programming to do such. I am still looking for a YouTube expert to help me with my videos! I would be glad to provide historical and theological information for a game though as I’m sure many others would.

I look forward to a day when the best material out there is not made by secularists, but made by Christians. Make it real.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Book Plunge: The Big Bang Theory

What do I think of Jessica Radloff’s book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I read a number of books just for the fun of it and this is one of those. If you’re here to learn about the scientific theory, you’re going to be disappointed. This is about the making of the TV show and its 12-season run.

I had some friends introduce me to this show and I immediately enjoyed it. If I enjoy something, I want to learn more about it. I have read books about a number of shows, especially Smallville, and I saw this one on sale and decided to check it out.

Let’s say something at the start. If someone thought this was a show to make fun of nerds, you’re wrong. That was definitely not the intent. One can say it’s poking fun at our community, or rather communities, but we’re also a strange group. What do you expect?

Yet something amazing did happen because of this. At the first Comic-Con where the cast and crew showed up at, they had fans staying out overnight to interact with them. The fans felt represented. Finally, someone was paying attention to them.

Let’s definitely not forget about Sheldon in all of this, the main character and while it was never stated on the show, Peter Roth who was behind the scenes in the book says that Sheldon is definitely on the spectrum. I wasn’t surprised to read this. As one on there myself, I can understand a lot of things he does, even if some of them drive me crazy as well.

However, on a deeper point we Christians need to learn, the show also spoke to a deeper issue. Loneliness. A lot of us struggle with it. Sure, I can come home and have a lot of fun things to do here and a lot of research, but there is a lot of loneliness. How many of us really know our neighbors at all? Most people get off work, come home, and stay in their homes. Nerds tend to be more introverted and we can do that, but we also need fellowship.

There was also in the book the discussion that some jokes were made then that you couldn’t make today because of the political climate. I consider this a shame as I think one should be able to make jokes about anything. Does that include my Christianity? Yes. I support your freedom to do that. I don’t have to like it. I can even think some jokes are wrong, but I want you to state what you honestly think.

One of the great ways to learn about who is in control in a society is to learn who you can laugh at and who you can’t. If you are not allowed to make jokes about a certain group, they are the group in power that does not allow criticism. You can also count on them to be a dangerous group the more power they get. I do plan on writing a later blog on humor so expect this soon.

As a big Bob Newhart fan, I liked reading about his appearance on the show. Much of the audience watching would likely be younger people, so would they know him? As soon as he showed up, the audience went wild. Everything was put on hold for two minutes because they were so excited.

I also enjoyed a story about Johnny Galecki where he was riding a mountain bike he’d been given in an area called the Lagoon at the Warner Brothers parking lot. The staff constantly told him to wear a helmet or he would get hurt. They went to Chuck Lorre, the producer and he said “He’s a thirty-something man! I can’t tell him what to do!” When they left, he picked up his phone and called WB and told them to fill the lagoon. The next day when Galecki showed up, the lagoon was filled and he said “This guy knows how to play.”

However, you also get some realities we Christians need to be aware of. Actors are often comparing themselves to other actors just as much as we compare ourselves to others. Impostor syndrome is very real. Hollywood glamourizes the rich and famous as it were, but they bleed just like anyone else. If anything, perhaps in some ways more so since they don’t get as much privacy and it can be harder to share since your life can be under a microscope.

Consider this statement from Kunal Nayyar who plays Raj, which is the last main statement in the book:

Because as much as someone thinks fame is some really glamorous, fulfilling thing… fame is a very, very lonely experience. It just is. And social media makes it seem otherwise. But ultimately, it’s just an acceptance and a true surrender to realize ultimately you are just alone. Like, when it comes down to it, there’s only two or three people.

I understand wanting to get likes on social media and things like that. We all appreciate that, but that’s also not the real world. Fame is lonely. We have a number of people who are giving everything they can just to get likes on Social Media. (Dylan Mulvaney anyone?) In the end, you will still be alone. Those people aren’t really invested in you.

