Created, Written, and Published by Maine Students
douloV A Journal of Christian Thought
Issue 1, Spring 2008
Essays Articles Poetry Fiction Art
Why Doulos? Doulos (doo-lŏs) is a Greek word that means “slave” in its most literal sense; however it can have connotations of either voluntary or involuntary servitude. The word, used about 30 times in the New Testament, is most often translated as servant, bondman or bond-servant.1 Even Wikipedia has an entry stating that its Biblical meaning is “Bond-Servant of Christ.” We chose it because we are bond-servants of Christ. This declaration comes not from a position of pride or privilege but simply an acknowledgement of the fact that we did, at some point in our lives, willingly choose to become His. The Biblical roots of this can be found in the book of Exodus. It states that if a Hebrew servant should choose, out of love, not to leave his master when his terms of bondage are up, that the master should bore his ear with an awl and he will serve him forever.2 Fortunately for some of us, ear piercing is no longer required. But just as Jesus came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many, so we desire to serve Him.3 We rarely get it right, but flawed servants though we may be, we are still forever bonded to God by the choice we made that was granted by His loving kindness. And so, we submit to you our publication: an effort to serve the Lord with something we trust He has called us to. We seek to find our voice, one that neither coerces nor compromises the beliefs that make us who we are. We want to bridge gaps, break down barriers, encourage growth and foster discussion with the goal of creating a more open and united campus. We humbly thank you for reading our first issue. -Doulos Staff 1. James Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995) 2. Exodus 21:2-6, New International Version. 3. Mark 10:45, NIV.
“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” -Romans 6:22, NIV
Our Mission Our ultimate objective is to write, print, and publish a journal of Christian thought (grounded in Biblical principles) featuring articles, essays, fiction, poetry, and art. In this endeavor, we seek to serve God, encourage spiritual growth, promote intelligent discussion among students and faculty members, reach out to the community, and redefine the way Christianity is viewed and lived out at the University of Maine. With our publication, we hope to create a voice for the Christian community on our campus, one that is both bold and loving. We want to be a brightly shining light on a lamppost, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden, a voice on the mountaintop crying out with the good news. We believe the Gospel message of Jesus Christ is as powerful and relevant now as it was 2,000 years ago, and because of this we are trying to spread it and make it understandable to our peers. In all that we do, we try to live up to the calling to be Doulos: a bond-servant of Christ.
Doulos Statement of Faith We believe in one God, the infinitely perfect and omnipotent Creator of all things, manifested in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe that Jesus Christ was true man and true God, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. As was prophesized, He died on the cross, accepting the punishment for our sins. He arose bodily from the dead, and ascended into heaven where He is now our advocate at the right hand of the Father. We believe that His shed blood and resurrection provide the only grounds for salvation. We believe that He will return in glorious power to usher in the end of times and consummate the eternal plan of God. We believe that the present ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and make us aware of our need for God, restore the believing sinner, and indwell, guide, instruct and empower the believer for godly living and service. We believe that mankind was created in Godâ€™s image but fell into sin and only through repentance and regeneration by the Holy Spirit can salvation and spiritual life be obtained. We believe in the free claim to eternal life in Heaven for all who believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God and in the judgment and eternal separation from all things good for those not abiding in Christ. We believe the Bible to be inspired and inerrant in the original writings, and that it is the only infallible, authoritative Word of God. We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Doulos Staff List:
Editor in Chief: Tyler Francke Business Manager: Matthew Fleming Production Manager: Laura Doiron Design Editor: Leslie Workman Layout Editor: LorĂŠn Babirak Editor of Poetry/Fiction: Seth McCann Editor of Art/Photography: John Knight Website Creator: Jolene Belanger Cover Design: Kevin Mitchell, Artwork by John Knight Advisors: Alvin Winslow, Michael Whitney, Matthew Leland
Articles/Essays: Matthew Hunter, Matthew Leland, Seth Poplaski, John Knight, Richard Knight, Amanda Tewksbury, Tyler Francke Poetry/Fiction: Sarah Farnham, Jenna Redman, Emily Desjardins, Sean Fitzsimons, Seth McCann, Jonathan Ramsdell, Tyler Francke, Becky Rogers, Paul M. T. Savoy Art/Photography: Brandon Jones, John Knight, Maggie McMoarn, Samantha Young Other: Alvin Winslow, Molly Lizotte, David Hunter
Special Thanks To: The Cecil B. Day Foundation Intercollegiate Studies Institute University Printing Services University of Maine Student Senate Campus Crusade for Christ The Navigators Intervarsity Christian Fellowship The Barna Group Carole LeClair Gustavo Burkett Susan Poll Jordan Hylden Andrew Schumann Pastor Kirk Winter And all the other countless people who encouraged us, counseled us, and prayed for us throughout this process.
douloV TABLE OF CONTENTS
Articles and Essays The Gospel Call by Alvin Winslow Finding True Freedom in Slavery by Matthew Hunter The Faith of a Soldier by Seth Poplaski Humanism and Its Struggles by Matthew Leland Search for Intelligence by John and Richard Knight Finding What’s Missing by Amanda Tewksbury who I am, who I was by Tyler Francke
5 6 9 10 12 14 32
Creative Works The Prayer Meetings by Sarah Farnham I’m Heading Home by Jenna Redman When You Rain by Emily Desjardins Just a Look by Sean Fitzsimons Wayward by Seth McCann Down to the Streets by Jonathan Ramsdell While You Were Sleeping... by Brandon Jones Hope, in Death by Sean Fitzsimons Mercy by Tyler Francke Untitled by Becky Rogers Reminder for the Morn by Paul M. T. Savoy
20 21 21 22 23 23 25 26 31 31 31
Regular Features Help Wanted...........16 Book Review............17 Doulos Music..........18 Closing Remarks.....35 More Features to Come in Subsequent Issues!
