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Apologia The Dartmouth

Volume 2, Issue 1 Fall 2007

Featured Articles

Beauty In Science Forgetting the Creator Alchemy Inside Interview: Excellence Without a Soul A Journal of Christian Thought


Letter from the Editor October 23, 2007 As a scientist, how can you believe in miracles? Isn’t it inconsistent to oppose abortion while supporting the death penalty? If you believe in survival of the fittest, why do you volunteer at the food pantry? Dear Reader, At Dartmouth we frequently press one another’s worldviews to see whether they hold up under scrutiny. We do not expect that every question will have an easy answer, but we do anticipate a discussion. After all, rarely does someone reply, “To hell with reason!” Whether we realize it or not, most of us operate under the assumption that our worldview should be coherent. We value consistency of thought as well as consistency of action. Through our questions we hope to find a worldview that really works, one which accounts for the laws of physics, rules of language and principles of historical analysis, as well as social responsibility, successful marriage and joyful living. Even so, how would we respond if someone came up to us and professed to have just such an integrated worldview? Can you imagine someone claiming to understand everything about not just his own life, but the correct way life itself should be lived? Most likely we would consider him arrogant, or perhaps simply deranged. Nevertheless, this is precisely Jesus’s claim: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). He declares Himself to be the very embodiment of truth, the fulfillment of the comprehensive worldview we seek. As Christians we believe that Jesus is who He claimed to be: God incarnate. We do not grasp the full implications of this revelation. But such a bold claim invites exploration and challenge. In the pages of this journal we attempt to integrate our faith and our reason, to delve into the impact of Jesus Christ on every aspect of our studies and our lives. Tolle lege,

Andrew T. Schuman


Mission Statement The Dartmouth Apologia exists to articulate Christian perspectives in the academic community. We, the members of The Dartmouth Apologia, affirm that the Bible is inspired by God, that faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation, and that God has called us to live by the moral principles of the New Testament. We also affirm the Nicene Creed, with the understanding that views may differ on baptism and the meaning of the word “catholic.�

The Nicene Creed

We [I] believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We [I] believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We [I] believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Fall 2007 Executive Editor Andrew Schuman Production Manager Tessa Winter Business Manager Christopher Blankenship Editor of Sciences and Humanities Charles Dunn Editor of Arts and Literature Robert Cousins Editor of Creative Works Cassandra Sieg Layout and Web Design Alex Barsamian, Kaite Yang Writers and Artists Cheryl Bourgeois, Naomi Hatfield, Callie Lawson, Bethany Mills, Kaite Yang, Sherwin Yeo Faculty Advisory Board Gregg Fairbrothers Richard Denton Marvin Doyle Eric Hansen Eric Johnson James Murphy David Pyke Jerry Yeo Leo Zacharski Special Thanks to: Council on Student Organizations The Day Foundation John Konkle Beth Pearson Robert Philp


Apologia The Dartmouth

Sciences and Humanities 4 Galileo Revisited, Part II Andrew Schuman and Robert Cousins 10 Discoveries of Beauty In the Study of Science Cheryl Bourgeois

Arts and Literature 14 Movie Review: The Liviu Mocan Story Robert Cousins

Creative Works 20 Alchemy Inside Kaite Yang 25 He Delicately Shapes a Vessel Callie Lawson 26 Vessels For Breaking Sherwin Yeo 29 Fragile Cassandra Sieg

16 Forgetting the Creator: How Stephen Dedalus Rejects God Bethany Mills

32 An Interview With Former Harvard College Dean Harry Lewis 35 Final Thoughts Naomi Hatfield


Sciences and Humanities

The Humanities could be defined as the study of that which makes us human, often pursued in the disciplines of philosophy, history and the classics. Science might be described as the knowledge of the physical or material world ascertained through observation. Through both of these fields, we seek to grasp an understanding of ourselves and the world in which we live. Therefore, the humanities and sciences offer us a tremendous means through which to know God and understand His purpose for our lives. I invite you to join the discussion prompted in the following pages and to use every faculty of your reason in your pursuit of Truth. Cui bono? Omnibus. Charles Dunn Editor of Sciences and Humanities

Galileo Revisited, Part II: Galileo’s Trial Andrew Schuman and Robert Cousins In Part I, we examined Galileo’s 1616 conflict with the Roman Catholic Church. The disagreement was not over any fundamental incompatibility between science and religion. On the contrary, both parties believed that there was only one truth, and that new scientific demonstrations necessitated a reinterpretation of the Bible. They differed only on the question of when reinterpretation was appropriate and who had the authority to do it. For the full text of Galileo Revisited, Part I, please visit: http://www.dartmouthapologia.org 

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Galileo’s 1633 trial before the Roman Inquisition endures in popular culture as the climactic moment when science and reason clashed with organized religion, giving birth to the modern era of rationalism. We imagine Galileo standing before his robed judges, methodically explaining his scientific proof for the earth’s motion and perhaps even inviting them to look through his telescope. His prosecutors, meanwhile, fire back at him obscure Bible verses that indicate the Earth’s fixed place in the universe. They condemn Galileo as a heretic, he is forced to recant his scientifically verified views under threat of torture and he ends his days under house arrest, despondent and in disgrace.1


This version of events, entertaining as it may be, is in fact little more than a romantic misconception. Galileo was never tortured, put in chains or imprisoned. Instead he was treated with great courtesy, spending most of his time in Rome at the home of the Tuscan ambassador. Indeed, Galileo’s trial is perhaps the most profoundly misunderstood episode in his life. It simply was not the epic battle between belief systems that it is popularly made out to be. Rather, it was the result of a technicality, a misunderstanding about what Galileo was and was not permitted to say in his 1632 work Dialogue On the Two Chief World Systems. The trial was also caught up in the personal conflict between Galileo and his old student and friend, Pope Urban VIII, at a time of intense political pressure for the Pontiff and his Church. Let us first review the immediate background of the trial. In the spring of 1632, Galileo published the Dialogue—a book that pitted the sun-centered view of the cosmos against the earth-centered view— which immediately began to evoke accusations of heresy. Ever since 1616, the Roman Catholic Church had prohibited all books advocating Copernicanism. As evidence for the earth’s motion swelled during the allegedly neutral dialogue, it gave every impression that the purpose of the book was to render geo-centrism illogical.2 In addition to apparently violating Church regulations, Galileo had injudiciously placed Pope Urban VIII’s own opinion on the matter—that human intellect could not discern the true causes of celestial phenomena—in the mouth of the buffoonish character Simplicio. In this way Galileo managed to alienate and insult his longtime friend and ally. What’s more, the insult came at the height of the Thirty Years’ War when the Pope could ill afford more dissension. Thus when the Florentine Inquisitor summoned him to Rome in October 1632, under threat of imprisonment, Galileo had no choice but to comply. Galileo appeared in Rome in February of the next year. Unlike usual procedure, he was not arrested upon arrival, but rather allowed to stay in the home of the Tuscan ambassador. Despite growing apprehension about his trial, Galileo nonetheless was pleasantly surprised by his accommodations, and wrote to a friend shortly after his arrival that: “...this seems to be the beginning of a procedure which is very gentle and kind, and completely unlike the threatened ropes, chains and prisons, etc.”3

However, Galileo’s first impression was not entirely accurate. Within a few days of his arrival, the Pope ordered him not to speak to anyone; for the next month and a half Galileo was not allowed to leave the ambassador’s quarters or entertain visitors.4 During this time Galileo heard nothing official about the preparations for his trial, but nevertheless slowly gleaned from friends that “the greatest difficulty seems to lie in the claim by these Lords that in the year 1616 Mr. Galilei received an injunction not to dispute about or discuss [Copernicanism].”5 Galileo’s trial was to be conducted under the auspices of the Roman Inquisition, which consisted of ten Cardinals appointed by the Pope and charged with safeguarding Catholic dogma. The usual trial procedure was for the Prosecutor of the Holy Office, a primarily legal official, to formulate the charges against the defendant and conduct interrogations prior to the trial. Then he was to submit an official summary of the proceedings to the Cardinals, who then would vote on the charges and submit their decision to the Pope for approval.6 On April 12, 1633, Galileo stood before the Prosecutor of the Holy Office, Fr. Vincenzo Maculano, for the first round of questioning. Father Maculano

Original portrait of Galileo Galilei. Justus Sustermans, 1636.

