Predestination is our Shelter

“What will become of me for now on? After some time, I stopped thinking about that. Maybe I forgot how to think at all?” (Rin, Shelter)

Spiraling ice glaciers, boundless grass fields and deep ocean waters. Graffiti skies painted with puffy clouds and long horizons water-colored with vibrant suns. This is the virtual world seventeen year old Rin lives inside, built by pixels and computer data. She can create anything her heart desires with the touch pen on her tablet. But as she explores her surroundings, she realizes she is the only one there. She is all alone.

Rin doesn’t know who she is or what her purpose is. She lives each day merely passing time, wondering if anything will ever change. She knows there is something more, something greater, but she doesn’t know what. One day, however, everything changes.  Continue reading “Predestination is our Shelter”

Menma and Holy Spirit: Am I Delusional?

It’s known throughout the Bible that the Holy Spirit literally seals Himself inside those who choose to believe and have faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:13). He guides our lives to the truth of righteousness and leads us where we need to go, speaking directly from God (John 16:13). However, it is the challenge of every Christian to properly discern what thoughts, emotions, and hunches are from the Holy Spirit and which are not.

I have great difficulty with this in my personal life and struggle with it on a daily basis. Did the Holy Spirit put these coincidences in my life for a reason? Was this feeling during worship the presence of God? Are my emotions being driven by my flesh or by faith? These questions are the ones I am constantly asking myself and it can become very tiring. The frustration of not knowing is uncontainable and brings me closer to insanity. However, after watching episode four of the anime Anohana, I found that I relate so well to protagonist Jintan in his struggles with his friend’s ghost and even discovered a principle of faith that Christians can apply to their own lives.  Continue reading “Menma and Holy Spirit: Am I Delusional?”

Why Does God Allow Suffering?

*Spoilers to Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood*

Suffering has been a part of existence since the beginning and defines what it means to be human. Death, tragedy, and hardship are a part of life on earth and it is something that will eventually come to everyone. However, when suffering becomes unbearable, we immediately look to God, wondering why a loving creator would allow His people to walk through pain. We become angry with God, pointing the finger at Him, and question His will for our lives. Some even deny the existence of such a being because of this reasoning.

In the 2009 Bones anime, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, young alchemists Edward and Alphonse Elric wrestle with the same issue. They themselves have experienced some of the worst pain a human can endure and believe that, since God refuses to help them, they should use their alchemy to solve all their problems. Through their past alchemic mistakes and journey searching for the Philosopher’s Stone, the boys learn the truth of suffering. For people in the real world, their stories of tragedy and hardship mirror what the Elrics experienced and unknowing give the same conclusion, pointing directly to Jesus Christ.  Continue reading “Why Does God Allow Suffering?”

The Truth About Fanservice

*Sexually-explicit content discussed*

Ever since I began watching anime three years ago, fan service was a recurring theme that I knew would not be going away. “Giving the fans exactly what they want” is what I was told it was, but I soon realized that it was much more than that. Men and women coming back again and again to Japanese media filled with sexually-charged content is what I saw and it soon became acceptable in my mind, a part of anime that would never disappear. I can openly admit that in my past I had consumed a lot of sexualized anime in the form of fan service, both softcore and hardcore. I had done it all and seen it all: every fetish, trope and outfit. Most importantly, I am a living testimony that breaks the common misconception that a “good Christian man” like myself would know nothing about fan service. In fact, I know more about the sexualized subsection of otaku culture than most people.

Fan service, whether you know it or not, tries its best to give people expressions of sexuality that were only meant to be experienced with a partner of the opposite biological sex. In anime, these are seen through common tropes and situations that are a staple to the media like panty shots, boob grabs, bikini scenes, etc. Some may see these actions as innocent pleasure to the viewer, harming no one and thus being justifiable. However, there is a lot more going on under the surface with our hearts that works to destroy intimacy with our future spouses by stealing sexual purity. Based on what I’ve seen fanservice do to myself and being a follower of Jesus, I can never agree with it and try my best to avoid it when watching a show. As a man who reveals the truth, let’s start calling fanservice by the beast that it truly is: pornography.  Continue reading “The Truth About Fanservice”

Anime Piracy

With access to emerging technologies and increased internet access, it has become easier than ever to pirate episodes of anime. The process has become as simple as going onto Kissanime or Sidereel and clicking on a series to watch for free, changing the way that people view shows. Laws and regulations have been put into place, attempting to stop the public from using these illegal sources for illegal activities, yet society still puts these websites into service; hardly any punishments or none at all have come to them. Continue reading “Anime Piracy”

Escaping Purposeless Living

Our world today lives for continuous fulfillment, the warm-hearted satisfaction that they deeply long for. Everything that society does is aimed towards gaining personal happiness, whether they know it or not; it is a fundamental human condition. Those without a true purpose or direction in life will sacrifice anything to get this feeling. Culture is raised to search for a joy that can never be obtained through worldly pleasures or other people and they are slaving their lives away to desires that can never be fulfilled. Continue reading “Escaping Purposeless Living”