Being Christian does not mean we are perfect or special. It simply means we are your everyday nobodies who have chosen to follow Jesus and accept His forgiveness and gift of life. It means we are sinners saved by grace. It means we, like anyone else, struggle to overcome addictions and destructive behaviors. It means we love you, and it means we’re sorry. We’re sorry for encouraging you to trust in Jesus, when we continue to worry about things everyday. We’re sorry for making you feel dirty or judged by our words or actions. We’re sorry for being poor representatives of Jesus Christ. We’re sorry if our failures to practice what we preach have ever made you question whether or not it’s real. We’re sorry for being judgmental. We’re sorry for being hypocritical. We’re sorry for making you feel inferior because of our own insecurities. We’re sorry for making you feel inferior by our attitudes or actions. We know that God made us all equal, but we still forget that sometimes. We’re sorry for using our faith to get something we want, or avoid something we don’t want. We’re sorry for encouraging you to step outside your comfort zone, while we stay safely guarded in our own. We’re sorry for bringing our own agendas into everything, instead of just letting Jesus’ message speak for itself. We’re sorry for abandoning and avoiding you, our non-Christian friends, for fear of rejection. We’re sorry for being selfish. We’re sorry for running out of time for you, and being unavailable. We’re sorry for ignoring the poor and needy. We’re sorry for not forgiving. We’re sorry for often being a part of the problem, and for the discord and discontentment we’ve sown. We’re sorry for being poor stewards. God has given us so much to be thankful for. We should take care of it, but often, we don’t. We’re sorry for spreading false teachings simply because it is easy, instead of speaking the truth boldly. We’re sorry for causing confusion because of our fears. We’re sorry for putting too much emphasis on rules and works. Our faith is about a personal relationship with the one true God, not about anything man-made. We’re sorry for the times we have made you feel as though you could never know God. None of us would know Him if it weren’t for His unconditional love. And we are sorry, dear campus, dear reader, for not showing and revealing that precious love of God to you and everyone we meet.
Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
The Gospel Call by Alvin Winslow
personal invitation to anyone who hears it, even today. 4 Another personal invitation is given by Jesus in the last book of the Bible. This time the invitation is to people who are involved in the church, but spiritually have not entered into a personal relationship with Christ. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” 5 This invitation calls for a personal response to open the door of your life. Once opened, Jesus promises to come in and be with you. From the Gospel of John we know that “…to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” 6 It is necessary to understand that the individual must enter into a personal relationship with Christ. This involves an act of one’s will: to receive and believe. When a person comes face to face with Jesus Christ and the Gospel they are faced with a decision of eternal consequence. They must decide if they will depend on Jesus Christ to save them personally. Saving faith is trust in Jesus Christ as a living person for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God.7 One of the best definitions of faith is found in the New Testament: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” 8 Receiving Christ involves first accepting His forgiveness. In the Scriptures repentance and faith are sometimes mentioned together. Paul writes, “I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.” 9 In many places repentance of sins is named specifically as part of the Gospel (Luke 24:47; Acts 2:37-38; 5:31; 17:30; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10). Repentance is a heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ.10 When repentance and faith come together in response to the Gospel a person moves from death to life, from darkness to light, from guilty to forgiven. This move involves an intelligent understanding, emotional approval and a personal decision to believe, receive and follow Jesus Christ. There are many promises to those who come to Christ in faith and repentance. The believer receives love, joy, peace, power and persecution. There is the day-to-day relationship with God through the Bible, prayer and Christian community. Through the struggles and joys of this life God is doing an incredible inner life work changing us to be more like Jesus. But more than these, the primary promises of the Gospel are forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal
It has become increasingly difficult for people to even consider the Gospel of Jesus Christ on a college campus. Dr. Greg Ganssle of the Rivendell Institute at Yale describes the problem as follows. “The universities have become places where Christian faith is pushed to the margins of all that is important and relevant. The fact that Christian faith is far removed from the center of university life does not affect cultural and academic issues only. The marginalization of real Biblical faith has a tremendous influence on individual students, faculty and administrators. Their ability even to listen to the gospel is undermined.” 1 Recognizing the distance that exists between the Christian faith and the academy, the purpose of this article is to invite people simply to listen to the Gospel Call. The Gospel is simple enough for a child to understand and at the same time complex enough for a lifetime of study. For a person to come to Christ, they need to understand who Jesus is, what He did and how He meets our need for salvation. Any explanation of the Gospel must include at least the following three points: 2 1. All people have sinned (Romans 3:23) 2. The penalty for our sin is death (Romans 6:23) 3. Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, died in our place to pay the penalty for our sins (Romans 5:8) It is not enough to just know these facts and to agree intellectually that they are true. A person must respond to the Gospel by repenting of their sins and trusting in Jesus Christ for forgiveness and eternal life. The message of salvation and eternal life is often presented simply as a list of propositional truths (like above) that are to be accepted or rejected. While this is effective at communicating the basics of the Gospel it lacks the relational context of the great salvation we find in the Bible. The Gospel is much thicker and more human than facts alone. Throughout the New Testament Jesus calls us to follow Him. That invitation is beautifully expressed, for example, in the Gospel of Matthew: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 3 It is important to understand that these are not just words from long ago, but they are words that are still relevant and the invitation is still open to whoever will listen. Jesus is alive in heaven and this is a genuine 5
Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
life.” 11 Peter says as he preaches the Gospel, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” 12 With the promises of forgiveness of sins and eternal life, we must also remember that Christ will accept all who come to him with sincere repentance and faith seeking salvation. Jesus said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” 13 The Gospel, or “good news,” has been called the “cure for the world’s sickness.” Christian writer Don Miller called it the “most powerful force in the universe.”14 You could fill museums with the sculptures and paintings and literature and music that have been inspired by it. Countless men and women throughout history have given their lives for the simple message. We, Doulos, all have reasons and testimonies for why we live the way we do, but in the end, it comes down to the Gospel. It is the reason we’re here, it is why this publication exists. It has forever changed our lives, and it can change yours too. The Gospel is something that you can understand and accept ordeny and reject, but it is not something that you can ignore. Think about it.
