Junjou Romantica Season 3 Episode 2 Review

Episode 2… What could be in store for Usagi and Misaki?

… Besides this scene?

Summary

Usagi is an author of Japanese literature, and boy’s love manga on the side, who cannot meet his deadlines to save his life. And his editor, Ms. Aikawa, leaves the apartment on purely monster drinks and no sleep with his document in order to remind long time fans he’s still the same old Usagi in different ways. Or to tell us not to get a career in writing right at the beginning of the episode- But who can tell?

Of course, Mizuki is still hell bent on condescending Misaki at every turn. Misaki cannot even bake a cake without Mizuki telling him to stop wasting time! Mizuki, sitting on a couch is wasting time- baking a cake is spending time ensuring you have dessert after dinner. Big difference man! I mean, I can understand your looking down on Misaki: Misaki is at the 4th year of university and has not really decided what job he will start off with, while Mizuki has barged into Usagi’s apartment and is basically staying there for free, and has yet to compare his career to Misaki’s… Hell, we don’t even know beyond something to do with a German translation what Mizuki does.

Misaki in this episode begins to correct that by applying to work at the publishing company that Usagi submits his work through. He starts as a part time editor, and considers moving to full time when his studies are complete! He thinks it would be fun. Don’t watch Sekaiichi Hatsukoi, nor visit their shojo manga department, if you know what is good for you Misaki, might scare you off. Actually… Never mind, go talk to them! Your sleep schedule will thank you. (Sekaiichi Hatsukoi is a manga/anime by the same author that takes place in the Junjou Romantica universe. So it would not surprise me if we see characters from that series run into Misaki or Usagi).

Thankfully, Misaki makes a new friend! Shinnosuke Toudou is a peer at Misaki’s school. He was a random character Misaki ran into in the first episode but has now evolved into a friend Misaki can compare anime/manga interests with. They both like Ijuuin-sensei’s manga. They both agree to go to his book signing later on in the week. Hmmm… Would this make Ijuuin-sensei Usagi’s rival? I hope so! He is a fun character, and I think is designed to poke fans at us fan-girls. Tease us all we like, guys, as we will be back for the next episode anyway! Though will Usagi respond to this new friend better than Misaki’s last friend at school? Only time will tell. And an old friend, Usami Kaoruko, comes back to the series. She appeared in one episode of season 2 and developed a crush on Misaki. She is Usagi’s half sister from his mother’s side.

Misunderstandings lead to Misaki and Usagi kicked out of the house, as you know guests kick the owners out and not the other way around. Yes, if you were looking for “normal” secondary characters, look elsewhere!  Such as a completely different series. This leads to good bonding time between the two, as Usagi comes to the realization that he cannot just hog Misaki to himself if it means getting in between Misaki and Misaki’s career goals.

Review

Misaki and Usagi’s Relationship: Guess the writers got my review! This episode was excellent in growing their relationship in many ways. I aww’d a few times.

Misaki is shown to care about his relationship with Usagi much more in this episode. We see him get jealous with Mizuki’s apparent advances on Usagi, and throughout he shows he cares about Usagi’s well being. Coupled with him not running away from Usagi’s affections in private at least is an added plus. About time too. Makes me happy to see them growing closer and dealing with things other couples face. Which leads me to…

Career and romance, the two sworn enemies. Often times the career grows at the expense of one’s relationship to their romantic partner. What I like about Junjou Romantica is it takes the reverse approach: When does romance take too much of a priority that it gets in the way of a one or the others career? Usagi’s father said in the episode, “If it upsets you every time he’s not near you, that just means your relationship is too fragile to last, doesn’t it?” Too far away or too close can be toxic it seems.

Before it was not a worry as Misaki just went to school, and Usagi was the only one working. Now we are at the point where both are working. Now that Misaki is working for Usagi’s publisher, he cannot drop everything and be with Usagi all the time. Furthermore, Usagi might want Misaki to stay with him but is he really being loving if it is at the expense of Misaki having a life of his own? The fact that Usagi deals with these questions, instead of taking Misaki’s presence for granted, shows he is finally entering into the role of a partner as opposed to a dominant lover. It is even further grown by Usagi realizing and being willing to accommodate Misaki’s wants and needs, even if it means he and Misaki live in different dwelling places. As Usagi said: “I think if our relationship dies when we live apart, it wasn’t strong enough in the first place. I still don’t intend to let you go, Misaki, but I don’t want my selfishness to limit your future either… What do you think you should do?”

