Back in the heyday of social media, when MySpace was waxing old, Facebook was hitting puberty, and Twitter was merely a babe, older people would look at the emergence of these new digital forms of communication and say things like “You kids are only communicating through screens!”, and “Kids today don’t have real conversations anymore!” Basically, the onset of social media led to a belief that relationships created and maintained over a virtual space were somehow less personal and “real” than relationships in the physical world. While no one can doubt the intimacy offered by a face-to-face conversation or the powerful experience that those relationships create, does the use of a virtual medium of communication somehow negate the true experience of a relationship? Today we’re going to take a look at Sword Art Online and see what it says about virtual relationships and the way they form.

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Konnichiwa! As we head closer into fall and as the fall season of anime grows closer and closer (ONE-PUNCH MAN FTW!), I’ve been thinking a lot about anime that I’m going to watch and anime that I’ve watched, especially some of my firsts. My first ever true anime (Pokemon doesn’t count. Never has.) was Sword Art Online, and despite the equal amounts of love and hate surrounding the series, I still think of it as a pretty decent show. While not perfect, it did do a good job of showing the viewer a world within a world, and using the story to explore how humans act in a crisis. When the reality that death in the virtual world was permanent became real to those playing it, the way the players thought about the world around them radically changed.

Continue Reading "The Reality of Virtual Death"

Konnichiwa! As we head into the end of this week and begin to blossom into the next, I want to wrap up the theme of community with a few short ways that we can express this godly love for those in our own lives. Community is an important aspect in the life of the believer, and it is our duty to be that community not just for ourselves, or even for other Christians, but so we can show the world the love of Christ through our relationships with one another. You can’t begin to love an unbeliever when you don’t even love a believer, so I hope that my writing here can spur you on to find more ways to love those in your own community.

Continue Reading "Exploring the Role of Christian Fellowship (Part 3)"

Continuing on last week’s post, there are many reasons that friendships are successful. Sometimes it’s because of shared interests, sometimes it’s because of a mutual threat, but one of the most important is encouragement. Few things are more uplifting than a friend who helps to share your burdens, one who loves you, and takes it upon himself to give you strength when you’re weak. This kind of friendship is praised throughout the Bible, and is nowhere more evident than in the relationship between David and Jonathan.

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Happy Friday everyone! The week is nearly over, and with it comes all the trappings of weekendom: fun, games, laughter, and anime! And what do these all have in common? Nope, not that they can all be experienced over the Internet, but that they are all made way better with friends! We humans are a strange lot. We form alliances and bonds over the slightest of things, and break those bonds at the tip of a hat sometimes. But then, sometimes we form bonds with one another that are nearly unbreakable. Sometimes we form close connections with those around us; connections that are too unique and time-weathered to be shared with anyone else. Why is that?

Continue Reading "Sword Art Online and the Power of Christian Friendships (Part 1)"