Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Isamashii Yuubi

Some of you may have noticed me use the pseudonym "Isamashii Yuubi". Many years ago, I had an online friend of Japanese descent give me the literal meaning of my name in Japanese.

Anna, my first name, means Grace. Phyrne, my middle name, means Courage. Inverted, my name is "Courageous Grace". The literal translation is Isamashii Yuubi.

The pronounciation guide that was given to me by this friend was "ee-sah-MAH-shee mee-YOO-bee". I'm not quite sure where the "m" sound in the second name comes from, but I believe it has something to do with the odd combination of vowel sounds between the two words. I have heard Yuubi pronounced as "YOO-bee" so I have a feeling that the "mee" sound is there to differentiate between the words as a kind of placeholder.

Why have a Japanese username when I have absolutely no Japanese heritage? Besides the obvious explanation that it looks and sounds "cool", I chose Isamashii Yuubi because it is unique. I have never run into anyone else online who has the same username. The closest I've come across is someone who named their character in the mmorpg Lineage 2 "Isamashii". I am also a fan of anime and the Japanese culture has piqued my interest.

Got Pocki?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Forgiveness II

"Is it necessary for a Christian to repent of his/her sins to receive God's forgiveness?"

After much discerning prayer, research, and thought, I have figured out the answer to this question. The answer is no. It is not necessary to repent of one's sins to receive God's forgiveness. God forgives us our sins whether we repent or not. That's the reason He sent His son to us, because Christ died for us we are forgiven. He is the payment for our sins.

So if God forgives us no matter what, what is the point of repentence? Why do we have to say we're sorry and won't do it again if we're just going to be forgiven? Isn't it easier to just accept that we'll be forgiven and everything will be okay?

There seems to be a word missing here. That word is reconciliation. While God will forgive us for commiting sins, we cannot be reconciled to him without repentance. The best example of this formula for forgiveness is the story of the prodigal son. The father loves the son no matter what he does. When the son squanders his inheritance on women and booze, his father still loves him. We know this because the father gave his son his inheritance knowing full well what his youngest son would do with it. The son could have lived his entire life in this manner and his father would still love him and forgive him, but he did not go out to find him and bring him home. However, the son came back. He acknowledged his wrongdoings and expressed remorse over his actions. In return, his father prepared a feast for him and welcomed him back with open arms.

God loves us all, He forgives us because of His love for us. When we acknowledge that we have sinned, and promise to sin no more, He welcomes us home and prepares a feast for us. When we repent of our sins, not only are they forgiven but we are reconciled to God and can (by His will) enter the gates of Heaven.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Nashotah and thoughts

As can be seen by the above picture, Experience Nashotah was a bit on the chilly side. A couple of weeks ago, Wisconsin got a bit of a snowstorm, I am quite thankful to God that we got to "experience" the beautiful after-blizzard blanket rather than the frigid layering of said blanket.

This was my first real trip to Wisconsin and I must say I am quite impressed. When I moved to Texas, my mother and I rode the train across the northern US states to Chicago (and down to Texarkana, all in all a lovely trip) and that late spring was my first glimpse of such a beautiful area of the country. Unfortunately, one can only see so much through a tiny window.

Aesthetically, Wisconsin is wonderful. From the tall pines and secluded wilderness reminiscent of my youth in western Washington to the (dare I say) quaint peaked gables and bright colors of residential and commercial buildings, I have decided I could be quite at home. I look forward to the next three years (God willing) of being part of such a welcoming and fun community.

Spiritually, I have come to realize this weekend that (even though I am not the one discerning a call) I have a lot of growing to do. I am beginning to realize how I can become the supportive clergy wife Sean will need me to be. During a lecture by Fr. Klukas (we were allowed to observe several classes during our "Experience"), I realized an answer to a faith question I have pondered for years: Why is it important for us to acknowledge the pain and suffering we experience in our lives? We must do so because it is only through our pain and suffering that we can truly appreciate grace, mercy, salvation.

To use an example from this weekend, I learned that no restaurants in Wisconsin serve Diet Dr. Pepper. Neither does Nashotah House, nor even Milwaukee Airport. Although I occasionally had some tea or coffee to sate my caffeine addiction, for three days I longed for a sip of that lovely ambrosia. I would have even settled for a regular Dr. Pepper (corn syrup and all). Imagine my utter amazement when the flight attendant for the trip back to DFW produced a shining white aluminum can out of the back of the drink cart for me. For the next hour I savored the flavor of that delicious Diet Dr. Pepper, and the nagging caffeine-withdrawl migraine began to dissapate. I can drink Diet Dr. Pepper all day long, every day, going through a fridge pack in less than a week. But I only began to really appreciate having this drink when I suffered from a lack of it.

The example in +Klukas' class used 9/11 as an example of learning how to appreciate the gifts given to us in the face of tragedy. We understand that bad things happen, and if we use that understanding to strengthen our faith in Christ we begin to appreciate the sacrifice He made on our behalf. To put it bluntly, I understand that humans flying hijacked planes into skyscrapers filled with other humans is an evil act. It is an act that clearly defines right and wrong. As a result, I know that I must pray for my fellow humans and for myself. I realize my time on this earth is not long, and I begin to appreciate that Christ (through His sacrifice) has opened the door and pointed down the correct path for me to begin my journey for without Him how lost would I be!

I apologize for going off on a tangent when I intended to speak of these last few lovely days at Nashotah House, but I felt it needed to be said. For more information on the relationship of suffering and appreciation of such, please see the Gospel of Luke, chapter 15. To conclude this post, I would just like to say that this week was a blast! I <3 Nashotah!