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#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: 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!

Finding the Invisible God in…Serial Experiments Lain

Twitter can be a wonderful tool.  It’s great for networking, establishing relationships, and finding out about news and new ideas.

It can also feed a blog.

A few weeks back, Otakurean, Prede and I were tweeting, and Otakurean mentioned that the father in Serial Experiments Lain was symbolic of God.  I was confused at first – although the show was once one of my favorites and still one I admire greatly, it’s been almost 10 years since I’d seen it and I’d forgotten much.  Wasn’t Lain symbolic of God?  And wasn’t the father just a creepy dad?  It wasn’t until after I rewatched the final episode that I got the connection.

Lain Iwakura

From the Abe Yoshitoshi Artbook via Danbooru

Of course, Serial Experiments Lain is apt for discussion in a variety of arenas – media, technology, culture, society and relationships in addition to religion.  Although I’m sure it’s been discussed to death, I can’t help but write about a connection between the show and Christian spirituality that stood out dramatically.  In the final episode of the series, Lain embodies the role of Jesus Christ when He is at the Garden of Gethsamane, hours before His execution. Read the rest of this entry