Do we need quests to survive? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I’m still writing about my presentation at Defend 2023 where I talked about video games and Christianity. Yesterday on my wall I wrote about the need for quests. Quests are goals that we have set for ourselves and seek to go out and accomplish. These could be simple goals that we can call our routine, such as brushing teeth and hair, showering, or other goals, like my going to talk to someone about auto insurance today or how I read X amount of certain books on my Kindle.
When it comes to games, quests can keep us coming back easily and give us incentive to keep going. Games tend to become less enjoyable after the quests have been completed. Sometimes, this happens so much that players make artificial quests.
This is also why some game systems have achievements in their games. A completionist is someone who often tries to complete every achievement in a game, though some of them are just impossible to do. I mean literally impossible. If you had an achievement about pre-ordering a game and it’s already out, sorry. You can’t get that one.
An achievement is a way of being told you accomplished something. You did something that was worthwhile. This is often especially so for men who are usually much more insecure than we come across as and who thrive on praise, especially if we have a lady in our lives.
As I thought about this last night, I remembered one time when I was married my in-laws wanted my then wife and I to come over and clean the windows. I remember I got high praise for how I did since I was extremely thorough, practically using a toothbrush and scrubbing every bit of dust I could find. Looking back, I realized it was a quest. I was given a challenge and I wanted to do the best I could.
So why do I not do that at my own home? Because that’s not a quest of mine and there’s no one I’m here trying to please. If I’m fine with the place, that’s good enough for me.
In our day and age, we don’t have quests anymore. When does a boy become a man? For us, it’s when he turns 18. That’s not really an accomplishment. Congratulations. You lived 18 years. Now to be fair, not everyone does, but it happens so often that we count those who don’t an exception.
Maybe one reason our young boys are often acting out and getting in prison or just getting women pregnant and neglecting fatherhood is because they are trying to demonstrate they are men? Could it be we actually could benefit from something like a rite of passage? Could we use something that a man can look back on and say “Yes. I am a man.” Naturally, there are counterparts for the women as well, but if we look in our prisons, most of the inmates are men.
The black family in America is often worse with this as fatherlessness is even more common. A father is often someone who indicates to the boy that he is a man. Without that, the boys will team up with other boys in an effort to become men. Asian families by contrast are often highly family oriented. Perhaps the Asian communities have better ways of establishing maturity.
Quests are our way to go out and do something and prove something and if we know the quest has a purpose, we are often far more willing and do so with more joy. If your quest is just to go to work and you think, rightly or wrongly, that you’re just being given meaningless busy work to do, you won’t care about your job. If you think you’re just a replaceable cog in a machine, why should you care?
And why do we do the work at our jobs? To earn an income. Why? So we can provide for our families. Why? So our children can grow up. Why? So they can do the exact same thing. If we think our lives are just going through motions and doing the exact same thing again and again, we won’t approach our lives with joy.
What about our Christianity? Do we often know what the point is? We often say the goal is to go to Heaven when you die? For most of us, there’s a good amount of time between when we’re born and when we die. What do we do with that time? We tell other people about Jesus so they…..can go to Heaven when they die….
But what about all that time in-between?!
It’s as if we view the gospel as everyone having a disease and the goal is to get them a treatment so they won’t die and then have nothing else for them to do except give everyone else the treatment. What do we do with all this time? What is the quest of Christianity?
It’s one reason I like to talk about the kingdom of God. That changes reality. It’s saying that we are spreading a kingdom and we are in a battle of good versus evil. Now we’re talking. Reality doesn’t just take place when we die. It’s going on right now.
Evangelism is then part of the battle of good versus evil. It is stopping evil from spreading wherever we can. It is us working together as Christians for a common goal to defeat the intruder’s work that came into that garden so long ago. Does that sound bizarre to you? Paul describes frequently in the New Testament such as Ephesians 6 and 2 Cor. 10 the Christian life as one of battle. What is the book of Revelation describing if not a massive war over the souls of men?
The Christian life should be an exciting one. We are all part of a journey, part of the greatest battle between good and evil that can ever be. If we’re gamers, our quests there should remind us of the importance of the quests that go on outside of the games. We are on a quest for the king, and He will reward those who play the game well.
But should we treat this as a game?
Now that’s another post entirely….
(And I affirm the virgin birth)