Usagi gave Misaki the eight ball. Usagi cannot force Misaki to stay, and it would be selfish to keep Misaki there if it was not mutual, and Misaki’s future suffers as a result. He is willing to balance. Thankfully, if things went wrong the developers and designers would have an angry mob of fan-girls outside their houses at night, so I think Usagi is in good hands. For now. Season only just started, and it would be boring if Misaki and him had good times the whole time.

Speaking of careers, the new animators they got for the show are awesome. Glad they fired they old ones, and hired the new ones as the new ones are doing much better. The animation is more polished, facial expressions more refined. Thankfully the characters are not so revised in terms of appearance that no one will know who they are! In fact, many of their appearances remained the same in general. Proof that finer touches can be the difference between good animation and great animation!

Cliffhanger endings- Yay or nay? Well not to spoil, but this one is quite interesting. I like cliffhangers that leave many possibilities open. The ones where “OMG the character is probably gonna die…” and then 6 months later with the new season they do not die? Yeah, it can get old. This is not old. It’s new. I like it.

Know what I also like, to end this review? Usagi’s Family! Seriously, the newest additions to it are funny! It makes Junjou Romantica even more of a comedy. I will say no more- Just go watch it!

Next Episode: Oh where art thou leading us, or great cliffhanger?!

 

 

Junjou Romantica Season 3 Episode 1 Review

New Season of Junjou Romantica Season 3!

Junjou Romantica was the first yaoi anime I ever watched. It introduced me to the genre and got me on the slippery slope towards becoming a fan-girl. So, you can imagine how happy I was to learn it has a 3rd season! A season I have decided I am going to review one episode at a time. Season 3 started 3 weeks ago, so I am a bit late to start but this gives room for more discussion.

Junjou Romantica is an anime adapted from a manga of the same name that follows 3 couples. The main one involves Takahashi Misaki  and Usami Akihiko (nicknamed Usagi). They are called Junjou Romantica couple (junjou romantica means pure romance). I will bring up the other two as the season goes on. In season 1, he started going to university in Tokyo and decided to move in with Usagi because his apartment was closer to the university as a favour to Misaki’s brother, whom has been friends wiwth Usagi since before the first episode. Since then, Usagi and Misaki have developed a romance that Misaki’s brother, Takahais Takahiro, and his brother’s family have remained oblivious to.  Season 2 leaves off where Misaki is becoming more open to his relationship with Usagi, but is still shy about. Furthermore, he has managed to show members of Usagi’s family that his love for Usagi is genuine.

In season 3, it is opened with a new theme song, and new information for the plot: This is Misaki’s last year of university! Since Misaki is only at Usagi’s to attend university, Takahiro naturally assumes Misaki will just move back in with his brother once he graduates. Naturally, this instills conflict and uncertainty into the Romantica couple’s life as either Misaki stays and their romance comes out or Misaki leaves and that could be the end of the romance.  Misaki also needs to consider what he wants to do with his degree in economics. Hmmmm… Maybe something to do with the economy, Misaki? Just a thought.

What could be more stressful for these two? How about  Usagi’s cousin Mizuki showing up at the apartment  to freeload and cause trouble? For who? Well, Misaki of course! Usagi has enough rivals for Misaki’s affection. must be time for the reverse.  Continue reading Junjou Romantica Season 3 Episode 1 Review

My View On Religion, Traditions, and Organized Religion

I have heard many arguments against religious traditions, organized religion, and religion in general. What is interesting is many of those arguements come from fellow Christians!  In fact, many within more evangelical Christianity almost flee from the very thought of religion or tradition in general. They have a relationship with God through Christ, they do not practice religion. For them religion is this evil, human made thing that must be avoided at all costs. Only difference between them and many atheists often is that the Triune God, and the Bible are still welcome in their lives.

