May 12, 2007

Second Life, Sim Therapy and CyberPsychology

Filed under: Good Health To You!,Think on These Things — Katryna Starks @ 7:21 pm

There are several games that people call “God games” because the player controls a bunch of little human-like avatars, usually created in his/her own image, or the idealized one. I have played The Sims and it is, quite frankly, addictive. A similar online game called Second Life is popular now. These games blur the line between artificial reality and real reality. In Second Life, people buy virtual real estate with real money, and some companies even set up virtual presences – complete with online staff meetings.

When I played The Sims, I noticed something about my playing style. It was almost like free therapy (well, free minus the $20 I payed for the game). When I started playing, I created a little “me” and gave her my values, my attributes and my lifestyle. Then, I played the game. Soon after starting, I crashed and burned. But, I learned something. The little life meter for my SimSelf was always low in certain areas, like “social” and “rest”. When I backed away from my computer, I realized that my real life meter was low in those areas as well. I soon stopped playing the game and resolved to enhance my real life.

I think that is the real value of “God games.” Not the ability to control and create our own little selves in our ideal worlds, but the ability to learn from our mistakes in a virtual environment, where the consequences aren’t as dire. Instead of using these sorts of games as an escape from reality, we can use them as a learning tool to enhance our real lives and make them even more thrilling than a game.

May 9, 2007

In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day

Filed under: Pressing Toward the Mark — Katryna Starks @ 6:52 pm

My Bible study group is reading a book called “In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day” by Mark Batterson. His premise is that Christians often play it safe when we should be chasing lions. I was thinking about this regarding the way we pray. I know that we are supposed to be humble and pray God’s will, but sometimes it seems like that is a passive way of praying, like we don’t really believe that God will do what we ask, so we’re giving him an “out”. But God says to come to him boldly. I notice that it seems like when I pray boldly, as in “God. I know you’re my Father and you won’t withhold any good thing from me. This is what I need.  I know you will provide”, that my prayers seem more effective. It’s weird. I don’t think I should be ordering God around or anything, but I also think that God wants us to know that he loves us and that his will is for us to be confident of that. We can know God’s character enough to know whether what we pray is in his will or not. Does what we want involve sin? If so, then that is not in God’s will and we have no business asking. But, if what we ask is in God’s nature and fits in with what he has already said he wants ( i.e. a loved one accepting Christ, us being in a position to serve, even prayers that we get married and/or have children), then it seems that we should pray with confidence and boldness. Trust God  Chase Lions!