Hunting For Truth

Duck Hunt

The Nintendo Entertainment System was ridiculously easy to attach to your home television. One plug went it into the wall and two plugs went into your TV. It was so simple you could be playing it within 6 minutes of unwrapping it.

If you grew up playing your video games on the original Nintendo Entertainment System you know that the day your NES arrived it most likely arrived with two games, Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt.

While Super Mario Brothers and Duck hunt were unquestionably awesome, neither one of them allowed two players to play at the same time.

Each game made players wait for their own turn.

This means that unless you were an only child, the NES arrived at your home about 7 minutes before the first family argument broke out; because people wanted to play Nintendo, they didn’t want to watch it.

Determining who got to play first, and what the pecking order would be, became a time-honored rite-of-initiation among most late 20th century, suburban families.

This week my friend Jordan told me that the internet recently informed him that Duck Hunt can actually be operated as a simultaneous, two-player game.

Somehow I, and most of America, had managed to live about 28 years without knowing that plugging a game controller into port 2 of the console allowed a second player to control the flight of the target ducks.


My first response was, “Do you know how differently my life could have turned out!”.  Jordan’s was, “Do you know how many hours I watched my dad shoot ducks on our television!?”

The revelation that Duck Hunt was actually the first two player coop game available for the NES made me wonder how everybody I knew could have missed it? Especially when the Game Program Manual for Duck Hunt specifically says, “‘Game A’ allows a second player to control the movement of the flying ducks by using a normal gamepad”.

I realize now that I had never read any of the documentation that came packaged with my NES. I didn’t have to, because I had learned to set up and play the Nintendo simply by watching my friends do it.

Because I had never seen anyone else play Duck Hunt as a two player game, I never learned that it was possible. Worse yet, because I had never seen it done, I also never passed it on to anyone else.

How many acts of inter-sibling violence could have been avoided had we been willing to read the directions before playing?

The deceptive simplicity of the NES led many of us to believe what it offered us could be easily understood. Often times we assume that something simple to understand is actually uncomplicated. In truth there was a day when the NES was the most complex machine of its kind.

I think that I also make this same kind of mistake in relating to God.

See I often find myself attempting to interact with God in the same way that I see others behaving. In doing what they do I hope to somehow repeat the success that I’ve seen them achieve.

The problem comes when I assume that they are going about it 100% correctly, and that they aren’t passing some of their own ignorance off to me in the process.

We are all passing along some kind of ignorance aren’t we?

This is why a personal interaction with God through Jesus Christ, not simply his people, is essential for an authentic spiritual relationship.

While “Monkey-See, Monkey-Do” is the most common and effective form of instruction, it isn’t the only form available to us, and assuming that it is actually puts a limit on understanding all that God actually offers and demands of us.

In fact, it becomes quite dangerous to rely on just a sincerely serendipitous osmosis as our primary form of spiritual formation.

The minute we leave the presence of our self-targeted teachers we find ourselves relying on the knowledge we have gleaned from their honest, yet limited, experiences.

It’s in these moments of isolation (going off to college, moving to a different city, marrying into a new family) where we begin questioning whether or not what we believe is applicable in all situations, which in turn leads us to wondering if it is true in any form at all.

Our sudden fall occurs as if we are standing on someone else’s shoulders…

…and then they unexpectedly disappear.

Without any personal and first-hand experiential knowledge of God we can find ourselves operating out of an unfortunate spiritual poverty of our own making… all while believing ourselves to be experts on the subject.

The deceptive simplicity of the Christian life leads many of us to believe that what it offers us can be fully understood and easily achieved.

While it is simple enough for a child to grasp, and attainable enough for anyone to participate in, the knowledge of God through Jesus Christ is perhaps the most complex and demanding endeavor a human being can undertake.

Having mentors to guide us on the path is essential to our success, but no amount of leadership can replace the personal work of reading, praying, and interacting out of our own desire for God.

Mercifully and beautifully, our first-hand experiences with God never produce or proliferate ignorance.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” – Colossians 3:16

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