Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Kingdom of God Video Game

What would a video game based on the Kingdom of God look like?

I do not play video games.  I never really have.  Not only do I not find them very interesting, but I cannot press all the right buttons on the controller at the right time in order to move or jump or spin or whatever is needed.  I have never accepted an invitation on Facebook to play any game (I do play Words with Friends on my phone, though).  One day, though, when I saw that a friend had posted something on the Facebook page for an Android/iPhone/iPad game called "Rule the Kingdom", I started to think about a couple of things.  First, I wondered what it was all about; I assumed the goal is to end up in control of the Kingdom by advancing through a series of levels.  Then, I started to wonder what a video game based on the Kingdom of God would look like and how it would be played.

"Rule the Kingdom" is billed as "An unprecedented blend of RPG action, city-building, farming and storytelling!" and a couple of the goals of the game are:
  • Defeat legendary enemies with your loyal squad of hearty warriors.
  • Shatter your foes with deadly spells; train your warriors to defeat the most dangerous monsters!
  • Direct your subjects to gather various resources; become the most powerful kingdom in the empire.
I couldn't find out much more from that webpage but I am guessing that in order to advance, one must earn points or something and then finally one can earn one's way to the very top and be the most powerful person in the most powerful kingdom.  I mean, that is generally how we think in our society, isn't it?  

But the Kingdom of God video game would look a lot different.  

First, none of the players can actually become the King, because there already is one.

Things the King does:
  • Be born in a stable to a mom who first was an unwed pregnant teen
  • Be seen with partying with people who are the lowest of the low
  • Have your family think you are mentally ill
  • Let a woman study from you like the men do
  • Die and be considered a failure
Things the King's followers do, even though none of these things actually gets you any points or earns you anything:
  • Leave everything to follow the King
  • Be confused about what the King is teaching you
  • Go out into the country with a friend to spread the news of the King and take nothing with you
  • Give away all your possessions
  • Aim to be last, not first
  • Love your enemies
  • Be persecuted
  • Pray for those who persecute you
  • Die to yourself
Through all of these things, you will see glimpses of the Kingdom, but it won't be fully realized while you are playing the game.  Oh, and you only get one life in which to play it (but it's an abundant one).

It's not the type of video game that would sell very well, is it?  Is it no wonder that we tend to downplay this way of Kingdom Life when we tell people about Jesus?  We talk about how great Jesus is and how we get to go to heaven when we die, but we skip over the hard parts.  It's not a good sell.  

And sometimes, we don't even really think about these things for ourselves.  We only think about the good parts, the parts that are like the fun kingdom video games where the hero always wins, and we get to be the hero.  

How often do we think about what the Kingdom is really like?  Or do we think of it more like this video game, where the good guys dominate and overpower the bad guys, and ultimately gain control?  

What are ways that we can stop thinking in these types of terms and instead start realizing what the Kingdom really is about?

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