And friends, people in Hollywood need Jesus just like you and I do. They have the exact same needs. They want to be loved for who they are and not just as a character on a show or an actor. Yes, I know we condemn Hollywood a lot, but we should also pray for them. If God sent Jonah to Nineveh for His love for them, can we imagine He has any less love for the people of Hollywood?

Well, if you like this series, you’ll get some fun material out of this one. I appreciated the story, but I also appreciated about learning what goes on in the making of a TV show and all the discussion that takes place. I also appreciated the inside look at the lives of these people who really, as it must be emphasized, are more like us than unlike us.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

 

 

Pureflix and Woke

What do these two have in common? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It would seem on the surface that I have mentioned two opposites. Look at the values of Pureflix. As a Christian, I agree with them I’m sure for the most part. Look at the Woke agenda. I thoroughly disagree with that and think it’s damaging our community greatly.

Yet as I thought more about Mario and Bud Light, I realized that really, these two are quite similar. Here’s a question to think about. How many people do you think who are non-Christians have subscriptions to Pureflix? Odds are, a bare minimum if any. If I found that it’s only Christians who have one, I would not be surprised. (I am also including those who claim to be Christians like Mormons in this case)

Let’s compare this to movies that have come out that have been identified as Woke and how much they have bombed. Strange World was a complete flop. Lightyear was not successful. Bros targeted a small minority of the population and even a lot of that population did not go and see it, and it’s my understanding that the Disney Star Wars has pretty much killed the series.

Why is this?

Families often don’t want to take their children to see movies that have values that disagree with them. That’s understandable. It’s understandable then that parents that could be Woke would not their children to see movies that are Christian. That’s the freedom of parents. They can raise their children with the values they want.

That’s one reason the Mario movie has done so well. Parents don’t have to be afraid to take their children and in some cases, some parents might take their children not because the children are excited, but because the parents want to see it and the children are a nice reason to get to go see a movie meant for children. I’m 42, but I still went to see it with some friends.

It’s also why Bud Light is failing now. The representative who had the idea wanted to be “inclusive” and at the same time made disparaging remarks about their main client base. Talk about inclusivity. Hint people on the left. No one is 100% inclusive or can be.

So to get back, if you are Woke and reading this and wondering why people don’t want to go see movies that are said to be Woke, imagine a parallel universe. In this universe, the Christians are in charge of the media, but there’s a strong population base out there that believes what today’s “Woke” do, and yet every movie has to have Christian elements throughout it and Christian messages that are in your face. Finally, a movie comes out that has none of that. It’s not Woke, but it’s just a neutral movie. It sells well.

I am not trying to be insulting to Pureflix, but if non-Christians are not interested in the media we produce, then we are just preaching to ourselves. Now there is a place for producing media just for us. I have plenty of books that are written by Christians for Christians, but in evangelism, we have to present something for the world outside of us.

If we just make it where we have the content of the message in the face of the customer while the content of the movie otherwise takes a back seat, they won’t want to see it. If someone wants to watch a movie, a TV show, or play a video game, they have one requirement at the start normally. It has to be fun for them. If they are interested, they will stay. If I pick up a game to play and I just can’t get into it, then I will just stop. (Exception could be if I was being paid to review a game.)

The Woke community has been focusing so much on diversity points and their message that they have left content behind. The content of the Mario movie was granted, not a story, as the plot is minimal, but it was several items that fans would recognize and was true to the source material. If you have a superhero in a comic book and their big draw is that they’re non-binary or gay, that’s not enough. Most readers don’t care really. They just want good content.

On the other hand, secularists probably don’t care if a character is Christian or not (Daredevil and Nightcrawler both are). They care if the content is good. Now if a Daredevil movie came out and it was all about Daredevil being a Christian, they wouldn’t care to see it.

If we want to win a culture war, we can’t just be focused all on the message and assume everyone is interested in the message as we are. We have to make good content that people will enjoy and find a way like Lewis did to slip past the watchful dragons with the message content. Lewis in his Chronicles of Narnia never explicitly spelled out the gospel, but it was shown throughout the books and they are classics to this day.

