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Subject: James, Brother of Jesus rss

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Philip Thomas
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Drawing off from another thread, it was suggested that the Letter of St.James was written by James, the Brother of Jesus.

The existence of James, the Brother of Jesus is a matter of dispute. The evidential value of the letter of James in this dispute is not high, even if the letter has correctly been labelled by the compiler of the Gospel. James was a very common 1st century Palestinian name and we know of at least one James who was among the disciples and was not the Brother of Jesus (James the brother of John, also known as son of Zebedee).

 
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Christopher Seguin
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Philip Thomas wrote:
Drawing off from another thread, it was suggested that the Letter of St.James was written by James, the Brother of Jesus.

The existence of James, the Brother of Jesus is a matter of dispute. The evidential value of the letter of James in this dispute is not high, even if the letter has correctly been labelled by the compiler of the Gospel. James was a very common 1st century Palestinian name and we know of at least one James who was among the disciples and was not the Brother of Jesus (James the brother of John, also known as son of Zebedee).



Okay, James was a popular name.

That still doesn't reconcile the fact that non-Catholic Biblical scholars indicate that the Epistle of James was written by James, the brother of Jesus, and that Catholics believe it was written by a different James, or at a least a James who's birth mother wasn't Mary, Joseph's wife.

The concept of Mary being an "Ever Virgin" is not Biblical, and was only added by the Catholic Church in an effort to elevate Mary to a spot higher than the birth mother of Jesus. Many Catholics still pray to her ("Hail Mary" and the Rosary), which many Evangelicals consider blasphemous. There is no evidence to suggest that she remained a virgin, but there is evidence to the contrary.
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Philip Thomas
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Some non-Christian Biblical scholars deny the existence of Jesus altogether. Biblical scholars aren't always right (they frequently disagree, besides anything else).

edit: There is a longstanding tradition that Mary was a Virgin. Since most of what we know about early Christianity rests on longstanding traditions (for example, it is tradition that tells us which Gospels are part of the canon), I wouldn't dismiss this one so easily.
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Drew1365 wrote:
Well, the gospels mention Jesus' mother and brothers together, clearly speaking of his family, not "spiritual brothers." So who were they if not other children of Mary?


The Greek could mean cousins.

I'm not saying that I agree with the ever virgin Mary concept, but there was more to it than I had initially thought.
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Mary was a virgin until after Jesus was born.

In Matthew 1:24-25 it says, "He [Joseph] married her [Mary] but did not know her intimately until she gave birth to a son. And he named Him Jesus."

That "until" speaks volumes to me, speaking both to her continued virginity through the birth of Jesus, as well as to her non-virginity soon (I assume) afterwards.

Later in Matthew 13:55-56, it's even more explicit, naming 4 other sons (including James) that Mary had besides Jesus, as well as an unspecified number of daughters. I hadn't heard about the possibility that the Greek could be interpretted as "cousins" but that seems unlikely from the context. His [step]father, His mother, His brothers, then His sisters are all mentioned, and in that order, which is a natural way to list one's immediate family. There's no mention of aunts and uncles, etc. If they were not His immediate siblings, I'd expect other relatives to be mentioned, or at least an elaboration as to who these others were. There are many instances where the Scriptures lay out specific relationships.

Mark 6:3 relates the same scene in Matthew 13:55-56, and lists the same family members, in the same order.

In Galations 1:19 Paul references "James, the Lord's brother."

There's probably other citations, but that's all I have time for at the moment.
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Philip Thomas wrote:
...James the brother of John, also known as son of Zebedee).


Wait, off the Magic Roundabout?!

Did James also have an uncomfortably located spring?
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From my understanding though Catholic tradition states that Mary never actually had any children other than Jesus. The she also remained a virgin until her ascent into heaven.

They speculate that Jesus's siblings were from a marriage that Joseph may have had prior to Mary.

I find this highly amusing.
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GAWD wrote:

chrisnd wrote:
Many Catholics still pray to her ("Hail Mary" and the Rosary), which many Evangelicals consider blasphemous.


As usual, those evangelicals would prove once again that they don't know jack squat about Catholicism and have a generally poor understanding of theology in general.


I have a working knowledge of Catholic teaching and doctrine as good as any Catholic. I am familiar with the Catholic Catechism, as it was part of my Catholic Parochial education as I was growing up. Please don't say that I have proven that "Evangelicals don't know jack squat about Catholicism" or a poor understanding of theology. On the contrary, I grew up Catholic, so I know what I am talking about.

(As an example, ask any Catholic to describe the "Immaculate Conception", and I can guarantee that 99 out of 100 will say it is the "Conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary.")

