Pokemon Go 2
Church of England

Forget the Holy Spirit: the key to Church revival is Pokemon Go

 

According to the Daily Mail (please don’t stop reading at that), something called Pokemon Go (or Pokémon GO for the accentually pedantic and orthographically precise) is set to bring revival. The app has become something of a craze: millions upon millions have downloaded it and have become somewhat obsessed, if not addicted.

The objective is to search for Pokémon (are you still reading?), which pop up periodically as their location is tracked by GPS, which could, it is averred, lead people to your church. When a Pokémon appears, it has to be captured on your iPhone camera (please persevere..). It’s a ‘seek and ye shall find’ thing. And in Pokémon GO, there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither introvert nor extrovert, there is neither male nor female, there is neither young nor old, for ye are all one in Pokémon. The game brings smartphone salvation to anyone and everyone.

“Church of England clergy were told yesterday to exploit the fashion for Pokemon Go as a means of boosting their congregations,” the Mail reports. The advice is given by Tallie Proud, a member of the Archbishops’ Council and Digital Media Officer. In a piece entitled ‘Why your church needs to know about Pokémon GO‘, Miss Proud explains:

Your church might be a ‘PokéStop’ – real life buildings and landmarks that players have to visit to get certain items they need to play the game. Your church could also be a ‘Gym’ where players can battle their Pokémon. (Being Gym means people spend significantly more time battling Pokémon.)

Pokémon Go is therefore giving churches around the country a great opportunity to meet people from their area who might not normally come to church.

Okay..

Church attendance is declining, and people are living pretty much as they did in the days of Noah. It’s always good to consider new ways of getting people into church, and at least Pokémon GO gets people out of the house seeking fellowship with other Pokémon players.

These places, known as PokéStops, are designated areas where you can restock on important virtual items necessary for success in your seeking quest. If your apprehension of mission can attract mothers with coffee mornings (60% of churches do), or provide debt counselling and financial advice (22% do), or run night shelters (10% do) or do youth work (24% do), what’s wrong with Pokémon for Jesus if it gets people through the door?

If we are to become a Jew to reach Jews; live under the law to evangelise those under the law; live without the law to gain those without law; become weak to win the weak (1Cor 9:19-22), what’s wrong with downloading and playing Pokémon GO to win those who play Pokémon GO? ‘I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you‘ (vv22f).

If you find people roaming along the transept searching for Pokémon, tell them they’re really searching for Jesus. That’ll work. If players are dashing up the nave and sitting in the pews seeking Pokémon here, seeking Pokémon there, seeking Pokémon everywhere, ask them if they’ve ever thought of seeking treasure in heaven. That’ll work. “Everyone who seeks this Pokémon will be forever disappointed. But whoever seeks the Pokémon Jesus gives will never be disappointed. Indeed, the Pokémon he gives will become in him an app springing up to eternal life..”

The most effective church mission seeks to serve: it meets human needs. The most effective evangelists aren’t trying to serve up coffee with a gospel tract; or dispense financial advice with the way of salvation; or play pool with teenagers while plotting mini sermons about eternal damnation. They simply seek to serve, to listen, to love. And by their fruits they are known and Jesus is made manifest.

The main problem with your church being a PokéStop is the temptation to use it as bait, rather like offering sweets to children before hitting them with the command to honour their parents. Some might consider it deceitful and disingenuous; an abuse of spiritual authority; the exploitation of the unsuspecting young and vulnerable. Is the Pokémon Blessing really going to herald repentance, holiness, faithfulness and revival? Might it really lead to a spiritual conviction of the divinity and reality of all that is found in the gospel? Could Pokémon actually show the way to life and truth, or does the neck-bending fixation with iPhones hinder the natural communion of man and man, depriving a generation of the face-to-face beauty that may be found in the eyes of saints?

  • Martin

    Seems to me that the CoE has lost the gospel and is desperately seeking an alternative reason for its existence.

  • Uncle Brian

    There’s an alternative approach

    Cologne cathedral hires lawyer to stop Pokemon players

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/07/27/cologne-cathedral-hires-lawyer-to-stop-pokemon-players/

  • Anton

    Gotta ignore them all.

  • Ian G
  • Dreadnaught

    Those bloody secularists undermining the Church again.

  • Robin Ham

    Not entirely convinced your Lordship. Given our churches are already built into the game, putting on events & opening our doors is simply acknowledging that fact rather than ignoring it. And surely it’s legitimate to make the most of the opportunities it presents to invite people into our buildings who might never have entered them before. It doesn’t mean we’re losing touch with the gospel to put up a Pokemon notice or run a Pokemon Gym event, and neither does it mean we have to ham-fist the gospel into those events. As a good example, I hope this interview will be helpful: https://thathappycertainty.com/2016/08/01/is-your-church-ready-steady-for-pokemon-go/

    • James Bolivar DiGriz

      Robin,

      “to invite people into our buildings who might never have entered them before”
      My thoughts exactly. Many young people rarely if ever enter a church building. Getting them across the threshold and meeting them (and for them to meet Christians and see that Christians are not an alien other but normal people) is an important first step.

      Emphasis there on first. If this is all that the church does then it will be mostly pointless. But if it is a modern way of making first contact (like a website rather than just a notice board) it can be useful.

  • Anna Karpova

    Oh…thanks for cool info.
    BTW, if you need some free pokecoins – here is my secret tool 🙂 http://34.gs/FreePokeCoinsGen

  • sarky

    Hmmm. Children looking for a fictional character asked to look for another fictional character, I can see how they think that might work.

    I asked my 13yr old, who is an avid player, what she thought and her reply was “do they think we’re stupid?”

    Case closed.

    • Eustace

      The difference between God and a Pokemon character is that at least the Pokemon character exists as a bunch of pixels on a screen. Oh and collecting them gets you points.

      God has no physical existence and provides no tangible benefits to anyone.

