Category Archives: Anime

Why It Doesn’t Matter If You Believe In God

Recent horrible events have shaken my faith in God. I believe I know the root of such horror: Original Sin. But: I find myself struggling with a question: How can a god who is supposed to be the personification of love and mercy allow a person to go to Hell for no other reason than that they died while at a concert?

After all: We’re all imperfect to some extent. And salvation is not something we deserve, it’s something we attain. (Romans 7:15 — 20) But, what about the people who were not as close to attaining it as others? Will God have mercy on them? In this life, it’s impossible to know. I wish it wasn’t.

Following The Closet Atheist’s blog, I often hear variations on the question “Why don’t you believe in God?”

And today I’m here to say: “It doesn’t matter if you believe in God.”

Why?

Because: “Do you believe in God?” is not the question that one should be asking. The more important question, I believe, is: “Do you trust God?”

Why?

Because: Think of your ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend. You know they exist. There is evidence of your previous interactions with them. But there’s a reason you’re no longer together. The fact that they are real did not stop you from cutting them out of your life.

Meme1

It’s the same with God: If you don’t trust God, than it won’t matter if you believe that He exists because you’ll want nothing to do with Him.

Let’s say that everything in the Bible could be proven to be true. Destroying cities with fire (Genesis 19:24, 25), massacring men, women, children, and the elderly (Deuteronomy 13:15), turning disobedient people to salt (Genesis 19:26) or making them mute (Luke 1:20) — everything that God does, or commands be done in His name, that makes one go “Wait, what?” If that god appeared right in front of you right now and asked you “Do you trust me?” what would your Yes or No answer be?

To end this post on a happy note: Some music:

Advertisements

Tokyo Red Hood — First Impressions

Note: Graphic content.

Since it’s October, I’m in the mood for a scary story.

Like everyone, I have my limits. Still: Recently, I’ve found myself drawn to horrific tales. For example: Evil Dead (2013):

It is with that in mind that I address the subject of this post: Tokyo Red Hood. (Some spoilers.)

Image result for tokyo red hood

A manga about a masochistic, demonic Little Red Riding Hood and the organ harvester she works for. Featuring an angel who will kill at the drop of a hat, and a God who I would describe using the following gif:

Now, I must admit: I have not read Tokyo Red Hood yet. Which is why this post is just my “first impressions.” I don’t have the means to get the manga yet, but it’s been on my mind since yesterday. (11:56 — 13:09)

So why are you even talking about it? you might be thinking. After all: I won’t be able to really give my thoughts on the story until I’ve actually read the story.

Good point.

This is why I feel compelled to talk about it:

Researching Tokyo Red Hood, three thoughts came to mind:

This quote by Stephen King: “We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.”

This Bible verse: “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11)

And this Bible verse: “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.” (Philippians 4:8)

My point being: Even if it’s trying to do the opposite, Tokyo Red Hood — with its murder, disembowelment, and worldview that could be described as “Blasphemous” — is pointing to God.

Image result for tokyo red hood

I’ve heard it said that the Devil is out to utterly destroy every aspect of creation — that, if it were up to him, not even atoms would exist. Why? Because: Every created thing, because it is a created thing, no matter how seemingly sick and twisted, ultimately has its roots in God, the first creator.

As C.S. Lewis put it:

‘Creation’ as applied to human authorship seems to me to be an entirely misleading term. We re-arrange elements He has provided. And that is surely why our works never mean to others quite what we intended; because we are recombining elements made by Him and already containing His meanings. Because of those divine meanings in our materials it is impossible that we should ever know the whole meaning of our works and the meaning we never intended may be the best and truest one.

This doesn’t mean I’ll like Tokyo Red Hood. This doesn’t mean that it won’t, for me, cross the line of good taste.

But: There is goodness, truth, and beauty everywhere. Even in the darkest depths of Tokyo Red Hood.

And that is nothing to be afraid of.

Speechless

I deleted my previous post, “10-Word Story: Moment Of Calm”, because I felt like it didn’t measure up to the standard I have for myself. I don’t know what my standard is, but I know what it isn’t.

When it comes to my 10-word stories, I usually write them fast. I see a beautiful piece of art, and the words pop into my head in no time. But for “Moment of Calm” I spent over an hour thinking of what to say.

The piece of art was so beautiful. I felt I had to say something. I was going for something serious, sensual, or erotic, but settled for something semi-humorous: One child asking another what his mom is doing sitting naked at his dinner table. How awkward might that conversation be?

But, after giving it more thought: The woman in this piece of art deserves better than that. She  deserves better than I can currently give her.

She literally leaves me speechless.

