Soooo… that happened. Oh, you didn’t see it? The game trailer for the new Avengers game? Allow me to enlighten you… Marvel’s Avengers, the largest, hottest, most lucrative franchise on the planet right now, is finally getting a proper game. Nothing against the Lego Marvel games that have been released thus far, but this was the one we have all been waiting for. The big reveal of a massive, next-gen, immersive Avengers gaming experience, the likes of which we have only been able to dream of up to this point. And when the wait was over and we saw the reveal trailer, when we HEARD it… it was like the death star explosion all over again. Millions of gamers voices crying out… and suddenly silenced.
Let’s cut straight to the heart of the matter. These Avengers… well, how can I put this nicely. They are the WORST. And it truly hurts to say this because I am such a massive fan of both Marvel and Square Enix, the studio who is publishing this title. After spending years watching every Marvel movie made to this point, I kind of have a certain expectation for Earth’s mightiest heroes… and this game gives me the same feeling as when you think you are about to eat a nice bowl of Fruit Loops and get some off-brand “Fruity O’s of Fun” cereal instead. You know, the kind of cereal that comes in a CAN instead of a box. It looks similar, but it is just WRONG on so many levels. And that is my issue with this “knock-off” Avengers team I am staring at right here. They feel like the Dollar Tree version of these cinematic icons.
And it’s not just the character models… they not only look wrong, but they SOUND wrong too. The voices aren’t even close to what we have been accustomed to hearing, and the dialogue that was demonstrated lacked any of the fun, the infighting, the sarcasm… the CHARACTER that have made each of these portrayals so endearing. I truly mean no disrespect to the voice actors or artists on this project, and I am sure they are doing their level best here without having the visual or audio rights to the actual actors who we have grown to love in these roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But this does not change my disappointment in a game that I was REALLY looking forward to… and now, unfortunately, not so much.
There are few things in life more disappointing than a counterfeit. And in the world we are in today, we are surrounded by them. Everything from our currency, clothing, accessories, electronics… there seems to be more “fake” than there is “real” out there at this point. And while these “imposter” goods can often be found much cheaper than the genuine article, they are never as good. At times they can actually be hazardous to your health… I mean, do you really want a counterfeit seat belt or air bag in your car? How about an off-brand ladder that is only “GENOSHA” approved instead of OSHA? (I reached deep for that Genosha reference… you are welcome. Google it. I will still be here while you are out.)
The truth is that we are internally built to reject counterfeits. Think about your body… it knows your blood type even if you don’t, and it will attack any injected blood that is pretending to belong when it doesn’t. It may look the same, act the same, and seem physically identical upon first glance. But your body knows the difference, and it will forcibly reject it. As it SHOULD. And this issue plagues our world in another very vital way each and every day… in our spiritual lives through “Counterfeit Christianity”.
It may look like the real thing at first glance, but allow it to penetrate you and you will immediately realize something is horribly wrong. The rejection will happen at an almost molecular level. Your spirit inside you recognizes it for the toxin that it truly is and shuts it out before it can do any more damage. But here is the problem… fear of the counterfeit has left us in a world that now rejects the authentic as a defense mechanism. Just yesterday I was speaking to someone about God when they immediately threw up a wall due to their prior experiences with a “fake” Christian who had ruined their taste for the “real”. It is a problem now, and it has been a problem well before our time. Let’s take a deeper look…
2 Timothy 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
The Apostle Paul may have written this two thousand years ago, but it’s relevancy reads straight out of the evening news. The key phrase here is “Having a form of godliness, but denying its power”. It LOOKS like the real thing, but probe beneath the surface and you will find that it has no SUBSTANCE… no actual POWER. And I believe that is what is plaguing our world today… weak, powerless, pointless, superficial, FAKE Christianity. People are sick of seeing something that isn’t real, and after observing it so many times they are simply closed off to any more foolishness. And why wouldn’t they be? They have been disappointed, misled, and HURT by people who claimed to represent their Creator. After being burned enough times with the counterfeit, many people simply stop believing that something authentic actually exists.
Now for some good news… the presence of the counterfeit PROVES the authenticity of the genuine. Think about it… the only reason counterfeit money exists is because REAL money also exists. Fake Rolex watches and knock-off Gucci bags would not be all over eBay if ACTUAL Rolex watches and Gucci bags didn’t have substantial value. Nobody wastes time making a false version of non-existent product. And likewise, in spite of the massive prevalence “faked” beliefs and lifestyles, there is a real, authentic Christianity that we are MANDATED to present to the world.
Now, truth time…we will not always be perfect. Far from it. Because of my myriad of shortcomings and sins, many times I feel more like the “knock-off” version of Captain America myself… more of a “Pretender” than an “Avenger”. Actually, that is still way too kind. I’m more like the knock-off version of Fat Thor except without the epic hair. Regardless, we are ALL going to fall short. We will not always be the perfect representation of Christ despite our best efforts. But we must continue to present both our faith in Christ AS WELL AS our continuing struggles to “walk the walk” with authenticity to all who are observing.
So what can we do now to repair this? All we can do, and what I intend to do from this point in my life and going forward is to represent our faith responsibly and with integrity. I can’t change what I have been, but I CAN choose who I WILL be. If someone tries to compare me to their vision of what a Christian should be, my past will surely disappoint them. But I will not present some weak, counterfeit version of my faith that will rightfully be rejected by the recipient. We have a mission… to reach the world with the Gospel. And we MUST do it with sincerity and authenticity. The world is BEGGING for something REAL, and if you have chosen to follow Christ then you have what they are looking for.
I truly hope this Avengers game irons out the kinks and delivers a title worthy of the license. And if it does, I will be the first to sing it’s praises. But more importantly, I hope this has encouraged each of us to look at how we represent ourselves and our faith to all who are watching us. We have a legacy and a responsibility to deliver the “REAL” to all we come into contact with. A REAL, yet flawed Christian is like a partially torn $100 bill. It may not be perfect, but it hasn’t lost any of it’s value unless it disqualifies itself. It’s still worth $100, and even the best looking counterfeit has ZERO value compared to a damaged, faded, old, torn $100 bill. So the choice is yours…will the real Captain America please stand up?
James 1:22-27 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
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