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25 November 2012


I believe I'm part of the first generation that grew up with video games. I haven't really ever known life without them. I remember the Christmas when my brother got a Pong console (the APF "TV Fun" console) -- two built-in paddle controllers and a handful of games that featured lines and squares and three sound effects.

Eventually I enjoyed the Atari 2600 (we actually had the Sears Tele-Games system, the OEM version), then the Apple IIe, and a while after that was the Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis, an IBM PC, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, and several others along the way. I still fondly remember playing Yars' Revenge and turning the score counter over 33 times. Another game that sticks in my mind is Lode Runner for the Apple IIe.

The nice thing about having grown up and having technology grow up right along with me is that many of those games are available and playable now in the exact form in which they were released. It doesn't happen too much, but occasionally I'll have the urge to play a classic from yesteryear, so I fire up my browser and hit a few of my favorite sites for old video games. is the first place I usually stop. Abandonia hosts all kinds of old games that are legal to download for free now because the games have been abandoned by their copyright holders (that's the gist of it). This kind of software is, appropriately, called "abandonware."

Suppose I wanted to get my retro video game fix and I visited, only to find out that it had been shut down due to lack of funding. For a moment or two I'd be disappointed, then I'd Google for some more classic gaming sites. It's just what we do these days. I don't have to maintain a website or a huge archive of old games; I just get to enjoy the resources of those who do.

You see, I like old video games -- I'm a bit of a fan. But I'm not a hardcore classic gaming freak. Many people are, and many of them run websites devoted to the genre. If I find myself of a mind to act on my fandom, I expect that there will be plenty of resources out there to help me indulge that impulse. I'll play for a while, enjoy it, then forget about it until next time.

This kind of habit is rampant in Christianity. Not gaming (though that's certainly something Christians do), but the up-and-down fandom and periodic indulgence in a form of perceived holiness. I'm sure it's been a trend since Christianity's inception, even since worship of YHWH was instituted in ancient Israel. We fondly remember some of the good things in our past when we've experienced God doing great things. Maybe we recall Christmas Eve services as a child and remember how inspiring they were. When the impulse comes to do something about it, we run to the people who maintain a deep walk with Christ or people who simply fit into an established, revered religious office. There we can hear religious truths, be made to feel good about ourselves, but have no accountability or longevity. Ultimately, there is no change.

When we're done we put those feelings back on the shelf from which we got them, happy to have been able to experience something good and religious, and maybe even Godly. But all too often we leave it to someone else to maintain the websites and offer free downloads of abandonware. We can be pseudo-fans of Jesus and think we're doing something acceptable.

"I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!" (Revelation 3:15-16, NLT)


Tony M said...

Nice analogy. Going to have to re-read this a few times, I think... let it sink in...

Tony M said...

(Incidentally, I have an Apple IIe in my storage unit.)

Dean Lusk said...

I think that means it's a terrible analogy and makes so little sense that you're going to have to think about it. But... thanks!

If we had a storage unit the old Apple IIe would be in it.

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