1. Gregory E. Ganssle, public speaking event for Campus Crusade for Christ, University of Connecticut, 20 April 2002. 2. Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 694. 3. Matthew 11:28-30 New International Version. 4. Grudem, 694. 5. Revelation 3:20, NIV. 6. John 1:12, NIV. 7. Grudem, 710. 8. Hebrews 11:1, NIV. 9. Acts 20:21, NIV. 10. Grudem, 713. 11. John 3:16, NIV. 12. Acts 3:19, NIV. 13. John 6:37, NIV. 14. Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2003), 112. Editor’s Note: Alvin Winslow is not a student at the University of Maine. He is, however, a Maine alumnus, having graduated in 1995 with a degree in Agribusiness and Resource Economics. Alvin became a Christian while he was a student at UMaine. He is now an ordained minister, and the leader of the UMO chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ. Because of his calling and experiece, I thought he would be best equipped to write a presentation of the Gospel message.
Finding True Freedom in Slavery by Matthew Hunter
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.” -Matthew 6:24, New American Standard Bible
In the above passage Jesus was talking about the conflict between serving God and wealth. He was making the point that one cannot serve God if their heart is focused on anything other than Him. The bulk of Jesus’ teaching was about ensuring that the hearts of His followers were completely dedicated to following and serving Him. Following Christ was not only about changing some behaviors and having an appearance of righteousness; it was a matter of the heart. The core identity of His followers had to change; He had to be the focus of their lives. Sinning was not primarily about a specific behavior, but rather it was about the motivation behind the behavior. If our desires are in line with Jesus’, if He is on the throne of our hearts, then good behavior will follow. Being a Christian then, involves divorcing one’s self from one’s own desires and being devoted to serving Christ. There is a clear Biblical principle that we must be totally devoted either to God or to our corrupted desires, and therefore, sin. This notion of being either a slave to sin or righteousness is repeated throughout Scripture. The Greek word for slave is “doulos.” 1 Implied in this word is that the doulos has no will or life of its own, rather it is totally devoted to the will of its master.2 In addition, according to Scripture every person will be a doulos in Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
one form or another, either to sin or to God.3 Therefore, regardless of one’s belief system, they will be a slave to someone or something. Understanding this point is essential to a true understanding of Christianity. However, being a slave to Christ is a different type of slavery. Although it does still involve subjecting the will of the individual to that of Christ, it is also the only way to find true and fulfilling freedom.4 In order to understand what it means to be a slave to sin, the issue of worldview must be addressed. In the book of Titus, Paul, the first missionary to the Gentiles (non-Jews), reminds the Church in Crete that as Christians they were once “enslaved to various lusts and pleasures.” 5 This presents an interesting issue regarding the nature of our slavery to sin as the Greek word for pleasures, hedone, is derived from a work meaning “to enjoy oneself.” 6 Therefore, prior to one’s salvation, we are quite literally enslaved to our own self-enjoyment. This does not sound like slavery; in fact, this is the very definition of freedom.7 Paul recognized this, which is illustrated in his ironic use of language. The word used for “enslaved” is derived from the word doulos, which, as was discussed earlier, involves totally subjecting one’s will to that of a master. However in this statement the master is one’s own desires. Herein lies the problem. 6
Looking at things from a traditional worldview it seems silly to even think that having the freedom to act however one pleases is slavery. If we were to stop the discussion here, then it would be a foolish notion, however in order to understand what it means to be a slave to sin we need to adjust our focus. God has instilled in us various drives and desires. He has also developed a plan on how we can fulfill those desires and exercise those drives in a way that will not only bring us true and complete satisfaction, but will ultimately bring Him glory. However, we live in a corrupted world and though our ultimate desires have not changed, the means through which we seek to fulfill those desires have been equally corrupted. Sin then involves trying to fulfill those desires in a way that may bring a degree of satisfaction, but will ultimately fall short of bringing about true fulfillment. Conversely, when one serves God, it is not only fulfilling, but also liberating. This Biblical concept has proven to be true in daily application. A relationship with Christ changes one’s outlook and daily life. A study conducted by Barna Research Group measured the level of satisfaction and stress in people’s lives. People were asked questions to determine their faith identification fitting into five basic categories: evangelicals, born-again Christians, notional Christians, other faiths, and atheists and agnostics. These were not self-identified groups.* The study found that evangelical and born-again Christians were more satisfied and less stressed than members of other or no faiths.8 According to this study, 91 percent of evangelicals identified themselves as completely or mostly satisfied with their lives today, compared to 68 percent of atheists or agnostics.9 Though no statistics are perfect, the stark differences between the different groups is illustrative of the underlying Biblical concept that true freedom and satisfaction are not found when one is free from God, but rather when one has committed to putting God’s will above one’s own. One of the most effective illustrations I have heard that explains this seemingly counter-intuitive notion is that of a blind man totally dependent on a seeing-eye dog. The man has to have complete faith that the dog will do what he is trained to do. When walking through an intersection during rush-hour traffic, the man has complete faith that the dog will not guide him into the path of an oncoming car. Now if the
man did not have faith in the dog’s ability to guide him, then his life would look completely different. He would be dependent on others to transport him and to make sure that he safely gets to his location, compromising his freedom of mobility. Additionally, if he were to try to navigate a busy intersection without any guidance at all, his life would be in jeopardy. Similarly, we are walking on this earth blind to many of the dangers that surround us. Without faith in God we have no guide to steer us clear of those dangers. So even though it may seem more liberating to not have to rely on a guide dog, without it we would probably walk right into oncoming traffic. Of course, the desire to cross the road is not inherently sinful, just as our underlying needs and desires are not. But when we do not rely on God or try to blindly figure out our own way to reach our objective that is where we stumble and ultimately harm ourselves. For example, we were created with a desire for relationships and intimacy. The desire is not wrong. However, when we stray from God’s plan to fulfill that desire and act in a way to simply satisfy our basic lusts, such as indulging in a pornography addiction or sleeping around, we not only do not find the meaningful relationships that we are ultimately searching for, but we damage ourselves in such a way that makes finding those relationships even harder. Being a slave to sin then, involves trying to fulfill Godgiven desires by doing things that are counter to God’s will and ultimately coming up short. This creates a perpetual cycle to find satisfaction through the same actions that did not work in the past. Though we may want to partake in sinful actions to bring about this temporary pleasure, we were not designed with an innate desire to sin. We were designed with a desire to know and be with God.10 It is our sinful nature that pushes us to sin in order to try to fulfill our God-given needs. This nature is rooted in pride and does not want to allow God to guide us into a better situation. Again, the ultimate desire remains consistent, while the process to fulfill it has been corrupted. This situation cannot exist without conflict. Paul describes this as a battle between two natures, that which is good and that which is sinful. Paul struggled with doing things that are wrong, which he did not want to do. He says in his letter to the Romans, “For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.”11 He
