Sword Art Online Episode 01 and the Nature of Discipleship

Clear 100 levels, defeat the final boss, don’t lose a single life, and you get so survive.

From my time playing Evony (for which I most certainly did not run a guild), I can tell you this: I’d have been among those 2,000 dead in the first month. -_-‘

Besides the silly, but fun setup of this series, the first episode of Sword Art Online got to me because of the simple relationship that developed.  Upon Klein’s insistence, Kirito takes him under his wing and teaches him the basics of the game.  Klein watches and learns, before the two eventually part ways.

It was familiar to me, feeling very much like the modest Christian discipleships I’ve been a part of in the past.

Sword Art Online
I don’t recall any of my disciplees calling me the “cute” type. (Art by 千草)

In the past, I discipled three young men, two at one time and one at another.  None of the discipleships were tightly structured, but all focused on the basic idea that through modeling, encouragement, prayer, accountability and other means, I would help these young men grow in their relationships with God.

One thing I found was that, as in the case of Kirito and Klein, these discipleships were fairly short.  The truth was, I didn’t have as much wisdom to impart as perhaps I originally thought I did.  I have a long way to grow, and the maturity gap between myself and these guys wasn’t as great as I thought they’d be.  In fact, I admired some of their personal habits and aspects of their relationships with God and tried to emulate them.

In short time, the relationships developed into friendships.  This is certainly a natural path in such a relationship – you become very close.  And certainly as the disciplee grows out of the discipleship, the closeness that develops will encourage friendship.

In SAO, as Klein and Kirito depart, they do so as friends, as seen by the gentle nudging they give one another.  Although Kirito had much more to teach Klein (unlike the case between myself and guys), the separation here was necessary as well.

And just the same, there’s a certainly melancholy and loneliness to this completion.  The fondness that grows in the bond is not easily forgotten.  But in each case, the ending is the same.  There is a mission to be had.  My disciplees would hopefully go and help in the mission to make other disciples of Christ.

And Klein?  Well, he’ll find his friends and, armed with knowledge and skills, will do the same – teaching them to survive and thrive in this crazy world.

And really, in a nutshell, that’s what discipleship is about.  Help, encourage, equip.  And when difficulties come, hopefully the learner will be able to slay any enemy…digital or spiritual.

11 thoughts on “Sword Art Online Episode 01 and the Nature of Discipleship

  1. I’d imagine that you’d soon be blogging about the relation between the main male and female protagonist. Their faithfulness and love for one another is probably one of the greatest found in anime yet.

    1. This is honestly what excites me the mot about SAO. There aren’t enough action shows out there have a good romance element.

  2. Looks like this season is packed with many good shows … speaking of which, have you checked Tari Tari? I find the editing of episode #2 exceptional – how they packed the events, some drama, tense moments, a bit of humor here and there, and seal it with a dash of twist. A presentation that is quite rare in these days.

    go watch tari tari lol

  3. I must admit I’m surprised that this looks to be a series that we’ll both be watching. Maybe I shouldn’t be. I loved the .hack series on the PS2, though, so it was natural I’d go for an anime like this too. I fear it may get very dark, but maybe that’s OK.

    too bad about that yucky mushy romance stuff <– not spoiled as it's mentioned in the anime description. 🙂

    1. Spoiler!

      Yeah, looking good – I guess this’ll be the one series we’re both watching this season!

      .hack, eh? I really enjoyed .hack\\sign (sp?), having watched it on CN back in the day, but never finished it. I really should return to that…after the gazillion other shows on my list.

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