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began with the standard question of whether Galileo knew why he had been summoned by the Holy Office. Galileo responded that he suspected it was because of his book, the Dialogue, since the printer had been ordered to “not issue any more of these books” as well as to “send the original manuscript...to the Holy Office in Rome.”7 Father Maculano focused his later questions on Galileo’s disagreement with Cardinal Bellarmine, former Master of Controversial Questions and twelve years deceased, over the topic of Copernicanism in 1616. This was the conflict which ultimately led to the decree by the Congregation of the Holy Index which declared Copernicanism “foolish and absurd in philosophy” and “formally heretical.”8 Although Galileo was never mentioned by name in this decree, or publically punished and charged with holding a heretical view, he was personally given a warning by Cardinal Bellarmine not to advance Copernicanism in the future. Since Bellarmine delivered this warning to Galileo verbally, no official record of his exact words was filed. However, when Father Maculano searched through the files of the Holy Office for a record of the meeting, he found an unsigned document from 1616 which read that Bellarmine had forbidden Galileo to “hold, teach or defend [Copernicanism] in any way, either verbally or in writing.”9 If this were the case, then Galileo’s writing of the Dialogue would be indefensible. Even if he tried to argue that he did not defend Copernicanism in his book, he most certainly taught the theory. From Father Maculano’s view, the case was open-and-shut. Instead of pitting scientific reasoning against religious authority, this case pivoted on the simple question: had Galileo violated the injunction against advocating Copernicanism? However, as Maculano continued to question Galileo about the 1616 controversy and injunction, a different story emerged. Unlike the document found in the files of the Holy Office, Galileo claimed that Bellarmine had not prohibited him from teaching about Copernicanism, only from advocating that Copernicanism was absolutely true. He said Bellarmine had told him that “Copernicus’ theory could be held suppositionally, as Copernicus himself held it.” Only when Copernicanism was taken as a literal description of the universe could “the opinion be neither held nor defended.”10 

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In other words, Galileo could hold Copernicanism as a theory, but could not assert that it was an actual description of the objective universe. In support of this claim, Galileo quoted from a letter by Cardinal Bellarmine applauding him for “proceeding prudently by limiting [himself] to speaking suppositionally and not absolutely.”11 Given Galileo’s account of Bellarmine’s injunction, a hypothetical discussion of Copernicanism, such as in the Dialogue, would be acceptable. Galileo further supported his position by furnishing a certificate that he had received from Cardinal Bellarmine only a few months after the 1616 decree. It confirmed that Galileo had not been forced to renounce “any opinion or doctrine which he held,” and instead stated that Copernicanism taken in the absolute sense could not be “defended or held.”12 This document contained no mention of the much stronger injunction not to “teach … in any way whatever, verbally or in writing” that was found in the document from the Holy Office files. When asked if he remembered the stronger wording, Galileo responded: “Regarding the two other phrases...not to teach and in any way whatever, I did not retain them in my memory, I think because they are not contained in the said certificate.”13 Indeed, Galileo’s certificate appeared more genuine, bearing the signature of the late Cardinal, whereas Maculano’s document was unsigned. With no way to establish which document took precedence, the first round of questioning ended. The trial appeared to have reached an impasse.14 For the next eighteen days, Galileo was sworn to silence and given accommodations in the quarters of the Holy Office. During this time, he was beset with physical pain from old age, but nonetheless acknowledged that his “hope was greater than ever” that the trial might be resolved in a conciliatory manner.15 Maculano, however, was far less at peace. His airtight case against Galileo had been brought to a halt by Galileo’s unexpected certificate, and pressure was beginning to build for a verdict.16 Seeing no way to convict Galileo in court, Maculano asked permission from the Holy Congregation to “treat extrajudiciously with Galileo, in order to render him sensible of his error and bring him, if he recognizes it, to the confession of the same.”17 In essence, Maculano would offer Galileo a


deal, a plea bargain of sorts. He would drop all charges of formal heresy if Galileo would admit to inadvertently advancing heretical ideas in the Dialogue.18 This way both parties could save face: Galileo would be guilty only of inadvertence, and the Inquisition would have duly punished him, albeit lightly. On April 27, Maculano visited Galileo in his private quarters at the Holy Office to negotiate a compromise. After hours of “exchanging innumerable arguments and answers,” Galileo agreed to the deal, admitting to Maculano that he “had erred and gone too far in his book.” 19 Once the deal was settled, Galileo expressed relief and thankfulness towards Maculano, grateful that he would leave the whole affair with little more than a slap on the wrist. Maculano too was glad, stating: “the case . . . may now be settled without difficulty. The Tribunal will maintain its reputation; the culprit can be treated with benignity.”20 A few days later a second court session was called and Galileo confessed his errors: he had simply gotten carried away and accidentally made a weak argument look strong.21 “My error then was, and I confess it, one of vain ambition, pure ignorance and inadvertence.”22 Maculano in turn proposed a relatively light sentence for Galileo; although the specifics are not known, it was likely akin to “inadvertence” or “rashness.”23 The next step was for Galileo to present before the court a formal defense of his innocence. So, ten days later, Galileo appeared again and presented the original copy of Bellarmine’s certificate as well as a brief written defense of his actions. Echoing his previous confession, Galileo asserted that the errors found in his book were “not introduced through the cunning of an insincere intention,” but rather through the “satisfaction of appearing clever beyond the average among popular writers” by making the weaker argument appear strong.24 Having finished his part of the plea bargain, Galileo only needed to wait for Maculano to uphold his end of the agreement. Leaving the session Galileo was optimistic, even confident, about the outcome of the trial.25

The officials of the Holy Office then prepared a summary of the trial, which was delivered to the ten cardinals of the Holy Congregation, and ultimately to the Pope, for judgment.26 Likely there was disagreement among the members of the Congregation regarding the sentence; Galileo heard nothing from them for more than a month.27 However, when the sentence was presented to Pope Urban VIII, he balked at letting Galileo off with a slap on the wrist. Faced with increasing pressure from Spain to contribute more to the war effort, and

The case pivoted on a simple question: had Galileo violated the injunction against advocating Copernicanism? amidst growing accusations of weakness as a leader, Urban was determined to make an example of Galileo.28 Furthermore, there was the matter of Galileo’s handling of the Pope’s request that he include in his book a disclaimer on the tides, a request that Galileo managed to meet in a way that embarrassed the Pope, a serious scientist and theologian in his own right. The Pope ignored the plea bargain and decided to use Galileo’s confession against him as evidence of vehement suspicion of heresy, a sentence only one degree below formal heresy.29 On June 16, the Pope issued a public decree that “Galileo is to be interrogated with regard to his intention, even with the threat of torture, and, if he sustains [answers in a satisfactory manner], he is to abjure de vehementi [i.e., vehement suspicion of heresy].”30 With this the

Sciences and Humanities




case was effectively settled. Galileo would be arrested, interrogated and convicted of vehement suspicion of heresy.31 Although we do not know when Galileo first heard of the decree, he must have been stunned. The plea bargain had been disregarded, and now he was being called to trial again. On June 21, Galileo was rearrested and brought to court. When asked if he held Copernicanism in the absolute sense, Galileo responded that he had adhered to that view when he was young, but ever since the Decree of 1616, “assured by the prudence of the authorities, all my uncertainty stopped.”32 Having answered satisfactorily, Galileo was deemed guilty of “vehement suspicion of heresy,” but innocent of formal heresy.33

Galileo before the Holy Office. Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury, 1847.

On June 22, 1633, Galileo listened as the Congregation of the Holy Office read its verdict: We say, pronounce, sentence, and declare that you, the abovementioned Galileo...vehemently suspected of heresy, namely of having held and believed a doctrine which is false and contrary to Holy Scripture: that the sun is the center of the world and does not move from east to west, and the earth moves and is not the center of the world.34 Galileo’s sentence was also read: he was con

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fined to house arrest for the rest of his life, the Dialogue was officially banned and he had to recite the seven penitential psalms weekly for the next three years. He was given the opportunity to receive forgiveness from the Holy Office if he read with a sincere heart the abjuration statement that had been prepared for him in advance.35 Thus, kneeling before his judges, Galileo declared: With a sincere heart and unfeigned faith I abjure, curse and detest the above mentioned errors and heresies...and I swear that in the future I will never again say or assert, orally or in writing, anything which might cause a similar suspicion about me.36 With this image, we are transported to the modern day. Despite the popular understanding of Galileo’s trial as the epitome of the struggle between science and religion, the two disciplines actually were not in conflict with each other. Instead we find that the case pivoted on an internal technicality: had Galileo violated the injunction of 1616? Given the contradiction between Maculano’s document and Galileo’s certificate, it was impossible to know the specifics of the 1616 injunction. Galileo could not, therefore, be proved to have violated the decree. External matters of the day were equally germane to the outcome of the case. The nascent Protestant Reformation brought to the fore the issue of reinterpretation of Scripture. There was much disagreement among Christians in Europe over who could legitimately interpret Scripture and when it was appropriate to do so. It was not yet determined what level of empirical evidence constituted a scientific “fact.”37 As a result, natural discoveries like Galileo’s telescopic observations further complicated the issue of reinterpreting Scripture. As we saw in the 1616 controversy, Galileo thought he had enough evidence to merit such a reinterpretation, but Cardinal Bellarmine dis-


agreed. Additionally, mounting political pressure from Catholic rulers in Europe forced Pope Urban VIII to make exaggerated demonstrations of orthodoxy. As a result, he was in no position to authorize the lenient sentence proposed by Fr. Maculano, and so deemed Galileo guilty of vehement suspicion of heresy. Looking back, it becomes clear that the whole Galileo affair has been blown out of proportion. It was never a conflict between science and religion. Rather, it was a simple trial that was turned into a vehicle for settling political differences completely unrelated to Copernicanism, Galileo and the legal matter at hand. As for Galileo, he remained a faithful Christian all his life. He lived and died an ardent proponent of the unity of truth, and he believed in the fundamental compatibility of truth observed in nature and in Scripture. Galileo never promised that reconciling science and faith would be easy. In fact, he warned that “its expounders and interpreters are liable to err in many ways.”38 Nevertheless he always affirmed that there is “no teacher of truth but God, no matter where it comes to light.”39 How science rose from the tumult of the Reformation and Age of Enlightenment and became an independent way of seeing the world, and how religion and science came into conflict, is a story for another day. The lesson of the Galileo affair is that history is often more complex and more nuanced than the caricatures that exist in today’s popular imagination. Nowadays, with science and religion so often appearing at war, we might do well to look back at Galileo and his complicated times. What we find there will help us understand the interplay of natural science and religion, of empiricism and epistemology, in a time before modern intellectual prejudice had been born. And we would do well to remember a faithful Christian and brilliant scientist who persevered through opposition and personal hardship, “always to conform his duty as a scientist with the destiny of his soul.”40 α

