4 May 2020: one game, two songs.

The trouble with the current management of popular culture and by extension the populace is that it is tone deaf. The faux shepherds have forgotten how to keep the sheep happy. I am not a video game player: I gave up years ago. But the current video games appear to be like most current novels. Unreadable, pandering to those who loudly complain.

What doesn’t really help Naughty Dog’s case is how they’ve focused on identity politics over actual quality storytelling. There have been warning signs for a long time. Creative director Neil Druckmann cited Anita Sarkeesian as an influence in his creative direction. Anita Sarkeesian is the head of Feminist Frequency (a non-profit that criticizes creative works for not being feminist enough), and has zero experience in creating fiction. It is rumored that the female designs in the game were made less feminine so as not to offend trans women. The main enemies of the game are apparently going to be one of the safest kind you could pick: a fundamentalist Christian cult. Generally speaking, the safest bad guys in fiction are demons, Nazis, and fundamentalists. Nobody likes fundies except for other fundies. What’s even worse is that people apparently don’t like the new character Abbie much either.

All of this comes across as a major train wreck. When your creative lead’s main concern is being properly feminist or being a “proper ally,” the product suffers. Especially when you say your game will be “about hate.” The lesson of half of fiction is “hate is bad.” Star Wars created an entire philosophy in its universe where hate turns you monstrous. It’s not exciting. Everything about this project seems generic. The main enemies are the dullest thing imaginable without having them summon Satan and walk around in SS uniforms. The new protagonist is “trans safe” and exists to kill off the old ones, who people actually liked. This is turning into The Last Jedi of video games.

(Hat tip Vox Day, who designs games, and whose readers play. Look at the comments).

What does this have to do with the text? Ezekiel moves from talking about the leaders to the pew-sitters. Here we have to pay attention. We should not ruin the life of those around us, for the purpose of getting a false sense of spirituality of brownie badges. Our works will not save us. Christ does.

Ezekiel 34:17-23

17 “As for you, My flock, thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I will judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and the male goats. 18 Is it too slight a thing for you that you should feed in the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pastures? Or that you should drink of the clear waters, that you must foul the rest with your feet? 19 As for My flock, they must eat what you tread down with your feet and drink what you foul with your feet!’”

20 Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them, “Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you push with side and with shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns until you have scattered them abroad, 22 therefore, I will deliver My flock, and they will no longer be a prey; and I will judge between one sheep and another.

23 “Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd.

NASB

This does not let the shepherds of the church, or the people, or the artists who sing metaphysical lyrics, off the hook. We are to serve the people of God, if we are called out of the pews. This is not a promotion: it is a call to service, to duty. It is a deeper form of submission to God, for we are not there to make a profit, or to gain power, or to see God in all his glory as Joan Osborne sings.

We are instead to be building the kingdom of God.

1 Peter 5:1-5

5 Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, 2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

NASB

It is a good idea to deliberately take a lower place and a smaller life than your talents and income. We should not be Uriah Heap, using humility as a weapon, but we do not need to crow over what we have done or over promise, nor should we display a lifestyle greater than we can afford.

That is the pride of life, and that is ugly. Modesty, however, is the handmaid of beauty and cousin of Honour.

So do not be like our current leaders, claiming powers that they do not haveclaiming powers that they do not have. Instead, serve the kingdom invisble, for that is the kingdom eternal.


— for those who worry about my mood, I only listen to Nic Cave and Cohen when I’m cheerful. Besides, the Cave song has viola!