“Call of Duty”: A Call to Biblical Manhood

The tension was palpable. But after months of anticipation the much awaited arrival of the ultimate video game has been officially given unto us.

“Call of Duty: Black Ops” is this generations “new Nintendo.”

Call of Duty: Black Ops is a first-person shooter video game developed by Treyarch, published by Activision and released worldwide on November 9, 2010 for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Nintendo DS consoles.

Yes, Nazi Zombies....

Black Ops gives every boy and man-child an opportunity to team up with fellow gamers to fight Cuban armies, communist gulags, and…..Nazi zombies?!

In past generations, young American men spared life and limb to fight actual enemies for their God, family and country. Now young American men spare a meaningful life and relationships to fight virtual enemies in the comfort of their bean bag chair. The disparity is slightly sickening.

Young men are looking for something to fight for. What they have chosen is Bill Gates dream, not God’s. One of the high-school seniors in my class waited outside of a store for hours with many other Call of Duty-ers to be the first to purchase “Black Ops” when the clock hit 12:00 AM on Tuesday. He immediately went home and started playing it until he had to go to school that same morning. He went to school and when he got out he went directly back to playing the game until 12:00 the following morning. On Wednesday morning, he looked like a “Nazi zombie” (minus the ‘Nazi’ I guess) in my math class.

Gaming addictions are some of the worst kind.

Middle and high schoolers are not the only victims of this gaming disease. Unfortunately, a large segment of twenty something college and career aged men have contracted it. They should be finding a career, getting married, rearing children, and at the very least moving out of their parent’s house. Instead they are settling for notoriety of their “thumb skills” and ”E-hard” status.

A whole generation of young women are still waiting for their respective “Peter Pans” to awaken from their self induced Never-land’s.

I am certainly not innocent. Though I haven’t been legitimately addicted to a game since PlayStation’s (the first one) NCAA Football 2000, the fleeting attraction of technology still has its grip on me. I spend too much time watching ESPN and perusing meaningless Websites, instead of actually pursuing the knowledge of God, leading my family, and loving people.

Young men need something to fight for. Young men are even created for something to fight for. And though there is not the same type of “World War global crisis” the men of old were beckoned for, there is a very real war and real global crisis contemporary men have been called to.

There is a spiritual war calling for the enlistment of real men.

In Isaiah 32:2 we see a captivating picture of biblical manhood. It states that the good man will be “like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.” The verse shows the man as protector and guardian, as life-giver and as the firm rock for others. Married and single men are made to defend and protect their family, friends, church, community and country from spiritual attacks of all sorts.

Real men don’t fight fake zombies, they cast down real strongholds that stand between them and the knowledge of Christ (2 Cor. 10:3-5).

This is done with the deadly gospel weapons of Scripture and prayer (Eph 6). This is done by cultivating real fellowship that edifies, challenges, and encourages fellow warriors in the battle of life. What is at stake is not a high score or temporary bragging rights, but the fame of God’s holy name and an eternity in heaven and hell (Malachi 1:11).

I am not calling for a moratorium on fun, or a misguided form of fundamentalist separatism. Maybe just an honest evaluation of our values will do. Maybe we all need to take a heart inventory of what (or who) we truly love, and what we truly desire to pour our time and resources into.

Maybe what is gripping us is also what is killing us.

Maybe there really is something to fight for. Maybe it isn’t a “Call of Duty” but a call for the restoration of Biblical Manhood.

Bryan Daniels

Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

32 thoughts on ““Call of Duty”: A Call to Biblical Manhood”

  1. Dear Chief,

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. My enjoyment is particularly sweet because I agree with you wholeheartedly, and am encouraged to see that what I believe stated so clearly, and by a man, no less!

    I am studying theology myself, and my paper for this term seeks to prove that the ills of the Church, the culture, and the family can be cured if we restore men to their “biblical masculinity.” Sweeping, well, yes. My instructor thinks I should narrow down my focus a bit. I think for the sake of the term limits I’ll have to do so.

    Anyhow, glad to read this, glad you’re out there. If you have anything helpful to offer, do feel free to email me. I’m going to bookmark your site, for future reference.

    God’s blessings upon you and your family,

    1. Kathy,

      Thank you for the encouraging words! Yes, I do believe much of the root of our societal ills stems from men failing to biblically man up…it does looks like you have bit off a big subject for that paper, unfortunately our culture displays clearly the scourge lost manhood can be on a people. You have a lot of evidence to back up your point!

      God’s blessing on you and yours too, thanks for stopping by!

      1. I was just talking to my wife about this today! One thing that you alluded to, but didn’t discuss outright, is the lack of “real” battles we’ve given our young men the opportunity to fight. As rabidmongoose mentioned, the example MUST be set by mature men of faith. If we keep failing at our job to mentor the younger generation, how can we expect them to do better?

        Although it is less tangible, I believe that the war we must fight is exactly the war you’re talking about. We need to teach our sons to fight for their marriages, fight for their families, and fight for their communities!

        Outstanding post!

