“This is a thought provoking and insightful article. It is also brave of Jordan to share his own struggles so openly. This should be read by parents everywhere to help them to understand how games, books, and films can open up avenues for spiritual dialogue. What a great read.”
That’s what a family friend, Dr. Marc Newman, said as he posted a link to my review of Dear Esther- which I recently wrote for Gamechurch. It was an encouraging comment, because it was a tough article to write. If you’ve read it already, you’ve seen how I had to expose and wrestle with my own feelings of doubt and spiritual “aloneness” in order to express what made the game truly unique.
“Sometimes it feels as though the sun sets in my life for a season. Sometimes I find myself in a place where I cannot sense the nearness of God. I cannot feel his comfort nor hear his voice. This is rarely activated by any specific event. Perhaps He simply answers me as I echo Paul’s prayer, I want to know Christ, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings. After all, one way Christ suffered is by feeling the absence of his father’s love. Yet in that suffering, something new is born, and something beautiful is taking place. I see glimpses of it, as I saw glimpses of clarity in Dear Esther, but if the night season lingers too long, I find myself muttering, like the wanderer, “There is nothing to do here but engage in contradictions whilst waiting for the fabric of life to unravel.””
It also got me thinking. Talking about Dear Esther gave me an opportunity to be honest about something I’ve struggled with. But are there other writers who have been prompted by games to address things in their life that are tough to talk about?
I was reminded of this next article, written by Patricia Hernandez for Kotaku. It’s called “A Video Game Made Me Come Clean About Infidelity”. In the article, she explains how the game Catherine (Which was released last summer and dealt with the themes of freedom vs. commitment and chaos vs. order and told the story of a man-boy named Vincent who had the opportunity to cheat on his girlfriend.) forced her to confront an issue that had long been a secret source of anxiety.
“‘It doesn’t matter what the context was, Vincent!,’ I thought to myself. You are responsible for your actions, just like any other adult!
And yet I think back on my own situation, and it wasn’t as easy or simple as it sounds.
I don’t know exactly what led me to that unfaithful night in real life. I can tell you the context, though. I had been going out with my then-boyfriend for years. It was about as serious as these things can get – we spoke of marriage, the future house, kids, careers, the works. An engagement almost happened, even.
Really though, think on that for a second. 19. Marriage? I saw my future laid out neatly in front of me. Me, the kid that wasn’t even out of her teens.
I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. And one night, I acknowledged that insecurity and uncertainty in the worst possible way. I cheated.”
This is a “Christian” website, and I’m assuming that the vast majority of you readers are Christians as well, so let me just point out what an incredible opportunity this is to extend grace to someone who has admitted that they made a huge mistake. Remember what Jesus said to the woman actually caught in adultery? “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” Basically, please no critical comments. We actually linked to another of Patricia’s articles recently, one where she opened up about her own spiritual journey and search for truth. It’s awesome that she can be honest. But as Christians, can we?
I’m keeping my eyes open for more articles with the same honesty. I’m also looking for writers who will start dialoguing about the ways that games can affect their lives or influence the sort of real-life actions like Patricia talked about when she said this game compelled her to actually confess her infidelity to her ex-boyfriend. If you have any recommendations, tweet us a link or use the contact form.