I Killed My Last Pokemon

My original thought for installing Pokemon was for online interaction. Pokemon hasn’t any online interaction. The interaction I read on an article comes from the face-to-face encounters while playing Pokemon.
I do see the value of video gaming in missions, but I am not a video game person. In fact, our Wii is now in storage. We haven’t played it for a year. That, too, was great for get-togethers and online interaction. Pokemon riveted the country and had very intense reactions when it came out.
The people against Pokemon spoke out about it as if it were a political figure. A security firm zero’d in on the security weaknesses in the app and created a way for companies to kill Pokemon (literally). My newsfeed for a few weeks was a storm of adverse reactions. So here’s my take on Pokemon.
Pokemon has been uninstalled from my phone, but not because I’m in the anti-Pokemon party. Pokemon has some points to consider and churches should be encouraged to use it. Pokemon gyms are popping up. People are using it to connect in face-to-face situations. Conversations and good-hearted competition are occuring. Like any online tool, there are drawbacks and safety concerns.
Just a reminder: Pokemon is just a game. Like in the days of World War II when people flocked to movies to escape from the reality of the war, Pokemon is a good distraction. It gets the kids and adults outside, teaches them about landmarks in their city, and leads them to face-to-face conversations. It brings the fun back into our over-serious, anxiety-ridden, quick-tempered, fearful society, and distracts us from violence, racism, hate, bigotry, terrorism, and the like.
The world is on fire. Let’s remember to have fun and connect with our friends and neighbors. It may not be Pokemon, but maybe you could think of something else.
  • Pokemon Go in a Fractured and Flattened World by TGC If you’re a parent who has questions about the game, check out this primer from Tony Kummer about what it is and how to avoid potential dangers (like, crossing the street without looking both ways!). Two friends of mine, Chris Martin and Aaron Earls, offer good advice for churches, as does Joshua Clayton of Southwestern Seminary. And there’s been some controversy regarding appropriate places to play. (Arlington Cemetery and the Holocaust Museum? Uh, no.) READ MORE

Don’t Scoff at What You Don’t Know

A month or two ago, J.D. Payne shared an article from NPR how women in Saudi Arabia had their first gaming convention. He did more than share an opportunity for gamers to befriend and share the Gospel; he taught me that news of missional opportunities don’t just lie in Christian publications, but exist in secular places.

Like this one,

“Many people will probably wonder why I’ve decided to do this,” read the beginning of the suicide note that Eris had scheduled to appear on his Tumblr on 27 April 2015, two days after his death. “I was sexually abused as a child … and have dealt with the consequences of that my entire life. Imagine going through life with an ever-present shadow hanging over you, worrying if you too might be like the people who destroyed your childhood and life.” (READ MORE)

A man on an online game, known for being a horrible person, committed suicide, or appeared to, until you realize he faked the whole thing. A brilliant person who went to great coding lengths to figure out his life. What surprised him was how much people cared about him and tried to follow up on his suicidal attempts and the ones who grieved his, “death.”

The writer ended the article with,

“As for Eris, he is feeling better – a change he credits to a new regime of antidepressants and returning to church. Not so much for the God-worshipping part, but because it’s nice to “sit and listen to a sermon and maybe talk to people afterwards”

The lesson here? Video games are awesome opportunities to reach out. This man was a computer programmer. He could be like the man you work with at your job or the guy that makes your coffee every morning. What if you reached out at work to your troubled co-worker while someone playing video games with him does the same? I think, before we scoff at these opportunities, we ought to really SEE.

READ this great article.