Nature, red in tooth and claw...

Incredible. (Watch the WHOLE video or you'll miss the point.)

Even more incredibly, many Christians willingly deliver their young to the lions who seek their souls by failing to surround them with the Word and surrendering to worldliness: uncontrolled, unmonitored television, schooling, videos, games, friendships....

Who's the bull buffalo in your home?

Comments

Dear David:

You're right, David; that was incredible and very rare.

DW

David,

That's hard to watch. It gives a very concrete illustration to verses like I Peter 5:8.

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."

Thank you for making application to our souls.

My wife has been telling me about abook she is currently reading: "Playstation Nation: Protect Your Child from Video Game Addiction" by Olivia Bruner & Kurt Bruner, and it sounds real good. She was saying yesterday it compared today's youth to the "Lost Boys" of Peter Pan, who never grew up.

--Michael

Not to sidetrack any discussion, but how would a video game cause someone to never grow up?

> Not to sidetrack any discussion, but how would a video game cause someone to never grow up?

Hello Keith,

Wow -- could I give you an earful on this topic! And your question isn't off-topic, as it is one of the devil's tools to "take out" males, stopping them from becoming responsible men today, which of course breaks down families, society and the church, too. It can be an addiction to pleasure, a rush, a high. It gives the impression of being a man without having to really be one at all.

We have a 22.5 year old son, who has completed 4 years of college, whom we really do not expect to graduate, despite all his debt. His Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and SCA fantasy life is more important to him than real life. Much worse than the games in his case is all the Facebook blogs related to these topics that he's consumed with, chatting with all the other nuts out there. If he falls asleep at the keyboard in the middle of the night, how's he going to perform in math class at 8:00, assuming he shows up? Being in school is being used as a haven from reality.

I could give you many examples of how he continually zaps himself in the foot with his light saber, but it isn't too hard to imagine how unprepared he is to tackle the real world. I resisted this stuff when our boys were at home, but when off at college with high speed internet in their dorms, it's impossible to control.

It is common knowledge that growing up and accepting responsibility is a big problem for boys these days. I was flying military aircraft and supporting a wife when I was his age, yet he's content to stay in a galaxy far, far away as long as possible.

Our younger son --turned 21 yesterday-- enlisted in the Air Force last Spring, and the maturity in accepting responsibility and planning ahead for himself has been amazing in comparison, though he's still very into games and videos.

[No, we are not paying for Lost Boys' College in Neverland, and are still recommending the Air Force.]

--Michael

Michael,

You wrote: "It gives the impression of being a man without having to really be one at all."

And I completely agree. Men are wired to take risks, to compete, to face difficult situations, and to be brave in the face of danger. God has wired them to be this way so that they can do what they need to do: be warriors, be providers, and be protectors.

When men do these things in the real world, sometimes they get the thrill of victory and sometimes the agony of defeat, but they learn how to succeed and fail, and they continue on the path of risk-taking and dragon-slaying.

When a boy or a man plays a video game, he gets to enjoy some of the endorphins of victory without ever risking anything in the process, and without ever having the chance to learn from failure. So, they become addicted to the easy endorphins, and resist the risk-taking in real life that might (or might not) allow them the God-designed hard-won endorphins that come with real victory.

In my classroom, I've heard college men talk about how they feel more alive while playing than they do in real life, and I see that they must be speaking the truth. They tend to be contentedly emasculated and passive, rarely pushing themselves even to take risks in making a comment in the classroom or in improving the quality of their work. Nothing matters. That is, until they get back to their Wii.

I believe such technology is absolutely the work of the prowling lion.

I dare suggest that there is a lesson for us in the initial hesitation of the buffalo to confront the lions. Did that hesitation cause a calf to become hyena food in the end? Does the comfort of this "bull's" Lazy-Boy keep me out of the fray until my "calves" are injured?

And good points, Barb & Michael. I'd suggest that the antidote to fake endorphins is the real ones of real achievement, and that when boys are prevented from real achievement, that's when it's time to change the situation.

I'm sorry, Barbara and Michael, but I don't buy your arguments. I've played video games my entire life. I'm not addicted to them, I have a wife and two children (and one on the way!) I support, and instead of zoning out and watching World's Scariest Car Crashes 8 on cable after the kids have gone to bed, I'll read, talk to my wife, maybe surf the internet, or occasionally play a video game (maybe three times a week for less than an hour.) Just like any form of entertainment, it can be addictive, but that doesn't mean the medium as a whole is a "work of the prowling lion."

Anyone who is playing video games for hours a day has a problem, of course, just like anyone who collects stamps or works on his sports car for hours a day has a problem. That doesn't mean stamps, sports cars, or video games are inherently evil.

And, of course, the devil is in the details. I'm horrified by first-person-shooter games and I wonder why anyone would be entertained by something like Postal 2 or Manhunt. Maybe those are the kinds of games you're thinking of, but many video games are stimulating, highly entertaining (have you ever played Guitar Hero?), and sometimes even beautiful.