1. Richard J. Blackwell, Behind the Scenes at Galileo’s Trial (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2006) 1. 2. Ibid, 3. 3. Annibale Fantoli, Galileo: For Copernicanism and for the Church Vol.3, trans. George V. Coyne S.J. (Italy: Vatican Observatory Publications, 1994), 396. 4. Fantoli, 395. 5. Ibid, 396. 6. Blackwell, 6-7. 7. Maurice A. Finocchiaro, The Galileo Affair (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989) 256. 8. Fantoli, 199. 9. Blackwell, 10. 10. Finocchiaro, 258-259. 11. Fantoli, 174. 12. Blackwell, 9. 13. Finocchiaro, 260. 14. Blackwell, 13. 15. Fantoli, 407. 16. Blackwell, 13. 17. Fantoli, 408. 18. Blackwell, 14. 19. Ibid, 15. 20. Ibid, 15. 21. Ibid, 16. 22. Ibid, 17. 23. Ibid, 16. 24. Ibid, 17. 25. Ibid, 21. 26. Ibid, 18. 27. Ibid, 29. 28. Lawence M. Principe, “Galileo’s Trial.” Science and Religion Course No. 4691. John Hopkins University. 29. Ibid. 30. Blackwell, 23. 31. Principe, “Galileo’s Trial.” 32. Blackwell, 24. 33. Fantoli, 422. 34. Blackwell, 25. 35. Fantoli, 423. 36. Blackwell, 25-26. 37. Principe, “Galileo’s Trial.” 38. Dava Sobel, Galileo’s Daughter (New York: Walker & Company, 1999) 63. 39. Principe, “Galileo’s Trial.” 40. Sobel, 12.

Sciences and Humanities




Discoveries of Beauty in the Study of Science Cheryl Bourgeois

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Science at its core is a careful, logical study of the world. Conclusions are based on the results of exhaustive experimentation. Out of this a theoretical science has developed, resulting in physical laws and often involving mathematical equations. However, the utility of modern science depends on a rational and orderly world in which experimentation is reproducible and physical laws explain observed phenomena. In time, many scientists applied the principles of science to every discipline in their world, including psychology, sociology and law, constructing a philosophy of an all-encompassing cosmic machine. A philosophical worldview termed “scientific materialism” developed with the axioms that the only reality is the physical world and the scientific method the only reliable means to understand this world. The overarching claim states that everything in the world can—and, in fact, must—be explained by cause and effect, physics and blind chance.1 While “science” and the philosophy of scientific materialism are absolutely distinct, science is often assumed to adopt the scientific materialist worldview (as it frequently does). However, as a philosophy, it is founded on axioms that cannot be tested or “validated” by science. It assumes, for instance, that the mind and universe are knowable, that reason and logic and their laws are true and it also assumes certain constants of the universe. Thus, the claims of scientific materialism cannot be tested by the methods it requires of everything else.2 Without question, the scientific method has fostered an explosion in scientific knowledge both experimental and theoretical. We now have extensive information on the intricacies of the universe. These details are abundantly described in the scientific literature, but the statements made alongside the reporting of raw data are intriguing nevertheless. “…the complex and beautiful organization of the eukaryotic cell.” 3 “…bisorbicillinol, bisorbibutenolide, and trichodimerol, three beautiful molecules with intriguing and, therefore, inviting architectures… The appeal of their structures was surpassed only by the beautiful cascade-type reactions employed for their total synthesis…” 4 “…the beautiful but bewildering landscape of Woronowicz’s theory [of quantum theory].” 5 These statements were written by people who have committed their lives to the study of science and the world. What have they found? Mind-boggling

complexity, but within it simplicity and order, and in many cases utter beauty. This idea of beauty is pervasive throughout scientific literature. It is rare that a scientist does not express humble awe at what he is studying. However, looking at the world from a scientific materialist point of view, does it strike us as unusual that the beauty of the universe is so often and readily praised? Science prides itself on its objectivity. The scientific method and reproducibility should not depend on the observer or anything beyond the physical laws governing the phenomenon. But beauty is a subjective thing, relying on and triggering feelings and emotions. Why is the scientific community so willing to praise the beauty of the universe? And why is this beauty left unexplained? From the standpoint of scientific materialism this raises many questions. Why is the world beautiful? Why does the order and symmetry of the universe strike us as such? Furthermore, is there a deeper question? What is the source of this beauty? In contrast to those who espouse scientific materialism, I do not feel science can answer this question. Science has self-imposed limits based on its foundation upon physical laws and experimentation. To respond to this question we must reach beyond the confines of closedsystem science for a bigger explanation. Perhaps that is why it is said and left unexplained; it is what we see and feel, but cannot explain, by the ways and means that science allows. One explanation for the organization and beauty we see in the world is that the world is a reflection of a beautiful, rational, ordered God who designed the world in His image. As described in the Book of Genesis, the universe was designed with order. Regardless of the precise method of creation or the time frame involved, the world was formed in an ordered way. 6 The God of Genesis is a God of order, which is omnipresent around us. There is an orchestrated order to the life cycle of animals. Watching salmon struggle upstream or birds migrate south when the weather turns cold are just a few illustrations of this innate sense of order; for who has not been caught fascinated by the V-shaped patterns of migrating birds? Furthermore, engineers who design boats, airplanes, windmills and all else, must do so such that these objects comply with the observed order of the universe.7 What airplane would fly had the designer

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11


not carefully considered Bernoulli’s principle? While imperative for engineers, the order and beauty of nature has also served as an inspiration for synthetic scientists. In chemistry, recent research has centered on the idea of developing biomimetic molecules. These would, with slight modifications, mimic the shape and activity of biological molecules observed in nature. The known structure and utility of these compounds provided the impetus for scientists. “Symmetry, chirality and their combination are to be found in many creations of Nature, and in some of the greatest achievements of mankind. From a beautiful flower to da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, expression of these concepts provides continuing inspiration and example to artists and scientists alike.” 8 According to Judeo-Christian thought, God repeatedly proclaimed His creation as “good.” 9 This God of order designed the universe not only that it could be studied, but also so its beauty could be recognized by the human mind. In this way, any study of the universe, from sub-atomic particles to the stars in the galaxy, instills in the observer a sense of beauty and wonder. Would we expect anything less from a Designer? Would we not expect His fingerprints throughout the universe? Would Ultimate Beauty be able to create anything other than beauty? Is it possible that this order and beauty was intended from the beginning of the universe? As set forth by Keith Ward: The natural world is a world of great beauty, and it proves to be conducive to the emergence of forms of consciousness that can react to and appreciate that beauty, which can rejoice in life, in its times of struggle as well as in its times of peaceful relaxation. 10 Another question to consider is that, if we are merely machines—the product of random evolutionary processes—as scientific materialism may suggest, why should we appreciate and be drawn toward this beauty? Perhaps it is because we were created in the image of a beautiful, ordered, Designer God, who has instilled in us a longing for this beauty.

Biochemist and Christian theologian Alister McGrath states: There seems to be something about human nature, which prompts it to ask questions about the world, just as there seems to be something about the world which allows answers to those questions to be given. 11

It is rare that a scientist does not express humble awe at what he is studying.