It can be done. We need to do better. If we only speak to our own, we will not make any strides forward in the culture war.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Of Mario and Bud Light

What can we learn from both of these? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Well, there’s two things you probably never thought would be teamed up. I did go and see the Mario movie Saturday and I definitely enjoyed it. For someone who has been playing video games and been involved with Nintendo for most of my life, I saw so much that I recognized and thought that most importantly, the movie stayed true to the game series.

Not only that, but this movie is setting records and giving Disney competition. Critics are slamming it also while audiences love it, something that again tells us that critics are out of touch with America. Many of the reviews I have heard or seen slamming the movie are completely out of touch, such as asking “How does Bowser wanting to kidnap Peach and force her to marry him work with MeToo?”

Well, for one thing, Bowser is a villain….

I have heard one commentator on this say that Illumination studios did want to put some “progressive” elements in the movie, but Nintendo put their foot down and said no. Nintendo has generally tried to avoid politics. They made it clear that Mario is to be the hero of this movie. Good call, Nintendo. The critics may be laughing at the movie, but Nintendo is laughing all the way to the bank.

And they have plenty more franchises that they can make movies out of. Let’s face it. We know the Legend of Zelda movie is coming.

Meanwhile, Bud Light is tanking. They have been silent on social media. Why? Because they got a fake trans activist to sponsor their beer and the consumers did not like it. Now I don’t drink alcohol, but I also don’t forbid anyone drinking it either.

Disney also had movies like Lightyear and Strange World go down. Why? Because Disney has ceased to be family-friendly and if your emphasis of your movie is “Woke”, then families are less likely to go and see it. Families did go see Mario because it was friendly to family and the generation that has families now grew up playing Mario. It was just as much for them as it was for the kids. The older generation like myself can go and see it and get great joy out of it, but there’s enough the younger generation would recognize.

Now we can sit back and say that people don’t want to see “Woke” movies, but you know what other movies they don’t want to see? Christian movies. Frankly, I don’t blame them. The only reason many of us see Christian movies is that they are Christian movies. Non-Christians don’t see them.

Why? The same reason that many of us don’t see “Woke” movies. The emphasis is on the “Woke” in those movies. They mainly want to point out that we have a gay or a trans character. Isn’t that awesome? How many people do you know say “I want to go see a movie. Which movie has a gay or trans character in it?” I remember going to see the latest Power Rangers movie, which had a character on the spectrum in it. I did not go see it because of that. I saw it because it was Power Rangers.

Let’s take this to my own specialty area of video games. There have been Christian video games. Most of us don’t know about them for good reason. They sucked for the most part. Now I did enjoy the original Wisdom Tree trilogy, but the only reason I think I picked it up was it was a Bible game. Turn it into anything else and I won’t. There was a remake of a kind of Wolfenstein game that was Noah’s Ark with him capturing animals, but if you had a choice between that or Wolfenstein, who will play the former? Only someone who already cares about the Bible. The non-Christian will go to the former every time.

A few months ago I watched a video on the history of Christianity and video games. I left a comment pointing out that the original Legend of Zelda had religious references, such as the magic book was called a Bible. Nintendo didn’t really want religious imagery, yet Link’s shield does still have a cross on it. (There is imagery in Japan that indicates Link could be a Christian.)

So let me show you some of the comments from this video and I will be removing names.

“I’m not Religious but if they actually made a bible game that was like Bayonetta, God of war or hell even something like skyrim or Breath of the wild, I’d play it”

My dream Bible centric game: It just needs to be a reskinned Fallout New Vegas or Witcher 3 but I want Easter Eggs and Bible references out the wazoo.  So your character Ezra will be walking through the marketplace on his way to offer a sacrifice at the Temple. Off to the side are a group of men with one donkey. One of the men will be swearing up and down,” I TELL YOU THE TRUTH! THIS DONKEY SPOKE TO ME!!!” He’ll just be met with jeering and accusations of lunacy. “Balaam you’re going crazy!” Later, you’ll be traveling to the next town and you’ll encounter this Balaam and he’ll be arguing with his donkey. You’d even witness the donkey talk back and make snarky remarks. Because you’re the protagonist, the odd pair will speak freely with you. Because Balaam was a prophet, he’ll have good fortune telling abilities and maybe he’ll join your party. The main thing, the Bible has so many great stories but they’re strung along thousands of years so timelines will have to be compressed immensely.”

