Pokémon Go Deeper

Rarely a slave to fads (I regularly wear a 12th century knockoff garb), I was with my niece this week at the beach and we decided to try out Pokémon Go.  To describe what this is (if, like me, you tend to live a bit of a sheltered life) would take entirely too long.  But I found the phrase that is used to describe this new game to be fascinating: “augmented reality”.  To differentiate it from “virtual” reality, augmented reality lets you see your real world environment with items that have been supplemented or superimposed (in this case, Pokémon characters).  While I was bored with Pokémon Go in less than 5 minutes, the concept of augmented reality has stuck in my head.  I wonder if the craze may not be telling us something about a deeper desire within.

The past few weeks have found our nation embroiled in a series of challenging social situations which cause most of us, regardless of our perspective, to not like the reality that we see.  As we seek to better understand each other, it almost seems implausible that the way we see each other in reality, cannot get past some of the characterizations that have framed our point of view for years.  It is as if we need an “augmented reality” – something to be inserted into the lens of our lives so that we can see each other differently – to see each other anew.  But I wonder if we will find the right “something” to insert – hopefully something more meaningful than Charizard and Mewtwo (Pokémon characters – I had to Google it!).

This Sunday we have the famous Gospel story in Luke of Martha and Mary.  Often portrayed as some epic struggle between work and contemplation (false dichotomy in my book), Jesus deeper teaching here is to hold up Mary not for her sloth (Martha’s take) but rather for her ability to augment her reality with Jesus.  Mary has “chosen the better portion” because she is consumed with Jesus.  He is the lens through which she sees the world and this will “not be taken from her”.  Mary augmented her reality with the one and only image that has the power to transform our world view.  How about you?

While many of us will be like Martha as we slavishly work hard to change our culture, we will similarly see everyone else who doesn’t do what we do or see it as we see it as “slackers”.  But understand that even our greatest efforts at dialogue, listening, activism, and social change will fall short if they simply look at reality from our perspective.  We are all flawed and in need of a savior – an augmented reality that took place on Calvary 2000 years ago.  Imagine that being the new supplement to our social dialogue?  Imagine that being what we add to our way of seeing our life, our work, and each other?


Fr. Mike
fr.mike@duke.edu  c. 919-316-8763 / w. 919-684-1882
Follow me on Twitter @TheDukePriest