I understand the animosity towards religion: In the medieval ages Christendom committed gross atrocities against Muslims in the name of Christ. And the tide has turned now- organizations like ISIS and Al Qaeda attack innocent people across the globe in the name of Islam. Wars have been fought in antiquity because the god one of people decided the god of another people had to go; therefore, the god sent the army of the people to war  against said people and the rival god.  In less extreme cases, people view religion as a means to judging people and being intolerant. How many times have religious people, most specifically Christians, been labeled as homophobes? Approximately 50 years ago, racist and white Christian were almost synonymous.

I do not deny this yet I must give a few points: People have used religion, science, culture, skin colour, and many other tools to draw the line between who is greater and who is lesser. Colonialism, for example, lead to many injustices because the western European invaders were more “civilized” than the native peoples already living there. I agree on this front as people use many things from religion to science to look down on  their fellow humans. Religion has just been up until the Enlightenment era on the forefront of the means.

You probably noticed I said religion is one of the tools. This is because in and of itself there is nothing wrong with any of those things in the list- nor other things people can think of. Those things are amoral- they are neither right nor wrong. They just are there.

In the same way, there is nothing wrong with religion, organized or not, and traditions.  Religion in general is  “an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence.” Traditions “are the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.” Organized religion is ” religion as a social institution, in which belief systems and rituals are systematically arranged and formally established.” By those definitions, Christianity is a religion filled with traditions, and has developed into from a sect within Judaism into an organized religion over the course of its history. Both are  amoral definition: There is nothing right or wrong about religion or large religious groups. They just are.

What is right or wrong is what we humans do with our organized religions, and traditions. Do we use them to connect to God, and be a better person, or do we use them for our own gains? How should we use them? For me, I turn to Jesus as the example par excellence for understanding the place of religion in human life.

 

Jesus was a very religious man. Jesus was a Jew and practiced first century Judaism. He celebrated the religious festivals, such as the Passover (Matthew 26, Luke 22-23),  knew the Torah and the Hebrew Scriptures (Matthew 4-7, Luke 4, Luke 6), and prayed. Furthermore,  He never frowned on frowned on Judaism in terms of obeying the Law of God nor feasts like the Passover specifically. Throughout the Gospels, he still attended the Synagogue! One example is in Luke 4:

16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. (NRSV)

As a Jew, he was part of a very diverse religion. There were many sects within Judaism at the time: Hellenistic Judaism was Judaism that adopted Greek culture and language. The Pharisees upheld obeying the oral law and the Torah, believed the Scriptures we have outside of the Pentateuch were Scripture, and believed in an eschatology that included a resurrection of the dead. From reading the Gospels, Jesus was a Jew who associated more with Pharisaic Judaism, as he viewed the prophets and the psalms as Scripture. This also explains why he often got into debates with them. Heck, they fought with each other over many things!

The Sadducees ran the temple, considered nothing but the Pentateuch as Scripture,  were friendlier to the Romans, and had no eschatology. Hence why they got into a debate with Jesus about marriage during the resurrection. I will post the passage from Mark 12:

18 Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, saying, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, the man[b] shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. 20 There were seven brothers; the first married and, when he died, left no children; 21 and the second married the widow[c] and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise; 22 none of the seven left children. Last of all the woman herself died. 23 In the resurrection[d] whose wife will she be? For the seven had married her.”

24 Jesus said to them, “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is God not of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.”

The Sadducees were the sect who pushed for Jesus’ execution before Pilate. And in at the fall of the Temple in 70CE, they were wiped out. Finally, the Qumran community had their own Old Testament translations which we see in the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as extra-biblical written documents; and the Zealots were the radical group that promoted violent rebellion to overthrow Roman occupation of Palestine.  This world Jesus was a part of, and even recruited a Zealot as one of his 12 apostles.

There is no doubt that Jesus was a very spiritual man- He taught us to call God Father! Yet, he was a religious man within an organized religion. Therefore, one  can be spiritual within an organize religious setting. I can have and maintain my relationship with God within a religious setting and observing certain traditions.  For example I connect with the Triune God by attending mass, as well as being alone in solitude and prayer. In fact, many things people do is practicing religion within an organized religion. For example going to church, prayer meetings, and group Bible studies are religious practices. They are ways Christianity is an organized religion.

