m-rated games

Photo Courtesy of Naughty_Dog on Flickr (Creative Commons 2.0)


Life – The Ultimate M-Rated Game

Interesting observation from my 15 year old son, Nathan. I was driving him home from band practice during the blur of activity that is a midweek evening with three kids.  He was lamenting why we wouldn’t let him play certain video games and comparing the games to everyday reality for a high schooler.  Nathan is a 9th grader in public high school.

Life is an M-rated game, dad”

Even though he failed to win his point on getting to play more M-rated games (sorry, Grand Theft Auto), he made a big impression on me with his comment.

It is true. Life is an M-rated game.  Full of sex, violence, drugs, loneliness, and sin. Full of things that make you sick – that make you lament for the human condition. His question to me, essentially was, “If I am exposed to this kind of stuff all the time, what difference does a little more make?”  It is a question that parents fear.  One that makes me want to put up the walls and protect and shield.  But, his point remains – he will be exposed no matter what I do.  Whether I homeschool (as we do our 10 year old), send them to public school (as we do our 13 and 15 year olds) or lock them in a tower (as I’d do if I had a daughter with magical hair that would allow me to live forever – don’t test me), they will be exposed.

We’ve always taken the parenting approach that, even if you get crap on your shoes when you are outside, you should take them off at the door.  We don’t sleep in a barn.  We don’t poop where we sleep. Home is a place to detox, not to prolong exposure.

Still, the exposure to things we never faced as teens, or the openness with certain aspects of “choice” in our society is enough to cause a parent to lament: “Has it ever been this bad before?”  Actually, it has.

The Good Ole’ Days

Remember Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible? Society had pretty much “gone to hell in a handbasket”. Every manner of darkness that we see today was present then, open and on display.  The fear for the future is a reflection of a curious aspect of human nature:  We expect life to be linear.  If it was bad yesterday, its going to be worse tomorrow and even worse the day after.  Fearful expectations linger in our minds, multiplying and attacking our hope.  We expect degradation.

We try to apply linearity (extrapolation of past experience) to all kinds of things.  My sales forecast at work: last year + X%. An upward sloping line. Stock price expectations.  Real estate prices, often sold as a steady incline of a few percent per year in the 80s and 90s, have proven to be anything but.  We want to simplify and model everything we encounter in a way we understand.  To be more honest, we want to model them in a way we can control.  But life and nature show us things (if we will let them). God reflects His ways and truth in creation.

Ebb and Flow

Life is more like the ocean tide then a line. It pushes in, then it recedes. Pushes in, then recedes. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat…….until finally it pushes up to a “high tide” point. A point where, if it advanced much further, irreperable damage would be done. Society would go too far, permanently, crossing a line from which we can never recover. Then, it pulls back. It recedes. It harmlessly, and cyclically, repeats the process. Pulling out, then pushing in. Pulling out, then pushing in.  At low tide, it may even look as if it is going to pull away forever.  The beach sand groomed by waters consistent action now an expanse broader than ever before.  It may appear that evil (or good) will cease to exist altogether, shrinking from our view. But, there is always a push and a pull.

Life isn’t linear. Never has been.

So, when you extrapolate your life to predict how crappy things will be for you (or how great they will be) in the future, don’t forget about the cycles. The push and the pull. It won’t continue the way it’s going forever – good or bad. It won’t. That is cause for great hope for many of you. Maybe cause for despair or worry for some (particularly if your hope is in money or possessions or a political party or……). But in the end, God is there. He’s always there and He always loves you.

The Next Move

So, yeah. You do live an M-rated game. You must be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove to make it through (per JC in Matthew 10:16). But don’t forget, God authored the game. He designed it. So whether you think you’re winning or losing, trust the Designer. He has your best interests at heart. He really does. Play another turn. Trust the tides.

Jeff McKinney
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Jeff McKinney

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Jeff McKinney
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