God, Video Games Live, and Max

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Think dynamite, napalm and gunpowder. Think fireworks inside of a tornado over a bubble wrap factory. Think stupidly, awesome chaos. That’s been my life lately. As I mentioned in my last post, nearly two months ago, the last 8ish weeks have been marked by a major job and ministry transition, the second trimester of my wife’s pregnancy, finals, receiving my masters, and visits from nearly two dozen awesome family members.

Things. Have. Been. Nuts.

Bookending these crazy events were the beautiful, flurries of E3 and Comic-Con. Although these two events only comprised 7 days, they exposed some of the most significant and outstanding transitions in the gaming world in several years. Beyond that, the theological breadth of their impact is radically profound. As such, I’ll have a handful of reflections and musings over the next few weeks about what conventions like this can show us about the ways in which the Kingdom of God is unfolding in the world.

A taste of this can be distilled in the story of Max. Now, Max is a guy that is in his late 20’s or early 30’s. I’ll admit that I’ve never met Max but I do know a few things about him. Max is a nice guy. He’s a bit overweight, a little shy, and he’s awesome at Guitar Hero.

All of the sudden the auditorium was no longer filled with the 2,000 separate lives of separate people, but was transformed into one unified body, cheering Max on to his goal.

One week ago, on the Saturday evening of Comic-Con, my brother, my wife and I found ourselves at the free Video Games Live concert in downtown San Diego. I’ve never been to Video Games Live but I’ve always wanted to go. The harmonious way in which the symphony reflects the community of people involved to create something complex like a game is an awesome parallel to the beauty played out through the community of the church. The craft of cultivating beauty is intrinsically tied to the imago Dei (man reflecting the image of God) and Video Games Live is a radical way in which this is displayed.

During the concert there was a Guitar Hero competition in the foyer. Max won this competition and as a prize he was able to play the Foo Fighter’s, Pretender, on stage with the symphony. The catch was that if he was able to score 400,000 points then he would win $1,500 worth of prizes. As Max began to play, the crowd nonchalantly watched him play but as he crept closer and closer to the 400,000 marker the energy in the room began to congeal. All of the sudden the auditorium was no longer filled with the 2,000 separate lives of separate people, but was transformed into one unified body, cheering Max on to his goal. Every time he missed a note, we all sank with him and every time he scored a bonus we burst into applause. Finally, with only seconds left until the song’s conclusion, Max hit his mark and the room exploded. Thousands of hands burst into the air as a strong and steady chant of Max’s name reverberated off of the acoustically carved walls. Max had won, but we all felt it, we all crossed that finish line with Max, and we all lifted him up and affirmed him.

Max was beaming.

This is the church. This is what Christ wants from us and for us. To lift each other up. To affirm each other and unabashedly encourage until we are all able to fulfill our potential in all of our passions. I saw the face of Christ in that moment there at Comic-Con, in that auditorium in San Diego, and it was beautiful.

Catch a glimpse below with the video of Max.

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