“I like how thia video helps evolve the meme-like concept that Christian games are bad to be more of a understanding of the approach these games are made with. They arent there to make a game; they’re there to convert…”

“I am a Christian myself but totally get that you can’t label everything in the popular media with a belief system…music, movies, AND video games, too! This is one of those videos where even reading the comments are fun! I can’t tell you the number of folks I’ve run across that make you feel like an unbeliever when you’re not also signed up for all this additional stuff. I’ve never played one of these video games–never knew they existed!–but I am thinking they stink as much as most Christian music. You just can’t force yourself to like something that you…just…don’t.”

“Would love to see an open world rpg set in the pre flood antedeluvian world that gives you free will choices.”

“I think if christians tried making a good game instead of trying too hard to make it “holy” then they could do it. Im christian and I know there are tons of themes for video games. I mean look at a game like fable. That was an amazing series that could have similar elements to an open world rpg. Like living in the days after noah when the tower of babel is being constructed and living in the harsh middle east. Christians or at that time Yahwists would have still needed to defend themselves from bandits and the like. We live in a much safer society today. Having spiritual beings influence npcs and having the main player set an area right from the influence of principalities would be cool”

Okay. I don’t want to overwhelm you. There’s plenty more. Here’s something else I notice looking through the comments. I don’t really see arguing or bickering and this is a video about Christianity! I see people coming together in agreement.

Ultimately, what’s the secret? What makes Mario a success in the movies? Why did Bud Light bomb?

Because fun should be fun. When people want to do something fun, they generally don’t want a political or religious message thrust upon them. There’s a reason a lecture is referred to as “preaching.” Preaching is in a sense synonymous with boring.

Nintendo followed a simple concept. They made the movie fun. They made it something people will want to see and tell their friends to see and take their own families too.

And notice something from the comments Christians. If we made games and movies that were fun and not just thrusting Christianity down peoples’ throats, they would play it. It doesn’t matter if it’s Bible-based or not. What matters to a gamer is “Is the game fun?”

Now I happen to like playing games that touch on philosophical issues and I like movies and TV shows like that too, but I won’t keep watching something or playing something if it is boring. My ministry partner does this in his videos. Sure. I can watch a video again if I want to go back and get his take on an idea, but I watch them for another reason. They’re fun.

What do we need to learn from this? Make media and make it Christian, but also make it fun. Make it something people will want to watch. If we don’t do that, we’re just as guilty as the “woke” crowd. When the message drowns out any enjoyment, people aren’t interested. It doesn’t matter if it’s “woke” or Christian or anything else.

Thus, i encourage us to start a revolution in this area. Make sure our content is good. If the product is good, people will be interested. If Bud Light wanted to up the sales, the way to do that was not to politicize that. The way to do that was to improve the product. Make a good product and people will buy it. Make good media and people will use it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Thoughts on the Asbury Revival

What’s my take on Asbury? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

The big news going around in many areas today is what’s going on at Asbury Seminary with a revival breaking out. There are some people who are absolutely convinced that this is a move of God. There are some people who are convinced it’s more a state of high emotion.

There are actually dangers to both sides. Many of us understand the dangers of saying “This is not of God.” After all, if God is behind it, isn’t it dangerous to deny His work? Could that be an idea in our minds that is really opposed to miracles and questioning anything that could be of God?

Certainly that possible, but we also forget that it can be a danger to go the other way. I always get cautious when I am in churches and I hear people say what God has done in the life of the congregation. I have heard this in Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox churches. Who are we to think we have secret insight into the throne room of God to know what He is and isn’t doing?

So my suggestion here at the start will be to go with caution.

However, there’s another reason for that. I don’t think we’ll be able to tell what has happened until after what has happened has passed. After all, how many of us have seen marriages that we thought on their wedding day would last forever and then a few years down the road, we find that they are divorced? (Yep. People said that about my case as well.)

