Biblical Example of Tilting and Mental Booms

Imagine holding one of those classic kaleidoscopes to your eye while a baby is babbling incessantly in the background. The colors. The movement. The unrecognizable shapes. Language you don’t understand.  That’s what it was like watching my first League of Legends game play video.  Five minutes with a League video was all I needed.

League’s Tilting and Mental Booms Can Be Leveraged for God

But it’s all good, because I’m only using League as a gateway into a conversation about repentance, obedience, and salvation through references to the game play vernacular of tilting and mental booms. For this I don’t need to understand League in any kind of detail.  (But if you do want to understand it better, read this League game description.)

Having seen League once and hearing about tilting and mental booms, I had enough to open a conversation about a teen’s game play experience. Do you know a League player or someone who watches game play videos about League?  Does anything they ever say about League elicit in you a memory of something described in the Bible? It did for me; I thought of Jonah.

What is Tilting and Mental Boom?

I have heard that playing League is emotional and stressful.  A player may find himself “tilting,” or losing his composure, when things don’t go his way. Once he is then “taxed or exhausted to the point where [his] decision making becomes compromised,” he is “mental boomed.”  Being mental boomed, his performance is typically negatively affected.  He may no longer care if he wins or not.  Teammates, worried about losing the game, may become anxious about his game play.

Those common gaming terms are effective segues into similar concepts or examples in the Bible.  In this case, where in the Bible have characters “tilted”?  Use your imagination—and your teen’s—to introduce comparisons between his game play and his Bible knowledge. He may not naturally connect League to anything he has heard at church, but there’s no reason you can’t show him a connection.

Jonah Tilted Until He Went Full Mental Boom

Didn’t Jonah tilt in fear when he felt threatened by having to preach in notorious Nineveh? The fear compromised his decision making, and he had a mental boom: He fled to Tarshish to hide from God’s request.  He had forgotten 2 Tim 1:7.

The fuller story is that Jonah was a prophet whom God asked to preach to the very large city of Nineveh. He was to encourage them to turn away from their wicked, murderous ways. Jonah was to exhort them to repent and be saved from God’s wrath.

Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh. And he didn’t really want Nineveh to be saved, because he hated and feared this enemy. Jonah tilted so far at this request that he bolted.  He ended up in a boat on the sea, fleeing in the opposite direction of Nineveh.

Jonah’s Phone Died

Although Jonah sailed away, some fearful seamen threw him overboard. Jonah himself felt God had “hurled him into the deep” (v 2:3). That’s where the very well-known, very large fish swallowed him. So, his mental boom was to flee from his God-ordained assignment. It gave him some thinking time in the belly of a fish. “The currents were swirling around him” (v. 2:3). “Seaweed was wrapped around his head” (v. 2:5). He had a sad, momentary thought that it would have made a decent TikTok video. Alas, his iPhone had died. (Release the tension of your ‘instruction’ with an unexpected anachronism like this last point.)

With nothing else to do, Jonah prayed (v. 2:1). He knew that only God could hear his cry and rescue him.  And God did. But when the fish spat him out, God again instructed him to go to Nineveh.  This time Jonah didn’t tilt. He didn’t lose his composure and run away out of fear.  He obeyed God and told the people there to repent. And they did. Because of their repentance God was compassionate, and He didn’t destroy Nineveh for its wickedness.

Key Takeaways from This Biblical Connection

Jonah learned obedience from that experience. (And that he should avoid schadenfreude.) Jonah was instead to be concerned with people who weren’t living godly lives. He should help people repent and be saved. And to do it in the power of God, without all the tilting and mental booming.

 The Bible is about real life (as well as the supernatural life). Learning Bible narratives helps you to show your teen how pertinent the Bible is to his life. You can use humor and anachronisms to help your listener stay tuned in.  Ultimately, the connections you offer will help him draw his own connections through time.  And that will lead him through this game of life—if not League of Legends—and help him gain biblical insight.