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[The Creation of the Chicken]

An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
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Thursday, September 16, 2004

The "of God" Clan

To further warrant the rumors of my devolution into a “God loves America at the exclusion of the rest of the world” militant, I have recently begun playing a free game (article of propaganda my cynical friends would say) put out by the US Army, called "America’s Army." It is your basic 1st person shooter, excpet that it can only be played online (where surely ALL of my information is being collected and analyzed by the industrial-military consortium) and you earn "honor" points by winning your games and you lose the points when you do dishonorable things like shoot your teammates. Truly the game does a good job of forcing team play and you can learn abit about First Aid (as you train to me a field medic) in case you ever happen across battlefield injuries...more and more of a potential reality?

Anyway, as with all online games, people form "clans". These are teams or clubs or organizations or whatever you wanna call them that typically sponsor a server for the game and also (I guess?) play against other "clans." Well, one of them is called the "of God" clan because they are all apparently Christians and they all change their log in name to identify themselves as clan members and so you get the likes of "Peace of God", "Fury of God", "Patience of God", etc etc.

And so you join their server in which certain rules are strictly enforced like: no cussing and no shooting corpses (!!!!) and you are treated to an intriguing environment in which you may find yourself blow up by "Love of God’s" grenade, or ripped to pieces by "Mercy of God’s" AK47…all while scripture verses automatically parade through the chatbox window, you know, all the good ones like “For all have sinned….the wages of sin is death…there is a way that seems right to a man….For God so loved the world…” etc. The game is a tool for evangelism….to the gaming community. Interesting to say the least.

While I do not have a great deal of time to play games…I do make the time and I must admit that when I play this game I prefer their server…it is indeed a friendly place, generally. Though once I joked after getting killed that the Psalm verse ("There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end leads to death") was proved particularly true in what just happened to me. The sever ADMIN rebuked me and told me “not to use scripture for my personal pleasure.” Boy did I have to bite my tongue on THAT one…after all I was playing with evangelical Protestants, who (in my humble opinion) have made it a virtual doctrine to do JUST THAT. Anyway….I just asked for clarification and it never came…I guess the game got too exciting.

Generally, I think it odd to force your faith into this game – perhaps even ANY game? But particularly a game in which you are shooting people! I don’t know…maybe I shouldn’t be playing it, maybe I shouldn’t imagine I am killing Chechen Terrorists and freeing innocent Russian children whose Mother’s will offer incense and prayers in my name for the rest of their lives? But…it calls into question the issue of leisure time and what we do with it and how our religious lives fit into it. I do not profess to have the answers on this subject and frankly I suspect that I need to listen to answers rather than try and formulate my own. I am quite adept at making, using, and enjoying leisure time and a lot less so at things such as prayer and worship.

I am fairly quiet about my faith online…maybe because I am embarrassed? Should I, as an Orthodox Christian, be playing this violent game?

Really this isn’t what I intedended this post to be about…and hopefully I have not ruined any false images people (new no doubt) might have had of me. But to lead into the topic I REALLY wanted to write about: a couple nights ago on the game server someone asked: "Has anyone read the whole Bible?"
Next time...


While I do not anticipate joining the clan...how about a little fun in your leisure time: who can come up with the BEST Orthodox "of God" clan member name...the ones more likely to be forbidden will get my vote!

"Uncreated Light of God"
"Brother of God" (since I am James after all)
(I thought about all the potential references to Our Lady and Mother...but could not bring myself to even jokingly submit them...while VERY likely to be banned, it is simply too Holy a thing to refer to myself as...even as a joke.)
"Toll Houses of God"
...there must be some good ones out there...where is that "onion dome" mentality?


...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 7:30 AM [+]
+++
6 comments


6 Comments:

Energies of, Essence of, Ousia of. Then there's always the vaguely islamist - slave of :0,
The blasphemous Son (Sun) of, and Word of
the (generally) more accurate betrayer of,
Theosis is implied by the transformed of
the eschatological renewed of,

By Blogger sf, at 8:50 AM  

________________________________________________________________

As a recovering gamer, I humbly offer the followng...

An Unworthy Monk of God
The Roman Vicar of God
Iron Sceptor of God
Apocalypse...
Ancient and Accepted Grand Knight...
T1 Connection...
Low Ping...

By Blogger Justin, at 9:12 PM  

________________________________________________________________

how about "i need to confess my gaming habits to a Priest of God"

that'd be a good one.

)( seraphim

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:20 PM  

________________________________________________________________

I wanna play this game!!!!

Tell me where to go, what to do, please.

By Blogger Matt, at 10:29 PM  

________________________________________________________________

Very intriguing, I must say. Just came across this listing while Googling "-=Of-God=- Clan", and you've got some interesting points there.

By the way, my name is Jeff, but most "America's Army" players know me by my screenname, "Peace-=Of-God=-". As the leader of the -=Of-God=- Clan, I can attest that our purpose in playing the game is not just to have fun (although it is) and fellowship with other Christians (although that's great as well), but also to shine God's light into the online gaming community, an area that often doesn't see it.

Is it wrong to play a game that depicts such violence as AA does? Well, some might say so -- but the game also depicts and rewards important values like teamwork, honor, loyalty, and courage. As long as you can keep it straight in your head that you're just playing a game, it's actually very entertaining.

One of the biggest problems (other than widespread profanity) in the online gaming world is that of cheating. To help keep a fair balance on our servers so that cheaters can't take advantage of innocent players, our clan is a member of the AASA (America's Army Server Admins), a dedicated anti-cheating organization; you can learn more about this group at .

But the heart of the -=Of-God=- Clan's ministry (and we do see it as a ministry) is in reaching out to those who don't normally hear about Jesus Christ and what He did for them. Through this rather unconventional ministry, we have seen a couple of people come to saving faith in Christ, and many other Christians (myself included) have been strengthened in their faith by the association of "iron sharpening iron", as the writer of Proverbs phrased it.

If you'd like more information about the -=Of-God=- Clan and what it is that we do, I invite you to stop by our
and -- and if you're into America's Army, stop by our game servers (the #1 House-=Of-God=- can usually be found on the MOUT McKenna map).

In the service of my God and King,
Jeff Spiller, a.k.a. Peace-=Of-God=-
-=Of-God=- Clan Leader
AASA Board of Directors

By Anonymous Peace, at 12:00 PM  

________________________________________________________________

{EDIT -- had a problem with the tags on the original post -- pick it up from here!}

You can learn more about AASA at http://www.aaserveradmins.com/.

But the heart of the -=Of-God=- Clan's ministry (and we do see it as a ministry) is in reaching out to those who don't normally hear about Jesus Christ and what He did for them. Through this rather unconventional ministry, we have seen a couple of people come to saving faith in Christ, and many other Christians (myself included) have been strengthened in their faith by the association of "iron sharpening iron", as the writer of Proverbs phrased it.

If you'd like more information about the -=Of-God=- Clan and what it is that we do, I invite you to stop by our website (http://www.Of-God.us) and forum (http://forum.Of-God.us) -- and if you're into America's Army, stop by our game servers (the #1 House-=Of-God=- can usually be found on the MOUT McKenna map).

In the service of my God and King,
  Jeff Spiller, a.k.a. Peace-=Of-God=-
    -=Of-God=- Clan Leader
    AASA Board of Directors

By Anonymous Peace, at 12:03 PM  

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