Mary is "worshipped" by Catholics as the "Mother of the Church". The Rosary is perfect example of that. Why would you have 50 prayers to Mary (repititious ones at that, a kind of prayer that Christ abhors - Mathew 6:7-8) and only 8 prayers to Jesus? If you don't believe me that many Catholics worship Mary, go visit the University of Notre Dame for a weekend mass and you will understand. Praying to DEAD people to intercede on your behalf to God is ridiculous, unnecessary, and UNSCRIPTURAL. Even though Revelation 5 mentions the bowls full of the "prayers of the saints", it doesn't indicate that the prayers themselves were directed to the saints in heaven, or to the angels. It just means that the prayers were there, heard and understood by God.

Mary was born with original sin just like every other human being born of Man (i.e. the Immaculate Conception is bunk and unbiblical), she had sex and mothered other children (as stated consistently in Scripture), she is not the Mother of the Church, and she did not bodily rise into heaven the way Jesus did. Mary is just another nice Jewish girl who found great favor in the eyes of God, and was therefore blessed.

GAWD wrote:
When a Catholic prays to Mary, or any other saint for that matter, they are seeking intercessory prayer from that person, just like when any Christian asks another Christian to pray for them ("Hey, Bob I'm going into surgery tomorrow, can you pray for me?"). There is no theological difference whatsoever, once, of course, you recognize that the Church in its temporal & earthly existence is constantly in union w/the Church in its eternal heavenly existence.


Intercessory prayer to those who are already dead is not Scriptural, it is heretical. It is nothing more than speaking to the dead. And if you already have a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST (which is exactly what happens when you are indwelt with the Holy Spirit upon accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Savior), there is no NEED for intercessory prayer because Christ has given you the ability to talk and converse DIRECTLY with Him. Jesus Christ is the intercessory, and the only intercessory that we need - it is through him that we are reconciled to God the Father. Jesus is the ONLY MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MAN! (1 Tim 2:5). Asking for or praying to another Mediator is unscriptural. Prayer is to go to God, and only God (Rev19:10).

However, you do bring up a good point about asking other people to pray for you. That action, of course, has lots of Scriptural support, such as Gen 24:12, 2 Tim 1:16, Luke 4:38, etc.). Living people are always encouraged to pray for others, and we can always ask others to pray for us or others - intercession that way works. But intercession using the previously dead people is not found in Scripture.

Mary being elevated to a position to be greater than that of the Angels, and second only to her Son in heaven is completely unfounded, unscriptural, and heretical. I just can't accept that. There is no basis for it in Scripture, and I care not for any Tradition that directly conflicts with Scripture, or is put at the same level as Scripture, which is exactly what the Catholic Church teaches. I guess that is why I am not Catholic any more.
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Having a pastor is not scriptural.

Reading the bible in english is not scriptural.

Playing the piano in worship is not scriptural.

Breaking bread outside of a meal is not scriptural.

Baptism outside of the Roman Empire is not scriptural.

Talking about the speck in your brother's eye instead of the log in your own is not scriptural.

Using the words "not scriptural" is not scriptural.
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Philip Thomas wrote:
Drawing off from another thread, it was suggested that the Letter of St.James was written by James, the Brother of Jesus.

The existence of James, the Brother of Jesus is a matter of dispute. The evidential value of the letter of James in this dispute is not high, even if the letter has correctly been labelled by the compiler of the Gospel. James was a very common 1st century Palestinian name and we know of at least one James who was among the disciples and was not the Brother of Jesus (James the brother of John, also known as son of Zebedee).



After reading the other posts here I thought this thread was about Mary and catholics. Oh yeah it's about James.

From some of the things I've read, the historical evidence for James is nearly as good as that of Jesus himself. He was, according to some, the leader of the Jerusalem christians after Jesus died.
 
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chrisnd wrote:


(As an example, ask any Catholic to describe the "Immaculate Conception", and I can guarantee that 99 out of 100 will say it is the "Conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary.")


Ohh come on you have to be pulling that number out of your a**. I am not a Catholic, I never went to Catechism or confirmation and I only went to parochial School for 2 years and even *I* know that the "Immaculate Conception" was about Mary's conception without original sin so she could be the mother of Jesus. I don't buy it (since I don't believe in original sin to begin with) but I heard about it and understood it in religion class and in other Catholic forums. Heck understanding it is even essential to one of the better Catholic jokes I know.

Jesus is standing in front of the adulteress and says "Let one of you who is without sin caste the first stone!" All is quiet for a few moments as the people look down in shame then from the back of the crowd a rock comes flying forward. Jesus looks back to see who threw the rock and then says.... Mom sometimes you really tick me off.

