Christian Gaming Communities
Being a Christian who loves Jesus and video games, is not a bad thing, its a good thing! I believe that God has gifted us video games and all technology – in part so that his glory can be revealed. During my journey as a Christian who wants to use video games to reveal God to others, I’ve been fortunate enough to find a few online-faith-based gaming communities like; Crossfire: Gaming+Faith, who part of the United Methodists in the United States. Their Mission statement:
“We are an online faith-based community that aims to break down the barriers many gamers face: social isolation, disconnection, and stigma. We aim to create an authentic and generous community that is inclusive and affirming of all people from all walks of life.
As people of faith, we believe that part of discipleship is to live together in community and bless the world beyond our walls.”
Its been through watching and engaging with these communities that I’ve seen a unique Christian community begin to form and take shape. They offer something different as far as gaming communities go. There are some overlaps, but they are distinct.They clearly offer a christian version or alternative to typical gaming communities. They engage in charitable fundraising through playing video games, they openly talk about their faith and beliefs and encourage others to do so as well, they game in a healthy way, and hold true to Christian values and mission. The point about gaming in a mindful and healthy way, is the focus of this blog post.
In one sense, sadly, it is normal to expect some type of rude, inappropriate behaviour from other players online. People tend to take advantage of the anonymity of online gaming. Players can be aggressive, cyber bullying happens, racism, sexism, anti-social behaviour exists in online gaming worlds. Christians participate in these negative behaviours as well. People engage or act in behaviours online, that they would not display in real life. This is in-part due to the violent nature of video games.
As Christians we have to remember something. Its important we remind ourselves and others that we are still believers and followers of Christ while we game. That does not mean you get on the chat feature and just start preaching to everyone about Jesus. But what it does mean is that you act and behave like a follower of Christ in the game, the same you would in real life. There is still competition, fun, banter, camaraderie and stress and anxiety when it comes to gaming, recreationally or competitively, but being mindful of your behaviours and emotions can be a heathy approach to gaming.
You don’t have to game exclusively with Christians, that is not what Im advocating for, you should game with everyone. Christian gaming communities are good examples to follow. If you see, hear, or become a victim of any negative behaviours, then what you do next should be Christ-like. You can ask the person to stop, explain that its not nice, inappropriate and that what they are doing is making you feel uncomfortable. If appropriate mention your faith. If that does not work, then you should leave. What you should avoid, as in real life, is revenge or engaging in the same negative behaviour in retaliation towards that person. You have to be careful because as the bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Bad company corrupts Good character”. If you are only always around unhealthy gamers, that can rub off on you. Its also good to be aware that losing in games is a possibility and its ok, we’ve all seen the videos of kids and adults throwing their laptops or gaming counsels out the window in frustration. You should avoid that and just be aware and content with all possible outcomes of your gaming session.
Whether you play with a group of friends, or within a community of believers, christians should be encouraged to play video games, as long as it does not interfere with honouring other important commitments, which is the general rule of thumb for anything else in life. For Christians this would mean your relationships with God, Church and those around you like family, friends, and neighbours. Video games are a great way to hang out with friends, have fun, build relationships, reach out to others, as well as experiencing Christ.