The Old is New Again: We Recommend Playing Morrowind

By Nathaniel Hawk, Guest Blogger

Most people nowadays are satisfied with the games that come out each year. They look pretty, aren’t too difficult (most of them anyways), and normally don’t take up too much of your time to play and beat. However, most modern games lack a certain depth and personality that some of the older games have. While many people would be quick to point out that older games are outdated, time consuming, and not user friendly, there are some old games that still have a strong (and growing!) following.  One such role playing game would be The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.  For those looking for a game without sex, gore, and with very little swearing, Morrowind might be for you.

Morrowind was the third installment in The Elder Scrolls series of games (by Bethesda), a predecessor to the much-loved Skyrim (2011), as well as Oblivion (2006/2007), games. It came out for PC in 2002; the Game of the year edition, which included all the expansions, came out the next year. It’s been more than ten years since its launch and in game years, that’s a long time—sort-of like “dog years” to today’s generation. However, Morrowind is a game that is still played widely today, and in my opinion it deserves all the attention it’s been getting.

While Morrowind may lack the flashy graphics and voice acting that most games today have, it has something that many modern games lack. Morrowind has a certain depth and feel to it that drags you in and leaves you wanting more. It has a mystery about it that makes you want to understand it. The “vanilla” game—the original game without modifications (“mods”)–itself has so much content that even though I’ve been playing it since 2002, I’m still discovering new things. However, there are more reasons why I think you should give this game a whirl.

Graphics and Gameplay Modifications

The Morrowind community has created mods for the game since its release, and they are still making them even now as 2014 fades into the New Year. These mods can add new quests, new areas, and more content to extend game play. Of all these mods, there are a few that stand out that make Morrowind easily comparable to any modern day game.

Tamriel Rebuilt is a massive mod project run by a very large group of Morrowind lovers that aims to add the mainland of Morrowind into the game, as the game makers originally intended. Not only did the developers lack the time to code it all in, but only very few systems would be able to run such a game at that time anyway; so, they limited the game to the island of Vvardenfell.  Tamriel Rebuilt is about as professional a job as you could ask for from a game studio, yet it was done for free by fans. The levels of detail and content, and the attention to accuracy and lore, that went into this mod is simply astounding. While it isn’t finished yet, it can still be used. They are making amazing progress on it, however, and when it’s done it will add a whole new level to Morrowind the likes of which has never been seen before. It will most likely cause Morrowind to jump back into the spotlight of the gaming world for a time.

Another mod that works well with Morrowind is Morrowind Graphics and Sound Overhaul (MGSO), which aims to bring Morrowind’s graphics and sounds to the modern day gaming level that we’ve come to expect. It’s not so much a single mod as it is a mod compilation, which is installed via a program made to make it easier. While this mod is not necessary, I do recommend it for those of you who simply “can’t get past the old graphics.” I must warn you, however, that it does not cover mainland Morrowind, or other modded-in land masses. Unless this mod is ever updated, it will only apply to the original (unmodded) Morrowind, which is probably fine for most players.

Here’s a short video showing the original Morrowind graphics and then the MGSO modded graphics. Pretty amazing!

-

Another mod to consider, especially if you don’t get MGSO, is Morrowind Graphics Extender. It enhances the default Morrowind graphics and improves the view distance. This keeps the game closer to its original state while tweaking a few things to make it more “bearable” for today’s gaming community.

While not technically a “mod,” there is a project going on that aims to replace the Morrowind engine with a far superior one that will increase modding capability, stability, and performance in the game of Morrowind. This engine, called OpenMW, will bring the game to a whole new level and will allow for much more to be done to the game to give it a true overhaul.

Life and Atmosphere Mods

A lore friendly mod set that aims to immerse you further into Morrowind is Scenic Travel by Abot. His mods allow the player to take real time trips on boats, silt striders, water striders (if you have Tamriel Rebuilt), and gondolas.  Abot’s mods work with a variety other landscape-changing mods and make the game feel more alive, as the boats and such are always active. He has created other mods that allow you to ride Guars, pack animals akin to mini T-Rexes, as well!  A few other of his mods add birds, fish, and fishing to your game. These may be a bit lore breaking, but I don’t see how anyone would find these objectionable except, perhaps, the most rabid purist.