Woman

The closest words that I can currently imagine doing her justice are these lyrics from “Always With Me” from Spirited Away:

Though the road is long and lonely and the end far away, out of sight
I can with these arms embrace the light

As I bid farewell my heart stops, in tenderness I feel
My silent empty body begins to listen to what is real

On another note:

Recently, I had a conversation with fellow blogger Love Alchemy about nudity and nature. In it, she said:

I remember most vividly bathing in streams and walking through what I would call forest for lack of a better term. It was a place of tall trees, uninhabited, serene and being naked was just so, a be’ing. Though quite young I recall those moments fondly and feel edified to hold any remembrance of beauty.

And I realize that, since that conversation, I’ve been trying to help her “hold any remembrance of” the beauty of, for example, bathing in streams. That’s one of the reasons for posts like “10-Word Story: Revelation.”

And I’ve also realized that, ultimately, I am not Love Alchemy. No matter how hard I might try, or how hard I might want to, I cannot see the world through her eyes. To put it another way: Ultimately, only Love Alchemy can tell Love Alchemy‘s story.

I wasn’t trying to “tell her story” because I thought she was not able to tell it herself.

Like with the work of art that left me speechless, I just wanted to say something; do something to help Love Alchemy hold on to the beauty of her past because I could not accept doing nothing.

Why could I not accept doing nothing? The answer to this question goes back to one of the driving forces behind this blog:

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
~ Matthew 5:14 — 16

Where do I myself go from here? I don’t know.

But, I believe the best thing that I can do is, to quote “Always With Me”:

listen to what is real

10-Word Story: Revelation

“You don’t like your mama ’cause she looks like this?”

Woman

Thank you to “Irina” — the beautiful woman who made this photo possible and who was one of my inspirations for this post.

Thank you to Love Alchemy, for always making me think.

And: The words in this piece of writing come from my favorite scene in my favorite episode of my favorite series: Eureka Seven.

eureka_seven_01

I Have Found It — A Short Story

“I Have Found It”

Around Eureka, people rise to leave.*

Her head bowed in prayer, Eureka ignored them.

She heard the voices coming from the foyer begin to fade. She heard the priest close the foyer’s doors. She heard nothing from the priest as he returned to his changing room behind the altar. She saw the church’s lights shut off.

Rising, Eureka left the pew, walking to the foyer’s double doors. Opening the door on the right, she took a right across the foyer, to the bathroom. Seeing that the bathroom door was partially open, she opened it farther before slipping inside, turning on the light, and closing it behind her.

Closing the toilet, Eureka undressed. In her underwear, as she was folding her pants, she remembered the paper. Pausing to see if the folded piece of paper was still in her right pocket, she resumed folding her pants. Finishing undressing, she went to the door.

Opening the door an inch in order to make sure that there was no one in the foyer, Eureka opened the door all the way once she saw that the coast was clear. Turning off the bathroom light before crossing the foyer once again, opening the door on the right once again, and entering the church once again.

Naked and alone, Eureka walked down the aisle.

Her bare feet on marble was the only sound.

Shaking as much from fear as from the cold, Eureka took slow, deep breaths in order to calm herself.

She could just make out the painting, illuminated by candles, above the altar. A painting of the three aspects of God. Eureka imagined they were speaking to her.

The Father: “How dare you!”

The Mother: “Whore!”

The Child: “Why?”

Not slowing, stopping, or turning around, Eureka made it to the pew closest to the altar.

Gingerly easing herself into the pew in order to not touch a surface with her butt, Eureka put her elbows on the low wooden wall that separated the altar from the congregation, knelt, bowed her head, and clasped her hands in prayer.

“God…” she whispered. “See me. Just. See me. I know you must not like this, but… I wanted to do this. I felt I needed to do this. Even if you hated me, I needed you to see me. And I… I needed to see you.”

***

Eureka sat in a booth, enjoying the bar food that was her father’s gift on her 21st birthday.

Giving her a moment to think about it as she took a drink of her water, he asked a question.

“Are you ready for your last final?”

Eureka answered. “As ready as I can be. Now I feel like all I can do is roll the dice.”

Her father smiled. “You’ll do great. Your mother and I are proud of you.”

“Thanks. I’m glad for this opportunity — to be here. I’ve learned a lot about myself.”

“Like what?”

“Being an editor is hard. It’s nothing like I thought it would be.”

Her father took a drink of his beer, steeling himself for the question he dreaded.

“You have a back-up plan?”

“I’m working on it.”

Putting his left hand on the table, Eureka grasped it.

She was looking him in the eye when he said: “Your mother and I are thankful you waited. I know it must not have been easy living at home while your brother finished school.”