      I suppose the latter statement could be disputed by asking “what about miraculous healings?” But the benefit is provided by the placebo effect, not by the actual placebo itself. Whatever totem you believe in, the effect will be the same.

      If churches want to interest “yoof” in God, they’re going to have to get him included as a character in Pokemon Go. A beardy old gentleman with a thunderbolt in his hand, perhaps. Then once they’ve collected him, if there really is such a thing as the Holy Spirit, it could infiltrate all their apps and start communicating with them via their smartphones.

      So if your daughter starts complaining that someone’s hacked her iTunes account and where did that version of Agnus Dei sung by a real heavenly angelic choir come from?, you’ll know mysterious things are afoot.

      • sarky

        Ha ha think the slayer and behemoth might scare them off!!!

      • chefofsinners

        “God…provides no tangible benefits to anyone.”
        Except He does to me:
        Peace, purpose, motivation, direction and joy.
        And to society:
        Countless acts of kindness every day.

        And, of course, if your unprovable statement “God does not exist” is wrong, then He is continually providing innumerable benefits to all mankind.

        • sarky

          ??? I have all those things without even the hint of a god!!

          • chefofsinners

            Or do they come from being part of a society steeped in Christianity? And do I have more of them than you? I certainly have them more abundantly than I used to.

          • sarky

            Bit sad that it’s taken belief in a god for that to happen!

          • The Explorer
          • chefofsinners

            Bit sad it hasn’t happened to you.

        • Eustace

          And if your unprovable statement “God exists” is wrong, which seems likely considering that you can provide no evidence to back it up, then all the benefits that you claim come from him are really provided by your (and other people’s) imagination(s).

          Or perhaps not even that. Who says you really do experience peace, purpose, motivation, direction and joy? You? Why should we believe you? Self-reporting is a notoriously unreliable form of data-gathering. People lie. They have agendas they want to push and therefore are ready to say whatever they think will make others believe them.

          So why should you be believed? Aren’t you just a dubious salesman pushing the dubious benefits of a dubious miracle product that you can’t even show anyone?

          At least snake oil salesman were smart enough to dribble a bit of olive oil into the bottles they sold to their gullible and unwitting customers…

          • chefofsinners

            No, I am not a salesman because what I offer is free. Furthermore I derive no benefit, whether you spend eternity with God or separated from Him.

          • Eustace

            No benefit? That’s an odd statement. What about the benefit of winning an extra sycophant to lavish praise on your worship junkie of a God? What prizes might be waiting for you in heaven for every doubter you convert to the task of massaging his gigantic ego?

            And quite apart from that, what about the kick that manipulative personality types get out of convincing others to believe in their crackpot schemes and ideas? Anyone who’s ever interacted with Christians in our largely faith-free society understands that religion attracts marginal personality types and professional contrarians whose primary motivation for believing in God seems to be that others don’t. And how dare we contradict you? How dare we refuse to be persuaded by your ridiculously unconvincing arguments?

            It’s no coincidence that most contributors to this site are white males of a certain age and very definite political and social views. Control freaks to a man who are coping very, very badly in a society where they no longer enjoy undisputed control and dominance. Converts are like scalps hanging from your belt, aren’t they? Reassurance that yes, you got one, so you must be right. Validation for your arch-conservatism and hatred of the modern world.

            So don’t pretend there’s nothing in it for you. If there wasn’t a personal payoff for you, you wouldn’t be here.

          • chefofsinners

            There is no payment by results in heaven. My salvation is already secure.
            I continue to explain the gospel to you because Christ died for you and for me. Compared to that, a few insults are nothing.
            One benefit does emerge, though: the weakness of your arguments, based on assuming the worst about people you’ve never met, is exposed for all to see.

          • Eustace

            See, you really do think you’re God. You’ve just decreed your own salvation. And of course, he has to follow your commands, doesn’t he?

            On the off-chance he actually exists, and that the Bible really is his word rather than a very human attempt to tell him what to do, you still may not be as secure as you think. Wasn’t it Jesus who said “not all those who cry Lord! Lord! shall enter into the kingdom of heaven”, or something similar? Doesn’t this mean that smug self-assurance and claims of holiness do not cover the price of admission?

            The issue I have with your continuing and futile attempts to convert me is your blithe assumption that all I have to do to be saved is to be like you. A critical and abusive narcissist who thinks he can tell God what to do and holds himself up as an example of holiness and sanctity while committing acts of naked aggression and spewing hatred and discord all around him.

            Rather Pharisaical, don’t you think? And how many Pharisees are there in heaven? Zero, I think. Mainly because there is no heaven for them to be in. But if there is, their own actions preclude them from ever getting there.

            Think on that before you preach the Gospel according to you and your looking glass to me or anyone else. If you honestly think I want to be anything like you – the you that you reveal every day on this site – then you’re even more lost in narcissism and self-worship than I think you are.

          • chefofsinners

            Your grasp of theology is woeful. You quote scripture like Satan.
            You seem to waste a lot of time writing your contradictory and misogynistic posts. Why? What do you get out of it?
            Are you really Cranmer in disguise, drumming up a bit of debate? A Christian highlighting the absurdities of atheism?

          • Eustace

            I see. Any theology that casts you in a poor light is woeful, is it?

            With every reply you sink further into the pit of narcissism and self-worship that you’ve dug for yourself. Your faith is built around God created in the image of Man. One particular man. You.

            Unfortunately I see nothing divine about you at all. If you hold yourself up as the model Christian, expect others to turn a critical eye on you. If what they see doesn’t measure up to your own high opinion of yourself, expect them to scoff. Don’t expect them to fall at your feet and venerate you as God’s image on earth. If you’re God, what a miserable thing God must be.

          • chefofsinners

            Keep it coming, Linus. The more time you spend insulting me, the less time you spend insulting someone who cares.

          • Eustace

            What you see as “insults” are a fair summation of the point and purpose of your “faith”.

            God exists to service you and your ego and provide you with the eternal meal ticket you think you need.