>I'm sorry, Barbara and Michael, but I don't buy your arguments. I've played video games my entire life.

I doubt they are arguing that 100% of people who play video games are utterly destroyed by them. But on balance do you really want to argue they are a neutral or positive factor in society? Not just you but society in general?

I would argue that they are a positive factor in society, yes, primarily because they are an active form of entertainment versus a more passive form like watching TV. In my experience, video game players are more intelligent, more creative, and generally more interesting than your average Rikki Lake fan. Plus, looking at a representative list of video games, most people would find that nine out of ten are completely inoffensive (sports games, puzzle games, adventure games, etc.) It's only the particularly grievous games that catch the public eye and as a result become the stereotype in the minds of those who don't play video games.

>I would argue that they are a positive factor in society, yes, primarily because they are an active form of entertainment versus a more passive form like watching TV.

However they aren't active in the sense that you are actually doing anything of meaning.

You are at least stimulating your brain a bit, especially if you're playing a game like this (which happens to be part of one of the most popular series of games around):

http://wii.ign.com/articles/795/795126p1.html

My point is that video games are just like everything else, from jazz to magazines to food: there's some trash, some treasure, and a whole lot in between.

Keith,

I have a response but before I give it I wonder if you can answer a few questions? Are you married or single? Have children? Work full time or part time? How does playing video games further the missio Dei (mind you I own a PS2)?

Married, work full-time, have two beautiful girls and one on the way, my wife stays at home (also, you didn't ask, but I'm 30.)

And yes, it's entertainment, so the way it forwards the "Missio Dei" is by giving me a nice way to relax after a long day of work. Really, it's the exact same reason my wife and I sometimes play Trivial Pursuit or Scrabble together.

Keith,

I believe that video games CAN be played to the glory of God, just as so many other pleasures our good God has allowed Christians the freedom to enjoy. I have recently found a sermon that is very helpful when discerning about these things. It's from this year's New Attitude conference, and it was given by Eric Simmons. You can download "Discern the Graymatters" at http://www.newattitude.org/conference/

As a mother of boys, I am especially interested in how to allow them pleasure in this area while also teaching them self-control. What are your opinions in this matter? Since I daily see the emasculating results in so many college students, I continue to have a hearty distrust of the genre as a whole.

IMO, David Gray nails it; we can argue all day that things are "benign" or even mildly encouraging, but what should we be doing with that time? Perhaps something more productive, or perhaps even something more restful? I make no accusations here; just judge for yourself.

Now time to point out that nobody is picking on me for picking on the Lazy--Boy as a destroyer of bulls. Too touchy a subject. :^)

(I confess MY weakness here!)

> I'm sorry, Barbara and Michael, but I don't buy your arguments. I've played video games my entire life.

Keith, you missed our point, as David Gray and Barbara said. We aren't pharisaically calling you an unclean sinner for touching a game console. The fact that you are a successful, hard-working father and husband does not negate the fact that many youth cannot handle limiting fantasy for the sake of achievement in reality, and have a very uphill battle digging out and making anything of themselves, as you have. And I do not see any "magazine and jazz" epidemics like I see computer game & fantasy/sci-fi role playing epidemics.

> [Keith:] And yes, it's entertainment, so the way it forwards the "Missio Dei" is by giving me a nice way to relax after a long day of work.

So's a glass of wine. I can have a drink ocasionally, but still be alarmed about widespread drunk driving.

> [Keith:] Plus, looking at a representative list of video games, most people would find that nine out of ten are completely inoffensive (sports games, puzzle games, adventure games, etc.) It's only the particularly grievous games that catch the public eye and as a result become the stereotype in the minds of those who don't play video games.

No, it isn't "only" them we are talking about. My son can stay in the popular George Lucas universe indefinitely.

And don't simplistically think this is the "play-nots" attacking the "players." I liked the Myst Trilogy myself.

> [David:] However they aren't active in the sense that you are actually doing anything of meaning.

Just think of all the Lost Boys who could have been Michelangelos, or Tolstoys, or whoever, if they hadn't gotten sucked in to video golf. (No, it's the other ones they get sucked into.)

> [Robert:] IMO, David Gray nails it; we can argue all day that things are "benign" or even mildly encouraging, but what should we be doing with that time?

...reading classics like Anna Karenina? They even play games on their cell phones these days.

--Michael

This video was incredible. I had a great last 20 minutes with my 4 and 5 yr-old boys watching, rewinding, watching, explaining, and rewatching. They were utterly fascinated (and had lots of comments about how much blood must be on the baby buffalo, on which parts of his body, etc. :)

I'm interested in the direction this discussion has gone. With these same two boys, I'm wondering how we as parents protect them from the addiction of video games that is such an obvious problem in America. Easy enough to not own a Wii or PS2 but as was mentioned, there are games aplenty for our computers and even cell phones. I think Barbara gets to the heart of the matter when she mentions teaching them self-control. Also, they probably do need an outlet for their need to be an adventurer. This is addressed by one of the British authors of a recent best-selling book, The Dangerous Book for Boys. He talks (in an interview on Amazon.com) about how boys need danger around them or they'll go find something much more dangerous to do like walking on train tracks. Apparently the other possibility is they'll find virtual danger.