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Why do we sit and watch concentric circles ripple out from a stone dropped in the water? Why are we mesmerized by a bright, starry night? Why are we taken aback by the structure of a snowflake that falls on a glove? Why are scientists in the lab awed by the structure of an organic molecule or the simplicity and elegance of a quantum mechanical equation? Yes, we can understand the existence of ripples in a lake by the physics of waves; snowflakes by intermolecular forces and crystal lattice energy; the stars by burning gases; the structure of a molecule by electric and geometric forces. Scientists do view the world in this way, for that is their job, but they do not stop at the materialist level. They also deem it necessary to proclaim the beauty of what they see. Why is this the case? Perhaps there is something within us that sees, appreciates, acknowledges and is drawn to a phenomenon that cannot be explained by science. That is, we long for something bigger than the physical world. May it be that “faith in the comprehensibility of the universe is in fact faith in the ultimate truth, beauty and goodness of reality, in the virtue of pursuing them and in the certain hope of eventually finding them”? 12 Even more than observing and proclaiming this beauty, we are at rest and peace in the beauty we find. We are at home in this beauty and for some


reason, it makes perfect sense that the world is beautiful. While awe-struck at the study of the world, scientists do not feel that the existence of beauty needs to be expounded upon and accept its existence as something that should be. Perhaps this is a remnant of something science has not lost, something that has not been censored by scientific materialism and determinism. Perhaps we know there is something beyond the physical world. If scientific materialism is all it claims to be, should beauty not be an uncomfortable idea? A dedicated materialist, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg has this to say as he describes his hopes for a unifying theory or equation of physics that links the known physical laws: It is when we study truly fundamental problems that we expect to find beautiful answers. We believe that, if we ask why the world is the way it is and then ask why that answer is the way it is, at the end of this chain of explanations we shall find a few simple principles of compelling beauty. We think this in part because our historical experience teaches us that as we look beneath the surface of things, we find more and more beauty. Plato and the neoPlatonists taught that the beauty we see in nature is a reflection of the beauty of the ultimate, the nous. For us, too, the beauty of present theories is an anticipation, a premonition, of the beauty of the final theory. And in any case, we would not accept any theory as final unless it were beautiful…There is a beauty in these laws that mirrors something that is built into the structure of the universe at a very deep level. 13 There may be a unifying theory of physics to be found, and it may indeed be “beautiful,” but what is it that we are really looking for? What is beyond the beauty of the universe? In his essay, “The Weight of Glory,” the writer C. S. Lewis says the following about beauty: “The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them…For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found…” 14 Scientists do not deny the beauty of the universe, but if they do not want to go any farther than admitting the beauty, they cover up the burning next question and settle for only the beauty. Lewis continues, “We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words…” 15

What is this that we cannot put into words? Perhaps a longing for the source of this beauty we see around us. Perhaps a desire to see with humble awe the bigger picture, or to know the reason behind our being lost “in wonders as amazing in their littleness as the others in their vastness.16 α

1. Barbour, Ian G. 1997. Religion and Science: Historical and Contemporary Issues. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco. 2. Moreland, J. P. 1987. Scaling the Secular City: A Defense of Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 3. Sabatini, David D. 2005. In Awe of Subcellular Complexity: 50 Years of Trespassing Boundaries Within the Cell. Annual Reviews of Cell and Developmental Biology 21: 1-33. 4. Nicolaou, K. C. 2005. Joys of Molecules. 1. Campaigns in Total Synthesis. Journal of Organic Chemistry 70 (18): 7007-27. 5. Mesref, L. 2005. Quantum Field Theories. International Journal of Modern Physics A 20(23): 5317-51. 6. Genesis 1 and 2. 7. Schaeffer, Francis A. 1976. How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books. 8. Gibson, Susan E., and M. Paola Castaldi. 2006. Applications of chiral C3-symmetric molecules. Chemical Communications 3045-62. 9. Genesis 1. 10. Ward, Keith. 1996. God, Chance and Necessity. Oxford: Oneworld. 11. McGrath, Alister E. 1999. Science and Religion: An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell. 12. Ward. 13. Weinberg, Steven. 1992. Dreams of a Final Theory. New York: Pantheon Books. 165, 194. 14. Lewis, Clive S. 1980. The Weight of Glory. New York: Harper Collins. 15. Ibid. 16. Pascal, Blaise. 1952. Pensees Great Books of the Western World. In Encyclopedia Britannica Vol 33. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.

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Arts and Literature

The Arts and Literature section is dedicated to the examination of the Christian fine arts tradition, past and present. Of interest are not only art and literary forms themselves but also those who practice, study and critique them. We endeavor to achieve a deeper, more rewarding understanding of the Christian faith through careful study of this rich intellectual legacy. Robert Cousins Editor of Arts and Literature

Movie Review: The Liviu Mocan Story Robert Cousins

“Death is something that I don’t like, I don’t want, but am searching for,” says Liviu Mocan. “At the end of earthly life, God will come and say, ‘When you were on the earth, I made you a sculptor, not only for that life there, but here, too. So, do you see that space in the universe? I want you to create there a few planets and use your talents now, in this new life, at the greater level of your existence.’” Liviu Mocan, a Romanian sculptor, is the subject of The Liviu Mocan Story, the debut film from Via Affirmativa. Via Affirmativa is a group dedicated to the support and advancement of Christian artists; its founder, Gary Bradley, served as executive producer for the project. Produced by Rochelle de Sá, the film is a thirty-minute documentarystyle piece about the life and work—but mostly the work—of Mocan. The filmmaking is neat and unpretentious; Ms. de Sá and Mr. Bradley take great pains to ensure the focus is not on their handiwork but on Mocan’s. Despite clocking in at just under half an hour, The Liviu Mocan Story is an insightful look at a too-often-neglected medium of Christian expression. 14

The film alternates segments of voiceover— mostly by Mocan—and interviews with family members, scholars and other citizens who have been affected by his art. It opens with a brief sequence in which Mocan introduces himself and his philosophy toward art and Christianity. “I am a sculpture,” he

says, and as the ensuing twenty-six minutes emphasize over and over again, he is a man who considers his life, his faith and his art inextricably linked. When Romania was a part of the Soviet Union, Mocan’s wife explains, there was a strong movement

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against the intelligentsia by the Communist leadership. “They beheaded the society,” she asserts, and Liviu adds that he was forced to submit all of his work to a board of censors before he was allowed to display it. In order to get around that, he says, he had to create art on two levels. One level would be superficial, aimed at satisfying the censors. But beneath that was another, hidden layer of meaning, to which anyone could have access “if they had the code, a clue.” Mocan never actually says what that code is, although he hints around it in several places. His wife mentions at one point that he creates “Pieces to express what his beliefs are,” which is interesting, but also comes across as more of a code than a key. What is clear, however, is that Mocan views his life and his work through the lens of his faith. Many Christians endeavor to live out their faith in their lives, but Mocan seems to see the world around him as a natural extension of his faith. For instance, when commenting upon the violence surrounding the fall of the Communist regime in Romania, Mocan simply quoted John 15:13, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Liviu Mocan has an interesting perspective on the inherent challenges and rewards of being a Christian and being an artist. He finds it difficult to gain simultaneous acceptance in art and Christian circles. He can either gain acceptance as an artist and receive wary looks from Christians, or be welcomed in his church and be treated as an outsider by the art community. He attributes this in part to the historical deemphasizing of artists in the Christian tradition. “The church focused our attention on prophets, kings and heroes . . . where are the artists in the Bible?” Mocan goes on to point out that “theology is audio, almost

never visual.” This creates an unfair prejudice against what is seen, he believes, rather than what is heard. He further opines that the Bible, while obviously of great importance, is not an end in itself. “God is the end,” he says, and He works through nature, beauty and image just the same as He works through the Bible. Although Mocan is not a Catholic, he does hold Protestantism responsible for further devaluing art in religion. He feels that the Protestant Reformation, in its desire to separate itself from the visual opulence associated with the Roman Catholic Church, promulgated a sense that “Images are wrong; only the Word is good.” Among other things, Mocan comments wryly, “This led to four hundred years of ugly churches.” The film concludes with a short soliloquy regarding Mocan’s approach to creating art and his attitude toward resolving the artist-Christian dichotomy. “First, I am a son of God. Then [a] husband, father, friend and only then [an] artist.” When he enters his studio to work, he does not set about sculpting right away, but instead prays that he could assist God in making what He would like to see created. “I am an assistant, not a master, in my studio,” Mocan says. Ultimately, he considers art a way for God to communicate with people from every tribe and language and people and nation. “The Creator of words is also the Creator of images. When the image is well done, it speaks.” So says Liviu Mocan, visual theologian. α

To purchase a copy of this DVD, e-mail: gary@viaaffirmativa.com

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Forgetting the Creator: How Stephen Dedalus Rejects God Bethany Mills

“Remember your Creator in the days of your youth…” - Ecclesiastes 12:1 “…that I may learn in my own life and away from home and friends what the heart is and what it feels…I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”1

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River Liffey, Dublin, Ireland Photograph by Christopher Martin