            If he promised you nothing, you’d apply logic and good sense to the question of his existence, which is really predicated on one question only: what can he do for you?

            The fact that your narcissism can’t accept that one day you won’t exist any more, just like you didn’t exist before you were born, (or at the very best, before that point in your gestation when brain activity began), means there has to be something that enables your continuing existence after death. So you invent a daddy God who looks (surprise, surprise) just like you and who will take care of you forever, if you’re a good little boy and abide by the rules that will make the afterlife an acceptable place for you to live in. Those who won’t clearly don’t deserve to spend eternity with you and must therefore be consigned to a place of eternal torment.

            That’s Christianity in a nutshell, “nut” being the operative word.

          • chefofsinners

            A fair summation is whose eyes?
            The narcissism which prevails today is that which considers itself the highest authority and cannot therefore countenance the existence of a God.

      • The Explorer

        “God has no physical existence and provides no tangible benefits to anyone.”
        If God has no physical existence, it does not follow that God has no existence of any kind. Because if God is spirit and preceded matter then God’s non-physicality need not mean God’s non- existence; although it does create undoubted difficulties for those committed to the maxim that seeing is believing..
        Consider the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, or the thousand medieval hospitals across Europe rung by the Benedictines. Would the world have been better off without them? Have they provided tangible benefits to anybody?
        Now, those institutions are not God. But without belief in a particular kind of God, those particular institutions would not have existed.
        We can, of course, argue that hospitals and homeless hostels would exist anyway because of evolved human sympathy. But the question then arises, is divinely-implanted conscience the cause of the sympathy?
        So I would say that we can be certain that God provides no tangible benefits only if we can be certain of God’s non-existence.

      • Martin

        Useless Eustace

        “God has no physical existence and provides no tangible benefits to anyone.”

        Every breath you take, every beat of your heart, the food you eat, the water you drink.

        Nah, you can do without God.

        • sarky

          Every breath you take and every move you make
          Every bond you break, every step you take, I’ll be watching you
          Every single day and every word you say
          Every game you play, every night you stay, I’ll be watching you

          • The Explorer

            What do you want God to do? Switch off the telescreen?

          • sarky

            I take it you’re not a police fan?

          • The Explorer

            Oh, I know the song, but you were responding to Martin who was talking about God, not Sting.

          • sarky

            Sting is god.

          • CliveM

            You don’t like pop music. You like Heavy Metal. You like Sting. Does this mean you think Sting is Heavy Metal?

            In which case I don’t think your musical taste needs to be taken seriously!

            Heavy Metal blurgh.

          • sarky

            I hate sting…just being facetious.

          • CliveM

            Oh ok! Fair enough.

            Still doesn’t excuse liking Heavy Metal :0)

          • Eustace

            I hope not. Otherwise God lives on CPW and Donald Trump is his neighbour.

            On the bright side however, if God really is a macrobiotic vegan tantric pop star, heaven will turn out to be hell for most of those who post here.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Pop music is basically a con. It gets those who follow it to part with their hard earned cash to support overpaid people who can’t sing and generally tend to live a self-indulgent life of sin.

          • sarky

            Pop music is c##p. More of a metal fan myself.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Whatever, you are taken in by rubbish.

          • sarky

            Pots and kettles Martin.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            You are the one who follows pop music, and ‘metal’ is just pop music.

          • sarky

            It really isn’t!!

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Of course it is, you naive fool. It’s all just pop music.

          • sarky

            Pop or ‘popular’ music, is not a label that has ever been given to metal.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            I just did & others before me have done so. I can’t be bothered with your irrelevant distinctions.

          • sarky

            Probably because you don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Oh dear, did I offend one of your gods?

          • sarky

            I have no gods as you well know.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            You most certainly do have a god, that little god of self.

          • sarky

            At least it’s one god whose existence can be proved.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Thank you for the admission.

          • sarky

            To my private club? Please behave yourself next time, the other members were not impressed.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            I see you are part of the illiterati.

        • Eustace

          Proof? Or is your word sacred?

          Of course it is…

          • Martin

            Eustace

            Mine? Of course not. But the God you know exists still sustains your life.

          • Eustace

            Religious nutcases never change.

            Religious nutcase: “You know God exists.”
            Me: “Sorry, I really don’t.”
            Religious nutcase: “Yes, you do! You’re just lying.”
            Me: “I’m really not.”
            Religious nutcase:” Yes, you are! Liar! Liar! Liar!”

            At this point, the religious nutcase generally breaks into a hymn or hurls a biblical quote at me, apparently to prove that I really am a liar. All it proves however is that he’s been brainwashed by whatever religious propaganda his particular sect or cult peddles as the truth.

            The fact that something is written in the Bible doesn’t make it true. It just means it’s written in the Bible. Only if the Bible is the ultimate truth can what’s written in it be infallible, however what’s written in the Bible can never serve as proof of its own infallibility. To accept it as so, one would have to believe in self-justifying circular arguments: e.g. fairies exist because there are fairy stories therefore whatever is written in a fairy story must be true so fairies must exist…

            Martin clearly accepts this kind of reasoning as gospel truth. While one can only be appalled by the effect of this brand of religion on human intelligence, one must also recognize that some intellects just can’t grasp anything more complex. As they tend to congregate at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder however, the harm they can do is limited, especially here in Europe where guns are not freely available. But put a firearm in their hands in places like the US and Syria and then they become more of a problem.

          • Martin

            In my experience the believer in the religion of Atheism is the first to cry ‘liar’ and soon after makes all sorts of outlandish claims to hide the fact that he does know God exists.

          • Eustace

            He’s like a broken record…

            Me: “I don’t believe in God.”
            Martin: “Yes, you do.”
            Me: “No, I don’t.”
            Martin: “Yes, you do. You’re just lying.”

            And so on and so forth. Ad infinitum.

            Martin’s experience of non-believers is conditioned by his maniacal need to tell them what they believe, as in his mind he seems convinced that only he knows what other people are thinking and feeling.