Animated Morrowind and Morrowind Comes Alive both add non-playable characters (NPCs) to Morrowind, doing various tasks basically living their lives as normal. They add a feeling of life to the cities and towns in Morrowind that it didn’t have before. You can use either mod, or both at the same time, to greatly improve your games towns and cities. Animated Morrowind, however, creates less lag issues for me.

If you play Morrowind already, have you ever wondered why there are no children? I have, and I was curious to find out if anyone had made a mod to add them. And yes, there is a mod made by a group on Emma’s Morrowind that adds children to the game, complete with voices, their own dialogue, and quests. With another add-on you get the ability to adopt a family of sorts. This may seem like an edgy mod since it doesn’t change Morrowind’s “all characters can die” format (unlike many modern games where children can’t be killed), but the mod gets around this by having the children teleport away from danger (also—and this was not intentionally coded in–you will be plagued by glitches if you attack children!). This mod does not extend to Tamriel Rebuilt yet, but it may in the future once that mod is finished.

The main story of Morrowind is deep and exciting, but the end seems like the developers may have rushed it together a bit. Well, there is a mod that sees to that issue as well, called Darknut’s Greater Dwemer Ruins Volume One (volume two expands non-end related Dwemer ruins). It adds more challenge, game play, and possibilities to the end-game Dwemer fortresses. I won’t go into detail so as not to spoil the game for you, but Darknut’s mod certainly fits in well with the main quest line!

Other Mods Worth Checking Out

There are several more mods that one could add to the game that are both lore friendly and fun, but to go into detail about them all would take far too long. I have, however, listed them here for you.

  • Ashlander Tent Mod
  • Carry Your Bedroll
  • Necessities of Morrowind (NOM)
  • Vivec Voice Add-on
  • Almalexia Voice Add-on
  • Dagoth Gares Voice Add-on
  • Dagoth Ur Voice Add-on
  • Companion’s Hurd and Beryl
  • Sotha Sil Expanded
  • Project Tamriel’s Cyrodiil

Let’s Play

With the variety and scope of the mods available for this game, and the ongoing productivity of the Morrowind modding community, Morrowind can easily overshadow many contemporary games in terms of content alone. Once all is said and done, Morrowind almost feels like a recently completed game that that was worked on with care. There are many other mods out there that I did not list that could very well improve your game, but honestly they aren’t needed. Also, a good handful of Official Bethesda Plug-ins are available for free on their main site, and I recommend you check them out.

All in all Morrowind is a great game, and you might be able to find it for as little as $10. While it may not be as flashy as Skyrim, with these mods it can certainly compete. In terms of downright feeling like you live there, it wins hands down. It is an old game that survives to this very day, and should be played anyone who is a true role playing game or Elder Scrolls fan.

 

Vicki Priest contributed to this article.

The Christmas Spirit: “What Men Live By” by Leo Tolstoy

The 1885 short story, What Men Live By by Leo Tolstoy (Russian, 1828-1910), in times past was much more well-known and even acted out as Christmas-time plays.  I have a wonderfully illustrated little hard cover copy from 1954, published by the Peter Pauper Press (PPP), but the entire text can be read online at The Literature Network (What Men Live By).  Below, I provide a synopsis of the story with some Christian and biblical commentary, although Tolstoy himself prefaced it himself with passages from 1 John (here are two of the six):

“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love
the brethren. He that loveth not abideth in death.” 3:14

“Whoso hath the world’s goods, and beholdeth his brother in need,
and shutteth up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God
abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither
with the tongue; but in deed and truth.” 3:17-18

Story Synopsis

The story begins with a very poor shoemaker visiting some of his customers who owe him money, with the hope of receiving payment and thereby buying sheepskins for a coat. He and his wife, who remain unnamed in the first section, only have one old coat between them. But the customers don’t pay up.  The shoemaker complains of one who has far more than his family does—a house, cattle, and wheat to make their own flour–yet the customer held back his wages. “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” (1 John 3:17; NIV). See also James 5:1-5.  In this state the shoemaker walks near a shrine and notices something very white, which he finally realizes is a man, a naked man. At first he walks by, but then he stops himself (the quote below comes from the PPP translation, not The Online Literature version):

“What ails the man?” said he to himself. “What are you doing, Simon? Here’s a man dying in misery and you take fright and pass him by? Have you grown rich, maybe? Do you fear they’ll steal your treasures? Come, come, Simon, this won’t do!”

