Monthly Archives: March 2011

Aniblogger Testimony Project

My palms were sweaty.  My heart was thumping.  My face was looking straight down.  I stuttered, “ummed,” and “uhhed” through it all, but when I was done, I felt good about what I’d said.

It was the first time I’d shared my faith with a non-Christian.

Today, I’m less nervous when I share my faith (probably more a function of all the public speaking I’ve done rather than of the times I’ve actually given my testimony), but I still get some jitters.  Religion is a profoundly personal thing, and as such, when it comes under criticism (as few things are critiqued as much as religion), we can easily be hurt or offended.

anime prayer

Picture by みかみ (Pixiv user #17297693)

A major goal of this blog is to promote open, safe, and personal discussion about religion.  A partial result of the aniblogging and religion survey I conducted was the promotion of this blog as place where individuals could discuss religion in an open, safe, and personal manner.  But the survey itself was cold and impersonal.  It gave numbers – and numbers hardly ever reflect real people.  When someone tells me that thousands died in the Japanese earthquake last week, I’m saddened; but when I hear the personal stories of individuals affected by the earthquake, I’m changed.

As such, I’m taking the survey a step further.  Some respondants left their contact information in their survey forms, allowing me to message them and discuss further.  I asked some of these respondants (and others I’ve corresponded with) to present mini-testimonies.  Every Thursday over the next few weeks (starting next Thursday, March 24), an aniblogger will talk about their personal faith.  These posts will be widely varying on topic, not only because of the mix of religions (and non), but also because these posts are fairly open-ended.  The only connecting points are anime and religion.

Here’s the roster (I’ve purposely left off their faiths; you can discover them through their own posts): Read the rest of this entry

CRASH Japan and Other Christian Charitable Organizations

It’s been almost a week since the massive earthquake affected Japan, followed by the tsunami and aftershocks.  Donations and other assistance are as needed as ever.  One major project going on is Anime and Manga Bloggers for Japan, which is providing funds to ShelterBox and Doctors Without Borders.  Anime News Network has a list of other charitable activities that animanga-related individuals, sites, and organizations are running.

For Christians readers out there, you might be interested in Christian organizations that are providing relief.  First and foremost, I’d like to suggest giving to CRASH Japan.  The mission of this organization is to provide disaster relief; as such, they are prepared for an event like this and were able to go into action right away.  Yuki-Anne, a missionary in Japan associated with this blog, is volunteering through this organization.  CRASH Japan is also looking for volunteers who can assist.

Here are other Christian organizations helping the Japanese people (most provided by Christianity Today):

  • Samaritan’s Purse:  This wonderful organization has long focused on providing needed goods, medical supplies, training, and other items to the needy.  From their site: “The team in Sendai is determining areas of need, setting up a distribution network, and getting the much-needed supplies into the hands of local families as quickly as possible.”
  • World Vision:  Known for their Sponsor-a-Child program, they do so much more great work and are another organization I regularly give to.
  • Asian Access:  The goal of this organization is to multiply church growth throughout Asia.  They are aiding in this disaster by working through their network of churches.
  • World Relief:  Another well-known organization, World Relief is apparently not physically present in Japan, but is partnering with the Japan Evangelical Alliance, which is associated with CRASH Japan.
  • World Concern:  This wonderful humanitarian organization is working with partnering Christian organizations.
  • Saddleback Church PEACE RELIEF:  This ministry of Saddleback Church (pastored by Rick Warren) is also contributing to the relief effort.
  • Redeemer City to City:  Another organization focused on church-planting, this organization has provided information about individuals and churches on ground level and ways to donate.

Again, I want to emphasize, GIVE.  Help the suffering, homeless, needy, and lost.

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

- James 2:17-18

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Disasters and the Human Condition

Recently, I became aware of Mike Huang, a blogger at Anime Diet.  A recent seminary graduate and a terrific writer to boot, I don’t know how I missed him.

-_-‘

In addition to his typical aniblogging, Mike has an audio column called Art and Soul, where he wears his “seminary student, Christian theology and ethics and philosophy hat.”  In the wake of the recent disaster in Japan, he recently reposted a 2009 column about Tokyo Magnitude 8.0.  The timely column is reproduced in transcript and focuses on the Christian belief that we, as humans, are sinful, but can be transformed through God’s grace.

Please have a read!

Art and Soul 6 – Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 and Human Nature

Christian Fanart: Hush the lion’s den

The deviantART community is home to a large group of Christian arts whose work is influence by anime.  I’ve been blessed to feature examples of work by Beau Soir, sA-oHime, and pancake-waddle thus far.  Today, I want to show a beautiful piece by another favorite of mine, GenevieveGT.  Involving the famous story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den, the title of the painting is “Hush the lion’s den.”

Daniel and the Lion's Den anime drawing painting

Artist Reflections:
Reference to the book of Daniel chapter 6 of the angel who shut the mouths of the lions. The inspiration came from a small black and white illustration I saw on a former co-worker’s desk of a brush-stroke Chinese style image of a lion. Needless to say, I wanted to incorporate that same type of feel with these lions but with more colour.

The colour pallet for this piece was not only because of the style of the line art but also because within this account in Daniel’s life, we can see that setting our sights on the things above (Christ and His will in our lives) is a light which burns through any trials or tribulations we face each day. If we have Christ as our center focus in life, all the temporal things in this life become but shadows in His love.

