A rather obscure anime about angelic beings that first aired almost 15 years ago hardly would seem the basis for a change in how we live our lives. And maybe it isn’t. Maybe that’s putting to much pressure on a slice of life story that’s almost a soporific as it gets.
But it does point us toward truth, even as its creator, Yoshitoshi ABe, has explicitly stated that it’s not about any central religion. In a story about teenage girls who met untimely deaths, we find the central core of the gospel – of how we sin, how we’ve done nothing to earn our own salvation, and how at personal sacrifice it took an atoning death and a gracious love to lead us into eternity.
And as we watch Haibane Renmei, we’re reminded that all media tells us something about our personal walks with God. I return to a question posited by Dan Cronquist, which paraphrased is, “how would we act if like halos on the haibane, our religion was in plain sight for everyone to see?” Well, more than perhaps anything, how we interact with media – watching, reading, producing, participating – shows the world was we hold dear and what means more to us than anything else.
Are we going to let Christ have lordship over our lives? If we answer “yes,” if we proclaim that he is LORD and savior, then a good place to start is with media – to search for God in the stories of humanity as displayed in anime and film; to think about how media impacts us and our walk with God; and to use the world around us, particularly media, to reach that very world that’s in need. And beginning here, in a most human art form, we can approach something heavenly by turning it away from ourselves and toward the one who gives grace, and begin to let him be lord of everything – even that which we compartmentalize.
And yes, even anime.
featured art by モヨコ |republished w/permission