If you don't understand about the immaculate conception you cannot get the "joke".

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I have never been very comfortable with Mary venertation... but as usual GAWD you make a heck of a good argument.

Though it brings up two other theological points I might want to hash out here someday when I have a few hours to dedicate to RSP play again.

Do the dead "Sleep" in Christ until the resurrection as Paul intimated or are they already in the eternal "now" with God?

The whole who is above the angels concept... it is my understanding that eventually all of those who choose to be perfected in Christ will have authority above that of the angels. We are meant to be sons/daughters not servants in the eternal order.
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Meerkat wrote:
I don't buy it (since I don't believe in original sin to begin with)...



Could you remind me why Jesus came, again?
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GAWD wrote:
chrisnd wrote:
Mary was born with original sin just like every other human being born of Man (i.e. the Immaculate Conception is bunk and unbiblical) ... Mary is just another nice Jewish girl who found great favor in the eyes of God, and was therefore blessed.


I guess you missed the fact that Gabriel said she was full of grace before Christ was even conceived. Eh ... what does Gabriel know, right? Silly angel.

This is not a grace in the eyes of God or some other equation we'd find elsewhere, like in the Old Testament. She's full of grace ... "indwelt" by grace, using your terminology. The Lord was fully with her BEFORE she was with him.

How could she possibly be full of grace before Christ could fill her w/it by his work? Oh ... maybe that's because he didn't need to fill her w/it all. She was BORN with it; it came standard. God really loves his mom, so he created her w/out everyone else's most basic "fault."
.

I wouldn't say that you exegesis is wrong here but I think it is unlikely. At least, it isn't the only way to understand what "full of grace" means. The holiness of Mary is an important doctrine in Catholicism and I don't think doctrines should be built on indirect reference...this is based on my belief in the perspicuity of Scripture.

Please tell me if I'm wrong, but my crude understanding of why her holiness is important is built on a theological construct that says that Jesus would be half-sinful if she weren't. My main problem is that implies that Mary being without sin would not have needed Christ for salvation (I'm guessing I may be off the mark here though...please inform me if I am).

As far as intersession of the saints, Catholicism as a whole is built on intercession. Jesus is the big intercessor (I think something almost all Christians would agree with as the Bible is very direct and repetitive regarding this) but then there are saints and priest working as agents for Christ too. Now, I believe that we only need Christ as our intercessor but I believe other intercessor to be unnecessary. I certainly acknowledge the Communion of Saints just as I do the Office of Holy Ministry, I just don't think either fills an intercessory role.

All this talk of heresy has me curious about what "heretic means to people. I see it as an error extreme enough that somebody has fallen out of confession with the Church and thus are no longer Christian. I certainly think that Catholicism has errors (I mean we do call the Pope [as an office not the man holding it] the Anti-Christ) but I still consider Catholics to be Christians.
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Scott Firestone IV wrote:
Meerkat wrote:
I don't buy it (since I don't believe in original sin to begin with)...



Could you remind me why Jesus came, again?


To reconcile us back to God or the sins we actually commit and to be an example and empower us with the ability overcome our tendencies to make sinful choices.

A sinful nature is not the same as original sin.

I believe a 5 day old baby is still totally sinless. However I have yet to meet a healthy normally developed 5 year old child who hasn't done something by choice he/she knows they were not supposed to. (though even at this age I still do not think they are spiritually accountable yet... as in if they die they are still considered sinless before God) So we all are born with a sinful nature but actions/thoughts only becomes sin when we make knowing choices to give into that nature.

The facts that each and every one of us do chose to do selfish evil things at some point if we live long enough to be reading this forum means "we all" have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. So for all practical purposes we all need Jesus.

But no I don't buy that Mary had to have some special conception to make her holy enough to be Jesus' mother.

Heck I don't even believe she lived a sinless life.
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Meerkat wrote:
Scott Firestone IV wrote:
Meerkat wrote:
I don't buy it (since I don't believe in original sin to begin with)...



Could you remind me why Jesus came, again?


To reconcile us back to God or the sins we actually commit and to be an example and empower us with the ability overcome our tendencies to make sinful choices.

A sinful nature is not the same as original sin.

I believe a 5 day old baby is still totally sinless. However I have yet to meet a healthy normally developed 5 year old child who hasn't done something by choice he/she knows they were not supposed to. (though even at this age I still do not think they are spiritually accountable yet... as in if they die they are still considered sinless before God) So we all are born with a sinful nature but actions/thoughts only becomes sin when we make knowing choices to give into that nature.

