Rev. Susan Sparks
America's only female comedian with a pulpit and author of Laugh Your Way to Grace
Posted: 02/20/2013 10:23 am
Many probably think I'm on a slippery slope to hell. I drink beer, I dance, and God help me, I'm a Baptist minister. However, it's not the Stella Artois or tango lessons that are greasing my downward slide. The real shocker? My belief that online gaming may revive organized religion.
STOP. Don't close this page because you think I'm talking about violent games. I'm not. This is about an entirely different genre; this is about games that are changing the world.
I began to understand the power of online games last November when I was invited to participate in a panel discussion with Jane McGonigal, world-renowned gaming theorist, CCO of The Institute of the Future and author of the New York Times bestseller "Reality is Broken."
Not being a gamer myself (my last foray was Ms. Pac-Man in the '80s), I was skeptical of how our respective worlds overlapped. I envisioned us discussing ordained avatars and virtual communion wafers. Yet after a provocative panel discussion (and a standing ovation from the audience), it became clear that religion and games share way more than religious apps and virtual churches. They share a mutual end goal: to offer a healing alternative to our broken world.
It's just that one is doing a much better job than the other.