For more art from GenevieveGT, visit her deviantART page.  You can also purchase all sorts of products featuring Genevieve’s art through her store, PandaPad.com.

Yuki-Anne in Japan: Only Hope

Yuki-Anne, a guest blogger here on Beneath the Tangles, is a missionary in Japan (read her previous entry here).  She was there last week when the devastating earthquakes struck the country.

So there I was, clinging to the door frame, praying, “God, please make it stop, please protect us, please make it stop, please protect us.”

Yoko-san came out of the other room and told me we needed to go downstairs. I didn’t need to be told twice. We poured out of the building and waited for the shaking to stop. It seemed to stop, but everytime we would go back inside, the shaking would start again. Even now, we still experience aftershocks.

I’m sure you’ve been reading the news. You don’t need me to tell you about the climbing death toll, the sheer loss of human life. And so in the middle of this, I’m having to ask myself a question: Can I trust God? Read the rest of this entry

Finding the Invisible God in…Bleach

Aizen Bleach

Art by ろぉど (Pixiv Member #10473537)

Character: Sousuke Aizen
Series: Bleach
Gender: Male
Occupation: soul reaper (formerly)
Bible twin: Satan

Overview
Bleach is a manga and anime that needs little introduction.  It follows Ichigo Kurosaki, a high school student who is bestowed with the powers of a Shinigami (soul reaper), beings who send tortured souls to the afterlife and who fight against powerful spiritual beings known as Hollows.  In the anime’s second arc, the captains and lieutenants of Soul Society are introduced.   Sousuke Aizen begins the arc as the captain of the 5th Division

As the show progresses, one of the biggest about-faces in anime history occurs.  Aizen is apparently murdered by an unknown assailant.  Later though, it is revealed that Aize, who is originally portrayed as calm and compassionate, is a mastermind who would use Rukia Kuchiki, his subordinate Momo Hinamori, and anyone else to use the power of the Hōgyoku.  Aizen becomes the primary villain of the long-running and ever-popular series (more spoilers ahead). Read the rest of this entry

#prayforjapan…then #givetojapan

#prayforjapan

Oh, the ire this hashtag has caused!  Atheists jumping on believers for praying to a god they don’t believe exists when money is what is needed; Christians angrily defending their God when there are people dying from this powerful earthquake and the ensuing tsunami.

Whatever we believe about God and about prayer, the fact of the matter is this: many people have died, many are missing, and many need help.  WE need to be the ones to help them.  Donate $100; donate $50; donate $10.  Seriously…all you college kids, just skip Wendy’s and Chipotle for a couple of days, and give that money to people who really need it.

For atheists, I think I’m preaching to a choir.  Strangely enough, I get the feeling I need to preach to the Christians more.  While God will do miraculous things through prayer, prayer is almost never the end – it’s the beginning.  God uses prayer, often, to convict us to do something.  Remember that James said that faith without prayer is dead; you might as well replace faith with prayer and keep that mantra in mind.  God does miracles, but time and time again, He’s shown that He usually works through His people.  No surprise there if we see Him as a relational God.

If you’re looking to donate directly to Japan, there will certainly be a number of programs set up today.  The Red Cross is accepting funds, though past criticisms of their financial managment have made me wary.  I know little about Global Giving, but they’ve quickly set up a donation page and may be the best charity to give to at this time.

Please pray.  Then…please give.

Edit:  The Huffington Post has a page listing a number of different charities to give to.

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Simple and Profound

I’ve been blessed to converse with a ton of interesting individuals in the short time I’ve been aniblogging.  One of the more unique people that I’ve come across is DrmChsr0, who hasn’t blogged consistently in quite some time, but remains a known voice in the community.  Also, he’s a Christian, though as he wrote, he’s not your “two-bit self-appointed hall monitors of morality and religion” Christian.

Several years ago, DrmCHsr0 wrote an interesting post on his blog.  In it, he discusses profound but simple messages in shows like PlanetES and Gurren Lagann, before applying that principle to Christianity.  Please have a read:

The simplest message is the most profound message

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: The Wallflower and the Prince of Peace

One of my favorite bloggers is someone I met by happenstance on the web.  While participating in a forum thread about religion, Annalyn jumped into the conversation with her thoughtful posts about Christianity.  It wasn’t until later that I discovered she was an avid blogger.

Last month, she wrote a post about the anime and manga for The Wallflower.  She makes an interesting comparison between the male leads and Jesus Christ (right up the alley for my blog, certainly).  Her personal experiences illuminate the post.  Read it here:

Annalyn’s Thoughts: Reflection on The Wallflower

Annalyn’s blog is full of great commentary on anime and manga, including a recent series called Anime 101.  She also includes other semi-related bits of commentary, including a post discussing aniblogging.  I think you’ll enjoy her honesty, warmth, and knowledge.  She’s also new to the world of Twitter, so feel free to tweet her!

My Heart with Egypt and Libya

Off-topic – this post has little or nothing to do with either anime or religion – but I’ve just meaning to share a little bit about Egypt and Libya.  Of course, I support the overthrow of the dictatorships in both countries (particularly in Libya – no matter how much Muammar Gadhafi has toned down in the last decade or two, his hand was and is still brutal).  But I don’t want to blog about that – others much more qualified than I can explain what’s happening.  I just want to share my personal connection to each country.

Pixiv Artist 10033297

Read the rest of this entry