Once upon a time, I was forced to quit a job that I really liked. It wasn't really a job with much of a future, and in retrospect, it's probably a good thing that I left. At the time though, I was pretty crushed. I had no idea what I was going to do for work, how long it was going to take to find something, how I was going to pay my bills until I did, etc.
I called my parents and let them know. My Dad said something to me then that has really stuck with me, and changed my outlook on a lot of things. He said, "Congratulations! You've got a whole world of opportunity ahead of you." At the time, I thought he was nuts.
Over time, I've come to understand the wisdom of what Dad was trying to teach me at that moment. Dad took this situation where I was feeling lost and hopeless, and saw it as an opportunity. He turned it on its head to find the good. Not only can this be applied in the situation that I was in, but in every situation. This may be old news for some of you, but it was revolutionary for me.
Which brings me to the tragic situation in Oslo, Norway. In the last week, the villain of this story has been linked to video games, Christianity, and labeled as simply insane. While everyone's playing the blame game, trying to figure out why he did it, I can't help but ask, "How is this going to change the world?"
Certainly there are a lot of educated people who will be dissecting this for years to come. But the majority of the world is going to be getting all of its information from news headlines and twitter updates, which means they likely aren't going to get much more than "right-wing, fundamentalist Christian man who played video games". My first instinct is that this is going to set-back the perception of gamers and Christians a whole lot. My second instinct is that this is a huge opportunity to show the world what we truly believe and who we really are.
I could give you a long list of the good things that Christians and gamers do on a regular basis, examples of why we shouldn't be looked down upon for the commonalities we share with a crazy person. (Hint: if we're going to do that, let's do it all the way. Did you know he was an oxygen breather? Those dirty oxygen breathers.) I can't really speak for all of us though. But I am perfectly placed to speak for myself whenever someone mentions the words "gamer" or "Christian" in the same breath as this tragedy. So are you.
Can you disabuse the world of the ugly stereotypes about Christians and gamers? How do you turn a problem into an opportunity? How can you help minister to the hurting people in Norway right now?