Anime, Japanese produced cartoons, have never been my thing. Speed Racer was the only one that ever captured my heart as a child. I have spent many hours happily watching Speed Racer with my son. Pokémon, on the other hand, has never been a part of our daily routine. I was hesitant about the show because I did not want to expose Joshua to the often subtle animism found in Japanese produced Anime. I just never encouraged it. Joshua already had too many things he was collecting and there was no need to add another show that had so many action figures and cards.
Early in his life, I gave Joshua the option to donate his entire Batman or Ben 10 collection if he intended on switching shows. When he went to school, many of the other children played and collected Pokémon toys. I gave Joshua a choice, this time between Lego Ninjago or Pokémon. He chose to hold onto his current Toy Empire. We played this game of back and forth, a dance if you will, of “want vs. wants” in harmony until…Pokémon showed up in Happy Meals.
Joshua worked out a deal between his father and I that he would collect 4 of the happy meal toys and then the hunting, asking, nagging etc., would cease. To Joshua’s advantage, we traveled this weekend. We made a few extra stops at McDonalds and the collection was complete. We now possessed all six Pokémon action figures and their trading cards. Then Joshua began to worry that these toys might not be pleasing to God. I explained to him that he has a very powerful God that can transform anything. That night, Josh must have put the pieces together. “If God can transform anything, He can transform my Pokémon as well.” He prayed that all of the Pokémon would accept Jesus and promise to follow His ways all of the days of their lives. His father and I went along with this. We had a little talk with the creatures and then tucked Joshua into bed with his newly sanctified friends.
This thorn in my side turned out to be such a teachable moment for our family. We can now accept these figures because they were transformed by Jesus. Because of my words and how I approached the subject with my son, he viewed them as bad. We used this situation to reinforce that even if Satan had intended Pokémon for evil; they can be changed and used by God for good. Their past did not matter any longer. Jesus had washed them clean and freed them from it. They were completely new creatures in Him.
The intent of our travel was to go back to Clovis and reconnect with friends. We attended the church picnic where baptisms were being done for a couple of the children. While the baptisms were taking place, Joshua informed me he was ready to be baptized. After a discussion with his dad and I, we went and spoke with the pastor. We knew the time was right and Joshua was baptized. Joshua was so enthusiastic and I burst with pride. Afterwards, Joshua said he felt all new and clean inside. Our whole family has walked in a bit of a glow for the past few days. When we returned from our trip, Joshua immediately baptized all of the Pokémon. We can hear our son at night talking to his animals and training them up in the way they should go. I bet we have the only sanctified and baptized Pokémon on the block.
I could have dug my heels in and refused to reverse my decisions about Pokémon. It would have made a real mess of our weekend, filling it with power struggles and passive aggression. I could have forced my family to take the road that I had mapped out for them. But I yielded. I let God have my disapproval and God moved my son’s heart, all of our hearts really. There are times that God’s plan is not my plan. If I would only give Him a minute to work things out…I would see that.
"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. Isaiah 55:8