Eureka shook her head, appalled. “No. I knew you and mom could only do so much. I didn’t want to put pressure on you. Plus, I needed time. I wasn’t ready to make the leap from high school to college yet.”

“Thank you for thinking of us.”

“Yeah. You’ve done so much for me, and I want to do what I can for you.”

“No matter what, Eureka, you’ll always be our miracle child.”

She withdrew her hand.

“Dad–”

“Really. The doctors told us you wouldn’t make it. For the longest time, we couldn’t decide on a name. But when the doctors found that you would make it, as the saying goes: ‘The rest is history.’”

“‘You’ve been given a second chance,’ you’d say when I was younger. And I want to be worthy of that second chance.”

Eureka’s father could see that his daughter still had a habit of absentmindedly rubbing the inside of her forearms.

“Eureka–”

“I know you and mom say I have nothing to prove. But I wouldn’t be much of a ‘miracle child’ if I disappointed you, would I?”

“Eureka… I have to ask: How do you think you did this semester?”

***

The first awake that day in her on-campus apartment, Eureka sat on the floor in her pajamas just outside her open bedroom door with her arms wrapped around her legs and her head against her knees….

***

Eureka sat at her desk in her bedroom, her eyes widening in shock when she realized that the letter she had received was from her academic adviser….

***

Not looking him in the eye, Eureka answered her father’s question.

“Not good.”

***

Eureka sat at the dinner table, frowning at her laptop.

On the laptop’s screen was the Employment page on the public library’s website. This summer, there were no positions currently available.

Next to Eureka stood her mother, reading a letter. A letter from Eureka’s college.

“Seven thousand dollars, Eureka! How do you expect to pay this? Because there’s only so much your father and I can do now.”

Despite a gesture at her laptop, Eureka refused to blame technology. “I’m doing everything I can! You know that!”

Not wanting to hear any more, with a shake of her head, Eureka’s mother walked away.

In shock at seeing her so upset, Eureka reached into her right pants pocket and pulled out her cell phone.

Scrolling through her contact list, Eureka abruptly stopped as she came to a name: Theo.

“…it must not have been easy living at home while your brother finished school.”

She resumed scrolling.

She called a number.

“Lyra? It’s Eureka.”

***

Eureka raised her bowed head, trying to see, through her tears, the painted faces of the Father, Mother, and Child.

“I want to know that I’m enough,” she whispered. “I want to know that I was worth it to you. That I was worth saving.”

Sniffling, Eureka unclasped her hands and looked at the scars on the inside of her forearms.

***

Nude, Eureka sat in a chair.

Across from her, on a couch, clothed, sat Lyra. Drawing.**

Tightening her grip on the chair’s armrests, Eureka fought the urge to flinch.

Eureka imagined that every time Lyra’s pencil made contact with paper, she was being cut with a knife. The knife exposing Eureka’s regret and fear as it lay her bare.

Glancing down at her front, Eureka imagined herself covered in bleeding cuts.

The blood turning her white skin red, Eureka remembered her father’s words to her.

“Miracle child.”

The blood running down her skin made Eureka of worms.*** Worms crawling out of an open grave.

Eureka imagined worms crawling out of her cuts and, in horror, drew in her breath sharply.

“Eureka, please don’t move.”

“Sorry.”

Eureka re-focused on Lyra, who continued drawing.

***

Narrowing her eyes, putting the pencil’s eraser to her lips and holding her sketchbook in front of her at arm’s length, Lyra was silent as Eureka sat still.

A moment later, she lowered her pencil and sketchbook.

“All done,” Lyra said with a smile.

Eureka sighed with relief.

“Thank you.”

“Thank you for allowing me to draw you. My Best Friend. That’s what I’m calling it. I think it turned out good.”

“Can I see it?”

Lyra nodded.

***

Tears drying on her cheeks, Eureka stood, in order to try and see God’s faces more clearly.

Feeling exposed, she took a step backward and, with the wood of the pew against her skin, was comforted by the knowledge that there was something solid at her back.

Suddenly, Eureka felt lips close around her right nipple.

Looking down, Eureka saw a naked little girl standing on her tiptoes, suckling. Her hands on Eureka’s breast for balance.****

Their eyes meeting, the girl pulled away. She burped and giggled.

Staring at the girl licking her lips, then at her wet breast, Eureka uttered the first word that came to mind: “What…?”

Bright eyes set in a blushing face found Eureka’s once again.

“Go- goo- good,” the girl said, as if she had just learned to speak.

Recoiling, Eureka pointed to herself. “M-me?”

The girl nodded.

***

Eureka got up from the chair to come and see Lyra’s drawing of her.

