Jun 24
The Redemptive Power of Play

Play is a loaded term for most adults.

Our versions of play become twisted in this era of instant gratification. So when Jesus urges us to become like children, our response is usually a complicated one that includes words like innocence and simplicity, but rarely a concept of play. Now that I work for a mobile games company, fun is my job. But as I enter into the realm of the childlike, I begin to think that joy is a part of my calling. My job is to create faith-filled games for children that inspire joy, faith, and wonder.

I suppose when called upon to enter into a childlike faith, most of us carry caveats. After all, I can’t reclaim the innocence of my childhood, nor can I entirely leave behind the traumas of my adult life. And the assumption that a childlike faith precludes doubt means that most adults skim past this verse as idealistic but unattainable. But if Jesus says something, we must attend to it or risk missing something crucial.

So I find as I create a universe populated by complicated but very young characters that my understanding of the word, childlike, misses the mark. For much of my life, I thought a childlike faith meant no questions asked. But now, to pretend I don’t have questions is to be dishonest with myself and God. Even more, it is insulting to the Creator of the Universe because it assumes He isn’t up to answering.

My characters have questions, and they are not afraid to ask them.

But like children who ask those honest and sometimes unanswerable questions, they do expect an answer. Perhaps that is the difference between childlike faith and an adult one. Somewhere along the way, we gave up our expectation of a reply.

But back to play.

In the beginning, God created a vast playground for the humans and their animal companions. I imagine it to be a place of incredible discovery. Adam and Eve got to see everything for the first time. And touch and taste. I imagine that when the wonder wore off, when they stopped playing and grew bored with their surroundings and perhaps one another, that temptation wormed its way into their hearts.

Studies show that play is one of the most important jobs of a child. Play can heal trauma, create safe avenues of communication, and allow safe outlets for emotion. My understanding of that underpins everything I write for this ambitious project. So many mobile games for children are clever disguises for monetization. They often create addictive behaviors that can lead to dissociation. But games aren’t the enemy.

Our games at TruPlay seek to engage the mind and the spirit of the child. Fun, yes. Numbness, no.power of play We want to redeem the often violent and almost always commercial world of the mobile game. So we tell stories, solve puzzles, and have a good time. And we invite the Holy Spirit to bring new revelations to the kids through our action-packed adventures. Nothing stodgy or preachy, but in all things, joyful, present, and pure. Jesus took the time to play with the children, despite the starchy disciples. I pray regularly that these games provide a chance for children to play in the pure light of faith, hope, and love.

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

If you want to join us, let me know. Come play in the light.