VGT – Unplugging and Going to Africa

On the Tooth of Time at Philmont Scout Ranch in 2008

I write often about how important it is to stay connected with the real world.  Sometimes you  have to turn off the game systems, turn off the TV, and embrace life.  I love adventure and I’ve had some experiences (especially with the Boy Scouts) that I will never forget.  I’ve been down rivers in canoes, kayaks, and rafts.  I’ve climbed hills and mountains.  I’ve hiked for miles in secluded forests.

I’ve also been on some adventures that stretched my faith to the limit.  I have been on short term missions trips to Argentina in 2001, and Senegal in 2011.  These experiences were so incredible because you’re just putting yourself out there, into a situation that is completely out of your control.  You’re just trusting God, your team, and your host organization that everything is going to be OK.  That’s really what faith is – giving up the idea that you are in control and trusting someone else.

Ted in Senegal – 2011

This November 1st – 8th I am headed back to Senegal on another trip.  My church has a partnership with a village called N’Djemane (sounds like Jemawn) and we have been privileged to to serve and work with this community for the past several years.  In the beginning, our leaders met with the village elders and those told us what their needs were.  We were told they wanted clean water, medical care, and to have a church of their own.  Since then we have provided a well, several medical clinics, and helped them to build a small church building.

Hanging out with the kids

However, the real highlight of the my first trip in 2011 was spending time with the people of the village.  There must have been a hundred children there and they loved my finger puppets.  I didn’t know more than a few words of their language – Wolof, but I was able to somehow communicate some simple shows that made them laugh and laugh.  I kept the finger puppets in my pockets and the kids would come up to me and just tap my pocket, hoping that I would bring out the little toucan, mouse, and tiger.  We also brought beach balls which were a huge hit.  Those kids didn’t have electricity or any kind of electronics, but they were just so happy.  You see, it’s not stuff that makes you happy.

I also connected with a young man named Thierno (sounds like Chair-no).  We went through a “namesake” ceremony in which I took his name and he took mine.  I am Thierno and he is Ted.  I am looking forward to seeing him again and it will be great to be one of the namesakes who went back a second time to the village.

You can get more information about my trip by going to http://charlottetosenegal.com/   You’ll see my picture on the home page making a little girl smile.  If you want to be a part and make a contribution you can go to http://charlottetosenegal.com/mission-trips/november-2012-ndjemane/ and find my picture about ten people down.  There is a Paypal link.

This trip we will go back to the village and keep doing what we’ve been doing.  Plus we’re going to lead a workshop with some of the Christian leaders on the book of Genesis.  I’m leading one of the teachings on Abraham and his son Isaac.  It should be very interesting and fun!

I was there when the well was turned on for the first time

I encourage you to get out there in the world.  Take a chance and try something new.  Adventure can be found just down the street or on the other side of the world.

VGT – Team Ninja vs Proverbs 31

Today I am writing about boobs.  There is a fascination with the female breast that goes back to the foundation of human history.  It is one of the key differences between men and women.  Painters have painted them.  Sculptors have sculpted them.  Video game company Team Ninja has degraded them.

Dead or Alive 5 by Team Ninja

Dead or Alive 5 has been recently released – a series known for making female characters with large and unrealistic breasts.  Team Ninja director, Yohei Shimbori, was recently quoted on the website Gamasutra as saying, “We actually got a lot of feedback from people who were playing it, saying, ‘We want bigger breasts.  Make the characters more like that.’  That was kind of surprising.”

I guess I should not be surprised.  Although the female gaming demographic is growing, the majority of gamers are young men.  Supporters would argue that playing video games is all about fantasy not reality, so who cares.  I care when any medium displays the perfect woman as someone with large breasts and little else.

What does this have to do with theology?  How can I write about this subject without offending someone?  The Bible surprisingly has a lot to say about women, and it many cases it’s very progressive.  Take into consideration the book of Proverbs – a book that personifies Wisdom itself in the female form.  (read the first three chapters).  Young husbands are encouraged to love and be faithful to the wife of their youth – even saying “Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be always intoxicated in her love.” (Prov 5:19)   But Proverbs 31 (starting at verse 10) goes on to describe the godly woman and it is worth reading.