“One look at you today and I thought I’ve found it! And now you can keep ‘it.’”

Bending over, Eureka looked at the drawing.

She was speechless.

The drawing’s face radiated an inner peace Eureka did not believe that she herself had. On the drawing’s face was an expression that said “This will all be over soon.”

“What do you think?”

“It’s me…. It’s just not my life.”*****

“What do you mean?” said Lyra, concerned.

Eureka tapped the paper and looked at her.

“I haven’t found what you saw.”

***

Wanting to say more to her, Eureka got on her knees so that she could be closer to the girl.

Before she could say anything, the girl lie on her stomach, resting her head on Eureka’s thighs as if they were pillows.

Eureka felt a peace that she had never felt before. It emanated from the girl like body heat.

The girl blinked sleepily.

A single word was spoken as, reminded of Lyra’s drawing, Eureka watched the Child close her eyes.

“Good.”

The End

*One of the inspirations for Eureka was the character of the same name in my favorite anime series: Eureka Seven.

**The character of Lyra was inspired by Ursula from Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989).

***The words “The blood running down her skin made Eureka of worms. Worms crawling out of an open grave,” were inspired by these words during the Red Wedding in George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords:

“Slow red worms crawled along her arms and under her clothes.”

****The Child drinking milk from Eureka’s breast was inspired by Saint Anthony of Padua holding the baby Jesus.

*****The words “It’s me…. It’s just not my life,” were inspired by these words in my favorite novel: Armor, by John Steakley:

“It was her. It just wasn’t her life.”

A few final things:

Thank you to fellow blogger sunshine lou. She inspired me to write “I Have Found It” and was one of the inspirations for the character of Eureka, too. The final two influences being myself — Eureka’s experiences are partly based on my own — and Kiki, from the 1989 film Kiki’s Delivery Service. Lou also inspired my poem “The Wild Witch” and the still-being-written short story “Wild Child.” (The reason the woman in the poem is a witch is because, just before I wrote it, I had been talking to a woman who is a witch, and so had witches on my mind. I’m thankful for the insight into Paganism that she gave me.)

I’ve realized lately that I can be a chatterbox. I tend to talk even after, judging by their silence, others are just done. And so, even though “I Have Found It” was posted days ago, I was hesitant to thank Lou because I didn’t want to do to her what I imagine I have done to others: Cause them to think Ugh. This guy again? I don’t say this in order to criticize Lou in any way. She’s a good person, and she should do what is best for herself regardless of how it might make me feel. I say this just to express my thoughts on my tendency to talk and talk and talk.

I am thanking Lou now in order to give her the credit she deserves for making this story possible.

And:

Thank you to the beautiful woman whose picture I used in this post.

And:

Months ago, I wrote a series of posts with the title “I Have Found It.” Those posts, for the time being, have been privated. The reason why is: I’m currently figuring out what to do with them. If those posts were “I Have Found It, 1.0,” this post is “I Have Found It, 2.0.”

And:

The creation story of Eureka’s faith.

And:

Naked and Nude: What’s the Difference?

Finally:

Thank you for reading my story. I hope you liked it.

Feedback is always appreciated.

The College Dropout Survival Guide

Note: Thank you to TheOriginalPhoenix. Her post Self-Care Isn’t Selfish is what inspired me to write this post.

It’s now been 3 years since I made the choice to come home after my second semester of university.

Bad grades, combined with not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, made me realize I need time to get my head on straight.

Coming home was a choice that almost killed me.

So, in this post, I want to share with you what I have done in order to keep myself motivated to get out of bed in the morning:

Get a job. I initially balked at the prospect of getting a job. But I knew I had to do it — I knew that I didn’t want to spend my life on the couch, living off the charity of others. So, despite the grumbling of that lazy, entitled, refuse-to-take-responsibility part of myself, when a job opportunity presented itself I jumped at it. And I am so glad I did. Sure, my work could use improvement. More than once, my boss has expressed disappointment at my performance. But, I keep at it. And I figure that as long as the paychecks keep coming, than I must be doing something right.

I’m not at Kiki levels of productivity…

Image result for kiki's delivery service gif
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

…but I’m getting there.

Plus, if nothing else: My job allowed me to have enough money to get an Xbox One after my Xbox 360 got the Red Ring of Death.

Have a spiritual life. If you’re spiritual/religious than, if you don’t already, get in the habit of praying at least twice a day — a prayer before you go to sleep and a prayer right after you wake up.

Even if it’s only 5 seconds long and consists of two words — “Hi, (insert name of higher power here).” — praying will do you good.

As the name of my blog implies, I’m a Catholic. I was raised in the Catholic faith and, so far, my faith hasn’t let me down.

