Have you been keeping up with the happenings in Bleach?
The manga has become fairly intense, and after all this time, the story’s become exciting again. I haven’t been a fan of the series since early in the arc involving Aizen, but I just can’t help but to consume the manga in chunks every half a year or so just to keep up with the characters I once followed so closely. Right now, the world (as the Soul Reapers know it) is coming to an end after the death of one specific character. But never to fear, because of course, Ichigo is here!
And as is the tradition for a shounen, fight ’em series, he comes to
maybe probably certainly save the day after having done some training. Rukia and Renji have done the same. Maybe Chad and Orihime, too, though to be honest, I’m not clear on their storylines.
It’s no surprise that we see this type of storyline again and again in anime and manga – whether it be for physical breakthroughs, as in Dragonball Z or Naruto, or more emotional ones, as you might see in “training camp” retreats in series like Oofuri or Bamboo Blade. The opportunity to get away from the world leads one to cut out distractions and focus on a specific task at hand.
For Christians, there’s an added element. Not only can you cut out the noise, but in the quiet and stillness of a retreat – both from the environment outside and in one’s heart, you can perhaps hear God. What is he saying to you? What does he want you to do? And how will you respond?
This weekend, my family and I are off to a church retreat. I’m excited for my kids, who really enjoy their time at our event’s VBS (vacation bible school), the chance at refreshment for myself, and the opportunity I have again this year to lead a retreat small group.
If you haven’t attended a retreat before, I hope you’ll take the opportunity to do so one day. Not all are well done (think Christian summer camp-type atmosphere), and they sometimes lead to results that are all passion and no depth, but they can also provide a path toward transformation. And if not a retreat, you might consider short term missions, which accomplishes much of the same and a whole lot more, or even a private retreat where you can dig into scripture and prayer (Koreans have this wonderful tradition of going to a “prayer mountain,” which is SO very anime, if you ask me).
Take care, and have a wonderful weekend (and spring break, if you have one of those)!