When things are exciting and fresh and the emotions are high, it’s easy to claim that God is behind it. If you want to know if a couple truly loves each other, you don’t ask on their wedding day. As Sam Allberry said at Defend here last month, anyone can make a promise, but keeping one is something different.

Wait and see what happens when they are in financial straits. Wait and see what happens when one of them gets seriously sick. Wait and see what happens when children come along and the relationship gets taxed. In other words, you don’t see if they love each other when times are good. You see if they love each other when times are bad.

In His parable of the sower, Christ spoke of those who receive the word with great joy and then fall away when times get hard. In other words, if you had looked at the start, you would have thought these people were in it for the long haul. Look at their joy! However, when trouble and temptation came, they fled.

Now keep in mind, I am not saying that this is definitely the case at Asbury. I am explaining why I have caution. Also, I want to bring up an article I read yesterday from NotTheBee. One part stood out for me.

The Asbury “revival” started after a 10 am chapel service last week Wednesday when a group of about 20 students and the worship team said they felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to continue worship past the end of the chapel service.

According to one of the students I talked to, a few hours later, the president of the seminary sent an email to the students encouraging them visit the chapel to join the 20 students on what he described as an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Apparently 200 students arrived for worship at the chapel soon after, and there has been non-stop worship ever since.

The student maintains the “revival” wasn’t planned. But it’s worth noting that Asbury University is part of what is known as the revivalist movement — a group of Charismatic Christians who consistently attempt to produce revivals.

No. It’s not that last paragraph. What stood out is what happened in the first two where things were immediately attributed to God. Readers here know I get cautious when I hear someone talking about how they feel the Spirit is leading them to do XYZ. Yet after that, the president immediately attributes this to the Holy Spirit. Sorry, but it sounds like jumping the gun a bit to me.

However, I agree with much of what the author says in the NotTheBee article about this. It’s easy to say that a revival is going on when people are excited. The way to know revival has truly happened will be what happens when persecution comes their way.

As a boy growing up in the Methodist church, I used to see kids come back from an event called Resurrection. The kids would be excited and put on a show during the worship service yet even in my pre-apologetics days, I noticed something. It didn’t last long. Give it a couple of weeks and these kids would go right back to not coming to Sunday School and not really caring about their faith.

That emotional high can feel good, but it will not last. The question is what will happen when it is done. If you go back to the way you were before, then you were not having joy over the Holy Spirit’s work. You were just having some joy for a feeling.

What I am saying then is we cannot know if this is from God yet or not. We will know when we see the results months or even years down the road when the fervor has died down. As long as we are in the high season, we cannot tell.

You see, your faithfulness to Jesus is not measured by how excited you are about Jesus. It is not measured by what kind of experiences you are having. It is measured by how much you are living a Christlike life.

That will also be measured by how you will handle persecution and challenges. Will these people involved in this be better able to handle persecution coming in our country from groups like the LGBTQ community? Will they be willing to take a hard stand against the evil of abortion when it gets hard? Will they be more likely to go back to their dorms and resist the urge to watch pornography? Will they be loving their neighbors as themselves?

That’s why we have to watch to see what happens next. What will happen when someone gets cancer and isn’t miraculously cured of it? Will they and those around them remain faithful? What happens if a disaster hits the community, like if something that was an offshoot of the disaster in Ohio comes? Will they remain faithful?

Some of you might think it’s scandalous to raise the question of if this is of God or not. It isn’t. It’s testing the spirits. It’s doing my due diligence.

“Well, if these people are faithful when persecution comes and this lasts, won’t you be embarrassed?”

No. I will be thankful. I hope the people involved go out and change their societies for the better. I hope they live more faithful lives to Jesus. I hope that for myself and all other Christians.

I am also not saying that emotions and experiences are bad things. I am saying these are not the indicators of a Christian life. The ones who deny Jesus in the end in Matthew 7 have a lot of experiences. What they do not have is faithfulness.

So is this of God? Time will tell.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)