Monthly Archives: April 2010

(We Pray) You Will Be Assimilated.

Much love to E for the premise of this post, and several of the analogies.

Christians and the Borg: compare and contrast.

I can hear the mindless robot jokes already. Stick with me for a sec.

In the case of Christianity, assimilation is good. Rather than losing your personality, you become more yourself than you ever could have otherwise. Instead of losing your free will, you become stronger than you could ever be by yourself. And far from becoming just another cog in the machine, you become a truly valuable part of a living body, complimenting the whole.

As noted, you gain greater strength and resiliency. You gain access to more and greater knowledge. You become part of a greater whole. Your mission is to add more to the collective. And in the end, resistance is futile. At best.

We can’t force you to believe anything with mind-controlling nanites and cybernetic implants. That’s not how God works.

We may be called to lay down our lives for the collective. That’s okay.

You don’t have to take on our culture to assimilate, by the way: just our Savior. Add your distinctiveness to our own. Adapt to serve Him.

Achievements Aren’t

I admit, I get a little thrill when I hear that little pa-pluck sound.

There are several websites dedicated to these things. I even instituted an achievement system on a forum I moderated for my friends, and they went nuts. “I can haz?!”

They’re addictive though, aren’t they? I really like being told I just achieved something. Even if it’s something mediocre.

Really?

It becomes a problem when we start making them a priority over our real purpose.  Achievements, unlockables and other milestone reward systems are just there to tickle our sense of accomplishment. If we were doing something important, I daresay they would be utterly irrelevant.

Thing is, doing important stuff is not always fun.  We have a definite sense of purpose, but we like to be entertained.  Someone in the game industry had a stroke of genius: capitalize on our innate sense of purpose within games.    They developed a something-important simulator.

We like achievements because our lives have actual meaning.  We were designed by God for great things. (Ephesians 2:10)  I guarantee you your life is about more than your gamerscore.  Games are fun.  Achievements are definitely fun.  But really?

They’re not important at all.

(Related note: achievements feed our desire for instant gratification. The last thing we need is for anything else to feed our desire for instant gratification. It seriously hinders our ability to get through life.  For one thing, it makes it harder to pray. If we get stuck in a mindset free of patience, we get frustrated and disheartened if God takes more than 12 seconds to give us what we want.  For those keeping track, it usually does.)

There is No Prayer Gauge

My wife and I were discussing a tough conversation she was praying about, and she wondered aloud if she had prayed enough.

I immediately thought of Street Fighter.

In order to unleash your most powerful moves, you’ve got to get in a few good hits first (or take a few, depending on the game).  With each hit, your Special meter goes up.  Watch the little line crawl across the bottom of the screen bit by bit, wait for the meter to fill up, half-circle-back+HP+HK and KA-SHIIIING! Cascade of blue fireballs.

Prayer doesn’t work like that.  Persistence is good, yes.  Definitely keep at it.  But there’s no point system to determine whether or not you’ll get what you ask for.  Not that simple.

Watch as God suddenly grants some requests and lets us wait for others.  Maybe He’s waiting for us to step forward in faith.  Maybe He’s waiting for the circumstances to fall into line with His plan.  I can’t say, but He knows what He’s up to.

It’s not like He’s looking down on us, going “Mmm, sorry.  Would have introduced you to your soulmate if you had just prayed for ten minutes instead of nine.”

I say that because in Jen’s case, she was praying and listening in the midst of her circumstance.  Do likewise, and don’t worry if it doesn’t turn out how you’d like right away.