Shame is a curse that reminds us of our failures. Whenever I’m brought to my low points, when I remember the people I’ve hurt and the sin I’ve committed, shame has its grip on my heart. Those moments tell me I’m a horrible person and I’m not worth loving. I can hear the whispers from Satan, “You can never be forgiven.” No matter what I do in my own strength, shame never disappears and it continues to grow as a result of my resolve to defeat it. I am the Hitokiri Battōsai, a man who only kills and has hurt the one he loves the most. With no way to receive pardon, mankind has no hope. However, the free gift of forgiveness from Christ goes deeper than anything and Himura Kenshin’s scar on his face symbolizes this same kind of change. Continue reading “You Are Forgiven”
You are worthless. You are ugly. You are fat. You are lonely. You are an outcast. You are a loser. You are better dead. You will never amount to anything. You will be alone for the rest of your life. You will be an addict forever. You will never be loved. You will always be hated. You will not do anything with yourself. You can cut yourself to relieve the pain. You can masturbate to relieve the pain. You can drink one more glass to relieve the pain. You can pretend to smile to relieve the pain. You can pop one more pill to relieve the pain. You can become busy to relieve the pain. You can escape reality to relieve the pain. You can give up to relieve the pain.
Sin. This is the Genjustu of the Enemy. Continue reading “You Are Under My Genjutsu”
For seven high school students in the summer 2016 anime, Kiznaiver, the sharing of pain is quite literal. Bonded together by a symbol on their wrists through emerging medical technology, every instance of pain experienced by one person is equally split and shared with the rest of the group. This system, the Kinza System, was designed as an experiment to foster relationships between people of different personalities and allow them to connect on deeper levels. Kiznaiver has a colorful pallet of characters with major differences that test the strength of these bonds. “The cunning normal”, “high-and-mighty”, “goody-two-shoes”, and “eccentric headcase” are only to name a few and they must work out their exceeding differences and compromise solutions that would benefit the group.
However, these interactions aren’t held together by individual members, but rather the crimson-etched symbol that bonds them all as a whole. Without it, they would not be able to connect with each other. Looking at the premise of Kiznaiver, I find myself experiencing the Kinza System, but on a much deeper level than our protagonists. I would argue that Christians have the strongest bonds of any people and can share pain with each other unlike anyone else. Believers are bound together through Jesus Christ and their bonds extend not only emotionally, physically, and mentally, but also spiritually, one which ties the souls of people together with a deep connection. Continue reading “Christians are Kiznaivers”
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?”
*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?”
Everyone at one time or another can remember back to childhood crushes in the past! The boys in first grade that pulled your hair and threw basketballs at your face to show their affection, the girls in middle school that turn cherry red sitting next to the boy they like at the lunch table, and the awkward high school couple that have no idea how to properly flirt! These and other exciting situations get two people interested in each other on a level deeper than friendship and gets the heart pumping a million miles an hour! You never know if the attractive other feels mutually about you and it’s a fit of emotions to deal with the not-knowing!
However, there comes a point when crushing and gooey feelings transform into romance, something that runs much deeper and matures into something beautiful. Sword Art Online’s Kazuto Kirigaya and Asuna Yuuki are one of anime’s most famous examples of a couple that display this and provide themselves as an example of what genuine lovers should look like. Even as I start dating, I keep on seeing myself looking back at the protagonists of Sword Art Online and finding relationship goals that I desire to imitate with my girlfriend. Whether a married couple, dating, or a single person looking for dating advice, listening, learning, and loving are three things that allow romance to take root and are evident in Kirito and Asuna’s life in Aincrad. Continue reading “SAO Relationship Goals”
*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”