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At the conclusion of James Joyce’s novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the protagonist Stephen Dedalus articulates his profound longing to understand his creative talents. As the young man has become aware of his abilities as an artist, he has spent considerable time trying to decide how he can reconcile these creative abilities with the notion of God as the all-powerful Creator. His early experiences with an oppressive Jesuit school and the Roman Catholic Church have led him to believe, however, that any sort of dynamic, enlightening experience with God is impossible. For Stephen, the only way to find fulfillment is to abandon deliberately the Church and the very idea of salvation by Christ’s grace. Yet as long as he refuses any Christian influence in his existence, Stephen will never be able to understand how the Creator defines “what the heart is and what it feels.” From an early age, Stephen develops as an artist through his fascination with color and visual art, but he never recognizes that this could lead to a connection with God. For example, after reading The Count of Monte Cristo, Stephen replicates a scene from the novel by building “an image…out of transfers and paper flowers and colored tissue paper and strips of the silver and golden paper in which chocolate is wrapped.”2 Though he has some sense of wonder at this work, he sees no higher purpose in it: ultimately growing bored with the creation, he soon destroys it. This creation is enjoyable to him simply because it is beautiful and encouraging to the imagination. As he is only a child, Stephen does not appreciate the power that lies in the act of creation. Nor does he realize, or even begin to perceive, that his earthly act of creation could lead to a better understanding of God’s power as the Creator. Stephen longs to understand the concept of God even before he realizes that his art could help him in this endeavor. For instance, when studying a geography lesson, Stephen asks himself, “What [is] after the universe?” He can only conclude, “Nothing.” Soon after, he realizes that the subject is too vast for him to comprehend, and he concedes that “only God could do that.”3 Having begun school only recently, Stephen is too young to realize that he is beginning to think about God’s infinite power. Rather than an all-powerful Creator, God seems to him a convenient answer to questions too complex for a boy to grasp. However, once Stephen begins to see the overwhelming influence of the Church in his life, he begins to

consider more carefully his perception of God. Initially, Stephen is confused by the Roman Catholic Church and the influence it has on him. Perhaps he even exhibits an “attraction-repulsion response,” where the Church seems so odd that he cannot help but want to become more involved as a way to learn more. 4 Since Stephen is so engaged by what seem like mysterious aspects of the Church, he finds it relatively easy at first to ignore any doubts he may have. We see this relationship early in the novel, when Stephen visits the rector at Conglowes, his Jesuit boarding school, to explain why he has broken his glasses. Entering the room, he sees the rector writing at a desk, but also notices “a skull on the desk and a strange solemn smell in the room.” Before he is completely unnerved by the sight, Stephen sees the rector’s “kindlooking face.” The rector even smiles at the young boy, and cordially accepts Stephen’s explanation of the accident. Stephen is so grateful that he thanks the rector and leaves the room in tears. While Stephen recognizes this man as an example of kindness and stability, he is not entirely reassured: he has noticed the somber skull on the table and the generally oppressive atmosphere of the rector’s study. Though Stephen may believe this experience has liberated him from some of his fear, there is a bit of complexity to the encounter.5 Perhaps confused by the solemn details in the midst of the rector’s kindness, Stephen first exhibits his desire to find an entirely fulfilling, enlightening connection with God. A similar experience early in the book shows that neither Stephen’s material nor his spiritual needs are met by his current religious understanding; the cold tone of the passage suggests that Stephen is upset by this. When he becomes ill at Conglowes and goes to the infirmary to recover, Brother Michael cares for him, bringing soup and relating the day’s news. Stephen even feels that Brother Michael is being “very decent” to care for him. However, Stephen also notices the weakness of the “cold sunlight” that filters through the window, and thinks often of the “cloudy grey light” outside. This ambiguous atmosphere, simultaneously caring and a bit frightening, is enhanced by the fact that Brother Michael reads Stephen stories of “accidents” and “shipwrecks.” This is hardly suitable material for the ill, homesick and rather confused child. Brother Michael also fails to provide promptly the medicine Stephen needs, and

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Stephen’s most memorable image of the man is of his 6 “sorrowful face.” When Stephen does at last recover, he is left with a need for more complete fulfillment. Since attending a religious school is his most comprehensive exposure to Christianity thus far, Stephen begins to associate the institutional Church with the spiritual wanting of which he has only recently become aware. From early in the novel, Stephen’s perception of the Church, not the Church itself, is what prevents him from truly knowing God. Stephen feels distant from, and even alienated by, some aspects of his religion. Perhaps this is due to his uncanny capacity for emotion and feeling. Though the boy is sensitive enough to contemplate the significance of holy water, Stephen’s uncle Charles must sprinkle the water on him, since Stephen is still too small reach the font on his own. Perhaps this, the thought of being excluded physically, is what causes Stephen to declare that he cannot “share [his uncle’s] piety.” 7 Stephen remembers another time when the Church did not provide the comfort he had sought: Stephen has been taught that he should feel nothing but joy when he receives his first Communion. However, he can only think of the “sick feeling” he experienced on this day.8 In spite of the alienation he feels, though, Stephen still senses some obligation to his church. He wants a direct, personal connection with his Creator–he wants his first Communion to be “the happiest day of his life”–but his efforts to find this within the confines of the Church have failed. Stephen does eventually begin to find some sustaining power in the Church, though he is drawn to it out of necessity rather than from a true desire to accept God’s sovereignty. Stephen first experiences major instability in his life when he must leave an unfulfilling but relatively ordered life at Conglowes to move with his family to Dublin. Life in the city is confusing for the boy, especially as he recognizes that his father is involved in what seems like a distant political struggle. Stephen’s new life feels strange and empty; he becomes aware of a “vague dissatisfaction” growing within him.9

Since the church has been the one comforting “force of habit” in his life, Stephen sets aside any questions he may have and seeks this familiarity.10 However, Stephen does not truly seek God’s presence, and his negative perceptions of religion begin to return. For instance, he senses a disconnect between the vivid color his inner artist adores and the pure, entirely colorless imagery the Church seems to value.11 He begins to discern that the artistic longings he has felt since childhood are at odds with the rather strict structure of the Church. However, he does not fully acknowledge this divide, and still feels compelled to seek spiritual fulfillment from a church he does not entirely accept. In an attempt to fill some vague desire for God with practices that, regardless of their effectiveness for him, are familiar and comforting, sixteen-year-old Stephen attends a church retreat. The retreat is dedicated to Saint Francis Xavier, who is described as a “young and brilliant […] man of letters.”12 Perhaps Stephen recognizes himself in this description, and senses that the Church might, on occasion, fulfill his need to create. However, Stephen does not heed the speaker’s message of salvation and grace through Christ alone. Instead, he interprets the sermons on his own, crafting an idea of salvation that cannot truly endure. Stephen listens to warnings against the “wretched world” and “all worldly thoughts,” but his repentance seems more about a desire to find physical pleasure than to receive eternal life. Indeed, Stephen considers heaven a place where it is “still and faintly luminous and the air [is] sweet to breathe.” Here, he is so interested in the personal delight he hopes to attain that he all but forgets his salvation would not be possible without Christ. Rather than acknowledging Christ’s great sacrifice for him, Stephen can only focus on the “shimmering lights and quiet fragrances” that surround him as he fervently prays to a God he does not know how to accept.13 How little Stephen understands this God becomes evident in the subsequent passage. Tormented by memories of his past sins, Stephen decides to confess. He has finally realized that his confession must

Stephen believes he alone must rescue his own soul.

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be an honest, heartfelt effort, and he seeks the guidance of a priest. Though he finds the image of “a soul in the state of grace” after forgiveness appealing, Stephen is also troubled by the “black cold void waste” that has been so familiar in his life. 14 While he does confess to the priest, and even feels his life to be full of “peace and virtue” after doing so, Stephen simply cannot grasp the concept that he must embrace God entirely in order to live a truly Christian life.15 Soon after, he attends Mass with his schoolmates. Perhaps this passage is intended as a test for Stephen to decide if he has accepted Christ. He does seem excited by the idea of receiving the blood and body of Christ during the solemn service, but the chapter ends abruptly, just before his turn at the altar arrives. We never learn whether Stephen chooses to accept this Communion. Perhaps he refused, for it soon becomes clear that Stephen will not allow the Church to influence his life any longer. The novel’s penultimate chapter concludes with a scene symbolic of baptism but devoid of any other overtly Christian content. Stephen, ultimately, is the one who chooses to wade into a river in his bare feet, who believes he alone must rescue his own soul from the “grave of boyhood.” With utter independence, Stepen hopes to create “as the great artificer whose name he [bears], a living thing, new and soaring and beautiful, impalpable, imperishable.”16 This last word is perhaps the most important: Stephen sees himself, his own works as an artist, as the way to eternity. Nowhere in this new life of his is there any place for a church, let alone for God. Although he is moving away from the Church, Stephen does not reject it decisively until the book’s conclusion. First, he invents his own sort of theology, thinking of himself as a “priest of the eternal imagination,” and determining that the Church is utterly unnecessary. As this “priest,” Stephen even thinks himself able to perform an act reminiscient of Communion, “transmuting the daily bread of experience into the radiant body of everliving life.”17 This ability is entirely fulfilling to him; gone is any desire to find salvation through God’s grace. Indeed, Stephen seems to devote much of his energy over the next few pages to lustful thoughts about a girl, and even wishes she would sin. Finally, after noticing the profound change in Stephen, a friend asks about his belief system. Stephen reveals quite plainly that he neither affirms nor denies the validity of Communion. Yet rather than exploring this further, he simply, coldly states that he

“will not serve” the Christian God.18 So confident is Stephen in his refusal to serve that he never questions this decision. His mind is made up; no longer does he feel any desire to learn about, much less know, the God for whom he previously longed. Since he has not accepted the possibility of salvation, Stephen sees this as the end: “I tried to love God,” he states. “It seems now I failed.”19 Were he to recognize the reality of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness for those who truly repent, perhaps Stephen could overcome this doubt and begin to love God. But we know he will not do this: in this novel, Stephen’s story ends with a simple diary entry in which he again articulates his longing to discover by himself, to define his beliefs independently, to create his own meaning in his young life. Though styled as a prayer, Stephen’s final words appeal to his own, carefully crafted idea of creation. They are clearly not a plea to the Christian God whom he has so decisively rejected. α

1. Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Boston: Bedford, 1993. 218. 2. Ibid, 65. 3. Ibid, 27. 4. Centola, Stephen R. “‘The White Peace of the Altar’: White Imagery in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.” South Atlantic Review 50.4 (1985): 93 - 106. 5. Joyce, 60-61. 6. Ibid, 34-36. 7. Ibid, 64. 8. Ibid, 52. 9. Ibid, 68. 10. Ibid, 71. 11. For a detailed discussion of this idea, see Centola’s article. 12. Joyce, 101. 13. Ibid, 125. 14. Ibid, 127. 15. Ibid, 131. 16. Ibid, 150. 17. Ibid, 192. 18. Ibid, 206. 19. Ibid, 208.

