Kotakuite Joshua D. sent us a heads up about a New York Times article, this one on modern methods of getting kids into church: Halo 3. This raises some interesting questions: how do you differentiate between kids who are showing up to fellowship since it's Halo night and those who a really wanting to save their immortal souls? And how do people reconcile 'thou shalt not kill' with, uh, a first-person shooter? Is church really the most appropriate place for an M-rated video game? Do kids even care about potential allegorical features of the Halo plot, or is this just a cheap way to lure in impressionable teens? And aren't a lot of these people in the group who are frequently bitching about violent media in today's world?
Witness the basement on a recent Sunday at the Colorado Community Church in the Englewood area of Denver, where Tim Foster, 12, and Chris Graham, 14, sat in front of three TVs, locked in violent virtual combat as they navigated on-screen characters through lethal gun bursts. Tim explained the game's allure: "It's just fun blowing people up." Once they come for the games, Gregg Barbour, the youth minister of the church said, they will stay for his Christian message. "We want to make it hard for teenagers to go to hell," Mr. Barbour wrote in a letter to parents at the church.
There are plenty of quarters that would say spending time "blowing people up", virtual or not, is setting kids on the path to hell. I'll give these churches credit for interesting recruiting tactics, though - it must work better than the fire and brimstone and simply scaring people.