Besides the story of the Good Samaritan, this reminds me of what Jesus said to a wealthy young man: “’If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth” (Matthew 19:21-22).

Continuing on . . . poor that he is, Simon, as we now know he’s called, talks with the young man, puts his coat on him, and takes him home. The shoemaker worries that his wife will be angry, since he didn’t get the money (well, he got a very small amount, some of which he used for a drink), didn’t get the sheepskins, and is bringing home another mouth to feed. Indeed, his wife, Matrena, becomes quite angry. They have so little food, and now this. But after raving some she realized what evil she was living at that moment, and she also became curious about the stranger. She listened to her husband explain what happened, and she listened when he said: “Don’t be so angry then. It is a sin, Matrena. We shall die one day. . . . Matrena! Is there nothing of God in you?” (p 22).

(Simon’s response seems unbiblical, or at least confusing. In the Sermon on the Mount and in other pages of the New Testament, we are told not to curse or hate others, while anger itself is viewed as a normal human emotion. However, it is warned against since it may lead to sin.  In Ephesians 4:25-27 we find, “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.  ‘In your anger do not sin': Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” The passage says not to sin as a result of your anger, not that anger itself is a sin. To read more about anger as a temptation, you can check out Is Getting Angry a Sin?)

So, even though the strange man is not forthcoming with information about himself (he doesn’t even tell them his name yet), Matrena kindly gives him food and clothes. The stranger smiled for the first time. Before falling to sleep that night, Matrena asks her husband a question that many no doubt ask themselves at one time or another, “We give him what we have, but why does nobody give to us?” Her husband didn’t have an answer.

For the next few days Simon teaches the stranger, who we now know is Michael, the cobbling trade.  Michael is excellent at it, and with his help the shoemaker and his family begin to fare better. Michael lived with Simon and his family for a number of years and was a great worker and very quiet, but never smiling.  Then one day a wealthy man came to their shop and ordered a quality pair of boots–boots that would last a year–out of expensive leather he provided.  Though the terms were a bit scary, they accepted the job. As the man was leaving Michael smiled, only for the second time since meeting the shoemaker. Then he set about making slippers instead of boots. Simon was very upset, but as it turned out, the wealthy man died later that same day and his wife communicated to Simon that she wanted slippers instead.

Mother with her babes before her soul is taken.  Illustration by Jeff Hill (What Men Live By, Peter Pauper Press 1954; 45).

Mother with her babes before her soul is taken. Illustration by Jeff Hill (What Men Live By, Peter Pauper Press 1954; 45).

In his sixth year there something happened that made Michael smile a third time, which, oddly enough, was the sign of his parting.  A well-to-do woman with twin girls came to their shop.  One girl walked with a limp, and Michael showed a never-before-seen interest in these visitors. When Simon started taking measurements for the shoes, he asked what happened to the one girl that made her lame, and the woman shared with them their story. The girls’ parents had been neighbors. Right before the girls’ birth, their dad died in a work-related accident, and their mother died right after giving birth.  She had rolled on of the babies, breaking its leg.  The woman had an infant son at the time so she was able to nurse the girls, but her own child died a while later and she was never able to become pregnant again.  She loved the girls and was filled with joy to have them.

The lady and the girls left after the story-telling, but before Michael smiled and began to glow.  Now we will hear from Michael.

What the Angel Learned

Michael glowed because he was an angel, and he had been a man up until then due to God’s discipline.  He had smiled at (only) three different times during his time on earth because, each time, he had learned one of the things God said he needed to understand. What were those things that he needed to know before God’s punishment was over?  Simon wanted to know and learn too.  But before Michael told Simon and his wife the divine lessons, he started at the beginning, explaining how he saw Simon’s spirit before he took him home.

At the shrine, Michael was starving, freezing, and in much pain. When Simon had first walked near, and then right on by Michael, he was concerned with himself and his family only, and Michael felt horror.  But, “Suddenly I heard the man coming back. I looked and could not recognize the man I had seen before. Then there had been death in his face, but now he had suddenly become a living soul, and in his face I recognized God” (p 52).

Michael found Matrena’s initial response to him worse than Simon’s, prompting him to express one of the seeming unbiblical views in the story, “She wished to drive me forth into the cold, and I knew that if she drove me forth, she would die” (p 53).  Our salvation is based on our faith in Christ, not works or mistakes; if Matrena hadn’t been “saved” yet, Michael’s statement would be especially troubling.  In any case, Michael learned from Matrena his first lesson.