What Jesus spoke against in the Gospels is the people in the way they practiced it.  For example, in Matthew 23 he criticized heavily the Sadducees who ran the Temple, but he did not criticize Judaism outright. When he condemned the cities who in the end rejected him (Matthew 11:20-24), he condemned the people for their poor choices and not the religion they followed. What Jesus condemned was religion that is tried to please God with outward behavior, but no inward change and often at other people’s expense (for example, no work on the Sabbath even if it means a woman remains crippled longer than she needs to be in Luke 13:10-17); religion that strives to please people instead of God (Matthew 5-7); and religious leaders who make rules that are well intentioned but result in oppression.

This is something that happened in first century Judaism, and has continued throughout the centuries within other religious traditions, including Christianity: Christianity is a religion for people on Sundays, is a religion that at one point looked good to the crowd, and within Christendom in the name of Christ and the name of God’s Word leaders of the church abused and oppressed people. And how many people have been driven to despair and suicide because well meaning Christians adopted the law of do this or go to hell, instead of the law of grace that is in Christ? In a way, Christians have  not diversified that much from our Jewish cousins.

Traditions, something that many try to deny in the name of sola scriptura, are part of Christianity and is a way of practicing organized religion. For example, the 66 books of the Bible are Christian Scripture today because it was handed from generations of Christians past. The same is true of ordinances/sacraments like baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Going to church and gathering with believers: Scripture calls us to do it, as do generations of Christians before us. These are the traditions of the Christian religion, and they can help us grow in our relationship with God. If anything, I’d say our relationship with God is stunted without them since all three are something our Lord and Savior either recommended or instituted directly.

The people of God before and after Jesus came have connected to the Triune God through religious traditions and practices. The problem does not come with them but with people transforming them from a means to connect with God, and grow in our relationship with him, to being a means to more selfish ends. For example, God must approve of me because I do X, Y, Z; another example is in the name of God through Christ the violent persecution of LGBT peoples, or justifying institutions like slavery and racism. And that is not the fault of religion, but the fault of sinful human beings trying to do things their way instead of God’s.

And that is the part that Jesus found not cool. And that is the part I do not find cool either.

References:

Longman III, Temper, and Raymond B. Dillard. An Introduction To The Old Testament, n.d. Accessed November 10, 2012. http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/isaiah.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Powell, Mark Allan. Introducing the New Testament: A Historical, Literary, and Theological Survey. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009.
“Organized Religion.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, June 7, 2015. Accessed July 21, 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Organized_religion&oldid=665956589.
“Religion.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, July 16, 2015. Accessed July 21, 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Religion&oldid=671719121.

Greatest Mystery Faith: The Messiah Did Die

What we expect and hope for...
What we expect and hope for…

During my research and writing of my Master’s Thesis today, I read about Psalm 110.  Psalm 110 is considered a Messianic Psalm, which is a psalm that looks forward to a future figure from King Davids line that would redeem Israel and be her king.  Note this King would come by Yahweh’s power and intervention, and not a purely human deed.  It is quoted numerous times in the New Testament, beginning with Jesus’ debates with the religious readers in the synoptic Gospels in Matthew 22:44, Mark 12:36, and Luke 20:42; Acts 2:34; and Hebrews 1:13.  It is also alluded to in the New Testament in many other verses, such as Colossians 3:1, and Hebrews 8:1.

Here is the Psalm from the NRSV version:

The Lord says to my lord,
    “Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies your footstool.”

The Lord sends out from Zion
    your mighty scepter.
    Rule in the midst of your foes.
Your people will offer themselves willingly
    on the day you lead your forces
    on the holy mountains.[a]
From the womb of the morning,
    like dew, your youth[b] will come to you.
The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind,
    “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”[c]

The Lord is at your right hand;
    he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
He will execute judgment among the nations,
    filling them with corpses;
he will shatter heads
    over the wide earth.
He will drink from the stream by the path;
    therefore he will lift up his head.

passion3
What is reality

As you can see, it is a very victorious song. There is no doubt that Yahweh (referred to as the LORD in the Psalm) won through giving the Messiah victory. The Messiah got to sit at God’s right hand, his followers are tripping over themselves to get ready to fight for their king, and he shattered his enemies as a result.

