Last week, right after one of our family dinners, our son Joshua invited my wife Mari and I to preview “Old Time Religion,” his very first mod for the game Fallout 4. Don’t feel bad if you have no idea what a mod is or never heard of Fallout 4. We didn’t until last week. However, thanks to a brief history and background before the preview, we now understand what they both are and how they work. Then again, it’s probable that you do know what a mod is, not every baby boomer is as antiquated as we are. But just in case you are part of the clueless club, a mod (short for “modification”) is an alteration by players or fans of a video game that changes one or more aspects of a video game, such as how it looks or behaves. Mods may range from small changes and tweaks to complete overhauls, and can extend the replay value and interest of the game. [Wikipedia.com]
Needless to say, we were both very impressed at our son’s creativity in scripting and designing this mod. In the middle of offering him my critique, I was trying to come up with a word to describe the engaging effects that these type of games have when he suddenly suggested, “immersive.” That immediately gave me the inspiration for this blog post. Thank you, Josh!
Just watching the first few minutes of this mod made me realize how easy it is for kids and adults alike to get addicted to video gaming. I said to both Josh and Mari that if Christians, especially in America, would immerse themselves in God’s word and in pursuing intimacy with Him the same way people immerse themselves in video games, the church would undoubtedly be a whole lot stronger spiritually, more passionate about the things of God, and definitely better equipped to win souls for His kingdom!
Let’s be honest. To some degree, we all immerse ourselves in something or someone. Our jobs/careers, homes, physical looks, relationships, hobbies, and even religious practices can all consume our time, emotions, and resources to the point where we miss out on the beauty of life itself and, most importantly, the opportunity to develop a REAL intimate relationship with our heavenly Father.
Upon looking for images to complement this post, I came across something else called immersive art. Apparently this is nothing new either. It seems like the older I get the more I need to catch up! Immersive art provides the spectator with a 3D experience that stimulates more than just the sense of sight. Check out the links at the bottom of this post for more fascinating immersive art displays.
I also found out that now through January of 2022, immersive Van Gogh Digital Art Shows will be featured in 13 cities across the U.S. According to an article in afar.com, it will be a breathtaking 360-degree experience like no other.
I am sure that most of us would totally immerse ourselves in this type of presentation. That’s because the human psyche is inspired, challenged, and entertained by external stimuli. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why it is sometimes difficult for Christians to get immersed in spiritual disciplines. When it comes to prayer, bible study, fellowship, and worship, our surroundings play a big part in how we connect and stay connected.
Corporate prayer is indeed powerful and edifying because we can come together in unity and in agreement. Yet, when praying to unburden our souls or seek intimacy with God, it is best to be in a secluded and quiet place where we can (immerse) spend quality time with Him. [Read: Escaping Not “From,” But “Into”]
“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” – Matthew 6:6
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” – Luke 5:16
Reading and studying the Word of God is essential for our spiritual growth, especially when done in the company of others (believers/teachers). But by practicing it regularly on our own with an open heart and spirit we can better commune (immerse) with God and allow Him to minister to us more personally and directly.
“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked…but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” – Psalm 1:1a,2
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12
Worshiping and praising God in a church setting is truly uplifting. However, since what worship actually does is make us more aware of God’s ever presence, surrendering our thoughts, time, and emotions in an atmosphere of stillness and natural beauty can prove to be even more rewarding (immersive). [Read: Does Worship Really Invite God’s Presence?]
“Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.” – Psalm 150:1
“O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens… When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers — the moon and the stars you set in place — what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?” – Psalm 8:1, 3-4
Now, this doesn’t mean that we cannot immerse ourselves in godly things unless we are alone and away from it all. There exist creative ways to have immersive spiritual/biblical experiences that can help strengthen our faith. Here are a few:
Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC.
I’ve been here. It is totally engaging, interactive, and filled with incredible biblical and ecclesiastical history!
The Ark Encounter in Kentucky (Life size replica of Noah’s ark)
I have yet to visit this attraction. I hear it is truly awesome.
Sight and Sound Theaters in Pennsylvania and Missouri]
So far, this has been the best immersive biblical experience I’ve had. I’ve been here about 5 times already. Truly breathtaking and, in my opinion, 10x better than Broadway!
Virtual Reality Bible Apps/Games
Believe it or not, I have never played a VR game. Perhaps I’ll try one of those at the Mall first. Not sure I want to invest on a headset and apps at this point.
The world offers an array of immersive attractions (traps) that can captivate and enslave the human soul. It is part of Satan’s plan to keep unbelievers spiritually bound and believers from reaching them with the liberating message of the Gospel. That is why, as children of the Most High God, we must be careful not to succumb to anything that will prevent us from drawing closer to Him. Instead, we should intentionally and fervently find ways to immerse ourselves in the One who gave up His life and rose again so that we could find the meaning and purpose of ours in His. The more we immerse ourselves, the deeper we will fall in love with Him and the more we will desire to lead others to His loving and saving arms.