The Positives of Gaming

MyCatholicBlog came across this interesting article on Christ and Pop Culture which discusses the subtle benefits of the new gaming system, Xbox 360’s Kinect.  It claims:

Should Christians be excited about Kinect?  I think they should. In my short experience with Dance Central, I have found it to be the most immediately accessible game I have ever experienced in groups.  The Kinect has tons of potential to provide memorable shared experiences for all kinds of people.  Additionally, it is certainly the most physically demanding gaming peripheral I have ever used and I think the care of our physical bodies is all too often neglected Christian discipline.  So the short answer is yes–Christians should be excited about Kinect.  Kinect certainly has its own unique value already, however, I am drawn to video games that not only raise my heart rate but stir my soul.

Author Drew Dixon admits that any significant life experiences are yet to emerge from playing Kinect, but in an atmosphere where games are often criticized for violence, poor morals, etc, it’s nice to see the positive that can come from the ever-progressing technology.

Beyond intertwining Christian morals, this article makes interesting point about current gaming systems in general, looking at technology and (as Dixon labels it) an art form through a sociological view.

In Defense of Harry Potter

The new Harry Potter film is an utter success.  Pulling in opening weekend sales of $125 million, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 begins the final stage of Harry Potter’s story.  Now, of course, Harry Potter attained an iconic status a long time ago, but following fame has always come the controversy that J.K. Rowling’s stories bring.

Many criticize the seeming advocacy of witchcraft and pagan religions, uncomfortable with the “innocent”  spin that the book/film series places on wizardry.

However, mycatholicblog.com found an article on christandpopculture.com in which author and pastor Drew Dixon defends the film’s morals:

What I loved about this movie was very similar to what I loved about the book: Harry’s previous exploits come together to aid him in his quest to do the impossible and I thought those elements were handled fairly throughout and beautifully in the end.  Lessons the three learned in previous adventures and friendships they formed are continually playing a part in their adventures and though the movie ends on a sad note, I thought it ended with a  tremendous amount of hope.  Harry’s example of self-sacrifice and bravery is emulated by an odd friend who makes for an unlikely hero.

This humble self-sacrifice reminded me of two things that are important for the Christian to remember.  First, if we are to battle the darkness of this world, we must do so by dying to self.  Second, people are always watching what we do, if we live humble lives of service to others, some of those people might just follow our example as we follow Christ.  Much like the world of The Deathly Hallows, ours is a very dark world but by faith and with the help of genuine friends, we can face it with determination.

Now, I saw the film and I am inclined to agree; through all the cinematic flash and imaginary elements, the feelings projected through the characters remained quite real.  I strongly sensed the love between friends, the respect for elders/professors, and the admirable bravery.  And like Dixon, I also left the cinema feeling hopeful!

Despite various background elements of the story (Hogwarts, magic, etc), the overriding moral that J.K. Rowling has always tried to convey is that one must choose the Good–no matter how difficult it may be.