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Creative Works We believe that the image of God in us is partly expressed through a desire to create, and that our creative acts bring us nearer to Him. In this section we present the Christian experience, with all its moments of deep pain, joy, doubt and quiet assurance, through the varied mediums of our creativity. In every issue the members of this section choose a prompt. Each person then interprets the prompt through his personal medium of creativity. This issue’s prompt comes from the song “Carry Your Love” by Aaron Senseman and Cliff Young: This is Your time; this is Your place And we are vessels for breaking Cassandra Sieg Editor of Creative Works

The featured Creative Works artist for this issue of the Apologia is student Kaite Yang, ‘09. She is originally from Baltimore, Maryland, and is double majoring in Anthropology and Psychological and Brain Sciences. Kaite is interested in medical anthropology, public health and visual culture. Kaite’s love affair with art began when her grandfather taught her calligraphy before she could write and continued throughout grade school with studio studies in graphite, pastel, charcoal and European and Chinese watercolor. Watercolor remains her favorite medium because of its luminosity. At Dartmouth, Kaite wants to elucidate the intersections between visual art, medicine and anthropology, and delineate expressions of truth, grace, redemption and sanctification.

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Stirring My Breath

Creative Works

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Window

In Alchemy Inside, I seek the images and associations that capture or elaborate the brokenness of the self, which is a necessary realization and central truth in Christian faith. Although we are vessels to be broken, there is a strange paradox in that we must die to ourselves and find new life in Christ. All the while we still live in the flesh of our old selves and a blighted world with all the temptations, frailty and pride of fallen man. Every time the self fragments and sunders, sanctification remains after all this mess. Following this truth, I hope to capture both the uncomfortable oddness of transformation as well as its beauty.

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Alchemy


Organs of the human body have always struck me as particularly graceful. In Alchemy Inside, I use their associations to capture certain tensions that arise when our imperfect selves break and transform to the image of Christ. The transformation of one element to another that is completely different—and often truer and holier—implies a change like alchemy. Organs work particularly well as symbols of flesh, human nature and internal processing: what happens “inside” us.

Flutter/Beat

Inside

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Fruit


He Delicately Shapes a Vessel Callie Lawson

He delicately shapes a vessel, Each unique, polished, Smooth as sea glass By the warm sunlight of joy, Rounded by the light Solid as the summer-toned rock, Inside, a liquid zephyr spirit, A human form embryonic Warmed by the breath of God The vessel ages, taking on The colors of wine-hope And salt-sea tear stains Loving shades of life-born hues Yet each perfect form after its creation, Is marred by one unnoticed flaw, A crack, a common thread, Narrow as the grains that form our clay being Our breaking point, one original scar, Buckles under hammer blows, Jealousy the sharpest crack, Hate a steady, lasting drum.

Yet he treads the cutting blades Of our sins to stoop, And with passion red life-blood, Spilling from His artist fingers He embraces each forgotten inner form, Clearing our bodies of broken dirt. With His tireless, steady pulsing feet, He pounds the shards and breaks the sins Into small mounds of dust, Humbled under His feet. The Maker takes the dry earth, Mixes spittle and forms clay again, Caking it on the eyes of His children So He gives sight to His blind, Bids His children see their forms, Strong on two legs. He makes us new, Transcending first form and flaw, Sides as smooth and perfect, Open and fluid, As the liquid soul inside.

Each a buckling inward shatter, Unnoticed as the scattering of dust Across a floor, Yet like dust, tainting That inner fluid human. Each blow fractures Us into clay shards, We cut the hands of our Master, Break the feet, and make to bleed His heart,

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The Dartmouth Apologia 2007

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Cassandra Sieg

Fragile

A mid-life crisis. How many times had she joked about it with her dad? It didn’t seem funny now, not when it was his turn to go off the deep end. Sara ground the bag of complimentary pretzels against the flimsy airline food tray. The man sitting next to her looked at her from the corner of his eye. He quickly buried his face back in The Economist when she caught him staring. She returned to smashing the pretzels. They weren’t edible anyway. And why was this guy staring at her? With his navy business suit and shiny patent leather shoes and thinning hair. He probably traveled all the time and cheated on his wife with skanky women he picked up in hotel bars. God. Why did it have to be some woman her dad met in a hotel bar? The announcement to turn off electronics came over the airplane intercom. Sara flipped off her iPod and tucked it away in her purse. Her dad gave her the iPod for graduation with an elbow poke and a comment about how hip her old man was to know what was popular. She had told him that hip people didn’t say “hip” anymore. In a few minutes she would see her mother. And say what? Act how? She couldn’t remember the last time one of their conversations lasted longer than thirty seconds. Her mother was like a ghost that haunted the house, leaving traces, like her shoes in a neat line by the door, but no tangible presence. The landing seemed to take less time than usual, only seconds between the announcement to prepare for landing and the jolt of the ground as the plane touched down. A few short minutes later, she strode through the airport terminal. She caught a whiff of pizza and her stomach grumbled. She couldn’t remember the last time she ate. When her dad sent the e-mail saying he had moved out, of course her mother said nothing, and Sara booked the next flight down from Boston. She knew she couldn’t trust her mother to be alone at a time like this. Sara paused right before she reached the security exit and smoothed her hair with her hands. She caught herself and straightened, not willing to let a

nervous habit betray her. Her mother excelled at hiding her feelings; surely she could do the same. She took a steadying breath — it didn’t help — and walked around the corner. No one waved or walked forward. She scanned the waiting faces and didn’t recognize a single one. Fifteen minutes later and a search of the entire airport area confirmed what she had already guessed: her mother hadn’t come to pick her up. The car ride would probably be too much exposure for her to deal with. Sara dug out her cell phone and dialed the taxi company’s number from memory. Home, sweet home.

The taxi followed the curve of the road away from the industrial downtown and into Sara’s neighborhood. Leafy trees reached across the street to tangle branches, the old houses with turrets, balconies and arched porches crowded the narrow street, sleek black cars lined the curb—the familiar caused Sara to relax back into the sticky brown seat of the cab. Once they reached her driveway, she paid the cabbie quickly and jogged up the walk to her house, filled with a sudden burst of energy. The clash of the red door against the soft lavender of the house made her smile briefly. Her dad had no concept of color coordination. He wasn’t here anymore. Sara found her mother seated in the kitchen sketching on a large pad. She had lost even more weight since Sara saw her last: her long fingers looked skeletal, the rope-like muscles straining against her skin as she worked. Her entire body was fragile, thin bones setting her muscles in sharp relief. She swallowed and Sara could practically see every individual muscle in her cheek flex. Her mother didn’t look up from her pad, but she angled it so Sara couldn’t see anything. Sara almost asked her mother about the last time she ate, but instead she stuffed down the question. Her mom barely tolerated her existence; she wouldn’t tolerate personal questions. Creative Works 29


Sara plopped down on a stool next to her mother and fought past the sudden tightness in her throat to say, “Well, the flight was nice and plane like. No snakes though.” “That’s good.” The failed attempt at levity drained Sara of her last shred of energy. Silence stretched out between them. Her mother stood up and slipped into the garage without an explanation. Her dad might have changed, but her mother certainly hadn’t. Sara woke up the next morning to a weather report. Sunny with both temperature and humidity in the eighties. Possible rains in the evening. Her throbbing head told her she set her alarm way too early. She groaned and rolled out of bed. The bright yellows and lime greens of her bedroom walls jabbed into her eyes. Why hadn’t she ever painted this place since elementary school? She stumbled down the stairs rubbing sleep from her eyes and trying to convince her body to start functioning at the unholy hour of five. She wanted to eat breakfast with her mother, to make sure her mother actually ate something, and her mother liked to go to work early. Sara found her sipping from a mug that smelled like coffee and reading the business section of the paper. Her mother graced her with a look and the comment, “You will have to make some more coffee if you want any.” Sara sank onto the chair across from her mother. “Anything interesting in the paper?” “The usual.” Sara traced the square tiles of the table top. “I’m not sure how I’ll spend today. It’s weird being home when everyone else is in school and wrapped up in midterms.” “You could go back.” “Maybe I’ll go to the museum; I haven’t been in a while. The glass room is beautiful.” “Uh-huh. That sounds nice.” Her mother folded the paper and left with her coffee. Sara sighed and set to making her own pot. She was up and not likely to go back to sleep anytime soon. Time with her mother always filled her with energy to burn. She rubbed her tense neck and watched the water drip through. Why was it taking so long? Just as the pot finished she heard the front door 30