  • What is given to men. When Matrena had softened up after her initial anger and gave Michael food, Michael saw God in her. Then he understood what is given to men: love, and it dwells in their hearts.
  • What is not given to men.  Michael learned what was not given to men when he saw the wealthy man who had ordered the boots, and the angel of death near him.  The wealthy man didn’t realize that when he ordered boots to last a year, he would be dead that day and not need them.  What is not given to men is the knowledge of what they need.
  • What men live by.  Michael learned about what men live by through the outcome of the twin girls, that they had been taken in, cared for, and dearly loved by a stranger.  Michael had been the angel ordered to take the soul of the girls’ mother to God, but after the mother’s pleadings Michael disobeyed God and didn’t take her soul.  He did go and talk with God about it, and God’s response was to (1) send Michael back to take the mother’s soul and then (2) make him human until he learned three things about man (the items in this list).  The first two things relate to the last.  Men have love, but men don’t really know what they need, so “all men live, not by reason of any care they have for themselves, but by the love for them that is in other people” (p 56).

At Christmas time, as at any time, may people see God in us as we think of them more than ourselves, and as we give out of compassion rather than hold back out of rash judgment. Lord, may you be in us and your glory be seen by all.

“Whoso hath the world’s goods, and beholdeth his brother in need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth.” 1 John 3:17-18

Don’t Buy Destiny . . . Unless

Despite the amazing beauty of Destiny's environments, it's a lousy game (as least for the cost).

Despite the amazing beauty of Destiny’s environments, it’s a lousy game (as least for the cost).

Based on the beta, we pre-purchased Destiny with the two DLCs, or expansions, but everyone in our family is very disappointed with Destiny and Bungie, the maker of the game.  During the pre-purchase phase, as far as I am aware, Bungie never let on that to fully play the game players would have to assemble their own teams of six (and have microphones, which isn’t too surprising for an MMO).  Bungie has no customer service to speak of, either, so all in all, buying Destiny was a real waste of money.   Their marketing during the pre-purchase phase was deceptive, with a few players STILL referring to the game as an RPG, which at this point it very clearly is not.

Going back to the teams issue (the only way to be able to play the whole game):  in order to assemble your own team of six you need to have six same-console friends with the game (who have microphones) who are able to do a big raid (the “Vault of Glass”) all at the same time.  This was annoying enough as part of the original game, as purchased, but now – with the first expansion, The Dark Below – Bungie did the same thing.  There is a second such raid, called “Crota’s End,” that one apparently has to do in order to finish the DLC quest line (and there is no matchmaking).

Right now, Weekly Heroic and Nightfall strikes are closed off for everyone: those who did and didn’t purchase the DLC.  However, these strikes will open when “quest” is finished. We finished the first quest line up to Crota’s End, received a reward for finishing the quest, yet the strikes had NOT re-opened.  Odd, huh?  Well, more “quest steps” open up and you need to do them before the strikes open up again; this happens when you get the quest step that is a level 26 strike.  You do not have to do Crota’s End, which is level 30, in order for the older strikes to open or the new level 26 list to open.

Other Destiny issues:

  1. XBOX players do not have full access to the game.  With the original game, a strike was made available to Playstation console players only.  With the new downloadable content – with the same purchase price, mind you – yet another strike is not available to XBOX users that IS to Playstation users.
  2. The strike (a special version of “The Summoning Pits”) for obtaining the exotic weapon, the Thorn, still says that it has “matchmaking,” but it does not.  This strike is incredibly hard to do by one’s self, so, a player is required to go out on the internet somewhere and find players who also have that very particular strike and who are willing and able to do that mission at the same time as the player.
  3. The game keeps changing the rules.
    1. A significant change is the way in which armor is leveled up, or upgraded.  This is significant due to the fact that after a player’s character reaches level 20, a secondary leveling system comes into play that is dependent on armor upgrades.  We played two characters up to level 29 without much issue, but, we started a 3rd character recently and cannot upgrade the armor like earlier.  The amount of materials needed from dismantling other armor has increased, or something, since I’m always short.  I’m very short now and won’t be able to level up a single legendary armor piece for a long time.  This experience is completely different from a month ago, when we were never short of these materials (combined, our other two characters have over 1,000).  If I had known of this change (and this a tip), I would’ve simply not leveled up the weaker, earlier armor, and saved the materials for later.
    2. This is nasty.  If you have a pre-DLC exotic weapon, it will be not as powerful as the post-DLC versions.  To upgrade your favorite exotic, go to XUR, pay tons of money and have an Exotic Shard, and your weapon is now upgraded . . . NOT.  Honestly, Bungie is truly unbelievable and sadistic.  After you pay all that currency for it and use a new very rare item, the weapon is only RESET!  You have to slowly upgrade it again, AND, use ANOTHER Exotic Shard to finalize the upgrade.  If I had known this ahead of time, I would have thought twice about XUR’s transaction.  Talk about sticking it to the players.  It seems it might be better to simply buy a new exotic weapon from XUR, or do the exotic bounties post-dlc.
    3. Changes to Marks, Reputation, and Commendations added.  One of the ways to earn Vanguard Marks was removed from the game.  These marks are used to buy weapons and armor from the Vanguard, and now it is harder for gamers who don’t want to do intense game play constantly to earn these marks.  Vanguard and other “cult” Reputation has not been changed, but, in order to buy most things a new “Commendation” is needed.  A Commendation is gained with each new Reputation level.  The problem with this is while Vanguard gives you a Vanguard Commendation, all the other “cults” require a Crucible Commendation . . . which doesn’t make much sense.  The “cults” should take either type of Commendation; Bungie is apparently trying to force more people to play the player-on-player shooter part of the game (the Crucible).
  4. Only three characters are available to play.  If you have more people in your family that use the paid online account, or if you simply want to experiment and have character variety, forget it.  Only . . . three . . . playable characters.  By way of comparison, Borderlands 2 allows for unlimited characters.  Destiny should at least allow nine, which would be one for each class and “species.

To read more about the game, you can visit my earlier Destiny review here – thanks.

So, don’t buy Destiny unless you like a game with no real story (all your stats and additional story information are kept at Bungie’s web site – ! – not in-game), like doing the same missions and strikes over and over again, and most importantly, you have many friends on the same console who have the same game and who will be able to do the highest level strikes with you.  Oh, and unless you have a Playstation.  Being a wealthy masochist would help, too.  I still play it because (1) relative to our income, we invested a lot in this game, (2) the look and feel of play is very good, and (3) for some reason I keep wanting to upgrade my items.  As with many games, Destiny has it’s own methods of addiction.  I recommend avoiding this form of addiction and looking into other current (or forthcoming games) that offer much more, and for less cost.

Game Over Videogames CEO: I love you (RE Thanksgiving Memo)

Thanksgiving Background

Happy Thanksgiving to All – by which we mean, all those in the Upper Class in America. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If there’s any hope for America, it’s in people like David Kaelin, the President and CEO of Game Over Videogames.  He wrote a memorandum to his employees regarding the Thanksgiving holiday and it ended up being posted at Boycott Black Thursday, a Facebook page.  It is almost impossible to read the small image there, but an enlarged copy can be seen at a Nice World thread:  Black Thursday/Friday.   I’ve written it out here for your Thanksgiving joy, and as a reminder that there are still people in business who think of their employees as humans (that is, a thing that has thoughts and needs other than those of a robot) and are not afraid to say what they think of certain employers.

__________________

11/06/2014

From the Office of David Kaelin

President and CEO Game Over Videogames

Memorandum to All Employees

Subject:  Thanksgiving Holiday Scheduling

Attention Employees of Game Over Videogames,

Many of you have been asking if we will be open on Thanksgiving Day.

No, we will not be open on Thanksgiving Day.

I do not hate you.   You guys are awesome.   Why on earth would I do some god awful thing like make you work on Thanksgiving Day?  I can’t believe you even asked that.  What kind of evil- inconsiderate- heartless- soul-sucking- black pit of doom- employer would do that?

Enjoy the day off and spend time with your family.

Love,

David Kaelin

_______________

To sign a petition asking Kmart not to force their employees to work on Thanksgiving, go here:  https://www.coworker.org/petitions/kmart-close-early-on-thanksgiving

_______________

The following information is from a petition to Walmart:

Income inequality is the highest it’s been since 1928. Corporate profits are at an all-time high. Meanwhile, wages are at the lowest point since 1948 – even as productivity increases.

