Lately I’ve been between Youth Ministry jobs, and with the months in between, when I’m not planning out what I’d like to do with the new ministry, I have a lot of spare time. Yesterday, I used some spare time to watch a movie with my wife called Enchanted, and earlier in the day, I played a post-apocalyptic role playing game on the Playstation 3. Though I wouldn’t suggest telling kids to play Fallout 3, due to the M rating, there is no doubt in my mind that many of our male students are playing it, and those who are not have heard people talking about it. For cultural relevance, it might be good to watch Enchanted on one end, and pick up a controller and at least check out Fallout 3 on the other, at one point or another.
Enchanted (Relationships and Love) “That’s How You Show That You Love Her” This is a movie that mixes together Disney animation with Reality, and mashes up a heavy Disney culture for those who are into it. I initially saw this film with my wife, and it looked cute, and I ended up really enjoying it. In a particular scene that is half Godspell, and fully Disney, a song breaks out and everyone knows how to sing along to the words in Central Park on a beautiful day. The song is sung as a lesson from the Princess Giselle’s (probably not correct spelling) character to the the real world bewildered Male love interest to teach him how to show his fiance that he really Loves her. The song is full of joy and hope, and confronts the skeptisism in relationships that we “Real Worlders” tend to have when it seems like all marriages are falling apart much like teenage relationships. This scene would be a great illustration of the joy that we should have when thinking about our Loves, and to show that love properly and willfully.
Fallout 3 (Post Apocalyptic Role Playing) “You were born in the vault, and you will die in the vault.” I was giving a copy of this game, and I took some time to play. It is essentially a near never ending game with wide expansive roving about in wastelands, and you can choose to be either good or bad. I wouldn’t use this like a normal movie illustration, but the background content of the game is something that young people tend to understand. Many games that involve intense challenge (which are the ones that kids like) involve some sort of super challenging world caused by Nuclear Warfare or some sort of major catastrophe. It is the logical conclusion of every action movie these kids have ever seen – “What if the hero doesn’t stop the bad guys, and the nukes go off and destroy the world?” It is the basic backdrop of Terminator, and many others. Same in Fallout. Why is this relevant? I believe that many young males (regardless of how good or bad our teen years were) believe that they live in the middle of a seething warzone. Many, coming from sparse suburbs, rural country, or urban cities – are all condensed into a city of Teens, the Middle and High Schools. There they must navigate realms with less and less adult supervision, where fights can break out, and violence is ever possible. Many group up for protection around a “Papa” figure, or a larger student who can look tough so no one gets messed with. It is instinct, and the Post-Apocalyptic background is the metaphor for their daily survival. The radioactive wastelands in Fallout 3 are the Teenage Wastelands, and stress is relieved with a few games where they can beat up the strong with no consequences outside of the video game. If you mention this game to talk about Revelation, or something else, you need to accent the Hope in the Future in the last two chapters of Revelation, and in the promised Future of God’s Reign to overcome this metaphor. Your continued presence in their lives may convince them that they don’t live in the wastelands after all.
I’ll keep recording Illustrations from time to time under the Awesome Illustrations title if this is helpful.