The Dartmouth Apologia

close, heralding her mother’s departure. She probably wouldn’t be back until late at night, which left Sara with a lot of empty time to wonder if her mother was eating lunch, skipping lunch or vomiting lunch. Usually when her mother got like this Sara’s dad intervened. Now, apparently, he didn’t care. Sara shoved away from the kitchen counter and cut through the house to the backyard. She needed air. Real air. She stepped outside and shivered. Even during the spring, the early morning had a slight bite to it. She settled in the chair hammock and scanned the yard. Her mother hadn’t only given up eating, she gave up taking care of the yard as well. Weeds choked the flower beds and even the shrubs were overrun by grass. The backyard had always been one of Sara’s favorite places. She used to sit in this hammock for hours and watch her mother garden. She had tried offering to help a few times, but her mother’s comments about gardening being a peaceful time for personal reflection made her point clear. Like everything, she wanted to do it alone. But obviously she wasn’t doing it now. Maybe if Sara helped her with this, it would make the rest easier. Her mother used gloves and a kneeling


pad when she gardened and Sara could probably find them in the shed if she could get into it. She’d never been inside the shed before. It was strictly reserved for her mother. Sara found the usual padlock missing from the shed door and easily pushed her way inside. Her foot sunk into a layer of sawdust, and the smell tickled her nose. Instead of a mess of yard supplies, she found the space mostly empty. A long table stood in the center. Tools hung on the lower half of the walls, the upper half covered with built-in shelves that held shadowy lumps. She eased further inside and pulled on the light hanging from the ceiling. A soft glow illuminated the space better. Now she could see that the lumps on the shelves were really dozens of wooden carvings. She picked one off the closest shelf. She held a seagull laying down, its chest puffed out, beak buried against its breast feathers. It looked nearly lifelike, detailed down to the pattern on the feathers. She slowly worked her way down the shed, picking up and looking at every single carving. They were amazing, an assortment of animals, plants and shells, and at the very end was the people section. She found carvings of her dad, forehead scrunched as he read a book, one with his goofy smile and floppy fishing hat, another him with his hands thrown up in a wild gesture as he worked on making a cake; each caught his essence perfectly. At the very back corner she found carvings of her in a neat line. It took her only a moment to realize it formed a timeline—her leaned over the car packing her suitcases for college, her marching with a saxophone in the marching band, her stretching for ballet, her wearing the ladybug costume for a school play in fourth grade—all the way back to her as a baby. Sara picked up the last carving carefully. The wood was pale and thin, the carved fingers delicate enough to wave even as she tried to hold it steady, the round head supported by a too-tiny neck, enormous eyes staring straight into her. The outstretched hands held a spider’s web, no thicker looking than curled wood shavings. Gently, terrified she would break the piece, she placed it back on its blanket on the shelf. “Sara?” Sara jumped. Then felt a rush of gratitude she had already put the baby back down. She turned as her mother crossed the shed towards her. “I thought you left for work.” Her mother held up a bag. “I went to get do-

nuts. Frosted ones.” Sara’s favorite. Her mother set the bag on the table and joined her by the shelf. “I haven’t been to work in a while; I spend most of my time here.” Sara wrapped her arms around herself and scanned the shed again. The beautiful carvings peered down at them. “They’re amazing. Especially,” she nodded at the baby, “that one. I can’t believe something so fragile came from a block of wood.” Her mother gently stroked the cheek. “This is how you looked when you were born. Your father had to hold you, I was too tired and knew I would drop you.” How could a mother not want to hold her newborn baby? Weren’t all mothers tired after giving birth, but they still held their children? She really had never changed. Her mother rested a finger on the baby’s wrist. “I remember looking at your fingers and thinking how easy it would be for them to snap. And they couldn’t be respun like a spider’s web. I’m so sorry for that.” Sara stared at her mother; tears were gathering in her eyes! “For what?” Her mother turned to her, puckered lips making the skin even tighter over her sharp cheekbones. “That time I kept you in the room as I ironed my skirt. I let the iron fall, it burned straight through your skin, broke your fingers. You didn’t stop screaming for hours.” Her mother yanked her hand away from the baby carving. “It was just like when you were first born and I couldn’t hold you. Your father had to drive to the hospital, had to talk to the doctors, got you to calm down. I couldn’t.” Her mother spun on her heel and slashed a hand toward the table. “Donuts are for you.” Sara watched her mother stalk out, too surprised to say anything. A few minutes passed before she realized her frozen state, and then she stepped to the side and rolled her shoulders back. The spider web held by the baby swayed a little from the slamming of the shed door. Sara touched it carefully and it stilled. I never asked to be safe; I just wanted to know you. α

Fragile is the first part of an ongoing series. Creative Works

31


An Interview With Former Harvard College Dean Harry Lewis Interview Conducted by Andrew Schuman and Isaiah Berg

In his bestselling book, Excellence Without A Soul, Harry Lewis addresses what he perceives to be the prevailing problems in higher education. Drawing on nearly forty years of experience as a student, professor and Dean of Harvard College, he writes, “Universities have forgotten their larger educational role for college students.” They excel at creating and disseminating knowledge, but they have “lost the sense that their educational mission is to transform teenagers into adults…with the learning and wisdom to take responsibility for their own lives and for civil society.” A self-proclaimed secular humanist, Dr. Lewis nonetheless actively supports the integration of faith and reason, and he believes that questions of faith should be central in the educational curriculum. On October 12, 2007, Lewis visited Dartmouth to meet with faculty, campus ministers and students. During his stay in Hanover, Dr. Lewis graciously granted this publication an interview.

DA: Professor Lewis, in your book you reference with interest, what they have taken from it in the pronot only the problems of education but also what cess of receiving their education. education could be or should be. What is the ideal college education? DA: What are some current problems in the uniHL: Well, there are ends and there are means. I have versity that you hope to address? a clearer picture of the ends than the means. At places with talented students like Dartmouth and Harvard, HL: First, I must say that most of the ills that have bethe fundamental purpose of undergraduate education fallen universities are unintended consequences of the is to graduate students who somehow leave the world inherently good and successful progress of research. a better place than they found it, and return to society, Nevertheless, there is something of an imbalance 32

The Dartmouth Apologia


when we consider the objectives of the university as a whole. When the press compares universities, they write about advances that they have produced in science and in other fields. While we should recognize research as central to the role of universities, research is not their sole purpose. When research specialization and the pursuit of excellence become the major foci of higher education, so that administrative decisions are made to increase the opportunity for Nobel Prizes or to steal professors from other elite universities, the faculty tend to splinter into independent research specialties. The students, who in most cases will not pursue a career in academia, expect a broad education. They risk getting their breadth only in the sense of studying a wide range of splintered and specialized subjects. The curriculum as a whole lacks coherency. The faculty will not have a relationship with students that will help the students address important issues. If students overly focus on immediate success, they won’t think about their place in the world twenty-five years from now. In an educational system like this, it requires a great deal of effort to have collective conversations with the whole faculty about the experience of the student as a whole. DA: For your book, you chose the title Excellence Without A Soul. The word “soul” has a very religious, spiritual, and personal connotation. Why did you choose it? HL: By soul, I mean some animating principle, some core to which we can return when transient things in our lives are knocked away. I don’t have a clear and simple answer to what the “soul” of the university should be and how it should be instilled in students. Perhaps it is the capacity to question yourself and your relationship to society. I don’t feel there is enough questioning in students. Everyone has to find their own soul, and the university must remind students that the pursuit of personal identity is one of the most important things in life. It usually happens in your twenties. There is an inevitable self-questioning that happens in that time.

ture, but I don’t want to force my version of what the college should do operationally. I believe these questions ought to be rationally discussed among people of many different points of view, under the constraint that they must find an answer. “There isn’t one” is not an acceptable answer. Take a bunch of people, lock them in the room, get them to agree like a jury and don’t let them come out without a unanimous verdict. No nihilistic verdict, nor dissolution into thousands of splintered departments. We must find the redefining attribute of what an education means, and it doesn’t have to look the same for every college. DA: In your talk, you mentioned an anecdote about a “Reason and Faith” course rubric at Harvard. What is the story about that occurrence and its correlation to faculty/student personal interaction in the classroom? HL: The faculty committee had proposed some areas, or rubrics, for required courses. One was “reason and faith,” with the idea that these courses would teach the matters of faith from a perspective different than that of philosophy or comparative religion. I thought this was a great idea because everyone has beliefs and moral principles to which they adhere. We are certainly inconsistent in how we apply those beliefs, and sometimes the beliefs themselves are irrational. Nonetheless, faith is a major force in people’s lives. I thought this was a natural thing to discuss. In college, we must have difficult conversations that force people to think about things that trouble them, to have their beliefs and prejudices challenged. We must be forced to ask if we really do believe what we believe.

