“The Christian shoemaker does his duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.” – Martin Luther
As a Christian, I grew up in a conservative home saturated with Christian media. I listened to Christian music, watched Jesus TV shows and movies, and read Christian fiction. I wasn’t as secluded as some people (Star Trek, for example, was a HUGE part of my childhood) but whenever possible, I was encouraged to pick “the Christian version” when choosing my media.
Except that usually, the Christian version sucks. A lot.
There are WAY MORE EXAMPLES than I could count, but it’s fairly safe to say that when the Christian version of something popular is created, it’s almost always lifeless, pale, and inferior. ChristianMingle.com is a good example. eHarmony uses an advanced and fairly successful algorithm for matching people, one that takes religious and lifestyle preferences in to account. ChristianMingle does not, and had a HUGE problem with scammers, liars, etc. Why is this? Are all Christians just huge morons who can’t make good things?
No, hopefully not. The problem isn’t the talent of these Christians, it’s the motivation behind what they’re doing. First let’s note the huge chasm between Christianity, and the current Christian Culture.
When I use the term Christian culture, I’m referring to how most people think Christians should act, and what kind of life Christians should be living. This idea is less informed by what is in the bible, and more from the puritan values of conservative American culture.
Christian Culture says that it’s important to go to a nice church every Sunday morning, live in a safe neighborhood, and manage you finances wisely so that you can provide for your family. Avoid a lot of those negative, worldly things like rap music, pre-marital sex, smoking, drinking, and R-rated movies. Unless it’s the Passion of the Christ. That gore is okay because it’s REAL!
Christian Culture says that it’s important for you to sin as little as possible, and to avoid situations that have even the possibility of sin occurring. These situations include: going to pubs, dance floors, going on a date with a pretty girl, hanging out with people who are “a bad influence”, and playing DnD.
Jesus said quite a few things that contradicted this idea.
He talked about reaching out to help those in need, spending time with the downcast and downtrodden of society, like homeless people, poor people, drug addicts, prostitutes, and people are a bad influence. Instead of trying to sin as little as possible, Christians should be trying to accomplish as many good things as possible, rather than avoiding the bad.
Jesus’ first recorded miracle was when he turned water into wine at a wedding. The party was running dry (hehe), so Jesus thought, “Yup, helping people have a good time is the best chance to start my world-changing ministry.”
That’s pretty much where I’m coming from as well. I LOVE writing and designing games. I love GMing for people, and creating community through Dungeon World and Numenera. This hobby that we enjoy so much has so much incredible power and potential. We’ve only JUST begun to tap its depths.
In a world where people are so disconnected from one another, and facebook messages replace conversations, getting 5 people to hangout, eat, laugh, and play together for several hours is no small thing. And nothing brings people together like a good game of imagination and community storytelling.
I’m a Christian, and I make role-playing games. Maybe one day, if I have a good idea I’ll make a game about Christianity or a Christian worldview. But I don’t need to try and cram Jesus into all my games, and I look forward to the day when other Christians will stop trying to make things more “jesus-y”, and just make good, quality entertainment.