            In the face of such a determined display of obsessive/compulsive certainty backed up by nothing except his own zealotry, no wonder he gets overwhelmingly negative reponses.

            When someone ignores what you’re saying and substitutes his own script, telling you what you think and feel, and accusing you of being a liar if you dare to object, all you can do is either get irritated, or laugh. I’ve been through the irritation phase and now understand that the only adequate response to Martin is humour. And doesn’t he hate it? Wannabe prophets detest not being taken seriously.

            Poor Martin, just think of me as another prickle in your martyr’s crown of thorns. All the ridicule you’re subjected to here will clearly reduce the amount of time you’ll have to spend in purgatory … and who knows, perhaps your piety will earn you a plenary indulgence for the rest and you’ll go straight to paradise. In the meantime, keep contradicting unbelievers. If you don’t do it a hundred times a day, the Devil will get you, won’t he?

          • Martin

            Useless

            You will, of course, note that I didn’t say you believe in God but that you know God exists. That you do not believe God when He warns of impending judgement is a forgone conclusion.

          • Eustace

            I don’t believe in God but I know he exists?

            If I knew God existed then I would have to believe in him. How could one not believe in an omnipotent being if one knew it really existed?

            One of the most ludicrous things about the Satan myth is the idea that an angel who had been in God’s actual company and personally witnessed his omnipotence could revolt against that omnipotence. How? To what purpose? How could an imperfect being ever hope to vanquish an omnipotent one?

            If God existed and I had clear and irrefutable evidence of this, then I would have no choice but to believe in him. I wouldn’t be able to ignore the reality of a God I could perceive and whose omnipotence was materially evident to me.

            So no, I do not know that God exists. I’ve seen no credible proof of his existence whatsoever. All I’ve seen are the circular, self-sustaining arguments and self-justifications of Christians.

          • Martin

            Eustace

            Where did I say you “don’t believe in God”? You know God exists, you just refuse to believe and obey Him.

            As for Satan, he was perfect as a creation but succumbed to pride. In his pride he thought he could overpower God, much as you do.

            Aside from your own knowledge that God exists, you also have the whole of Creation, including yourself, that testifies to God. But you’d rather believe it all came about through accident.

      • William Lewis

        The French toff was prone to scoff but in the end it was mostly froth.

    • William Lewis

      No. We think you are lost.

      • sarky

        No I’m not. I know exactly where I am.

        • William Lewis

          But where are you going?

          • sarky

            Back to the earth eventually!!

          • sarky

            Or at this precise moment…tesco

          • The Explorer

            Provided the resurrection never happened. If it did, that might be only a penultimate destination.

          • sarky

            That’s right. Then your loving god will torture me with fire and brimstone for eternity.

          • The Explorer

            I’m not prepared t speculate on who will be saved and who won’t be; although atheists seem very keen on doing so.

          • sarky

            Isn’t it in your book??

          • The Explorer

            No. At least, it doesn’t give me the authority to pass judgements.

          • IanCad

            Why do Atheists reject the love of Christ yet accept the Pagan/Hellenistic falsity of an eternally burning Hell?

          • sarky

            I reject both.

          • IanCad

            At least you’re consistent.

          • William Lewis

            Worm food is the best you can hope for.

          • sarky

            The circle of life.

          • William Lewis

            … Is just a rearrangement of hydrocarbons.

          • sarky

            Exactly.

        • The Explorer

          Right and left; right and wrong. Same word, but it doesn’t mean the same thing.

          Lost and found, lost and saved. Same word, but…

          • sarky

            Really????????????

          • The Explorer

            Absolutely.

    • Inspector General

      Ask your young thing how this bounty called Earth came about. One expects she’ll leave ‘to do her hair’ on hearing that just like all other state ‘educated’ young ones…

      • sarky

        She’s had books by Hawkins and Dawkins and the bible to read. She’s made up her own mind.

        • Martin

          Sarky

          Ah, the ignorant youth led by the ignorant old people who spend their lives speculating instead of doing.

          • sarky

            But that’s exactly what they are doing…thinking. That they have chosen to reject your god doesn’t alter that.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            No, they are not thinking, just as you are not.

        • Malcolm Smith

          You mean a 13 year old Pokémon players is high brow enough to read Hawkins and Dawkins! Wonders will never cease!

          • sarky

            Dawkins has a book for kids, ‘the magic of reality’, and Hawkins has ‘a briefer history of time’ , both easier to understand.
            I just provide the books and let them decide for themselves. (They have also been to church holiday clubs etc and have access to a bible) . It’s not up to me to decide their beliefs (or lack of) for them.

          • Anton

            Hawking, not Hawkins.

          • sarky

            Oops, bl##dy spell check. Serves me right for not checking.

  • chefofsinners

    On Sunday I was driven close to assaulting a woman whose mobile phone rang repeatedly during communion. And yet. Overall this might be a good thing.
    We forget that when our great churches were built they were multi-use buildings, which the community frequented every day. With stained glass, magnificent acoustics, sculpture, mazes on the floors and the architecture itself, they were the multimedia wonders of their era, the ‘neck bending fixations’ of their day.

    The highly successful churches that I know have a vibrant culture, embracing the interests of all generations without holding back on gospel truth.

    • Martin

      CoS

      What they weren’t is preaching houses.

      • chefofsinners

        No, preaching always was and still is best done in the real world.

        • Martin

          CoS

          Preaching can be very useful in a building designed for it to be heard. Indeed, how else can God’s people be taught? It is better to proclaim on street corners than to preach.

          • chefofsinners

            Yes, I meant preaching as in evangelism, rather than teaching. Even so, Jesus managed pretty well without a building, as did the early church.

          • Martin

            CoS

            Seems to me that Paul was not averse to using buildings.

            On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him. And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.
            (Acts 20:7-12 [ESV])

          • chefofsinners

            No, buildings have their uses, so long as we remember that “The Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands.” Acts 7:48
            If we venerate the building then we do err.

