Pokemon Go! A Spiritual Hunger?

“When I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” Amos 8:11

During the week a new craze has swept across Australia called Pokemon Go!  The speed at which this new game has been picked up is astonishing.  It is what is known as an altered reality game.  As you look through the camera on your phone or tablet Pokemon, which is a shortening of the phrase ‘pocket monsters’, appear on your screen for you to capture.

The thing which stands out to me about this concept is the game promotes an altered view of reality, a notion that that there is a hidden world or life going on around us we cannot see.  It suggests that there is something more to this world than meets the eye.

For me it raises memories of books and films that have a similar idea of a hidden world around us.  Films like “The Sixth Sense” which has a boy able to see dead people – ghosts everywhere around him.  Teen books including the Harry Potter series and “The Spiderwick Chronicles”.  Fantasy novels like “Faerie Tale” by Stephen Donaldson or “The Magicians” by Lev Grossman.  There is a sense in all of these things that we want there to be more, we want a mystery to life.

For me it recognises a spiritual hunger that continues to lie within people.  In a world dominated by science and logic, a demythologised world, people continue to seek new myths.

As Christians we believe in the presence of God and the work of the Holy Spirit in the world.  We hold to a revelation and belief of there being something more.  Yet at the same time the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus affirms our earthly mundane lives (sometimes our drab, difficult, and/or boring existence).  In world where people are hungry for something more, for mystery, how do we continue to both affirm life as it is, as well as point people to the promise of a life beyond our current experience?  What markers of our faith matter in this life and what promises can be offered as an alternate reality?