Pokemon Go & The Light of The World

Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past few weeks, you undoubtedly have heard about the latest gaming craze: Pokemon Go.  Both of my older boys played Pokemon video games when they were small, and my oldest boy collected Pokemon cards, if I recall.  

So what is Pokemon (if you are wondering)?  Pokemon is a game where you capture magical/mystical animals, and then train them to use their magical/mystical powers to combat other magical/mystical animals in friendly competition.  The more experience points your creatures obtain, the more they "evolve" and develop skills to become better at the friendly competition.  

Pokemon Go uses smart phone technology to take the video game out of the house and into the great wide world.  EVERYWHERE you go, you encounter pokemon creatures to capture (including my church, which is a "poke-stop").  

The small town where my church is located has already hosted a night where Pokemon Go players gathered to capture pokemon, and play the game with hundreds of other people. It was such a success, they've already planned another.  

Author Trevin Wax wrote about the unbelievable popularity of Pokemon Go, and how it seems to be bringing people together in odd kinds of ways.  He wrote: 

"The popularity of Pokémon Go tells us something about American life in the 21st century. Many people experience the world as flattened out and devoid of wonder, and they worry that our society seems to be fracturing. These feelings create pressure points in our culture, and Pokémon Go provides a fleeting sense of relief."

From the beginning of all things, God created human beings to be in community.  Genesis 2:18 begins with these words, "The LORD God said it is not good for (the man) to be alone..."  Sadly, in our culture it feels like we are constantly working against God's intentions for us with a tremendous amount of zeal. 

My oldest boy told me how he was out "poke-hunting" with some friends late at night in the small town where he spent most of his high school years.  The town was full of older teens and young adults doing the same thing.  He told me that he was reunited with kids he hadn't seen in years.  

In an odd way, this strange little game has gotten a lot of people off the couch and out in the world where they are discovering one another again--discovering their humanity and connectedness.  

Christians have a lot to learn from this, I believe.  After all, Jesus told his followers, 

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)

I think the dominant narrative in Christian culture for so long has been to withdraw from society, to hold "the world" at arms length.  Christians have held on to the bad theology echoed in that old gospel song, "This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through."  

As long as Christians hold on to that mentality, they will never fully engage a world that desperately needs a word of hope.  Like Pokemon Go players, we need to take our "game" off the couch and out into the streets.  

May you find new ways to be the light of Christ every single day of your life, and every single place you go.  May you encounter those who need to hear your story of redemption, and how that same story can be theirs as well.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always.  Amen.  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Lord Needs It: Lessons From A Donkey

An Open Letter To Our Muslim Neighbors

An Announcement