          • Martin

            CoS

            Who said we venerated the building or that God dwelt there? The us buildings have is for gathering God’s people together and teaching them, away from the distractions and audibly.

          • chefofsinners

            I say that too many people venerate the buildings. Not you, but it is a common misconception.
            Many on the outside would understand a ‘no Pokemon here’ injunction as a call to venerate the building.
            Church buildings are a fact, and are useful for teaching, as you say. They can also be useful places for Christians and non-Christians to meet, if allowed.

          • Martin

            CoS

            The disruption it would cause could be a reason for saying ‘no Pokemon here’.

    • Anton

      No need for assault. Just baptise the mobile in question in the font.

      • chefofsinners

        This is why true Christians must renounce Steve Jobs and all his works:

        1) the company logo clearly represents the apple of Eden and thus glorifies sin.
        2) The so-called IOS (Islamic Operating System) is bent on world domination.

        Therefore all iPhones must be thrown into the font. The correct font is available to download and install from the iStore for just $1.99.

  • preacher

    Well the established Church has tried most pretexts to draw people in & it’s true that entertainment has a certain value for a limited period of time, but young people can see through a set up like looking through a plate glass window.
    What the Church needs is a reality check, before we follow those who are into ‘Angel feathers’ or gold dust cascades from the roof or clucking like chickens or barking like dog. The hucksters are all still living well off the deceived but when the audit is taken, there will be a lot of shocked & shattered people.
    To the young in particular, trendy clergy trying to emulate them is about as cool as a seventy year old ex hippy with what’s left of his once flowing locks ( Now grey & sparse ) tied into a pony tail.
    Pokemon Go is not a lot better than a Poke in the eye. I’ve found that young people respond better to being spoken to as adults & invited to question things, including the claims of Christ, His significance & believers experiences & researches especially those who were once committed Atheists or agnostics who have undergone a complete change of heart.
    For Christians to attempt to copy & follow the latest trends in an effort to reach the lost is a waste of time effort & resources.
    By all means indulge yourselves in games & fantasy worlds if you enjoy them, Chess, Ludo, Monopoly etcetera are all therapeutic ways of relaxing, but Please avoid confusing them with reality or the gospel.

  • Orwell Ian

    Wouldn’t it be fun if some of these little Pokemon critters seek sanctuary in mosque’s on a Friday.

    • chefofsinners

      They’ve been seen in Buddhist temples. Searching for Porkieman God.

  • Ivan M

    Outstanding post Your Grace. I am in awe of your ability to turn out such essays at short notice. May the spirits of Pokémon, Doremon and Hello Kitty lead many to Christ.

    • sarky

      Doubt it.

      • Ivan M

        Thanks bud.

  • Inspector General

    This is that damnable waste of time that’s been accused of putting children in mortuaries, isn’t it? The creepy thing appearing on express railway lines and radioactive fuel rod storage areas among many other dodgy places…

    Downloaded Pokemon on a Monday
    Knocked down on a Tuesday
    Serious on a Wednesday
    Critical on a Thursday
    Deceased on a Friday
    Mourned on a Saturday
    Buried on a Sunday

  • len

    Much easier to find false religion(or even Pokemon ) than the genuine article. False religion is very much of’ this world systems devising’ and its methods will bear this out. Fear, intimidation,domination or shows of ‘grandeur’ are required to impress or to terrify into submission.
    Biblical Christianity is entirely from another world, another system altogether ,that is why it doesn`t ‘resonate’ with fallen man who wants shows of power & wealth in order to impress .
    God has given us all the evidence of Himself that we will ever need through His Creation and through His Word but man is so fallen and so deceived that it takes a supernatural revelation from God Himself to open the eyes of man to the Truth.
    Man wants truth handed to him on a plate and only ‘truth’ that he finds acceptable to line up with his prejudices and pre- conditions.
    Meanwhile Pokémon take precedence over Truth or seeking the Creator , such is the mind of man….

    • Ivan M

      Let me finish it for you: …such is the mind of man misled by Romish falsehoods and blasphemies. Till the last priest is strangled with the last brassiere of the last nun, while molesting the last choirboy, it pleases God to let the errors multiply and lead many to destruction.

  • Anton

    The church chasing after the world again instead of leading it?

  • dannybhoy

    “Your church might be a ‘PokéStop”
    I hope not. It’s enough with the litter and doggy doo……

  • carl jacobs

    The most effective church mission seeks to serves: it meets human needs. … They simply seek to serve, to listen, to love.

    No, that’s the way of the Bread King. You can always build a following by giving people what they want. If that’s all they are attracted by, they will leave once the hard teaching starts. Confer with “Lord, to whom shall we go?”

    • Inspector General

      It will be air miles next Carl, what!

      • You could do with collecting a few, Inspector.

        • Inspector General

          Meaning…

    • The Apostles and Jesus preached initially to a people who believed in a God. The modern Church is evangelising to atheists and heathens. Pokémon, as a “bait and switch” tactic, might just work. Not everyone will desert the Lord when the Gospel is preached. The Church cannot just abandon a generation of young people because their parents have fallen away.

      • Martin

        HJ

        If you attract people with signs and wonders they will leave when the signs and wonders stop. Salvation is of the Lord, not by means of attracting people with false gods.

        • True. This might just work though:

          “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”

          • Martin

            HJ

            First you must be loved, that is saved without any act on your own part contributing to that salvation.

          • God loves us all, Martin. Salvation is freely available to all but not accepted by all. Grace doesn’t remove free will, it enables a free choice.

          • Martin

            HJ

            No, God does not love us all, Were Pharaoh and his soldiers loved as the waters rushed back over them?

            As it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.
            (Romans 9:13 [ESV])

            How can the dead have free choice:

            But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
            (Ephesians 2:4-8 [ESV])

            We have no free will, we are dead in our sin.

