It is here… the ending of one console cycle and the birth of a new one. This is always a bittersweet feeling for me… on one hand, we are observing some amazing final “swan songs” from our favorite developers as titles like the Final Fantasy VII remaster, Last of Us Two, CyberPunk, WatchDogs, and more will end this generation of games on a high note. But with last week’s announcement that PlayStation 5 will be joining the new Xbox on store shelves in holiday 2020, it is clear that that the attention is rapidly turning towards the future.
Now, we COULD begin a side-by-side comparison of stats and specs and spend a bunch of time comparing CPUS, RAM, frame rates, and all of those exciting numbers that basically means that games are going to run INSANELY fast and demonstrate the most realistic graphics yet. But there are other sites that can do that with far more insight and relevant data points than I can provide. What I think is most compelling is that once you strip these systems past their individual operating systems and proprietary technologies, they have a lot more in COMMON than you might think. They have remarkably similar tech specs under the hood which means the graphical differences will be negligible at best. And with cross-play functionality becoming a larger focus through massive titles such as Fortnite and Call of Duty embracing a united play space, the ability for these platforms to play nice and embrace their similarities has become more critical than ever.
The beautiful truth is that as gamers we are going to have two similar, incredibly compelling and powerful systems along with the unique and spunky Switch console to choose from next year. It is an embarrassment of riches, and one that should unite us in our mutual love of great games and excellent platforms to play them on. But inevitably, just as we do in almost every facet of human life, we will find some small and almost indecipherable differences to draw our party lines across and declare that our platform of choice is superior and segregate to our own arbitrary side once again.
This generation, thanks to the integration of social media in our daily lives, has become one of division and outrage at unprecedented levels. Every decision, every article of clothing, even every meal choice is scrutinized by people we have never met and divisions are created that never needed to exist. Are those eggs you are eating free-range? Is the cotton in your shirt sustainably sourced? Does that taco from Taco Bell have actual meat in it? (That is an actual question I have. I’m not sure it is actual meat, but I have chosen to be okay with this. Some things need to be left alone.) How dare you film that movie in this state, shop at that store, or drive that car? And as a result we create so many lines to divide us that we forget that we are all learning, growing, flawed carbon-based life forms trying to make it in a world that is already difficult enough as it is.
The even more unfortunate reality is that this way of thinking has divided the body of Christ across so many different lines of thought and belief systems that even non-Christians can clearly see the contradictions. Instead of recognizing the importance of the 99% of our beliefs that are aligned as followers of the Lord, we fixate on the small doctrinal differences from denomination to denomination and allow these to LITERALLY define us. We have the exact same architecture under the hood, and by the grace of God we are all going to the same place together. So why can’t we allow for disagreement without DIVISION?
This is not a new problem… this was present from the foundational days of Christianity. Early in the Lord’s ministry He found that His very own disciples were concerned that someone other than the “official” twelve was operating under the auspices of Jesus’s name…
Mark 9:38-40 Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.”But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is on our side.
The sentence “He who is not against us is on our side” may sound a bit trite and simplistic, but we need to recognize that this came from none other than the lips of Jesus Christ Himself. From the very beginning the followers of Christ had an instinct to create separation, and Jesus made it quite clear that there was no room for that on His team. And from the start of His earthly ministry to the end this concept of unity remained on His mind. In this impassioned prayer from Jesus below, mere hours before his crucifixion, we see His concern was not only for protection for His followers from attacks from the outside, but from self-destruction internally as well. And as He prayed for his disciples to remain united through the drama that was coming next, He turned His attention to all believers throughout the ages to come as well:
John 17:20-23 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
The Apostle Paul had this heavily on his mind as well when writing to the conflict-minded believers in Corinth:
1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
It is an incredible under-statement to say that we have a massive amount of doctrinal beliefs, social issues, and various other differences that exist between us. But I want to say this as clearly and loudly as possible:
IF SONY AND MICROSOFT CAN FIND A WAY TO MAKE A VIDEO GAME SYSTEM THAT WILL PLAY THE SAME GAMES TOGETHER, WHY CAN’T WE COME TOGETHER ON WHAT UNITES US AS BELIEVERS?
It was the prayer of our Lord, the prayer of the Apostle Paul, and throughout the centuries it has been a challenge that has divided us over and over and OVER again. We even break down across petty doctrinal lines in our own denominations. We can agree to ride an elevator with people who may disagree with us on literally EVERY possible point of belief, but we can’t peacefully ride to heaven together with like-minded believers because of an alternate point of view on a non-salvation based doctrinal difference.
I know I am just one voice raging against the denominational machine… but we must learn this lesson from Sony and Microsoft for the sake of our generation. We have more in common than we have that divides us. We have a common mission… to make it to heaven with as many people as we can take with us. We have a common enemy… the spiritual darkness that would enslave us and all who we care about. We are heading the same place and battling the same foe… it is high time we turn our swords in the right direction.
I am begging you… pleading with you… we must stop obsessing about these small lines that divide. I don’t care what brand you chose to wear, how many piercings are in your face, or when/if you think the rapture will happen. It doesn’t matter if you play on Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, PC, or on your phone. We are riding the same elevator, and we are riding it in the same direction. We are not just allies… we are FAMILY. We are brothers and sisters. Sometimes we may disagree, and we may push buttons on the ride up the elevator that others disagree with. But we must stop spending our energies on the real as well as perceived outrage and differences of doctrinal belief and opinion and recognize that these are distractions from the enemy to make us bang the drums of war with each other. It is time to unite. It is time to realize that it is up to US to come together and answer the prayers of Paul and Jesus. I’m on your side… and I am so thankful to have you on mine.
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