This psalm in the New Testament reflects Jesus’ saving and exalted work as God’s Messiah. I do not doubt this interpretation of the psalm. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and I believe he is Israel’s promised Messiah. Yet, here is a question I had to sit and wrestle with: Why is it I follow a “Messiah” who came to earth and the exact opposite happened in history?

What happened up until sundown on Good Friday? What were the results of all the miracles, teachings, and debating with the Pharisees and other Jews living in Palestine at the time? First, Jesus followers are not ready to fight for him when he gets arrested. One betrays him, the rest desert him, and to add insult to injury one of his closest followers, Peter, denies he knows him 3 times. Not exactly followers breaking down the doors to fight for their Messiah.

Second, his enemies do not overcome him in the way this Psalm reads. They beat him up, made  false claims about him, got him falsely convicted, and his body is brutalized and shattered by being flogged. Did God save him at the last minute? Nope; he dies by being crucified by the Romans, the occupying forces ruling the Promised Land! No kicking them out, no military uprising, and no being saved from death by his Father.

Third, he does not seem to be exalted to God’s right hand at the end. He asks God during his dying moments why he was forsaken after being convicted of blasphemy. Hardly getting the right hand spot, never mind the spot of dying peacefully in bed. Where is the victory in Psalm 110?

On the one hand, I am thinking: Perhaps this purely has to do with his second coming? In Paul’s letters, the second coming is the time when Jesus comes as the warrior king and victory belongs to him. Revelation gives a picture of God and God’s Messiah being the victors.  But then I realized if this is true, why bring it up during his earthly ministry at all? If Psalm 110 purely is referring to the Messiah’s second coming, as is what one would think interpreting it from a New Testament Christian perspective, then isn’t it irrelevant to his earthly ministry?

Jesus and his enemies could probably  recite the entire Psalm in their sleep in Aramaic, Greek, and some in Hebrew. They knew what the Psalm talked about, and it wasn’t David’s descendant being executed by the ruling power. Yet Jesus talks about it just before he is about to go to his death  he knows is merely days away.

I know what you all might be thinking: The resurrection changes everything, God’s plans are above and beyond human comprehension, and in death was victory. I understand all that as someone living~2000 years after the fact. But that does not take away from the oxymoron here.

From a purely human perspective, when I really think about it, Jesus was a sad martyr at the end of the day.  His pre-resurrection existence was filled with good times, bad times,  hopeful times, hopeless times,  clarifying times, and frustrating times. And it ended with his death.

I do not believe we do his story justice by just saying, “Oh well, he was resurrected and exalted eventually. So, Good Friday is not that big of a deal.” To me that is almost hiding the issue under the bed or in the closet.  Did Jesus hide this oxymoron under the bed? I do not think so.

King vs CrucifixionI know how we talk about Jesus freely going to his death, and how he gladly endured the cross. I am sure He was happy knowing he died completing his Father’s mission. However, I also know that he was terrified and unhappy about it that entire day. After all in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked the Father to take the cup of death away. Jesus did not say that night, “Oh well, Father, my resurrection that I predicted about to my apostles is only 3 days away. Let’s hurry up and get past all this so we get to the good part!” I will post the three versions of his agony in the Synoptic Gospels:

Created with Compare Ninja

Jesus did not want to face his death. In fact, he wanted to skip it altogether if the Father permitted it. He was distressed about it and agitated. In Luke’s Gospel he sweat drops of blood! This is a condition called hermatridosis. It is caused when the person is under intense stress, and has severe anxiety. Jesus was notshrugging it off because the resurrection was coming.  Jesus is a human who was terrified and stressed about his impending doom, and asking his Father to put him on another path.

How can we hide it under the bed, and try and jump forward to the resurrection as if the cross was a minor thing? Or try and make it too good of an event in Jesus’ life to really reflect what happened on Good Friday (i.e. he did it for MY salvation, so Good Friday is awesome!)?  If Jesus confronted the reality of His death, we should too.

