When faced with writing for the local paper I was stuck for inspiration. I wrote the following on my Facebook page and awaited:
I’m supposed to be writing a 300 word (approx) topical piece for the local paper. Deadline 2pm today – totally without inspiration. Climate change – online gaming addiction – Covid – an actor accidentally shot someone on set having been handed a gun with live ammunition – Anton or Bruno on Strictly as judge – just a few stories in the news but which to chose ????
I was pleased to see that I had a few suggestions
- The accidental shooting might be interesting, particularly as Alec Baldwin is quite loud about Christian (I’m fairly sure its him not his brother anyway).
- Online gaming addiction is a powerful story -some of the worlds that people escape into are so deep and rich – with history and lore…. and people form closer friendships there than in real life! Why? Because for so many of us, the real world is a place where we feel insignificant and meaningless… but in these online worlds we can be champions, pursue quests, save worlds, become kings/queens, travel through galaxies and have a “life” that seems to make sense….
- Ah Definitely Alec Baldwin and how this will effect him, and how he will have to try to forgive himself and what forgiveness is possible for the families of the deceased. Quite a few different spins on that story.
- What I did on my holidays!!
No.2 reminded me of the illustration our Reader used when preaching on Sunday and an interview I saw with Greta Thunburg where she said she was a different person in private compared to public. So I went along those lines.
This is what I submitted to the paper – a bit longer than 300 words, but they are OK with that. I could have written much more, especially when I started to look into the various on-line games.
If you had to describe yourself using a fictitious character, who would it be? It’s an interesting question and one that I find difficult to answer. As children we get absorbed into fiction, identifying with characters in stories. As adults we continue this as we either watch films and TV or read books. It is a great escape to switch off from our reality and become part of something else. Many people during the pandemic binge watched TV shows. I must admit to watching a couple of series that way.
However, online gaming takes this to another level. People can escape into deep and rich fantasy worlds, becoming dragon slayers, solve mysteries, save the planet, build a farm, and so much more. With on-line communities they can interact with other people forming closer friendships than with people in real life.
These games are sophisticated and highly addictive, with increasing numbers of people affected. There’s now an online support group for people struggling with gaming addiction: Game Quitters, with more than 75,000 members worldwide. The founder struggled for 10 years during which he dropped out of education and deceived his family. He even considered ending his life. The pandemic has seen many gamers relapsing.
I am not surprised. There but for the Grace of God, perhaps, go I. For many people the real world is a place where they feel insignificant and meaningless. However, there is another reality open for anyone to join where we can feel and be highly significant and contribute in a meaningfully. When we accept the invitation to join with Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection we are adopted into God’s family. We become a beloved son or daughter of God and as such join with him in the great adventure of changing the world into a better place. We may not have dramatic weapons to zap the enemy, but we have something greater. We have God’s love and the same power that raised Jesus from the dead working in and through us enabling us to be salt and light in the world. I pray that many more of us become absorbed into that reality.