Across the country, hundreds of ministers and pastors desperate to reach young congregants have drawn concern and criticism through their use of an unusual recruiting tool: the immersive and violent video game Halo.
Those buying it must be 17 years old, given it is rated M for mature audiences. But that has not prevented leaders at churches and youth centers across Protestant denominations, including evangelical churches that have cautioned against violent entertainment, from holding heavily attended Halo nights and stocking their centers with multiple game consoles so dozens of teenagers can flock around big-screen televisions and shoot it out.
Though I am not a religious person, it occurred to me that the coverage offered by the likes of GamePolitics.com, though fair, is focusing on the gaming aspect. In the interests of a balanced discussion, I invited my co-worker, Lucas Mearian, to offer his Christian perspective:
"Churches tend to use many different methods to attract young people. I don't have a problem with trying to appeal to the younger generation, but of course there are clear lines to be drawn. As Christians, we're not supposed to be like the world. For more than 2,000 years the message of the cross has worked just as it was supposed to have. You really don't need to deviate from that. It's more about how to get that message out to a world that's constantly growing and competing for our attention.
"That being said, it's not that different today from 2,000 years ago. Here's the apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Corinth, Greece (1 Corinthians 9:19-23):
Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.