          • The Explorer

            I’ve never understood what was so bad about Esau. Maybe God just has it in for people whose names begin with the letter ‘E’. In which case, Linus made a really bad move changing himself to Eustace.

          • Martin

            TE

            It was that Esau wasn’t chosen, let’s face it Jacob was not a nice person.

            Eleazar seems to have done OK tho’.

            Who knows, God may yet save Linus.

          • The Explorer

            Eleazar did okay, and so did Ezekiel. You’re right: cancel the ‘E’ theory.

          • Ivan M

            Esau was a man in a million. When I was involved in some property dispute the feeling ranged up to murderous rage. It was then that I understood the “territorial instinct” at its fullest. Esau did of course rage similarly but he cooled down and set things right with his dastardly cheating brother in the end. The stories of the old Patriachs are at least in part ironical reflections on the human condition.

          • Uncle Brian

            Ehud and Eglon both begin with E. Remember those two in Judges 3? One good, one bad. Ehud was a southpaw, which explains why the security guards missed his sword when they frisked him.

            Now Eglon was a very fat man. … And Ehud reached with his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly. And the hilt also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade …

          • The Explorer

            Yes, but then there was Elijah and Elisha. Those with ‘E’ names seem to have been an average mix of good and bad, just like those with other names. I’ll have to find another explanation as to why God had it in for Esau.

          • chefofsinners

            In despising his birthright, Esau rejected the promise given to Abraham ‘in you shall all nations be blessed’. In effect, he chose stew rather than Christ.

      • carl jacobs

        I wasn’t really talking about Pokemon but about this idea of evangelizing silently through service. Jesus had a big following when he gave away free food. As soon as the teaching started, though, the crowd deserted Him. Service by itself is not sufficient.

  • Pokémon is boring. The newly emerging, modern Catholic Church has a better way.

    Pope Francis has come up with a fresh idea. A new approach towards evangelising the young. Stop giving them the heebie-jeebies about sin and damnation. In another one of his now famous and very deeeep off-the-cull comments to thousands of young people at World Youth Day in Poland, he proclaimed:

    “Today, the Lord wants us to feel ever more profoundly his great mercy. May we never turn away from Jesus! We may think that we are the “worst” on account of our sins and weaknesses. However, this is how God prefers us to be, in order that his mercy may spread. Let us take advantage of these days to receive all of the mercy of Jesus!”

    Earlier, he advised them to party hard and enjoy themselves.

    There we have it. From God’s own Vicar on earth. The successor of Peter. God is not fussed about sin. He can love us the more. No sin, no Mercy; the more sin the more Mercy. This to thousands of young people, away from home in a foreign country, surrounded by all sorts of temptations. Not least the rather attractive group of scantily clad beauties in the tent across the way.

    This was all said before the Pope set off to hear their confessions. In his exhortation, “The Joy of Love”, the Pope had reassured the faithful that God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. His commandments are ideals we should gradually move towards. Even though we may be in objectively sinful situations, God accepts that. Subjectively, according to conscience, it may not be sin at all and what God is calling us to. If you don’t think it’s wrong – then it (probably) isn’t.
    To think of all the missed opportunities in Jack’s own youthful days to. The sense of sin that stopped one doing what one knew he ought not to do. Then all the unnecessary guilt and sense of shame when one gave into temptation – many, many times. Those embarrassing confessions to a priest and his questions about whether one was truly sorry and would not repeat the behaviour.

    Who needs Pokémon?

    Mundabor is not impressed.

    https://mundabor.wordpress.com/2016/08/01/reading-francis-through-satan-god-prefers-us-weak-and-sinful/

    • Anton

      “I like sinning and the Lord likes forgiving; truly the world is admirably arranged” – Voltaire (I believe).

      • Old Nick

        What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

        • The Explorer

          Voltaire’s other splendid theological statement is his deathbed failure to renounce Satan: “This is no time to be making enemies.”

          But as to the other, we may assume him guilty of a form of antinomianism. Christ, after all, did not tell the woman to continue in adultery so that he could keep forgiving her. He told her to sin no more.

          • Anton

            Sorry to disappoint you but I’ve since googled it and corrected the quote – it was due to WH Auden rather than Voltaire.

          • The Explorer

            Oh well, there’s still Voltaire’s “If God didn’t exist it would be necessary to invent him.” Apparently he hadn’t written the article for which he was locked in the Bastille: although he would have done if he’d thought of it. Ditto the Auden quote.

          • Anton

            Man reinvents God in his own image all the time, whereas God invented man in HIS image just once…

          • Old Nick

            My quotation is not Voltaire, it is S. Paul – Romans 6, 1 I think.

    • Ivan M

      It is a lot less fun if there is no guilt attached to it. Pope is killing off sex for good as I hear is the case increasingly in Sweden.

    • preacher

      Yep Jack, he’s a bit late in starting, but soon all the members will be crowing, barking, howling & rolling around laughing. The gold dust, Angel feathers & other carnival props will arrive shortly. Probably held up in customs !.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    My own plan to increase church attendance here in Barchester is to have Hobnob Bake-in mornings with lashings of Earl Grey. Mr Slope has purchased lots of rainbow-coloured bunting to catch the eye, and Signora Neroni is offering ‘Kisses for Jesus’…should go down a treat.

    • Bluesman_1

      Madam, you shock me. Can there really be some Barchesii who do not attend church?

    • IrishNeanderthal

      Not Hershey’s Kisses, though.

      • sarky

        Errrr they smell of vomit.

        • IrishNeanderthal

          Just looked this up on Wikipedia: Types of Chocolate

          “Hershey process” milk chocolate is popular in the US. . . The process is a trade secret, but experts speculate that the milk is partially lipolyzed, producing butyric acid, and then the milk is pasteurized and stabilized. This process gives the product a particular taste, to which the US public has shown to have an affinity, to the point that other manufacturers now simply add butyric acid to their milk chocolates.