*Born-again Christians were defined as people who said they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today and who also indicated they believe that when they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Evangelicals meet the born again criteria plus seven other conditions. Those include saying their faith is very important in their life today; believing they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians; believing that Satan exists; believing that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not works; believing that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; asserting that the Bible is accurate in all that it teaches; and describing God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today. Notional Christians were categorized as those who describe themselves as Christians, but do not believe that they will have eternal life because of their reliance upon the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the grace extended to people through a relationship with Christ. A large majority of these individuals believe they will have eternal life, but not because of a grace-based relationship with Jesus Christ.
Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
had a desire to do good, but he was drawn to do what he knows of one’s love for Him that we have “because He first loved us.” 19 is not in God’s will. He understands that it is ultimately his Humanity was created to know God, and by serving 12 sinful nature that causes him to sin, and further that without God one can know the joy that results from doing so. God he cannot even muster the desire to break away from that The believer also feels the emptiness that results when sin.13 This conflict is apparent to Paul because of his relationship not serving Him as a result of the struggle between the two with Christ, but it exists universally. Even Jesus’ disciples, natures. Until one knows God they cannot feel the fulfillment while in the presence of God incarnate, needed to be remind- that comes from that relationship. Those who do not know ed to keep in constant communication with God to fight this God are constantly trying to fulfill their God-given desires and battle between the two natures. At Gethsemane Jesus told come up short of what God desired for their life. Even if they Peter “Keep watching and praying that you may not come obtain a marginal level of satisfaction without God, they still into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 14 will not have true contentment, as one who does not have a re We have been designed with a desire to know God, lationship with God has never experienced the complete fulfillbut our corrupted nature prevents us from realizing that ment and joy that He offers. They have no basis for comparison. desire unless we have a relationship with Essentially this liberation from sin “We have been designed with involves coming under the authority of a God and accept His sacrifice for our sinful nature. It is through Christ’s sacrifice a desire to know God, but new master. We are still doulos, but now on the cross that we can be freed from our our corrupted nature pre- instead of our master being corrupted desinful nature and the struggle to find God vents us from realizing that sires that are ultimately harmful and unfulthrough our own futile efforts. Through desire unless we have a relation- filling, we are slaves to a loving God, who His death, Christ was not only a sacrifice ship with God and accept His not only desires what is best for our lives, for us, taking on the punishment for our but also delineates how we can find fulsacrifice for our sinful nature.” fillment in His Word. He is a caring God, sin, but also through His death our old nature dies with Him. Paul writes that through a relation- who guides us away from dangers that will ultimately kill us, ship and unity with Christ, “our old self was crucified with and into true contentment and joy through a relationship with him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, Him. It is because of God’s nature that Jesus was able to say that so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has if you are free in Him then “you will be free indeed.” Slavery died is freed from sin.” 15 This process does not end with ter- is not a bad thing if you have a perfect, holy, and loving master. minating our slavery to sin, but continues through our life Ultimately by becoming a slave of God, we are not in Christ. Because, having symbolically died with Christ, we only freeing ourselves from the constant life of sin and the imcan now find life through Him, as He conquered death. We mediate consequences of that life, nor are we simply finding 16 are therefore “dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” the true fulfillment that God desires for our lives, but we are It should be made clear that just because one’s sinful also now able to spend eternity with God. For although being nature has been crucified with Christ, and one has made Christ a slave to sin frees us from “the obligation to do right,” 20 the the Lord of one’s life that does not mean that the temptation result is a life lacking true fulfillment, reaping the immediate to sin will no longer exist. Even Paul discussed his struggle with consequences of fool ish actions and eternal separation from sinful desires, and a cursory glance at the “Christian” church in God. But when we give ourselves to God we “are free from the America can make one wonder what, if any, effect Christ has on power of sin and… become slaves of God” 21 which will “rethe lives of people. However, a true relationship with Christ, sult in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free brought about through faith and a life that has been totally gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” 22 yielded to God, will result in a life change and a desire to not only stop sinning (hence the struggle between the two natures that Paul described) but to actively pursue good works. Paul wrote 1. Robert L. Thomas Th.D., Ged Ed., Reuben A. Olson D.D., Peter P. to the Christians in Crete that they were saved, “not on the ba- Ahn, Ph.D., Robert G. Lambeth, W. Don Wilkins, M.A., Th.M, Ph.D., Revision Ed. The Strongest NASB Exhaustive Concordance, (Grand sis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according Rapids: Zondervan Publishing, 1998), 1522. to His mercy” 17 so that they could be confident and “those who 2. W.E. Vine, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, ed. Merrill F. Unger have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds.” 18 and William White Jr., (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Inc., 1996), 73. One’s actions and righteousness are not a cause of salva- 3. Romans 6:16, Rom 6:18, Matt 6:24 New American Standard Bible. tion, and cannot break the bondage to sin, rather they are a con- 4. John 8:36, NASB. 5. Titus 3:3, NASB. sequence of finding freedom in Christ, and making Him Lord of 6. Strongest, 1534. one’s life. Therefore serving God is not a burden, but an expression 7. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. 11th ed. Springfield, MA: 8 Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22.