I am pulling it back out from under the bed and facing my Lord and Saviour’s death.   It will not even be close to what He faced before the fact in Gethsemane, as I will never fully understand what he went through on his way to death, but I will not attempt to skip it or promote it as this great event when it was really a tragic and shocking event.

What happened on Good Friday? God tasted death. The Father lost his only Son. The Son cried out for help that did not come. The Holy Spirit his constant best friend. The Messiah was defeated.  Israel rejected the man who was supposed to be their hope and rejected their God by doing so. The Romans executed God incarnate. Good Friday was a brutal and bloody and tragic example of where human sin goes on its worst days: Humanity killed God’s Son, the incarnate Creator of the universe. Before we get to Easter Sunday, we have to realize that Good Friday was not a good day in and of itself, and what happened to Jesus was not good, and it was not victory. It was evil and it was defeat.

That does not mean victory did not come! I am not saying the resurrection did not happen. But purely from the first century with no crystal ball telling it the future, it was a tragedy. To me, to not acknowledge it as such and not really admit the paradox and oxymoron of Good Friday in a way cheapens a very dark and solemn event. Jesus did not lessen it down, but faced it for what it was; I should too. You should too.

His first followers certainly did, as the only Scriptures they had from an Old Testament perspective, this is brand new. Technically only one passage, the servant song of Isaiah, points to martyrdom of one of God’s anointed and technically that anointed is not the Messiah. Only the Holy Spirit could intepret that passage for us as a prophechy of God’s Messiah. Beyond that we do not really see in the Psalms or the rest of the prophets something that could even hint that the Messiah was going to die. Suffer extremely? Psalm 22 is for that. Yet, that writer does not say he died. If anything, it looks more like God saved him in the nick of time.

Where was that last minute salvation for Jesus? Where was the army of Jesus’ followers running to his aid, swords drawn? Where are the women singing the songs of how Jesus defeated his 10s of 1000s, or 10s of millions that day? Did He die before “his Father” could get to that part? Or was God not really his Father to begin with?

All these questions are questions I’m sure his followers wrestled with on Saturday. No wonder Jesus’ followers needed Scripture lessons for next  40 days after His resurrection, and an extra 10 more before Pentecost. His death was not on their agenda, never mind what they hoped for.  I honestly think it was a bigger shock for them than the resurrection as Old Testament and New Testament prior to Jesus’ death had cases of God bringing people back from the dead. People dying is one thing. The Messiah dying to the foreign, oppressive powers? That just did not happen. The Messiah-King doesn’t die at the hands of the foreign empire, the foreign empire dies to him!

We may have the luxury of almost 2000 years of church history to lay upon for comfort, they had nothing. They just had the hard, cold, disappointing reality on Saturday.  I think if we do not let this become part of our reality, which is never all resurrections and victories, then I do not think we are really wrestling with the reality of what it means to have faith in Jesus. I also think we cheat our witness to our Jewish brothers and sisters if we do not really wrestle with this. Their argument is valid: How can Jesus be the Messiah? He died to the occupying forces! The Messiah does not do that; therefore, Jesus was not him.

I know what my answer is to all those questions. But I will not give it, as this is something God’s followers in Christ should all wrestle with. I may write it out in an aside later in the week, maybe not. But that is not what is important as the Christian life is not about having all the answers. If anything, it is about asking questions and then asking questions again.  Here is one you probably weren’t asked on Sunday:  How can we say Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, when the only thing confirmed as 100% historical fact is that he died to the forces occupying Israel’s Promised Land? Israel is still not delivered, and the world isn’t changed to reflect God’s complete rule. For these reasons, why is the joke not on you 2000 years later? After all, we are still waiting for the “expected image” at the top to happen.

Thank you to Trystan Laryssa for providing the cover photo :).

A Letter to Americans About the SCOTUS Trial Ruling

Dear Americans,

Congratulations. You have finally climbed to the top of the marriage equality mountain. I hope you enjoy your time up here; many countries ranging from Denmark to Canada have been up here enjoying the view for decades.  And to be frank, we like it up here!
Now I’m sure many people are confused, and a bit frightened, as to where this will take your country. Some may be fearing the end is nigh and the US will experience hell on earth. You may be fearing how this will affect the children, and perhaps even the elderly. Well, as someone living in a country who has been down this path before allow me to relieve some worries.