          • Pubcrawler

            Mmmm, nice…

          • IanCad

            American chocolate is not chocolate.

          • Uncle Brian

            I’ve never heard of Hershey’s Kisses, but I’ve had the standard Hershey’s bars in the U.S., and I liked them. Both milk chocolate and plain chocolate.

          • IanCad

            Well UB, I should modify my comment perhaps.
            Hershey’s chocolate bars are the bog standard variety. They are sweet, have a flavor of chocolate, and satisfy to some degree the craving for sugar.
            On the other hand the Swiss make Toblerone, a far superior product. Subtle, not too sweet – first class all the way.
            Now in keeping with their claims of exceptionalism, the Americans can make better chocolate (and almost any other thing) than anyone else on earth. Ghiraldelli Chocolates from San Francisco are candy heaven. So too, all the little boutique confectioners scattered across the continent. Truly the best taste treats anywhere.

          • Uncle Brian

            Since we’ve already wandered so far off topic, let me add this. I eat chocolate only very rarely these days. Here in Brazil all manufacturers put a lot more sugar in their chocolate than they do in other countries, to suit the local market. It’s much too sweet for my taste, which is why I go for months at a time without touching it. But if I had to choose between a Hersheys plain chocolate bar and those Toblerone triangles, I’d go for the Hersheys every time.

  • chefofsinners

    Youthful multitudes have been spotted in Buddhist temples. Searching for Porkieman.

    • Pubcrawler

      Now heading to Sidmouth hunting Folkiemen.

    • Linus is scouring Paris for Pokeaman.

      • Pubcrawler

        Probing nooks and crannies.

        • … or having his own nooks probed. True crannies never are.

        • dannybhoy

          Double Yeeeuk!

      • dannybhoy

        Yeeeuk!

    • Uncle Brian

      A multitude of Blazing Saddles fans are closing in on Rock Ridge, searching for Poké Mongo.

      • chefofsinners

        Take candy. Mongo like candy.

  • Skidger

    Dear God in Heaven, what next? How about the Church actually teaching the gospel for a change.

  • Royinsouthwest

    I got a real shock when I (mis)read the passage below:

    Miss Proud explains:

    Your church might be a ‘PokéStop …

    At first I thought it was Mrs Proudie who was urging us to embrace Pokemon Go! It was only when I got around to reading the comments and noticed hers on hobnobs that I realised that I had read the article too hastily.

  • CliveM

    Due to a friends dodgy taste in men, I spent more Saturday nights in the 90’s then I would want, listening to a dodgy Death Metal band.

    They weren’t even good pubs! Felt somewhat out of place.

    • sarky

      Did you join in the mosh pit?

      • CliveM

        I stood at the back, with a pint, wishing time would go faster.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    What not convert the church into a pound shop. Fill the place with cheap junk that will bring the masses in to worship at the altar of the cash register. Sound silly? I once saw a beautiful chapel in West Wales converted into a monument to cheap crap.

    • Uncle Brian

      I visited friends once in London who were living in a flat in a converted church. I don’t think I’d want to live in a place like that.

      • Politically__Incorrect

        Here in Wales there are quite a lot of small chapels. Many have been sold off and converted into homes. I too would not feel it was right to live in a building that was meant to be a place of worship for the people.

        • What’s preferable? Bulldozing them to the ground; letting them simply decay; or round; or having them sensitively converted into homes for people?

          • dannybhoy

            Bulldozing them and putting something in their place. A plaque to say what was there would be nice and respectful….

          • bluedog

            But the point is that many English country churches occupy the sites of former pagan places of worship, hence the insistence on yew trees. There be spirits there, those of the old ways, that this communicant can remember being spoken about in deepest Hampshire where he grew up many years ago.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes we know of a few examples here in Norfolk. Of course one has to try and discern between actual reaction and expectation.
            It does seem to me that there are ‘passive imprints’ caused by past events, spiritual activity through some kind of restless spirit(s) and the truly demonic.

          • bluedog

            The Church implicitly concedes this through the practice of exorcism.

          • Uncle Brian

            A friend from years back who lived for a time in East Anglia, though I’m afraid I don’t remember where, or even in which county, told me in all seriousness that “the old religion” was still practised in country areas. That was a long time ago now, though, in the mid-twentieth century.

          • bluedog

            Bingo!

          • Straw Dogs or Wickerman anybody?

          • Uncle Brian

            I don’t remember the details but I’m pretty sure that, whatever it was, it stopped short of human sacrifice!

          • dannybhoy

            I would say that spiritual or rather satanic forces manifest wherever people open themselves up to be used. It can be ancient practices and it can be modern cultic groups.

          • Anton

            Since the repealing of the Witchcraft Act in 1951, followed by the New Age revolution of the 1960s, these things have become socially acceptable and various books have been published which include first-hand knowledge of what went on several decades ago. Almost all witchcraft is physically benign, although certainly not spiritually benign. The New Testament is clear that the spiritual forces behind witchcraft are terrified of the spiritual forces wielded by Christians confident of their faith; Hollywood and mediaevalism have it wrong. But a small amount of practice is far darker.

          • bluedog

            What you say is true. There is light, joy, love and overwhelming positivity in Christianity that is more than a match for the negativity and fear that is so much a part of primitive beliefs.

        • dannybhoy

          Exactly. A place to meet with God.

          • Anton

            You can do that anywhere. It was a place of *corporate* worship.

      • Anton

        The building would be fine, but I’m not sure I’d want to live in the middle of a graveyard!

        • This surprises Jack, Anton. What’s this? A vestige of superstition? The dead can’t hurt you.

          • Anton

            Why was the Gadarene demoniac attracted to graveyards?

          • We’re not told. Presumably, they were hiding up away from the people.

          • IanCad

            You have a point Jack.
            Last week we went for a drive in North Devon. Countless villages, all with magnificent churches. Testimonies of past fidelity to God. Now struggling; churchyards not maintained, buildings neglected, hearts tuned to frivolity. All very depressing.