No one family is driving this trend quite like Walmart’s owners, the Waltons. The Walton family is the richest family in America with nearly $150 billion in wealth and as much money as 43% of American families combined. And yet, most Walmart workers make less than just $25,000 a year. That’s why community members are joining their calls for increased wages and access to hours. Stand with us and join us on Black Friday if the Waltons fail to respond.

_______________

America, the land of opportunity!  For the already wealthy and powerful to suck the wealth out of the powerless workers, that is.

“Gay Love” by K. Smart: Excerpts and Pulled Verses

There is no shortage of information available on the internet regarding what the Bible says about sin and salvation in general, and homosexual acts as sin in particular.  I came across an article by Kevin Smart (I think it’s actually by his wife, however!) at Light & Life Communications and thought it was good, so I want to share it.  Also, the article contains references to biblical verses regarding homosexuality, so I’ve written them out here for your reference.

For anyone who comes to this article and wants to rave about how I’m picking on a certain sin and somehow that negates the points made–please, don’t be absurd.  Sin is sin, no matter WHICH sin it is (if one can in all seriousness claim that the Bible doesn’t condemn homosexual practices, then in all seriousness, it doesn’t condemn anything).  The reason why Smart’s article exists, and others like it, is because so many people are trying to make homosexual acts NOT a sin when they clearly are in God’s view.  The worldly embrace of homosexuality has entered the church and thus it’s a big issue indeed.  Who would accept a church that embraces adultery the same way?  That would be funny, wouldn’t it, to see a bunch of leaders in churches who are proud practitioners of adultery?  Adulterous acts and homosexual acts are both sexual sin–they are outside of God’s provision of marriage between one man and one woman.

Gay Love

A formerly nonexistent point of view in the Christian community is increasingly becoming a popular opinion: A heterosexual union is the ideal, but a monogamous union of a homosexual couple is acceptable to God.

I have wondered in the past whether or not I had any right to question a homosexual’s lifestyle if that individual maintained a monogamous relationship. God has blessed me with many beautiful friendships in my life. Over the years as the homosexual backgrounds of some friends have been revealed to me, I have become somewhat perplexed about why I, as a heterosexual Christian, would have so many friends and acquaintances who are gay.

. . . .  Christians need to be reminded, as I have been, that they are the salt for their homosexual neighbors. They have what it takes — God’s grace — for homosexuals to be freed of their thorns in the flesh, the sins in their lives. We as Christians need to show God’s unconditional love to homosexuals to such an extent that they become more attracted to God in our lives than they are to a member of the same sex. If our neighbor finds in us the love of Jesus Christ, he or she may turn from homosexuality’s embrace. We should not close them out of our lives.

. . . .  Many homosexual Christian activists argue that Christians who condemn homosexuality based on biblical grounds are taking the Bible’s references to homosexuality out of context. There has been much written in support of Christians practicing homosexuality, as these writers retranslate and reinterpret Scripture in favor of homosexuality.

Without taking on the task systematically, I would like to simplify the classic argument against homosexual practice, while not intending to oversimplify it. We need only look to Genesis to meditate on the fact that God created man, and then woman, in His image to be united in exclusive intimacy. Genesis unmistakably teaches that God made man and woman to become one flesh. This is the good and perfect will of God, which men and women have since disobeyed and marred in all forms of sin, including homosexuality and transsexuality, which are condemned explicitly elsewhere in Scripture (rather than just implicitly in the Genesis Creation narrative): Genesis 19; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Deuteronomy 22:5; Deuteronomy 23:17; Judges 19; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:10-11; Romans 1:26-27; Matthew 19:4-5; Mark 10:6-7; and Jude 1:7.  [see the verses written out below]

. . . .  Condemning homosexual relations, I’m well aware, is not socially or politically popular at present, but as Christians we are called to be not politically correct but biblically correct, to seek God’s righteousness and to be molded into the likeness of Christ. . . .  Nevertheless, we can be friends, mentors, prayer partners, accountability peers and witnesses to the gays and lesbians in our lives. Heterosexuals should not think that because we do not have a homosexual past we cannot witness to a homosexual neighbor. In fact, a homosexual who is searching may find the health and restoration he or she needs within the environment surrounding a loving, godly married couple who invites him or her into their lives through friendship and Christian witness. . . .

. . . .  Read more at the link provided (article title)!

Verses (from the NIV) for the biblical references given in the article only (excluding Genesis 19 and Judges 19):

Leviticus 18:22:   Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.