The facts that each and every one of us do chose to do selfish evil things at some point if we live long enough to be reading this forum means "we all" have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. So for all practical purposes we all need Jesus.

But no I don't buy that Mary had to have some special conception to make her holy enough to be Jesus' mother.

Heck I don't even believe she lived a sinless life.


My problem with the rejection of Original Sin is similar to the problem I have with Mary being sinless...if a child dies before the Age or Accountability does that mean they go to heaven apart from Christ's atonement? Scripture is pretty clear that Christ died for sinners and those with out sin do not need Him. Yet, we are also told that Christ is the only way to heaven...meaning that all people are sinful (not just sinners). I've never been presented with direct Scriptural evidence of an Age of Accountability and is there is some, please point me to it.

I appreciate the sentiment because belief in Original Sin puts me in the awkward place of contemplating what happens to the soul of a stillborn baby or an aborted fetus and the like...I'll be honest and say that the Bible does not provide direct comforting answers about this, but I have faith that God takes care of everyone appropriately.
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Benjro wrote:
Meerkat wrote:
snipped stuff about kids and original sin


My problem with the rejection of Original Sin is similar to the problem I have with Mary being sinless...if a child dies before the Age or Accountability does that mean they go to heaven apart from Christ's atonement? Scripture is pretty clear that Christ died for sinners and those with out sin do not need Him. Yet, we are also told that Christ is the only way to heaven...meaning that all people are sinful (not just sinners). I've never been presented with direct Scriptural evidence of an Age of Accountability and is there is some, please point me to it.

I appreciate the sentiment because belief in Original Sin puts me in the awkward place of contemplating what happens to the soul of a stillborn baby or an aborted fetus and the like...I'll be honest and say that the Bible does not provide direct comforting answers about this, but I have faith that God takes care of everyone appropriately.


I don't think there is a specific magic "age" I think there is a state of being were one has become spiritually sentient (for lack of a better word) and are aware of wrong choices including the consequences (not mom and dad give you a spanking consequences... actual consequences like if you take the last cookie it means your sister doesn't get one at all or that if you hit somebody you cause them pain) and make selfish prideful sinful choices anyway. Some mature into this ability to be accountable faster than others.

As for scripture I can toss you a few off the top of my head but I would have to go some research to pull together a detailed point by point arguement. It has been many years since I did the reading to resolve this to my satisfaction in my own heart and mind.

Jesus said "suffer the children to come unto me for such is the Kingdom of Heaven" and he also said we needed to become like children in another passage. So children obviously are not yet "separated" from God the way adults are according to Jesus.

I also would point you to John chapter 3 vs. 16- the end of the chapter. Especially the part about the nature of condemnation. Because people love darkness rather than light they will shun the light lest their evil deeds be reproved. If you are genuinely unaware of your actions than your soul has not been corrupted and you have no reason to shun the light. Thus you will not choose condemnation rather than be shown you are wrong and then correct your flaws.

A toddler flailing around because they are in pain who gives you a bloody nose is not corrupted by a choice to sin the way an adult who choses to hit you because you annoyed him would be. Even if the physical result is exactly the same to you. For this reason I believe many mentally impaired people also will as end up dying having never become fully accountable in a spiritual way.
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Meerkat wrote:
Jesus said "suffer the children to come unto me for such is the Kingdom of Heaven" and he also said we needed to become like children in another passage. So children obviously are not yet "separated" from God the way adults are according to Jesus.

I also would point you to John chapter 3 vs. 16- the end of the chapter. Especially the part about the nature of condemnation. Because people love darkness rather than light they will shun the light lest their evil deeds be reproved. If you are genuinely unaware of your actions than your soul has not been corrupted and you have no reason to shun the light. Thus you will not choose condemnation rather than be shown you are wrong and then correct your flaws.

A toddler flailing around because they are in pain who gives you a bloody nose is not corrupted by a choice to sin the way an adult who choses to hit you because you annoyed him would be. Even if the physical result is exactly the same to you. For this reason I believe many mentally impaired people also will as end up dying having never become fully accountable in a spiritual way.


Well like with Gawd, I won't say that your interpretation can't be correct, but taken with the rest of Scripture, I do see it as unlikely. I don'tinterpret those passages to mean that children are not seperated from God.

That is because of a major difference I have with you in your last paragraph. I don't think that we choose to sin but that we are born into it. We are sinful before we ever commit a sinful act. I gather that you think the opposite is true. That goes a long way to explain our differences here.

