Intertain: Chapter 02
As the summer holidays passed, and many returned to their busy routines, it became harder to set a date that suited people’s availability. But after postponing the second Intertain gathering for a week, God was gracious to provide three attendees to match the three organisers.
For the purpose of getting to know everyone better, we started sounding off about the sort of games that interests us.
May expressed her fancy for simulations that enable the player to build and achieve. Kai, being the oldest of the group, disclosed an affinity for classic computer games. To complete the PC-centric circle, John spoke on his passion for real-time strategy games, which he likened to doing mathematics — a problem is given, yet multiple methods may all lead to the solution.
Offering perspectives from a different platform, Robin and Angela admitted their recent infatuation with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. They each bought a Nintendo 3DS for tackling the game in co-op, and ever since have been honing their predatory skills as a team.
Perhaps what we choose to play is telling of who we are. Our preliminary sharings led into the main focus of the day: matters concerning our identity as human beings.
Q: Do you ever feel confused about who you are?
The first game that we examined for the session revolves around creating physical copies of oneself and switching consciousness between them. I am talking about The Swapper, a beautiful and unsettling puzzle-platformer.
John was the newcomer, and we were more than happy to hand him the controller. He proved to be a cautious and disciplined player, avoiding common mistakes that would otherwise kill the average player, all the while solving puzzles at a steady pace. We were impressed.
The experience evoked questions of who we are, and what we may become. Soon, we began exchanging thoughts related to cloning, teleportation, and the soul. One thing was clear: the advancement of technology often adds confusions to our identity, more so than offer concrete answers. On the other hand, a gaze into the past might just be what we needed.
The creation account in Genesis reveals humanity’s origin. We came to agreement that relationships define us — in this case, we may begin to understand ourselves by relating to God as both our Father and Maker. Kai pointed us to the fact that people are also prone to mention their vocation or lifework during introductions. Here, we looked at Jeremiah 1:5.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
From this declaration, we saw that God established Jeremiah’s identity by initiating rapport, as well as entrusting him with a great task. And it happened even prior to the prophet being conceived. What a fine, holistic example!
Q: Do you ever feel the need to be reconnected?
We went around the group and realised that none of us were born in Australia. In relocating to this southern continent, we have all separated from our families to a degree, whether in recent months or decades past. Everyone had been acquainted with the longings for reconnection.
Robin shared a most memorable tale from the pre-internet era, of how he used to talk to his father in China using a public phone, taking advantage of the precious few seconds that were free of charge immediately after dialling a call. By this method, they conducted conversations through brief, broken segments. It sounded like a hassle, but they persevered and never spent a cent.
The protagonists of The Walking Dead also display the importance of familial relations. Kai played as Lee, who adopted Clementine to be his daughter and companion in a troubled world where both the living and the dead found no rest. This unique connection substituted biological kinships that were forever lost to the zombie outbreak. It gave them hope during bleak times.
Furthermore, we noticed that Kai really enjoyed getting Lee to interact with the side characters in the game. Drawing back to the earlier discussion concerning migration to Australia, he explained that being detached from his family had triggered a motivation to seek out new relationships. Therefore, it was in his nature to do the same while occupying Lee’s shoes.
The Bible states that humanity has shattered our bond with God. Like a virulent infection, sin has turned us into husks of our former selves. We are fallen, deprived of the Creator’s paternal presence, doomed to roam this earth without a sure identity. Only by the amazing love and wisdom of Jesus, we are given another chance to rekindle what was forfeit to an insurmountable divide. As it is written in John 1:10-13, Christ has invited us back into his family; if we are willing to embrace him, our Father is ready to reinstate our status as his sons and daughters.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Q: Do you ever feel that you can’t identify with this world?
Having worked out our own identities, we could yet remain at odds with the surrounding environment. We reflected upon such moments, particularly of parties and other social events, where people often display certain behaviours and values that make us feel out of place.
Continuing on, we checked out Octodad: Dadliest Catch, which champions the titular octopus and his awkward journey of settling in as a dad in a human family. I think Octodad has a deep conviction regarding the people he would like to spend life with, but it just so happens that the typical city built by man and everything within it aren’t very user-friendly to a jiggly sea creature with floppy limbs.
It probably didn’t help that we assigned three players — Robin, John, and Kai — to handle Octodad at the same time. Roulette mode was also toggled on, meaning that whenever they complete an objective, the game would allocate a different tentacle for each person to control. The entire setup was deliberate, and it made mundane tasks such as making coffee, grilling hamburgers, or mowing the lawn a genuine riot.
When Jesus came to save humanity, he endured much opposition. In one of his last conversations on earth, documented in John 18, he spoke to a perplexed Pontius Pilate. The governor didn’t know what to make of this “King of the Jews”, whose own people was so unkind to him, even to the point where they seized him and vouched for his death. In verse 36, Jesus revealed the truth of his royalty.
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
In light of this discovery, it shouldn’t surprise Christ followers that we would experience uneasiness with the world. We may carry a legal passport in our pocket, but citizenship in God’s kingdom is the identification that we cherish in our hearts. To get to the ultimate destination, we must figure out who we are meant to be. I sincerely hope that this Intertain session has helped pave the way.
Attendance : Angela Sun, Ayk Iano, John Sun, Kai Chang, May Chien, and Robin Zhang.
Giveaway: Octodad: Dadliest Catch to Robin Zhang.