          • Anton

            Plenty of places to do that in the hills and desert, which is where Jesus went to be alone in holy prayer, not graveyards. There appears to be an attraction of graveyards for spiritually unhealthy people. I can’t say I feel it much myself but that is where the logic leads.

          • sarky

            And……where’s the punchline???

          • A: Because he had a grave predisposition.

          • chefofsinners

            He was looking for Pokemoniacs.

          • He had a grave predisposition.

          • sarky

            …it’s the living you should be afraid of. As my Scottish mother in law tells me.

        • sarky

          I’d love it!!! Halloween at mine would be the mutts!!!

        • Pubcrawler

          I’ve lived pretty much next to one. An excellent shortcut to (and from) the pub, day or night.

      • Jack’s dream would to live in an old converted Saxon Church.

        • dannybhoy

          Be satisfied with Scotland ye malcontent…

        • Inspector General

          http://churchdb.gukutils.org.uk/GLS817.php

          Ask the farmer who owns it if it’s for sale….

        • bluedog

          You mean you would happily live on a site where human sacrifice may have previously taken place? No thanks!

          • Sanctified, sacred Christian ground, Bluedog. The pagan past of some sites will have been well and truly exorcised.

          • chefofsinners

            I live in a converted granary. The spirit of the grain is ever present, in the form of a jinn. I try to keep him in his bottle but you know how it is…

          • Anton

            I am not aware of any claims that the saxons did that after they came to England. The celts whom they displaced, however, had a druidic priesthood who did that according to the Romans.

          • bluedog

            Agreed. There is no suggestion that the Saxons, even in pagan form, ever resorted to human sacrifice. It seems highly likely that the Celts would have indulged in ritual killings of captured enemies, and the Roman reports would be correct. The use of former pagan sites, usually within groves of trees, would have been a deliberate policy of the early church in an attempt to replace the ‘old ways’.

        • Anton

          I thought you were more celtic in ancestry? The saxons and the celts were enemies.

      • dannybhoy

        Me neither. The idea of living in a converted place of worship does not appeal. Not scary but I do believe that in some way we imprint our emotions on our homes and buildings.
        How I do not know, but I have been in buildings which had a definite ‘atmosphere’. Sometimes light and happy, sometimes dark and negative…

        • Uncle Brian

          That’s only ever happened to me once. It was in a hotel – a pub, really, I think, though I don’t recall the name – one of those very old buildings in Rye. The missus and me both slept very badly and had terrible dreams. We checked out much earlier in the morning than we’d been planning to.

          • dannybhoy

            I most definitely believe that there is a spiritual dimension. We can’t see it with our physical eyes but we certainly can be affected by it and in the case of the demonic realm be attacked by it.
            Anyone who calls upon the name of Jesus Christ as Lord will be protected, but (I think) only those Christians who seek to put to death the sins of the flesh and walk in the light can effectively enter into spiritual warfare.
            I have experienced ‘atmospheres’ and even individuals who (I think) were involved in or influenced by something ‘satanic/demonic.
            Those dreams you experienced could have been from that realm. As a rule of thumb I think the closer you walk with Jesus the more sensitive you are to the supernatural.
            But you and your wife are secure in Christ Jesus our Lord.

          • Uncle Brian

            Thank you, Danny!

        • bluedog

          You raise a very interesting point in your comment about ‘atmospheres’, on which there is as yet no scientific evidence. But some places do speak to you in ways you wish they didn’t! Certainly the idea of living and sleeping in a building where the dead had been brought to be blessed before interrment or cremation would be enough to give this communicant the creeps.

          • dannybhoy

            Science has its limits, by which I mean that we know there are other creatures which hear, see and sense things that we humans are not equipped to apprehend.
            Yet there are many humans who somehow feel or sense and are channels of/to things ‘beyond our ken.’
            The Scriptures give plenty of examples of dreams an apparitions and vistations.

          • bluedog

            ‘Yet there are many humans who somehow feel or sense and are channels of/to things ‘beyond our ken.’

            Without question.

          • But think of all the very positive moments shared in those ancient churches which were the heart of local communities. Receiving the bodies and praying for the soul’s of the dead is part of the rhythm of life they witness to. Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, Masses, Marriages and Funerals. They remind us of a time when God was central to our lives.

          • Anton

            Agreed Jack. It’s the associated graveyard (if a former parish church) that I’d prefer to avoid.

    • Sarky loves pound shops.

  • Inspector General

    Fellows. One hasn’t been able to follow proceedings today due to the demands of whatever, but you do realise this current missal from Cranmer is a manifestation of our man’s sense of humour.

    (At least the Inspector hopes it is…)

    • chefofsinners

      Cranmer has an excellent sense of humour. He tolerates you.

    • Anton

      You think he’s Poking us?

  • Inspector General

    My dear fellow. When you exist in today’s surface society and have no appreciation of culture, or depth of thought come to that, then surely the pound shops are your cathedrals, and the 99p shops your abbeys…

    • sarky

      Or the sewers and the cesspits!!!

      • Inspector General

        Bless you, thicko that you are, for you have not disappointed…

  • dannybhoy

    Who said that?

  • Uncle Brian

    Speaking of church closures …

    France gets tough with Catholic terrorists
    Bruvver Eccles reports:

    http://ecclesandbosco.blogspot.com.br/2016/08/france-gets-tough-with-catholic.html

    • Cressida de Nova

      Hilarious.!

      It is hard to believe we have a Pope who is the most popular leader in the world today. The fact that he appears to be anti Catholic may have something to do with it.

  • Uncle Brian

    Just seen the news about the Russell Square stabbings. The attacks happened four hours ago now, but there’s not much information yet.

    • dannybhoy

      19 yo possibly mentally disturbed – possibly terrorist inspired. Possibly both.
      As in Israel impossible to prevent these lone perpetrators…

  • Dominic Stockford

    Apostate.