Leviticus 20:13:  If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Deuteronomy 22:5:  A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.  [Considering when this was written, surely if someone wore the cloths of the opposite sex it was meant as an act of deception.]

Deuteronomy 23:17:  No Israelite man or woman is to become a shrine prostitute. [“There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.” 1 Kings 14:24]

1 Corinthians 6:9-11:  Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Timothy 1:[8]-11:  We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.  We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

Romans 1:26-27:  Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.  In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.  Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Matthew 19:4-[6] (and Mark 10:6-7):  “Haven’t you read,” he [Jesus] replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joinedtwo-kinds-of-people-by-cs-lewis_zpsbcb8ec60 together, let no one separate.”

Jude 1:7:  In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

No players showing on Destiny locations

A crazy, multi-frame shot from right before battling the Vex and Sol Progeny.

A crazy, multi-frame shot from right before battling the Vex and Sol Progeny.

I don’t know the technology behind servers for video games like Destiny, but for quite some time now I have seen no other players.  I was on Mars for quite some time, gathering relic iron and waiting for a public event, and I didn’t see a single soul the whole time.  I went to Venus to gather spirit bloom and saw . . . not a single player.  I went to The Tower and saw no one.  But, right now, the little “radar” map in the upper left corner is showing people around me (blue dots and blue arrows); yet I see no one.  The radar on the planets never indicated that anyone was around the whole time.

I haven’t found anything online about this, so if you know anything about it I’d love to hear it.  I would also love to find a REAL place where a person can report bugs and tech issues to Bungie.  If you know of such a place, please leave a comment!  Also, if you’d like to do the special level 26 strike for The Thorn hand cannon, let me know–my son needs to get that finished and it’s a bit of a strain doing it alone.

Update.  This morning, the issue was still the same.  I went to the Bungie “help” page (what a joke), didn’t see a post with the same issue,  so reported it.  But, having the notion that Bungie wasn’t going to actually help, I took the disc out of the XBOX one, put in Garden Warfare, and played a round.  All was good – it’s not our internet settings or the like.  I then put the Destiny disc back in, signed in, and now I can see players.  This is just weird and we have not had issues like this with other games.  There is also a weird sound issue that is unique!

A Destiny Black Garden Photo Album

Some photos taken while in the Black Garden.  If by chance you want to use any, you may as long as you include the url of this page.  If you want to know more about the game, you can see Destiny, A New Kind of Online Multi-Player Video Game and Destiny’s Notebook.  Thanks!

A crazy, multi-frame shot from right before battling the Vex and Sol Progeny.

A crazy, multi-frame shot from right before battling the Vex and Sol Progeny.

 

Me sitting at an interior garden area.  It was so peaceful . . . after I eliminated my attackers.

Me sitting at an interior garden area. It was so peaceful . . . after I eliminated my attackers.

Flowers in the Black Garden (interior, mostly).

Flowers in the Black Garden (interior, mostly).

More flowers in the Black Garden

 

This doesn't show it well, but bubbles float up out of the water in the Black Garden.

This doesn’t show it well, but bubbles float up out of the water in the Black Garden.

 

The Black Garden after you go through the initial interior area.  From here, you descend.

The Black Garden after you go through the initial interior area. From here, you descend.

 

As you descend toward the heart, you realize, for sure, that you're underground. The diamond is not a glitch, but a floating species of the Garden.

As you descend toward the heart, you realize, for sure, that you’re underground. The diamond is not a glitch, but a floating species of the Garden.

An interior Black Garden view.

An interior Black Garden view.

 

Black Garden, colorful door area to outside space.

Black Garden, colorful door area to outside space.

 

Black Heart, view from just-opened door.

Black Heart, view from just-opened door.

 

One image I would’ve like to include was of the garden after this door was opened.  Apparently, the darkness that was let through was enough to destroy, or at least corrupt, the beauty of the rest of the garden.  All turned lifeless tan and dark, with red sky.

Worshiping Vex with a Sol Progeny statue toward back.

Worshiping Vex with a Sol Progeny statue toward back.

 

Yep, I don't think I was welcome.

Yep, I don’t think I was welcome.

 

Please see the first image in this album for what happens next, me getting ready to battle.  There are no battle images here as I was tooo busy.  ^_^   For more game info and images, please see Destiny’s Notebook, right here at my blog.