Wow Nickelodeon. You went there.
Never would have thought I’d see the day. If you aren’t aware of what I’m referring to let me give you the skinny.
The Legend of Korra is an amazing American animated cartoon. Well, it was actually animated in South Korea and written by Americans. It has a very distinct anime style incorporating a mix of both western and eastern influence. The story follows the Avatar, the only person reincarnated through the ages that is able to manipulate the four elements: fire,earth,wind and water. This is the second Avatar series and in this era the Avatar is a young woman named Korra. She learns how to bend the elements. Various baddies threaten the safety of the world and she is tasked with defeating them while growing in her new role. The fight scenes are top notch. The music is captivating. The characters are unique. All in all I can say it’s been my favorite animated series of the last few years.
While the show is rated Y7 and targeted for kids, there are a lot of adult themes thrown around. Romance is a big part of its appeal. Several characters develop romantic relationships. Unfaithfulness even becomes an issue in the first season. Korra falls in love with a boy named Mako. So does her friend Asami. Mako switches between the both of them until he decides that neither are for him. Korra and Asami become best friends that confide in one another, to the point where Korra trusts her more than anyone, including Mako. They make brief hints throughout of their developing relationship. But I never thought this kids show would ever actually make the two women a couple. I was wrong.
The very last scene shows the two walking hand in hand, gazing into each other’s eyes intensely. While they don’t kiss, they share the same pose every other couple takes throughout the story.
These stances were deliberately shown this way to emphasize the meaning of the final scene.It’s difficult to misconstrue. As far as the creators are concerned Korra and Asami are a couple. And if I’m not mistaken, they are the first lesbian couple in an American animated program targeted towards youth. This is huge. Homosexual elements are extremely common in Japanese animation, so it doesn’t faze me at all when I see it there. But on Nickelodeon? This represents a complete shift in American cultural values.
First of all I have to be honest, I sort of saw it coming. I was speaking to my co-worker about the show and I mentioned that I thought it would be nice if Korra didn’t end up with Mako. My idea for the ending was for Korra to realize she didn’t need romance to truly love someone. I wanted Asami to end up with Korra but as partners that could never be replaced by a spouse. So even though my personal values don’t align with the creators’ vision, I genuinely felt happy that the two bonded in such a profound way.
I once believed romance to be the highest form of human love. Now I think differently. After being in a 8 year relationship I realized I could never really be myself with the person I was with. Always worried about impressing her, or saying the wrong thing. I did not understand love until I was loved by others for who I really was inside. Spiritual family doesn’t care how you look, act, if you’re charming or dutiful. They love you simply for who you are. A spiritual family can be composed of anyone at all: parents, siblings, spouses, friends. The bonds are deeper than temporal relationships. The ties are eternal.
I have friends today that I know love me infinitely more than my previous romantic lovers. I may never find someone to have a baby with but true love is always available. If not from man, God has an everlasting love for me. And it is from this perspective that I choose to see Korra’s relationship with Asami. It doesn’t need to be romantic or sexual to be absolutely beautiful.
This ending was designed with two parties in mind, which I think is brilliant and is another reason I greatly value the series.The first party are those that see no issue with Korra being a lesbian. The second are those that do find issue. The first got what they wanted: Korrasami canonized. The second can sleep soundly with a certain sense of ambiguity the finale leaves us with. Since they didn’t kiss, a romantic relationship wasn’t really demonstrated. We can continue to pretend that they are simply very very good friends, that just happen to hold hands. For that reason alone I respect the creators, realizing that not everyone agrees on this issue. I am whole-heartedly satisfied with the entire series even though I am in complete disagreement with the direction our culture is headed in, in relation to God’s will.
How should Christians react? The issue will never go away and we have a responsibility to respond in the appropriate way. What is that way? Denounce the show and call it Satanic? Worked well for Pokemon and Yugioh right? Continue to tell Homosexuals they are going to Hell? I’m sure that’ll turn things around /sarcasm. We must continue to share the truth of the Gospel. Share it in love and not judgement. Not to put down but to lift up. Programs, comics, movies are going to follow in Korra’s footsteps and while we can never fully support the principle behind it, we can love and appreciate those that do, while respectfully disagreeing in beliefs.
I believe a true follower of Christ can never truly advocate the pro Homosexual position because it lies contrary to God’s will for man. Old and New Testament calls it Sin. (Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11) Sin is simply “missing the mark”. God is very specific with his design. We can’t say in good conscious that it’d be a good idea to go against that design.
Now some might be wondering: “Isn’t it bigotry to not agree with Homosexuality?” Maybe, but according to the definition, it’s also bigotry to not agree with Christianity simply because it disagrees with Homosexuality. If you’re going to hate people for simply being intolerant of other’s opinions and beliefs please look in the mirror before you do. If you are intolerant of intolerant people, you are guilty on your own standard. People disagree, it’s what we do. And you know what? That’s OK. I believe God gave us free will to make our own choices. Do I believe God has a holy standard? Yes I do. One day we’ll all be judged by it. But I violate that standard every single day of my life. When I lie, hate, lust, envy and don’t act in the manner He wants me to. I don’t need to be a Homosexual to need God’s grace. I need it just as much as any other man or woman. I am no less a sinner. What a wonderful Father we have that died in our place, so that regardless of our errors we are forgiven. The truth is we’re all going to Hell but Christ is our way out.
I may have bad genes, bad upbringing or bad influences but at the end of the day I will face the consequences of my actions. Good or bad. God gives each man the choice to go His way or their own. His way is better, it has to be, He made everything there is. But ultimately He leaves it up to us to decide. We aren’t robots. Thank the Lord.
I am absolutely crazy about my gay and lesbian family members and friends. I love them with every fiber of my being and I want the absolute best for them. Of course, I believe the best for them is to follow God’s perfect plan but even if they don’t I will never condemn them for the choices they make. I believe a person cannot be full or complete without the love of God. But I also think people will miss out on their destiny by not accepting themselves and the order in which they were created.
To anyone repulsed by Christ’s Word or Church because of their sexuality: Christ wants you. Don’t miss out on the love of your Father simply because of that perceived barrier. Maybe I’m wrong about all of this. But let the Lord tell you Himself the plans He has for you, and who He truly made you to be. Pursue God as He is pursuing you. Straight or gay. His arms are open, waiting to receive you. He loves you. And I love you.