Sword Art Online Episode 01 and the Nature of Discipleship
Clear 100 levels, defeat the final boss, don’t lose a single life, and you get so survive.
From my time playing Evony (for which I most certainly did not run a guild), I can tell you this: I’d have been among those 2,000 dead in the first month. -_-’
Besides the silly, but fun setup of this series, the first episode of Sword Art Online got to me because of the simple relationship that developed. Upon Klein’s insistence, Kirito takes him under his wing and teaches him the basics of the game. Klein watches and learns, before the two eventually part ways.
It was familiar to me, feeling very much like the modest Christian discipleships I’ve been a part of in the past.
In the past, I discipled three young men, two at one time and one at another. None of the discipleships were tightly structured, but all focused on the basic idea that through modeling, encouragement, prayer, accountability and other means, I would help these young men grow in their relationships with God.
One thing I found was that, as in the case of Kirito and Klein, these discipleships were fairly short. The truth was, I didn’t have as much wisdom to impart as perhaps I originally thought I did. I have a long way to grow, and the maturity gap between myself and these guys wasn’t as great as I thought they’d be. In fact, I admired some of their personal habits and aspects of their relationships with God and tried to emulate them.
In short time, the relationships developed into friendships. This is certainly a natural path in such a relationship – you become very close. And certainly as the disciplee grows out of the discipleship, the closeness that develops will encourage friendship.
In SAO, as Klein and Kirito depart, they do so as friends, as seen by the gentle nudging they give one another. Although Kirito had much more to teach Klein (unlike the case between myself and guys), the separation here was necessary as well.
And just the same, there’s a certainly melancholy and loneliness to this completion. The fondness that grows in the bond is not easily forgotten. But in each case, the ending is the same. There is a mission to be had. My disciplees would hopefully go and help in the mission to make other disciples of Christ.
And Klein? Well, he’ll find his friends and, armed with knowledge and skills, will do the same – teaching them to survive and thrive in this crazy world.
And really, in a nutshell, that’s what discipleship is about. Help, encourage, equip. And when difficulties come, hopefully the learner will be able to slay any enemy…digital or spiritual.