You should not be able to graduate from Harvard without taking a course that kept you up at night worried, sleepless, troubled, because someone had forced you to think about something in a different way than ever before. You can force students to think about that through readings and philosophy and plays and novels. Students want to leave class with a smile, but I think we should recognize that you can’t mature unless you are occasionally made constructively unI won’t accept the notion that we’ve passed the stage happy. I feel that there should be a curriculum mainwhere the university can have a soul. We must have tained for that purpose. The new curriculum has a more to say about what students should get out of col- rubric called “Culture and Belief;” there are opportulege. I have some suggestions for curricular struc- nities within this rubric, but I feel it is sort of a chick-

Interview

33


en way of going about it. It substitutes anthropology and I applaud you for it. Just as much as in the classand sociology for a very direct look at the sciences room, student activities that persuade people about and epistemology. the importance of issues are some of the principal learning vehicles in the student experience. Try to The biggest hit to the proposed curriculum came from get your word out. Don’t just speak to people who are Steven Pinker, who basically said that universities already on your train. were about reason, not about faith, and that is why a course about faith should never be taught. He may My own view is that most student attempts to change not have meant this as baldly as I have proposed it. things in college do not ultimately work because one There was a lot of resistance and indifference in the college career is not long enough to achieve those faculty. I don’t know what students thought about it. goals. You have so many things to accomplish as students. You need faculty sympathizers to preserve You probably would have gotten mixed views. some “durability” and push for any change. Seek out DA: You address faith and reason as valuable parts the faculty who support your goals, and support them of the college experience. Here at Apologia, our in what they try to do for you. mission is to integrate our faith and our reason as we approach life’s hard questions, and to try to en- Keep at it after you graduate. Anything you do in the gage others along the way. What else can we do? meantime to further the conversation is going to have an immense effect on the direction of the college in HL: You are doing something worthwhile right now, the future. α

“[Universities] have forgotten that the fundamental job of undergraduate education is to turn eighteenand nineteen-year-olds into twenty-one- and twentytwo-year-olds, to help them grow up, to learn who they are, to search for a larger purpose in their lives, and to leave college as better human beings.” “Universities are having a hard time making the case that the education they offer is about anything in particular. ‘Breadth’ and ‘choice’ have become goals in themselves . . . and breadth and freedom in academia are like lower taxes in politics—it is hard to be against them, even if they come at a cost.” “The relentless competition for research excellence has produced a university system optimized for research. We all benefit from the resulting production of knowledge: universities’ scholarly discoveries and scientific inventions have brought prosperity to America and to the world. But undergraduate education has lost direction in the process.”

34

The Dartmouth Apologia


Final Thoughts Race, Religion and Reconciliation Naomi Hatfield The author of our Final Thoughts column for Fall 2007 is Naomi Hatfield ‘07 of Okemah, Oklahoma. While at Dartmouth, Naomi majored in Spanish modified with Linguistics. She was active in Native Americans at Dartmouth and Christian Impact, and served as an International Student Mentor. She is currently living and working as a campus minister at the University of Oxford in Oxford, England. Like many college students, I have struggled to find my identity. I ask myself, “What do I really care about? What defines my life? What causes me to want to live my life the way I do?” Reflecting on these questions, I have discovered two crucial aspects of my life that define me: being a Native American-Lenape/Delaware and being a follower of Jesus Christ. Growing up, I lived on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico. I knew I was a Native American, but I often struggled to identify that way. I remember the younger brother of a Navajo friend of mine once took the hairs on my arm and began to twist them because it was strange for him to see a person with hair on her arms. Through my confusion and pain, I realized that although I considered myself to be like him, I was also different. I mean, come on! Who had ever heard of a fair skinned Native American with blond hair and blue eyes? There were times when I would approach other Native students—friends of mine—only to be rejected and called names for claiming to be like them. Similar things happened when I told my white friends that I was a Native American. From childhood I could sense the tension between being a Native American and being white. And this raised more questions, such as “What does it mean to be a Native American? And who defines what a Native American is?” I moved from New Mexico to Oklahoma in the summer of 1996. I left a place where I stuck out and felt judged for being so light-skinned to a place where almost everyone at school looked just

“Who defines what a Native American is?”


like me. Oklahoma, being Indian Territory, has many people of mixed Native American and white blood. I never felt it necessary to declare my Nativeness, and neither did I feel pressured to hide my Native heritage. Actually, while living in Oklahoma I began to identify less and less with my Native American heritage and culture. However, it was during this time that I came to an understanding of who Jesus is and began to develop a relationship with Him. During this time, identifying as a follower of Jesus Christ became the most important aspect of my identity. I was raised in a Christian home, but it wasn’t until my middle school years that I began to grasp what love and grace really meant. The verse John 3:16 came to life for me. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” Now that was true love! God would allow His Son to die for me because the Creator of the universe loves me? It’s incredible! After realizing that God really does love me and that Jesus died for me, I decided that I needed to take ownership of my faith and beliefs. It wasn’t enough for me to go to church or blindly trust what my friends and family believed; I wanted to know God’s love for myself! My passion to know God more personally grew throughout high school, and when I graduated there was no doubt that being a follower of Jesus Christ was the central aspect of my identity. For a long time I considered being Native American and being Christian two completely separate compartments in my life; I never knew it was possible to reconcile them. Then one day in high school, my mother asked me not to use my Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) card unless I desired to learn more about my Native heritage. (A CDIB card is a form of identification that Native Americans must have in order prove their Nativeness by their quantity of Native American blood. It also provides certain privileges within a tribe.) After almost a decade of ignoring my Native heritage, I began to wrestle once again with what it meant to be Native American. While at Dartmouth, I began to better understand who I am as a Native American and what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. My freshman year, I tried to heed the words of my mother and got involved in the Native American community, but it reminded me too much of my elementary school years. I again felt judged for not looking or acting “Native enough,” and I didn’t want to be part of a community only to be an outsider. In October of 2004, my sophomore fall, my mother’s father passed away. My Lenape heritage comes from my grandfather’s family, and his death caused me to realize how much I had missed during those many years of ignoring my Nativeness. It wasn’t until he passed away that I truly began my journey in learning how to reconcile the paradox of being a Christian and being a Native American. I remember my cousin and my aunt inviting my mother, sister, brother and me to burn sage as part


of a traditional cleansing ceremony after the funeral. I was confused during the ceremony, but also amazed and grateful that God is bigger than one culture. Going back to Dartmouth after the funeral sparked a new passion within me. I yearned to know God not only in a Western, Christian mindset but also through my Native culture. I asked God for the grace to truly value my heritage, and to recognize that He has deposited His image in every people group for the glory of His name. I have had to look at the history of both the Native Americans and the whites, and seeing the terrible things done “in the name of God” has been gut-wrenching! It is hard to reconcile these two worlds, knowing what has transpired between them. I have also found that history matters a great deal, because until I fully understood my ethnicity, I couldn’t start to answer my questions about being a Native American Christian. I have discovered that my job is to praise and worship God wherever He places me. God calls us all to worship Him in Spirit and in truth. For example, John 4:19-23 describes a cross-cultural interaction between Jesus—who was a Jew—and a Samaritan woman. Due to the long-standing animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans, Jesus was crossing major cultural boundaries by consenting to speak with the woman. Looking at Jesus’s actions there, I realized that true worship is a power that leads to reconciliation. It is about focusing attention and affection on God the Creator. God is the God of all people; He is the One who has created all ethnic groups, tribes and nations, and His presence is always where people gather in His name. Nevertheless, reconciling these worlds has been a challenge for me due to heartache, misunderstandings and disagreements with fellow believers and fellow Native Americans. But even though I have been hurt by their insensitivity, it is crucial to acknowledge that people are just people. They are not perfect, and this world is far from perfect as well. In order to reconcile the Christians’ and Native Americans’ differences, I’ve had to admit that mistakes were made, and then forgive those mistakes. Praise God that He transcends all cultures and all the stumbling blocks we build! The journey of discovering who I am and what it means to be a Native American and a Christian will be a life long process. One important discovery I have made so far is that Christ must be my most important identity. Nevertheless, that does not mean that I ought to dismiss or reject my cultural identity. Jesus Christ asks us to surrender absolutely everything, but in so doing he does not wipe out our ethnic identity. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” Praise God that He is a God of every nation, tongue and tribe! α

I realized that true worship is a power that leads to reconciliation.


Submissions

We welcome the submission of any article, short story, poem or artwork for publication in The Dartmouth Apologia. Submissions should seek to promote respectful, thoughtful discussion in the community. We will consider submissions from any member of the community but reserve the right to publish only those that are in line with our mission statement and quality rubric. For more information about submission guidelines or the selection and editing process, please blitz Apologia.

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Apologia Fall 2007  

Volume 2, Issue 1

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