I have a theory as to why video games like “Call of Duty” are so popular these days. I believe all of us, especially men, are created with a desire to conquer. It is an innate desire to overcome evil, to defeat enemies, to be the hero.
Video games offer a chance to get the satisfaction of conquering, the feeling of accomplishment, without any real risk. I can defeat the enemy without having to really fear for my life. I can become the hero without having to chance anything real. The greatest real danger I face in a video game is carpal tunnel syndrome.
I think the same can be said for social media. We were created with a need for community. In the Garden of Eden God said of man, “It is not good for him to be alone.” We are wired for connection, for fellowship, for intimacy. Social media provides the chance for me to find community, again without any real risk. I don’t have to make myself vulnerable on Facebook. I don’t have to uncover anything about myself I wish to keep hidden. I don’t have to look someone in the face and reveal who I really am. I can have lots of friends, yet lack a single friendship.
Entertainment, pornography, shopping: all are counterfeits meant to give us a certain feeling without responsibility. I get a temporary emotional high, yet I haven’t had to open myself to inspection by another human being, or by God.
I think our modern model of “church” has created this same isolation and lack of vulnerability.
We go to a building with several hundred (or thousand) other lonely souls, sit in a pew, listen to a sermon. The whole time, no one has to know I’m suffering. No one has to know that I’m depressed, or that my marriage is falling apart. We get the spiritual satisfaction without the real vulnerability to which Christ has called us. We can hide in a big church, we can’t hide in a small group of real community.
There is a real world out there, with real problems. It is in need of real people with real solutions. The world doesn’t need counterfeit conquerers, it needs real warriors. The poor don’t need fake help, they need real people who are willing to lay down their lives on their behalf. The broken and wounded all around us don’t need institutional church, they need real people, serving a real God with real answers.
God intimately knows everything about me, and has redeemed me anyway. He is my Father, He is my protector, He is my power. I no longer need to fear enemies. I no longer need to hide behind a false face. I can be real, because I serve a real God who is on my side no matter what.
Let’s put down the fake. We’ve settled for second best for far too long. Let’s quit seeking those false emotional highs. Let’s allow God to ground our feet in reality, becoming His ambassadors to the world around us.
Let’s start building a real kingdom.