Merriam-Webster, 2003. 8. Barna Research Group. People’s Faith Flavor Influences How They See Themselves. http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdate&B arnaUpdateID=119 (accessed November 8, 2007). 9. Ibid. 10. John 3:16, John 17:3, NASB. 11. Romans 7:19, NASB. 12. Romans 7:17, NASB. 13. Romans 7:18, NASB.
Mark 14:38, NASB. Romans 6:6-7, NASB. Romans 6:8-11, NASB. Titus 3:5, NASB. Titus 3:8, NASB. 1 John 4:19, NASB. Romans 6:20 New Living Translation. Romans 6:22, NLT. Romans 6:22-23, NLT.
The Faith of a Soldier by Seth Poplaski
Over the past five years, members of armed forces have served the United States of America by going overseas to the Middle East. Operation Iraqi Freedom has been argued for and against ever since the war started on March 20, 2003. Many men and women have been deployed, and nearly 4,000 of them have lost their lives. No one from the armed forces has returned to the U.S. without being changed forever. In November of 2003, Sergeant Timothy Hendsbee of the 133 Engineering Battalion was informed that he and his fellow members would be deployed to Iraq. He and his battalion was sent out in February 2004 and returned twelve months later. While in Iraq, Hendsbee’s life changed. He said that God brought him through every trial and hardship he endured while overseas. This is his story. Hendsbee had many difficult experiences in Iraq, but he said that his faith in God helped pull him through. One particular memory stands out for him as an example of God’s protection. “I and about 20 others were sent on a mission to relieve infantry men during Ramadan. Our shift was going to go for about 24 hours. A huge battle was raging through the city,” said Hendsbee. A certain passage of Scripture comforted him on the mission. Someone had written the reference, Psalm 91, on the walls of his base. At first he did not think much of it, but later on he decided to look it up. “Before I left for my mission, I read Psalm 91 and it talks about how God will shelter you under his wings and specifically talks about a battle,” said Hendsbee. “The battle was raging all around me. I could see explosions all around and here I was praying that
God would keep us out of harm’s way. Even though the battle was all around us, it never came to us,” he said. A few verses from Psalm 91 read, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it 1 Photo courtesy of Timothy Hendsbee will not come near you.” After reading this passage, it became something that Hendsbee thought about in every battle. “The whole time through the battle I kept saying Psalm 91 in my head and God gave me a peace about everything while the battle was going,” said Hendsbee. On June 28, 2004, the United States returned power to the Iraqi government. This was received with both celebration and rebellion. Members of the armed forces were targeted. On the very same day that the Iraqi government regained power, Hendsbee was driving a gun truck in the rear of his battalion when his Humvee was hit by a roadside mortar. “We were about an hour away from the base and knew it was going to be a long ride home. A mortar detonated as we turned a corner,” said Hendsbee. No one who saw the explosion expected any of the soldiers to live through the blast. The explosion should have killed everyone in the Humvee, but no one was seriously wounded. “You could tell that God had been watching over us. The people in front of us saw the shockwave from the explosion. They figured we were all dead, and we should have been, but God protected us,” said Hendsbee. “There was a hole through my rear view mirror. It ended up blowing the windshield on us, but every9
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thing else stayed intact. We all ended up only with a few abrasions.” When the battalion returned to the base, the soldiers in the Humvee were all awarded a Purple Heart for their bravery. While in Iraq, Hendsbee was able to witness to members of his battalion and through this many of them came to know Christ. “I wasn’t called to Iraq just for war. I was called to witness as well,” said Hendsbee. Hendsbee’s first roommate had accepted Jesus as his Savior right before he had left for Iraq. Sadly, he lost his life but not before he, his wife, and his mother all received Christ as their personal Savior. Sergeant Jamie Henson, Hendsbee’s second room-
mate, came to know Christ over in Iraq after many discussions with Hendsbee about God and salvation. Others also came to know Christ in the battalion after spiritual conversations. Although Hendsbee does not miss Iraq, he said he does miss the closeness to God that he felt while overseas. “When you are in danger it’s really easy to call on God, but he wants to have that same relationship with you all the time.” Whether overseas or here on the University of Maine campus, the story of Sgt. Hendsbee is a powerful reminder that faith in God can pull someone through seemingly impossible circumstances. 1. Psalms, 91:4-7 New International Version.
Humanism and Its Struggles by Matthew Leland
There is this crazy idea out there that people can do good for the sake of doing good, and for no other reason. Can you imagine that? People listening to the conscience inside of them, which tells them that there is a better way to live, and that way involves doing something for others without asking for anything in return. There are people who put themselves out, sacrifice time, money, patience, and love for the benefit of anyone, even people they will never actually get to know. What would the world be like if everyone did that? To tell you the truth, there are lots of people who think this way. Most incorporate it as part of their faith, Christians included. However, this idea has spread even to the non-religious. This group is called secular humanists. Before I get into that, I’m going to go into more detail on humanism in general. Humanism has existed almost as long as humans have, in one form or another. The premise of humanism is that every single one of us has intrinsic value. Different faiths have had various positions on this idea and what it means, but the thread remains the same. The Bible (Old and New Testament) is loaded with humanism. The New Testament goes so far as to claim that all people, across the board, are equally valuable in the eyes of God. Near the end of the Age of Enlightenment, humanism was taken up by people who were not at all pleased with the acts of organized religion. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) is an example of early secular humanism. He was very concerned for the well-being of everyone, but he was born into a time of racism, war, and imperialism. He was extremely critical of organized religion (specifically the influence Christian groups had in China at the time), and many aspects of the Christian faith. He wanted to make a difference in the world, and he wanted to do what was right in a self-sacrificing way. He wasn’t the last, either. Kurt Vonnegut, a contempoDoulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
rary American writer (and huge Mark Twain fan, I imagine), was also a humanist. He had the same goals and drives as Samuel Clemens, except he lived in a time where it was far more acceptable to not have a faith. He had big hopes and dreams for everyone. He thought with just a little help, they could really be something great. In his last book, A Man Without a Country, he revealed the end of his journey. The chapter in question dealt primarily with the greed of politicians overcoming the advice of scientists, doctors, and the rest of academia, as well as the barbaric methods that had been implemented in World Wars I and II, but it also delved into his thoughts of human society as a whole. He said quite simply that he had joined Mark Twain in the ranks of those who had given up on humanity .1 They are not the only ones that come to this conclusion, either. Think about that. The fate of those who truly believe in the worth of others, who truly want them all to be happy and to succeed, seems to be to give up on them. What does that mean for us? Most of you reading this publication are in college, planning the rest of your lives. Some of you are in it for money, power, and fame, but a lot of you are hoping, deep down inside, that you’ll really be able to make a difference in the world. Is Kurt Vonnegut saying that it’s all a pipe-dream? Is he saying that people will never change? I’m going to answer this question. You can make a difference, people can change. If that’s the case, why did people as smart as Samuel Clemens and Kurt Vonnegut just give up on everyone? The Plight of Humanists Humanists like Vonnegut and Clemens have all the best intentions, and their skepticism of faith-based groups is often warranted. Christian groups have been associated 10
with some pretty lousy things in the past, but the motivation attempt meets with failure. When you stop helping, if you’re was never of the community, but rather of a select few who lucky, nothing will happen, but it’s been my experience that wished to flex the power they had to gain even more wealth they will resent you for it (because it means you gave up on and power elsewhere. In the present, the media presents an- them, you failed at proving their humanity, which wasn’t your other problem. Due to an insane drive for sensationalism, the job in the first place). media has chosen to show only the craziest, most radical mem- The people you help won’t be the only ones who may bers of most religious groups. In fact, they will often pass over one day scorn you. Take, for instance, what happens when you leaders who have reasonable views in favor of those that do not let someone into traffic (or maybe when someone in front of because they want to hear something that will shock and awe you lets someone into traffic?). What do the people behind you the public. In addition, some choose to compromise parts of think? I’m guilty of this myself, I have been mad at people for the faith to get more people to attend, or promise that all of letting others into traffic. They could be mad about many diftheir troubles will be over, in terms of health, wealth, and love. ferent things, too. First, you are inconveniencing them, and on If this was all you saw or heard of Christiantop of that, you’re doing something that they “You have to love someity, I would understand why you would want know is a good thing to do, and they were not to find another answer, and that’s because I’ve one in order to help going to do it. So, doing the right thing can been there. To put it simply, the vast majority them, and to do it the end up with loads of people being upset with of us are not like that. way humanists desire to you, which doesn’t help your supply of love. So, what is wrong with being a secular do it, you have to love The truth is that we are finite beings, humanist instead of a religious humanist? It’s them unconditionally.” and on our own, we have a finite amount of not a matter of what is wrong, per se. We want love to give. If you believe anything other the same thing you do. Here is what I found by being a humanist. than that, then you need to evaluate whether or not you be First, helping people always comes at a cost. It’s not lieve in a higher power of some kind, any kind, because that is just time, money, effort, or patience. It costs those things, the only explanation for your ability to love not being finite. too, but the biggest part is love. You have to love someone Of course, we can get more. We get more every time somein order to help them, and to do it the way humanists desire one expresses love for us in some way, even if it is just a pat to do it, you have to love them unconditionally. What does on the back. Unfortunately, every act of unconditional love that mean, to love someone unconditionally? Well, imagine if takes so much from us, that we would need a huge network you were to feel love for someone, and then strip away every of people to encourage us in order to succeed at this plan. agenda you’ve ever had, strip away your desire to be loved, strip Here is where secular humanism runs into its biggest away the idea that it will ever be returned in equal portions. obstacle. Typically, someone upholds secular humanism beStrip away the notion that helping them will mean that you cause they don’t like what organized religions have done, and so helped to change them completely, and that they will be better they are leery about the “organized” part. Without a group of for the rest of their lives because of it. Strip away your pride. like-minded individuals to support them, humanists will be far That is a complicated notion, stripping away all more likely to suffer the fate of Vonnegut and Twain, that is, to pride and agenda. It is actually quite difficult. We almost al- give up on humanity. It is possible for humanists to organize in ways want something from someone, even the people we this fashion, since the movement favors rational thought, and want to demonstrate love for without ever expecting any- it doesn’t take too much thought to realize that several people thing in return. It could even be something “benevolent,” would have more success than just one or two on their own. like expecting them to fulfill the promise that they made to Organizing does have its stumbling points, though: Who will you, the one that starts with “if only I had” and then ends lead? Will no one lead? If no one leads, who is going to take the with “everything would be better.” What happens when first step to encourage someone else? Will they share success you give that to them and everything doesn’t get better? stories, will they share failures? What if someone isn’t really fol What is worse than that is the response you of- lowing through with the groups goals, will they be kicked out? ten get from the people you help. You have to expect to If there is a leader, what if they get corrupted by the process, or be hated for doing what is good and what is right. Jesus just give up? What if they try to take and exert too much power? predicted this when He said as the world hated Him, so it too will hate you if you do good.2 There are some peoDon’t Give Up! ple out there who fall, and you want to help them up, so you do, but as soon as you let go, they fall again, and again, The humanists are right about a lot of things. Evand again. Every attempt takes love from you, and every eryone does have intrinsic value that is equal and yet 11 Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
greater than anything we could ever comprehend. Everyone is worth your time, your energy, your love. The world can be a better place, and we can all help make it that way. No one can be written off. Everyone knows the tug of the conscience, and everyone wants a better way to live. Like I said before, humanism has been around nearly as long as we have, and you’ve probably seen people who have lived good lives, helping people and being happy right up until they died. Who are these people? Why is it that they didn’t give up on humanity? I want to be one of those people, and I think I’ve figured out who they are. Many of them are my brothers and sisters of the faith. They don’t give up on humanity, and the reason is because they know of a source of love that is infinite. God loves us. He loves every man, woman, and child on the face of this planet. He wants us to live good lives, and to love each other. He wants us to accept His forgiveness for those times when we fell short. If we do, He’ll give us all the love we need to never give up on those that we want to help and His love will shine through us and encourage others to shine too. I want to shine; I want to be good soil. I want the seed that has been planted in me to grow, and I want it to bear fruit. I know I’ll make mistakes. I know I’ll hurt people (a lot), but as long as I accept the love and forgiveness that has already been given to me, I know I’ll be renewed, and that I will be able to keep loving. Raise the Banners Something that we don’t talk about much is how practical the teachings in the Bible are. First, they teach us how extraordinary the worth of everyone is. Second, they teach us the way to know whether or not something will help or hurt people. What is really important, though, is what it teaches us about heaven. Some humanists don’t want the reward of heaven.
In fact, the idea that going to heaven is your reward for doing good sullies their goals of loving without condition (coincidently, it sullies ours, too). Something interesting was pointed out to me in Rob Bell’s book Sex God. Heaven isn’t supposed to be just “up there,” it is supposed to be down here. Rob Bell explains that we can bring heaven to earth, or we can bring hell. The goal of Christians and humanists alike, then, is to make life better for everyone, and by that I mean to bring the kingdom of heaven into our neighborhoods. As Christians, we are servants and soldiers of heaven. Wherever we go, we should be expressing love and bringing heaven with us. People are doing this all over the world. Mission trips to Africa, Asia, and South America bring needed aid and hope, organizations across the world fight to free slaves, people come together to protest unjust wars… College students are organizing fundraisers for food pantries, manning suicide prevention lines, serving at soup kitchens, donating blood… Neighbors are shoveling each others driveways, babysitting children, taking each other to the hospital, helping to make ends meet when times are tough, baking each other cookies… The point is, everywhere these things happen, heaven comes a little closer to earth. We can be a part of that! How amazing, right? We’re on the same side as the humanists, and the sooner we all realize this, the better. So we must raise the banners, we must keep marching, because there are people out there who would exploit the weak and the poor for personal gain, and they can bring hell to earth just as easily as we can bring heaven. The only way to stop them is to love and encourage, and to constantly remind everyone the cardinal belief of humanism, that everyone has worth, and everyone is worth loving. 1. Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country (Seven Stories Press, 2005), 88. 2. John 15:18.