Anyway, I'm not out to prove you wrong here. Though I do find this an interesting discussion.
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Benjro wrote:
Meerkat wrote:
Jesus said "suffer the children to come unto me for such is the Kingdom of Heaven" and he also said we needed to become like children in another passage. So children obviously are not yet "separated" from God the way adults are according to Jesus.

I also would point you to John chapter 3 vs. 16- the end of the chapter. Especially the part about the nature of condemnation. Because people love darkness rather than light they will shun the light lest their evil deeds be reproved. If you are genuinely unaware of your actions than your soul has not been corrupted and you have no reason to shun the light. Thus you will not choose condemnation rather than be shown you are wrong and then correct your flaws.

A toddler flailing around because they are in pain who gives you a bloody nose is not corrupted by a choice to sin the way an adult who choses to hit you because you annoyed him would be. Even if the physical result is exactly the same to you. For this reason I believe many mentally impaired people also will as end up dying having never become fully accountable in a spiritual way.


Well like with Gawd, I won't say that your interpretation can't be correct, but taken with the rest of Scripture, I do see it as unlikely. I don'tinterpret those passages to mean that children are not seperated from God.

That is because of a major difference I have with you in your last paragraph. I don't think that we choose to sin but that we are born into it. We are sinful before we ever commit a sinful act. I gather that you think the opposite is true. That goes a long way to explain our differences here.

Anyway, I'm not out to prove you wrong here. Though I do find this an interesting discussion.


Just continuing the discussion... the first thing I point out is that "taken with the rest of the scripture" might be a place for our divergence.

I take the actual words of Jesus to have far greater weight than the words of others like Paul for two reasons. Jesus as God incarnate knows the entire "truth" even that truth that was/is beyond us to understand so He knew exactly what He was saying inside and outside of cultural context. Paul was still a man trying to communicate the understanding he had of deeper issues within the culture of the time.

I believe scripture is inspired divinely including the epistles but they were written by men to help people living right then, in that time and place understand and grow.

Additionally I think that biblical authors were not interested in ecumenical debate but in changing peoples hearts and lives. So they were not writing to resolve issues like how many angels can dance on the head of a needle.

One of the things religious leaders of the time did was try to embroil Jesus in long standing theological debates and His answers always avoided the "trap" they were setting but rarely resolved the issues to their satisfaction.

So the biblical writers weren't even trying answer questions like what happens to stillborn babies or people who live and never hear about Christ. That understanding has little to no impact on daily lives of the people they are communicating with. They were writing to living adults capable of making choices that could transform lives and eventually even the world one person at a time. And in that context EVERYBODY is a sinner who sins every day. Everybody who hears the message needs Jesus. The fact that they are hearing or reading the message means a choice is now before them to repent, enter a relationship with Christ and change their lives or to reject the offer.

So when I look at the entirety of the scriptures I take that context into account in addition to cultural context of specific passages and I don't try to extrapolate out ideas too far beyond what all the context supports.

I find nothing in Jesus' words to support the idea of "Original Sin" as some inborn contamination that is not at all related to our choices and that only His blood can cleanse and I think it takes some serious extrapolation of Paul's words to support it as something that attaches at conception or even birth.

But I agree I am not out to change anybody else's mind. Just explaining my own here.

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Whoo! This is all some crazy-ass metaphysical talk y'all've got goin' on. It all smacks of angels and pinheads, to me.

My understanding, from my godless vantage point, is that the worship veneration of Mary was another foxy early church move to win converts from older fertility goddesses like Isis. Her function and form mirror so closely earlier practices that it's difficult to avoid comparison. Just as the cherubs and devils were holdovers, so too was Mary elevated to her place as a method of drawing in congregants from older traditions.


Mary and Jesus Isis and Horus, rather.

From a purely poetic standpoint, I greatly dislike the idea of Mary's sinless state, 'cos it makes Jesus a purely divine entity. The power of Christ, to me, is that he's got one foot on Earth and another in Heaven, and serves to bridge the gap between our worldly concerns and our higher callings. Take away his human origins, and he's just another alien superhero, capable of feats of grace that you and I are unable to perform, rather than a very human exemplar of the best that we can be.

And yet I like Superman more than Bat-Man. Huh. That's kind of interesting.
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Lynette
United States
Richland
Washington
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Yep, I am a girl Scientist. Come for the breasts; Stay for the brains!
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For as long as I shall live I will testify to love; I'll be a witness in the silences when words are not enough.
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Batman has always been my favorite.
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True Blue Jon
United States
Vancouver
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Meerkat wrote:
Batman has always been my favorite.


That's because you like the rubber suit.
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