Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hallelujah Chorus

There is something powerful in this little video. At least to me. To me there is something about the Hallelujah chorus that cuts through the secular stuff around Christmas.  It goes straight to the heart of the matter for Christians.  For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth forever.

The lyrics for  George Frideric Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, from the Oratorio Messiah are at the end of this post.

As you may have noticed, Christians don't always agree.  We disagree about doctrine and practice.  Which may be a short sentence, but encompasses a remarkable number of things.  Hopefully, though, while we may question many things, what this Chorus sings about is something I hope we can agree on.

I used to wonder what the big deal about this musical piece was all about.  Same thing every year.  Except that now, what it declares moves my spirit.  Makes want to sing in agreement, in worship to the God that I love and for what he has done for me.

So ya, your mileage may vary, but for me this little video was an excellent reminder that Christmas is coming.  And that is something to be happy about.

If you're looking for a link with the piece played by some folks in a more traditional way, 
Hallelujah Chorus Performed by The English Concert & Choir on youtube, but no video.

|: Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! :|

|: For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! :|

For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
|: Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! :|

The kingdom of this world
Is become the kingdom of our Lord,
And of His Christ, and of His Christ;
And He shall reign for ever and ever,
For ever and ever, forever and ever,

King of kings, and Lord of lords,
|: King of kings, and Lord of lords, :|
And Lord of lords,
And He shall reign,
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings, forever and ever,
And Lord of lords,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

And He shall reign forever and ever,
|: King of kings! and Lord of lords! :|
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

video game engagement

Me playing Operation 7
(and doing quite well actually)
earlier this year
I like video games.  Currently the games I'm playing most are Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook and a shooter game called Operation 7.  Wahoo!  I've spent countless hours of my life in video games. Most of the time I prefer it to television.

Okay, so what?  Well, I know I'm not alone, I read an article last month that said that people spend 927 million hours a MONTH on Facebook games.  Ya, that was staggering, even to me.  Activision's newest game Call of Duty: Black Ops sold 5.6 million copies in the first 24 hour period, about $360 million dollars US worth.  Note that Black Ops is a game rated M and is for adult gamers.  That's some serious numbers about games.

Now some would argue that all this gaming is not a good sign.  I was challenged today listening to a TED video: Tom Chatfield: 7 ways games reward the brain.  He cited the intense passion that many people have towards video games and noted 7 things that contribute to our collective obsession with them.  Essentially he was asking how does video games elicit such a strong engagement of it's players?

So my big question is this: 
Can we as a church learn something about how to get people engaged in growing as a Christian in a way that is similar, or at least informed by how games engage people?

Without trying to explain everything he spoke about, here's the seven points:

1. experience bars measuring progress
2. multiple long and short-term aims
3. rewards for effort (every effort no matter how small)
Me playing Runescape August 29, 2006
4. rapid, frequent, clear feedback
5. an element of uncertainty
6. windows of enhanced attention
7. other people

Gamers will often do repetitive and boring tasks over and over again in a game.  How does the game get people to do boring virtual things over and over again?  How does a game get dozens of people to spend a month building a virtual ship?  It appears (I've never played this game) that in EVE Online the Titan class of Capital ship takes that kind of work.

Can I as a pastor learn from any of this?  I was listening to another TED video: R.A. Mashelkar: Breakthrough designs for ultra-low-cost products, he gave this quote:

When you wish to achieve results that have not been achieved before, it is an unwise fancy to think that they can be achieved by using methods that have been used before.
-Sir Francis Bacon

So how do I engage people?  Are there things that we can do that will engage people more effectively in Christian devotion?  Or are video games and the spiritual disciplines too disimiliar for there to be any crossover?  What can I do differently in a church that would engage people in a way that is more encompassing?

What do you say?