I am sure others are very excited. They can finally marry the person that makes getting up everyday worth it for them. They can not fear the law criticizing who they want to be with forever. It is a great time for you all.

This letter is for all ends of the spectrum!

First, Dennmark was the first country to legalize same sex marriage in 1989. Canada legalized it over a decade ago. Our countries are doing just fine.  Canada has yet to go up in smoke, and our children have yet to be overtly sexualized. Polygamy isn’t legalized yet to my knowledge. The sky has stayed where it belongs, in the sky! Canada has yet to burn up in an hell-like inferno.  So all the people fearing the end can take a deep breath. The end is not yet. Speaking of the end…

I have good news for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ! Same sex marriage is not all that is needed for God to send the calamities promised for the end times. In the synoptic Gospels Jesus said in his eschatological discourse: “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son,  but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36). In the context of that verse, there are no others that give the footnote that same sex marriage is the exception. The end will come, our Christ will return someday but that is on the timing of the Father. We humans cannot do anything to alter God’s timetable. Therefore, just live life being God’s people. Here are some more verses to give you the head start:

 Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day[i] your Lord is coming... Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves[j] their allowance of food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives” (Matthew 24:43, 45-46).

So becareful as “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

And what does our Master expect us to be doing? What is the will of our Father in heaven? Well here is a summary in Matthew 24:36-40,

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Nothing like taking comfort from the Christian Scriptures, no? Here is a song for further encouragement:

Second, congratulations to those in the LGBT community in the USA! And welcome to the top of mountain along with so many others within your community. This is a huge step and a huge mountain to climb. I must warn, you probably have many others to go. It is one thing to change a law, it is another to change the hearts and minds of people. Have faith that people’s minds and hearts will catch up slowly but surely. Here is an image to encourage from one of my favourite RP moments:

The man on the left is Sylin Kath, the man on the right is Crimsen Hevilas. They are now married as Sylin and Crimsen Kath-Hevilas. I hope you have many wedding pictures similar to their own!

In the meantime, you have been given a huge right with many privileges! You can all enter into the covenant of marriage, one of society’s basic foundations. You and your lover can be legally recognized before the law, and before God should you be religious, as committed to one another for life.  That is a huge right to be given, and it has many privileges. It is a privilege and honour for someone to entrust their life to you until death, and to do the same in return- and it should not be entered into lightly.

For these reasons, I want to urge you all to be wise. Be wise in who you spend time with, be wise with who you fall in love with, and be wise in whom you choose to marry.  Remember that love is more often a choice than an action, so choose to love. Choose to marry someone you will choose to remain married to when times get tough and when times get easy. But above all, Testify to love and be wise. Here is a song for encouragement:

YES, I sent both groups the same song. Why?? Because marriage is about testifying to love at the end of the day. The time for testifying and encouraging hate in any shape or form is coming to an end. And it is about time it did in the United States of America, otherwise you could be turning into the Divided States of America.

To that end, tt is time to start to climb the mountain that requires hate to be left behind. It’s time to shake off the heavy burdens of prejudice, animosity, anger, and hatred and climb up the mountain of acceptance, equality, forgiveness, reconciliation, and love. This is the hardest and tallest mountain to climb. It will cause you to look back and deal with ghosts, tell people to stay behind in a certain part of the mountain until they are ready to move on, and it may require you as an individual to choose to let go of things you do not want to right now.  It will not be an easy climb by an stretch of the imagination, but coming from a woman who has had to do that with regards to her asperger’s and living in a country that legalized same sex marriage 10 years ago, I can tell you it will be worth it!

The last thing you want is for this ruling just to be a fancy piece of paper, right? You don’t want these marriages to be purely political statements, nor business transactions, right? And my fellow Christians, we do not want them to know any other God but the Father who loves them gave his Son for them, right? We don’t want them to know any other God than the Triune God that so loved the world, right? Then testify to love!

And I will say it again: For as long as all of you live, Testify to love!

Love,

Noxturna, a Fellow Human Being

1Corinthians 13, NRSV:

 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast,[a] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly,[b] but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.