This article today is a guest post from Simok of Moonlight Mixtape. Simok is a really thoughtful and interesting writer and musician – I really encourage you all to read this post and engage with it, in your mind and heart (even with some passages that might give you pause) and in the comments below. And then go check out Simok’s blog – a good start there would be through his Me at 22 series.
Hi everyone–or minasan konnichiwa, LOL—my name is simok and I love anime… and Christ. This is probably why Charles asked me if I wanted to write a guest post here at BTT, and I was ecstatic when he did. I asked Holy Spirit what He wanted me to write, and for today, I think He wants me to share about the time when I felt that I loved anime more than I loved God.
Now… this is a strange competition to say the least, but I was seriously worried about it at one point, even feeling guilty about it. After all, God asks us to love Him with all of our hearts–and while I certainly wanted to do that–most of the times, I was more emotionally involved with anime than Him. I mean I loved God too, but there was just something about cute anime characters that made me feel things directly in my heart.
A few months ago, I kind of ‘skipped’ my church’s Good Friday service to watch Madoka at home with my roommate. And wow, the ending seriously touched me and filled me with hope. It seemed to truly fit the original definition of awesome. I even thought that it was the best depiction of Christ’s love I’ve ever seen portrayed. But while that was all good, I soon started to feel that something wasn’t quite right.
Again, Jesus asks us to leave everything behind when we follow Him. And so like, if God asks me to stop watching anime… could I actually do it? What’s more, I wondered if there would be anime in heaven. And… there probably won’t be. So what if I’m disappointed? I mean, how can anything be more ideal than what’s portrayed in anime? The way anime made me feel, I couldn’t give it up. As much as I was ashamed of the way my heart positioned itself, I couldn’t help but feel hurt and conflicted in my conviction.
One thing I did learn over the years–and this is certainly a blessing from God–is really knowing that perfect love overcomes fear. I also knew that, quite literally, satan didn’t want me to question God. But so then I did. I asked God to show me the answer, saying that I would trust in His goodness even though I didn’t feel like it.
A few days later, our church held a baptism service after our Easter service. And you know what, I didn’t need words to explain anything to me. When I saw people genuinely confess their life to Christ, it was the most Earth-shatteringly beautiful thing I’ve ever witnessed; more than anime, more than hip hop, more than drugs, sex, or anything I’ve ever tried in my life. Just by being in His presence, I just knew in my heart that this is what I wanted. I didn’t cry during Madoka–but I did for this.
This is cliche but I was so happy to confirm for myself that the good news is actually good. So I want to encourage you to do the same–test things, ask questions. My advice is that, when you come to God, you don’t have to be afraid of condemnation. How could a dad actually hate his own child?
Once again, I learned that I just have to trust Him, trusting that He knows best. I, on the other hand, have to admit and try to understand the implication of not knowing everything, if anything at all (looking at you, Hanekawa).
The other cool/good thing is that we were made in His image. The deepest part of ourselves, our spirit, actually wants what He wants. So it’s just natural. In bearing His image, we like what He likes, so I’m sure Jesus loves cute anime characters too.
So don’t be afraid to be who you are. Our lives would not be the same if we could see ourselves like how God sees us. I for one am excited to live my life loving anime while having this relationship with an amazing Dad. Even if we miss the mark and want or like something that God doesn’t like, His grace is enough.
But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.
God will always be waiting for you to come home, and He is better than the best anime dad.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
(I might add: pop culture, fan service, lolicon, siscon, yuri, yaoi, oppai, and what have you)
So what is anime to me? It’s a medium in which I hear God speak His truth and love to me. The same can be said about any other sub-culture. There is a reason why people are drawn to something–we are all searching for the same thing, after all. So we can understand one another even though we are all so different. It’s just that in having a relationship with God, we discern what is good.
“… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
So contrary to what the Miyazaki meme says, anime was not a mistake.
For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.…
Looking at my life, I trust that God’s taste in directing, pacing, narration, and theme are what my heart actually wants. And at the end of the day, I have to thank God for: