Gamertags for God

Journey-Screen-Seven (1)

Proverbs 3:6 is for me a lodestar, a guiding verse I return to time and time again – “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

I’ve been playing videogames ever since Mario first stomped on a goomba, and I have no plans of stopping. Some assume that gaming is something that I would have grown out of years ago. Others find it a shocking contrast to my intellectualism and scholarly pursuits. Still others view it as a waste of my limited free time shoehorned into a busy life of church, multiple jobs, and young children. Regardless of the responses of others, I accept this aspect of myself and own it – in fact, I recently identified gaming as one of my seven core interests. In a future post I will discuss the importance of Christian art, videogame theology, and concepts of world-building, but for now I want to return to the verse posted above.

On November 28, 2010 I posted an entry titled ‘A High Score in Heaven’ on my former-former blog, ‘Thank You Jesus For These Pop Tarts.’ In that post I explained how, in seeking to live out Proverbs 3:6, I agonized over choosing my Xbox Live “gamertag,” attempting to arrive at a clever handle that would also serve to point people toward God. Ultimately I decided on FirstCore925, a reference to just about the only scripture I could find that seemed to apply to video games – 1 Corinthians 9:25: “Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”

However, years later, I wasn’t sure that anybody ever caught on to my clever reference. Nobody stopped to ponder just how meaningless their video game achievements really were in the face of eternity. I fear my subtlety was lost in the hubbub of exploding giblets and score multipliers. Indeed, on the face of things FirstCore925 appeared deceptively generic.

Having upgraded to Xbox One (useful for spousal Kinect work-outs and dropping Titans on things), I decided that a rechristening of my online username was in order. FirstCore925 is dead; long live FlatlandPilgrim.

Inspired by two works of literature, ‘Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions’ and ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress,’ my new gamertag symbolizes both the lifelong Christian journey from our present plane of existence toward the “better country, that is, a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16), as well as the adventures of a Christian’s avatar in the ‘flat’ virtual reality of video games.

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