Now I’m going to do a point by point comparison of Team Ninja’s perfect woman vs. the perfect woman described in Proverbs 31.

  • Team Ninja: The perfect woman has huge boobs
  • Proverbs: She seeks wool and flax and works with willing hands (she enjoys crafting)
  • Team Ninja: She has really large knockers
  • Proverbs: She is like the ships of a merchant and brings food from afar (she is involved in trade)
  • Team Ninja: Her boobs are unaffected by gravity
  • Proverbs: She considers a field and buys it (she is involved in real estate)
  • Team Ninja: She can somehow fight with all that bouncing
  • Proverbs: She opens her hand to the poor and reaches her hands to the needy
  • Team Ninja: She has big Ta-Ta’s
  • Proverbs: She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue

There is even more material in the chapter, but hopefully you see my point.  Women are so much more than their physique.  Don’t be so caught up in all the hype about her chest, that you ignore her heart.  Women are to be respected and treated as equals in both reality and virtual reality.

It is October and therefore, Breast Cancer Awareness month.  I was married once to a amazing woman who faced that cancer and ultimately lost the battle.  She was a fighter – stronger and more compelling than any character that Team Ninja could ever design.

VGT – Hero or Villain?

I’ve been playing more DC Universe Online.  I’ve just finished reading from the book of Ephesians.  I’ve also been out for a run this morning so I’ve had a chance to think about these things, so let’s see what comes out in this blog entry.

A world in which you choose sides

I enjoyed playing DC Universe Online so much this weekend with my friend that I couldn’t wait to play again.  However, he was not available and I didn’t want my hero, Tingle Tuner, to advance in levels and missions without his companion in crime-fighting, Captain Pooflinger.  So I logged in and created a new character.  This time I chose to create a villain.  I wanted to see how the story and game-play might be different by starting on the opposite side.  I made a female character who is part human and part robot and I named her Megabyte McLurd.  She is also very angry and likes to brawl.  I hope that there are no psychologists who are reading this blog because there might be some deeper meaning in my character selection.  I played the game and it started much the same way.  However, once I entered Gotham things took a turn for the nasty.  I’m not sure if the story turns around eventually but us villains are not a very friendly lot.  Sure, I was trying to ultimately battle the same bad guy as the heroes (I think) but I was also beating up innocents and even taking their souls.  They would even cry out, “Why are you doing this to me?” or “It hurts!”.  I knew it was only a computer program, but I still felt like a heel.  Even so, I can see why people like to be the villain.  It’s kind of fun to only watch out for number one, and if anyone gets in my way – watch out.  In fact, the book of Romans basically describes everyone in this kind of way.  We’re all villains basically.

Is it really worth it to be the villain?

But there is something about being on the side of the heroes.  I feel that when I’m on the side of the heroes that I’m fighting for something greater than myself.  I’m fighting for justice and protecting the innocents.  DC Universe does a good job of bringing that out. Which finally leads to what I was reading this morning in Ephesians 6.  It is a very well known passage about putting on the whole armor of God.  I know Paul was describing a Roman soldier but as I read it, I couldn’t help but notice that there is super-hero equipment in there!

The Belt of Truth – Wraps around you and protects you from lies.  (Doesn’t Wonder Woman have a similar lasso?)

The Breastplate of Righteousness – Protects your heart.  (Like Thor)

Shoes for Readiness of the Gospel of Peace – Helps get you to where the need is fast.  (Like The Flash)

The Shield of Faith – Protects you from evil attacks  (Like Captain America)

The Helmet of Salvation – Keeps your head protected during battle (Like Ironman)

The Sword of the Spirit – An offensive weapon  (like Blade or Wolverine)

Hero or Villain?  In the games and in the real world.  The choice is often up to you.