"As a mother of boys, I am especially interested in how to allow them pleasure in this area while also teaching them self-control. What are your opinions in this matter? Since I daily see the emasculating results in so many college students, I continue to have a hearty distrust of the genre as a whole."

I guess it should just be done in moderation, like anything else. When I was in high school I spent several hours a day practicing various instruments, and that has paid off since I'm now a professional musician. If I played video games during the week it was normally something like Minesweeper or Freecell for a little while, nothing that demanded a lot of time or energy.

And it's important to question your motives as to why you play a game. Several years ago I played a role-playing game (Star Wars:KOTOR) where, after spending an obscene amount of time (probably fifty hours) essentially working to build up my character by completing various mundane tasks, I was finally able to beat the game. I found the whole ordeal to be boring and pointless and have never played another game like it since, but I can see why someone who has never really accomplished anything might think he had actually "done" something by completing one of those games. The same goes for most first-person shooter games. I just don't find it enjoyable and relaxing to pretend I'm killing people, or to pretend I'm narrowly escaping death, and I would seriously doubt anyone who says he does. So, if you enjoy playing video games because you get a sense of accomplishment, or because you get a rush from pretend-killing someone, you're doing it for the wrong reasons.

My children are young (4 and 6), so I don't know how useful my advice would be to someone with teenage or older children, but I would basically challenge them as to why they're playing games, and how productive that time is. For me, it was always much more rewarding to be able to finally play a tough passage on my trombone than it was to get a new high score.

Don't make the mistake of thinking this is a problem just for boys and young men. I know a number of young women who are addicted to World of Warcraft online. I suspect the strong fantasy and role playing elements in this game has great appeal for any young person not solidly grounded with a more wholesome and purposeful vision for their life.

Tim, Dave, Help

That last post is strange because I didn't post it.......either there are two Kevin Hutchesons on this board, or someone, for reasons far beyond me has decided to adopt my name.........

Wierd thing about that is that I found this blog when I was looking up information on a friend of mine from College Church who passed away in 1975. Imagine my surprise when I read a series of posts by "Phil Dresser". I assume that you remember Phil and understand why I find someone using his name disturbing, particularly since I don't think that was a coincidence, or someone with a similiar name. Perhaps Mr. Seelye had his reasons.

I know this post is totally off topic. Feel free to delete it. I just wanted to bring the dual Kevin Hutchesons to your attention and was curious about "Phil".

>And I do not see any "magazine and jazz" epidemics like I see computer game & fantasy/sci-fi role playing epidemics.

Michael,

You have got to be kidding or neglecting the fact that you don't even need to squint to see the wasting of time around us. What about blogging, hunting and fishing, comic books, pouring all time and effort into a '69 Nova, HGTV gratifications, textin' or excessive time reading for escape? I wonder how many marriages die because of these safer pastimes. While I think there is more danger in some forms of digression than others (video games can be a welcome mat to destruction), let's be careful we don't inadvertantly elevate other diversions to the level of work or aids in our ultimate production or goals because they are visibly less dangerous.

--Any pleasure that refreshes you without diminishing you, distracting you, or sidetracking you from the ultimage goal is a legitimate pleasure. Any pleasure that jeopardizes the sacred right of another is an illicit pleasure. Any pleasure, however good, if not kept in balance, will distort reality or destroy appetite.

Ravi Zacharias--

A bit different twist on the lions and the young animal not willingly given. Did you see the news today from Australia?

I suppose if we put white, doctors' jackets on the lions, and the Australian Anglican and Catholic response as the buffalo, there could be another illustration of not willingly giving our young. Here's that link in Yahoo which is notorious for liberally slanted news imho. Then my comment.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/070529/2/13lkj.html

Australia joins the UK as State sanctioning tiny, unique human creations with animals and using human fetuses to be mothers and then killing the moms and such. They rightly say no cures forthcoming anytime soon for such 'bold' new State sanctioned 'science'.

I find myself in agreement with the Anglicans there and the Catholics. The sad part is the assessement that without such specific application of science, there is no hope for cures. That is highly questionable. Should we toss all our research for cures for cancer cause it isn't currently research requiring the creation of unique human lives for destruction/experimentation, cause it is hopeless witout this one approach?

I believe what they've passed in Australia should not only NOT be State sanctioned and supported, but should be discouraged and punishable by law. That said, I'd be genuinely curious of your thoughts both on this topic and on how yahoo reports on it in the link above.

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