          1. sorry I accidentally posted under the wrong comment. Loved the line “A whole generation of young women are still waiting for their respective “Peter Pans” to awaken from their self induced Never-land’s.” I posted it to twitter with a link to get people thinking. Thanks again!

  2. Hi Chief. I feel torn here…let me begin with a confession. I think that playing video games when I was young was about fun, and I think that was appropriate. As I got older I began to recognize that my game-playing was about zoning out and hiding from pain and responsibility (much like my use of pornography); at this point playing video games became inappropriate. So inasmuch as your post points out this conflict of interest between maturity and gaming, I think we agree.

    Having said that, I also need to respond that I didn’t grow up in the church, and frankly I think ‘Christian’ men have done a pretty piss-poor job of being living examples to young men. I understand that Scripture outlines the roles and responsibilities of ‘true men’ but I would argue that it is the job of Christian men to live out these values for their sons, and for those outside the faith, to see and aspire to. But instead of this example of manhood, when I look around my 3000+ person church I see bursting waistlines, divorces, self-absorption, bravado, false spirituality…you get the point.

    Yes, the younger generations have challenges to overcome with regard to balancing spirituality, religion, maturity, and those other things like gaming on which they choose to spend their time. But rather than use Scripture to point out how ‘badly’ they are missing the mark, perhaps the men of the church should lead by example?

    1. I agree mostly. I don’t know if it is an “either or” proposition. We should use the Scripture for verbal exhortation (it is our only foundation) AND we should work to live it out with Spirit born might. For the record, I am putting myself in my students place too. I’m only ten years older than some of them and I see men my age still addicted to CoD and the like while forfeiting more important responsibilities with church and family.

      Overeating, divorce, false machismo and more just show me there are much older Peter Pans who still haven’t grasped this “call” to biblical manhood. This message applies to them too. Peace and grace brother!

  3. I really enjoyed your blog today. You are very correct about all of this. People are pursuing the God’s of Technology instead of Jesus and Christian interest. I am 27 years old and cannot stand most people my age. My wife is 22 and when I met her she was very immature. She has grown up a lot in the last two years. We recently was able to get rid of the TV. (I check the sports scores in the paper) I have not played video games in years. We even went as far as getting rid of facebook. We do not have text messaging because we prefer voice to voice or face to face conversations. Face to face is not always possible especially since we moved 2000 miles away from our home to Montana. So many of our relatives are too far away to see everyday. This was a great blog. Keep up the great work!

  4. I think the strongest argument against video games is the realization that the moment you turn it off, all that you accomplished vanishes with the dying diodes of the machine you were on. The poet in the Old Testament cried out, meaningless, meaningless. The is even more true when it comes to video games.

  5. Oh Randy…your gift of being able to bring the everyday ills of our society (and world in general) to the forefront and expose the vanity of them in light of the Word of God is extraordinary, to say the least. I completely agree with you! Sadly, I have a 15 yr. old grandson who spends his time doing 1 of three things. He goes to school and is a high honors student, works 30+ a week and plays CoD, that is when he isn’t sleeping (I think?).
    This generation of young people are “techno junkies”. This may be the greatest travesty of the 21st century…and we as followers of the Lord Jesus must be on bended knee for these children, as well as examples of what “goodness” truly means.
    I will stop rambling–thank you again for speaking the Truth like a “man of God”.

      1. Oops! No…don’t have you confused with someone else, it’s just that at my age names aren’t something I remember too well (lol) even if the name in right in front of my face. 🙂

  6. This is everything I feel passionate about when I was a youth pastor…and still am passionate about. It’s amazing to consider the fact that video games are actual problems of idolatory that needs to be addressed in the church…
    I would even say that even for our fighting men, some also have the addiction of gaming. As a Marine, I’ve known guys who have gone to war, and come back to be suckered into gaming and couch potatoes…it’s sad really.
    Preach it brother!

    1. I hear you slimjim. There is a lot of downtime in many deployments, and sometimes nothing to do after work, I can definitely see this scourge effecting many in military uniform!

  7. really enjoyed reading this post, I can relate to this so well, I have been really growing spiritually in all areas in my life the last 5 months, I spent my teen years gaming and then left it for a while, but have got back into it the last 10 years and played up to 4 hours or more of COD a day sometimes through the last 2 years. Still committed to my faith in Christ and committed to the church I have been attending for the past 11-12 years. I’m nearly 40 years old and have recently got rid of my Xbox, just found it was taking to much of my time. Your post has really encouraged me. As I have been changing the last few months I have been growing stronger in my faith and starting to see the more important things in life. I really love some of the verses you shared particularly Isaiah 32:2, and 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 and I really love what Paul prays at the end of Ephesians 6:19-20:

    “19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”

    Fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. Cheers, thanks for sharing the post. God bless

  8. Amen Bryan…I agree with you…..this game addiction is a classic example of how God’s children are allowing satan to mislead their loyalties….when “achieving” higher status within the game actually means nothing to God..and by the way..I was once addicted to Madden 2000 myself 🙂 and i used to play for hours, but was always left empty when I had actually go to work, take care of my daughter..in other words…life was getting in the way of my game…..I am blessed by your words!

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