Image result for star wars come on baby hold together
Star Wars (1977)

Realize that you aren’t alone. Chances are that if you’re reading this post, you’re in a similar position: You’re not in college and are wondering What the deuce do I do now?

Well, one of the ways to not despair is to know that you aren’t struggling alone. There are people who have gone through, or are going through, what you are, and either they need you to help them, you need their help, or both.

After all: In order to slay the Kaiju that is Despair, you can’t do it alone…

Image result for pacific rim crimson typhoon gif
Pacific Rim (2013)

(I picked Crimson Typhoon because, even though it does get destroyed, I think it’s the coolest Jaeger.)

Surround yourself with beautiful things. I don’t know about you, but: The 24-hour news cycle of terrorist attacks, natural disasters, presidential incompetence, rapes, and murders depresses me. It makes me ask the one question I never want to find myself asking: Should I keep on living?

So, what do I do? I focus on the good in life instead.

For example:

Instead of scratching my head over Donald Trump’s latest tweet…

Image result for donald trump face

…I listen to my favorite song instead:

It’s much more relaxing.

Do what you love. I’m currently teaching myself how to write screenplays.

I’m doing this because I discovered that, in my free time, I would frequently read film reviews. There was just something about the reviews by Steven Greydanus and Jeffrey Overstreet that hooked me. That kindled within me a passion for film. A passion to not just critique art, but create it. Because anyone can criticize. But not everyone can create.

Lately that passion to create has, unfortunately, been fueled by anger at the incompetence of fellow Christian film enthusiasts…

…reviewers are sadly out of touch with ticket buyers. In fact, they are so far out of touch that most of them pick only one blockbuster movie, and many mediocre “independent” movies and boring foreign language movies that appeal to only a few moviegoers.
~WAR ROOM’s A+ cinemascore tells the story

…but still: I’m glad to be doing something I love. Even if it can be hard.

Image result for writing meme

And:

Love yourself.

You’re not perfect.

You’ve failed before, and you’re going to fail again.

But is that going to be the end of you?

No.

Why?

Because: You love yourself, flaws and all.

You know that what you have to offer the universe is unique.

And you know that it’ll be a cold day in Hell before you let life get away with sucker-punching you.

Woman9

Boundless Challenge: Week #11

OriginalPhoenix, I’m sorry I haven’t been keeping up with the Boundless Challenge.

Boundless

My last entry in the challenge was almost a month ago.

The point of the challenge is to write about how I “lived boundless” this week — to write about one example every week of me doing more than I thought I was capable of.

And, I really do hate to say it, but: Lately, my neighbor’s cat has been more boundless than me.

Since I used to have two dogs — they died after living long, happy lives — my neighbor’s calico cat — that hangs out around my house because I give her food — has, for the longest time, resisted actually coming into the house. She must still be able to smell the dogs. But, over the weeks she’s made progress.

Yesterday she jumped on my couch and stayed there for 10 minutes before running to the door and meow-ing to be let out.

The light is bad, but here she is:

Image may contain: one or more people, cat and indoor

I call her “Kiki,”  thanks to Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989).

Why?

Because: Instead of delivering bread, Kiki the calico delivers “Aww!” Whenever I see her, I can’t help but go “Aww!” She always makes me do this:

c51028dfc3743559eee9c01a273c7d55

To get back on subject:

This week, I do have something to be Boundless about:

I finished the screenplay for my short film.

There will, undeniably, be more edits as I show it to people more knowledgeable about screenwriting than I. But, I’ve hit a wall: I feel like I’ve done everything for this screenplay that I, with my current knowledge of writing, can do. Hence why I consider it “finished.”

Have you ever felt like that? You write, and write, and write, and you get to a point where you look at what you’ve written and think I’ve done everything I can.

For weeks, my life has been relatively unexciting.

Just been trying to get more used to my job stocking shelves, since it’s the first job I’ve had in over 3 years. (School, family obligations, and soul-searching kept me busy during that time.)

When I’m not working, I’ve been listening to the Life is Strange soundtrack while I try and think of more ideas for screenplays…

…and spending time with my best friend. We hang out more frequently now, which I’m glad for. In my quest for awesomeness, I don’t want to neglect relationships.

What else has happened recently?

Well, thanks to Wild Woman Sisterhood

Woman10

…and some editing, I found a picture that captures what my short film is about:

Woman10 (2)

Regarding my short film:

I’ll write more on that later…

Thank you to TheOriginalPhoenix for inspiring me to get back to doing the Boundless Challenge.

Her fiery, phoenix-y awesomeness is just what I needed today.

Image result for phoenix art