Some Thoughts About What Grand Theft Auto Means For Us

Many years ago, while at a Target store, I happened to be looking through the video games section.  And yes, that IS my favorite section of the store.

While there, a young kid (maybe 10 or 11 years old) came up and went directly for the Grand Theft Auto game (I’m not sure which version it was) and told his dad that he wanted the game.  The dad apparently was ok with it and they went off to purchase the game.  To this day, I still wonder if the dad really knew what the game was about and what it contained.

A few days ago, I ran across an article about young students imitating the rape and drug scenes from the game.  You can read the article here.

It reminded me of this simple truth: There is NO DOUBT that media has an effect on us.

Whether that effect is one that is seen in a person committing those actions in real life   -or-

Whether that effect is one that is seen in a person acting out those things for play (as in the article above)   -or-

Whether that effect is one that is seen in a person who is simply emotionally affected by the experience…

Media has an effect on us.

Ask yourself this question: If media had absolutely no effect on us, then companies wouldn’t bother spending millions and millions of dollars to influence the choices that we make.

So, what does this mean for us today?

1. Know what your values are.

2. Pay attention to what you’re paying attention to.  If what you watch or play starts to have a negative impact on your life (or on the lives of those around you), it might be time to make an intentional decision for your own benefit (or the benefit of others).

3. If you have kids, look at everything before agreeing to let them see something.  If you can’t watch or play something first, at the very least read some reviews that will give you a better idea about what is there.

What else would you suggest?

5 Questions For The Soon To Be Appointed Arctic Ambassador

The United States is apparently going to choose an arctic ambassador very soon.  You can read about it here.

I just have a few questions:

1. Who are the primary groups that the ambassador will meet with?  Polar bears, penguins, or…?

2. Does this soon to be announced ambassador need to speak a new language, like Arcticese or something of the sort?*

3. As an ambassador to this nation, what are the main issues they will be dealing with?  Will they be teaching courses on “fishing under the ice” or “how to turn snow to water in your mouth”?

4. Are there any Arctic hotels?  Oh…wait, yes there are!  Check it out here.

5. Will the ambassador get to stay at the Ice Hotel similar to an ice place James Bond went to in the movie “Die Another Day”?  It would be cool to stay there one day.

Do you have any others you would like to add?


*In reality, there are over 40 languages in the Arctic.  Read about them here.

Have We Lost Our Humanity?

Recently, the pope commented on his belief that unemployment can cause many problems.

I agree. (You can read an article about it here.)

It’s not just that the lack of jobs causes financial problems.  I believe that the ability to work combined with the actual doing of work is one of the fundamental gifts given by God to man (by “man”, I mean man and woman).

When we are able to work, we feel that we are contributing something significant to society.  We feel that ultimately there is something of inherent value inside of us that is useful.

When we don’t (or can’t) work, we are left feeling as if there is no purpose for us to exist.  After all, if you or I do not have anything of value to offer, then what’s the point of being here?

In Acts 20:35, Paul mentions the words of Jesus, saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

When we work, we know that we are going to receive (payment, awards, recognition, etc.), but the value that we feel is directly related to the fact that we contributed something.

We feel good about the pay because we contributed something in order to earn it.

We feel good about the award or recognition because we contributed something of value that was recognized by others.

At the end of the day, everything we get back is directly related to the fact that we accomplished or contributed something.

With this in mind, it reminds me of some other articles that I read recently.  They talked about how federal government programs that exist to help people are actually hurting people.  You can read about them here and here.

My goal here is not political.  But, the reality is that we are in a difficult economic reality in our country.  My hope and prayer is that BOTH parties (Republicans and Democrats) will find common ground to do work in such a way that will actually increase the availability of work for other people in this nation.  The unemployment in our country is still stubbornly high (check out one of those measures here).

Jobs help create value.  May more people find more work.



Go Fishing

Go Fishing 1424203_14684300

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” -Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie

I heard that proverb many years ago. It was true then and continues to be true today. But, if I were to add on to it, I would change it to the following:

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to teach others to fish, make his life worth living.

There are four basic categories of human experience:

  1. Those who depend on others to live (the man who receives the fish)
  2. Those who provide for themselves (the man who fishes)
  3. Those who make an impact beyond themselves (the man who teaches others to fish)
  4. Those who make an impact FAR beyond themselves (the man who teaches others to teach others how to fish)

All of us are on a quest for significance in life.  We want to know that our time spent on earth wasn’t for nothing.  We want to know that we did something during this lifetime that outlasts the amount of time that we exist on the planet.

For this to be true, we must live our lives beyond ourselves.  Only the people in categories 3 or 4 above are living life in such a way that their impact will far outlast themselves.

This is how the Apostle Paul called Timothy to live.  In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul says, “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.”

Paul was a category 4 person.  Paul challenged Timothy to be a category 4 type of person.

I personally believe that the closer we get to category 4 in our lives (and at the very least category 3), the more we will feel like our lives were significant while living on this planet.

What type of life are you living?