Saturday, November 26, 2011

Attributes of the Wind

The wind is a very deceitful characteristic of nature. A day, much like today, can look sunny and warm outside. From behind the curved windows of the library, I could assume that the temperature is well up into the 50s or even 60s. It's such a beautiful day. But, when I went outside for lunch, I discovered that seemingly beautiful day was actually 30 degrees or lower. It wasn't what it seemed and made me grateful that my mom, who had come up to join me for lunch, was sweet enough to grab my coat from the car so I wouldn't freeze. That appearance of a warm and beautiful day deceived me and became a cold day. In so many ways, humans exemplify this very characteristic, being something other than what they seem. It's called the hidden nature of sin.

People intrigue me too, just like the wind that lowers the temperature in the winter. Working in a library I encounter a lot of windy people. You can never judge how someone will behave just by their outward appearance. Someone might look like a wonderful and sweet person, but they could be having a really rotten day and before you know it, you've become another victim of that bad day. Or, and more likely, a person has interests you would never expect. It's funny how those little hobbies or private sins can be so well concealed. That is, until I shelve someone's holds and find myself blown away that anyone would ever read that book, let alone the adorable young teenager in a Mickey Mouse t-shirt and distressed jeans. Does her family know? She probably thinks no one ever notices or even cares that she's reading something that raises eyebrows.

I've been in that exact some situation before. I've got those same bad habits that would shock some people. They look at my smile and blue eyes and never imagine the temptations I struggle with beneath the surface. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love anime and manga. You could even call me obsessed. That said, there is a little something known as Shonen Ai, which means a mild perceived attraction between boys. It's not ever to the point of romance, but just questionably close attachments. If it arose in a show I watched myself sometimes, well, was that wrong?

Turns out that, YEAH, there was something seriously wrong! My last anime club meeting brought up some ugly truths. Our lone male attendee was absent and that absence gave certain of my female members a bit of freedom to discuss their alternative manga and anime loves. One of those loves is Yaoi, meaning full-bore boy x boy relationships that had me literally quavering in my boots in discomfort. Firstly because it made my other girls uncomfortable and secondly, because Yaoi is only about two steps farther down the road than Shonen Ai which even I occasionally watched. Yikes!

These are seemingly normal and healthy young women, yet their fascination with Yaoi and Shonen Ai had them pairing boys together in their fantasies and even in their cosplay outfits where they all dressed as boys. It was like I had gotten walloped over the head with a truly blunt object, probably the holiness of God. Why? Because my ignorant watching of Shonen Ai was not nearly as innocent as I had originally perceived. These girls are sweet and charming, yet this secret sin of the heart is slowly corrupting them. It looks like it's a balmy 60 degrees in their hearts but it's actually a frigid 30 degrees! Their minds are now totally twisted with thoughts of romance between boys so they have no real interest in any guys of their own, just guys together. How is that healthy?

Needless to say I've chopped any and all Shonen Ai from my anime and manga. Series have been sent back completely unwatched and books have had their holds canceled before I could be even tempted to read them. Why? Because we are called to keep our minds holy. It doesn't matter than Shonen Ai is so very mild. What does matter is that the prick of conscience can become dulled by this mild attraction and that might lead down the road to worse things! The Lord has cleansed His children of sin but that doesn't mean we'll never be tempted again. But Christ still promises us that we will never be tempted beyond what we can bear, which literally means I will survive without the small amount of Shonen Ai I had allowed in my life.

Can you see the connection between the hidden effects of the chilling wind and the hidden effects of sin in our lives? Both shock us at first with that initial impact. But as we grow accustomed to the cold wind it numbs us and the impact lessens until we hardly feel it. Usually this comes right before unconsciousness and then death. Sin is exactly the same way. It lowers our standards and we find ourselves compromising in our thrill-seeking journey. That private sin grows and grows until all we want to do is indulge that sin! Fortunately for us, the Lord sends little wake-up calls like the one I experienced.

I might love my anime and manga, but this experience made me realize how careful I must be. This genre is just like any other genre. Some stuff is appropriate for Christians and some stuff isn't and we need to be discerning what to put in our minds. I don't want to become accustomed to the cold wind that occasionally sweeps through my life. I want to be sensitive to it and realize that it's there to prick my conscience and send me in the opposite direction. I thank God that sin NEVER attacks us without a prick of conscience!

3 comments:

  1. The old adage about boiling a frog in a pot is very true -- if you throw a frog into a boiling kettle, he'll jump out again, but if you slowly raise the temperature on him, he will never know the danger until it is too late.

    The world is very good about nudging our standards subtly, in a variety of ways, until we begin to accept sin inch by inch and one day realize that we are way further off the path than we ever imagined we could be. If sin had merely slapped us in the face with such ghastly things, we would have been shocked and mortified and repulsed by them -- so it uses a more careful, cautious, sneaky tactic, usually in the form of something we love. We love it too much to do without it, so we deal with the content in it. Thus, we are ensnared.

    If ever there comes a time when we are not disapproving, or disappointed, in sin rearing its ugly head in our favorite things, that is when we have time to worry. Perhaps the incident at your Manga meeting served its ultimate purpose, because it changed something in your life that you had started to let slide. Maybe if it had never come up in conversation and shocked you, you would never have thrown all traces of that sinful desire out of your heart.

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  2. It has actually made me wonder if I really want to continue watching anime and reading manga, other than what I already own. I didn't feel compelled to stay in the meeting today (they all behaved themselves admirably and had fun) so I kind of bounced in and out while doing other things. That made me much happier and peaceful.

    Before this encounter, I had never given the occasional close friendships between guys in my anime shows a second thought. But then realizing how it can and does lead to other things has definitely given me pause. You know me, I think same-sex relationships are at the very least icky and at the very most contrary to God's will. So why was I fine with those anime friendships?

    I think, more than anything, that moment in the meeting was meant more for me than it was meant for anyone else. These girls will probably never change and I have no chance to make them change other than try to provide decent shows for them to watch. But for me, I want to be aware of any unsuspecting sin creeping into my life so God opened my eyes. It wasn't anywhere to the point of sinful, but it had the potential to head down that road.

    Thank goodness He works that way! I'd much rather have every potential sin staved off in the very beginning before it has the chance to blossom!

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  3. I'm sorry that their conversation has tainted your interest in it; that is a shame -- but I do understand the feeling. When you see something as entirely innocent and someone else sees it as perverse (with unabashed delight)... it CAN ruin it for you, or at the very least make you wish you had not encountered it!

    (( hugs ))

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