Search for Intelligence
by John Knight and Richard Knight
It’s funny how ideas will strike you at the most unusual times. On a chilly night after an intramural soccer game, two of my friends and I sat on the pavement in a parking lot for two hours talking and procrastinating. The thought I had goes as follows. Would you say that there is anything significant about the numbers 19, 1, 2, 5, 3, 11, 17, and 7? These are prime numbers, which means they can only be divided by themselves and 1 to make a whole number. Now, would you say that there Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
is something significant about the numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, and 19? Again, these are prime numbers, but they are also in order. I hope you see that these numbers are “special” because, besides just being numbers, they have unique properties. There is another set of numbers that is particularly special, called Fibonacci numbers. The numbers 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 are the first few Fibonacci numbers. They are special because two consecutive numbers add to make the next number. These numbers are also astonishing because one Fibonacci number 12
divided by the previous Fibonacci number gives you roughly the golden ratio, and it gets closer to the golden ratio the higher the sequence goes. The golden ratio can best be explained by envisioning or drawing a line segment sectioned into two parts (x and y), one being shorter and one longer. When the two segments are in golden ratio proportion, segment xy is to x as x is to y. When this is true, the longer segment is 1.61803 times longer than the shorter segment. Any object, whether in nature or geometry, that exhibits this proportion within its parts is considered to exhibit the golden ratio. The golden ratio is found in a regular pentagon, where the distance between one vertex and a nonadjacent vertex is 1.61803 times longer than the distance between two adjacent vertices.1 So, how can these numbers be used in the real world? In 1960 an astronomer named Frank Drake started a movement called SETI, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, to try to answer the question, “Is there intelligent life beyond the earth?” To answer this question, SETI has been constantly searching the skies with giant satellite dishes, recording what they find. The satellite dishes record sounds from space in an attempt to discern patterns amongst the white noise. In addition, SETI is constantly sending out signals into space in hopes that if there is extra-terrestrial intelligence out there, they are listening for signals, too.2 The signals that are being sent out are sequences of prime numbers. We use numbers because math is the universal language.3 Though we do not know whether extra-terrestrials would have the same comprehension of math as we do, we are still sending out these numbers with the idea that math is a fixed reality in the universe.3 One object is always one object, no matter what language you speak, and regardless of your intelligence quotient. Hoping to receive significant signals from ET’s is assuming that these intelligent beings use something similar to our technology and reason in a similar fashion as us. Being able to understand and use numbers to produce information, such as the ability to add and order numbers, is confined to the phenomenon of intelligence. That being said, I would like to propose a scenario to you. What would you conclude if we did receive signals from space that included prime numbers in sequence? You would be faced with a choice: to put your faith in the belief that those signals were significant numbers in order by complete chance, or that there was intelligence behind the signals. Taking our gaze away from the stars for a moment, let’s have a look at some things here on earth. The nautilus is a very unique creature that lives in the ocean. As this cephalopod grows, it becomes too big for the current shell chamber in which it lives, so it builds a new one and moves in, sealing the previous chamber behind it. Some adult nautili grow until they have
occupied about 30 chambers. What is so interesting about these animals is that their shells grow to make a logarithmic spiral. Also called the “miraculous spiral”, these spirals are interesting because they curl at a constant rate so that they maintain the same shape as they grow in size,4 making it self-similar in every area.5 The famed nautilus has gained popularity because of its beauty, but also because of disputes over its mathematical properties. Though the spiral is in fact not a golden spiral, it is not a lie that nautili do possess the golden ratio. In an experiment conducted by Castrejón, a nautilus shell was split in half and its spiral scanned onto paper.6 The nautilus spiral was matched with a logarithmic spiral. The general formula for a logarithmic spiral is given in polar form by: r = eδ θ. Looking at Figure 1, the ratio of the straight-line distances from center (A) to 2 points on the spiral (measured in any direction), where the two points (B and C) lie on the same line, satisfies:
where the difference in values of θ1 and θ2 is 2π radians (or one full turn – since the two points lie on the same line), and δ is an arbitrary constant that can be determined by the quotient of the shell distance from the center in any direction and the next shell distance after one full turn on the same line.6 (Figure 1). Physically measuring r1 and r2 allows the calculation of δ, which is the golden ratio (φ). (φ = [1±√5]/2)
In simpler terms, the natural log of the ratio of length AC to length AB is 2 π times the golden ratio. The arbitrary constant δ also just so happens to be φ, the golden ratio.
Figure 1. Picture taken from Castrejón, text added by me.
Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
Another example of math in nature is in flowers. Sunflowers exhibit spirals within their seed pattern where the number of right spirals and left spirals are consecutive Fibonacci numbers. An example is seeing 34 spirals in one direction and 21 spirals in the opposite direction.5 The same is seen in pine cones. If you look at the top of a pine cone you will see 5 spirals in one direction and 8 in the other direction. Pineapples have 8 spirals in one direction and 13 in the other.7 There are many examples of symmetry in nature, which is an expression of order and balance. Symmetry within the biological world is referred to as material symmetry since biological factors inhibit perfection and real objects can be measured only by approximations.7 Some flowers, such as hippobroma longiflora and wild geraniums, exhibit five-fold symmetry, where the five petals are equiangular to each other and align with the points in a regular pentagon, which again contains the golden ratio within its proportions.1 Five-fold symmetry is also common in invertebrates such as starfish and sand dollars.8 In a phenomenon called phyllotaxis, leaves on trees grow in a manner so that the upper leaves do not block sunlight from reaching the lower leaves. Plants have different phyllotactic patterns, or in other words different ways of arranging their leaves along the stem. For example, dogwood trees have leaves just opposite of each other, so they are a half turn apart. Blackberry and beech leaves are one-third turn away from each other, while apple tree leaves are two-fifths turns, and weeping willow are three-eighths turns away from each other. The denominators and numerators of these ratios are all Fibonacci numbers.9 Imagine again, if you will, the scenario of receiving a copious amount of prime numbers in order from space, and what you would conclude if indeed that did happen. Would you say that they occurred by random chance or that there were intelligent beings sending the signals? It is your decision to make. Having seen signs of math before our eyes in nature, you
are faced with the same question. Did these numbers appear in nature by random chance or is there an intelligent being that is sending us signals? I urge you to go beyond your mind and search your heart, since the things of God are seen by those who seek God and do not have a hardened heart. 1. Jim Loy, “The Golden Rectangle and the Golden Ratio,” Jim Loy’s Mathematics Page, http://www.jimloy.com/geometry/golden.htm. 2. Steve Garber, “SETI: The Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence,” National Aeronautics and Space Administration History Office, http:// history.nasa.gov/seti.html. 3. Douglas Vakoch, “Counting on Distant Worlds: Math as an Interstellar Language,” SETI Institute, http://www.space.com/searchforlife/seti_ vakoch_numbers_030508.html. 4. Paul Calter, “How to Construct a Logarithmic Rosette (Without Even Knowing it),” Nexus Network Journals, 2 (2000): 25-31. 5. Keith Devlin, “Good stories, pity they’re not true,” The Mathematical Association of America, http://www.maa.org/devlin/devlin_06_04.html. 6. A. A. Casterjón Pita et al., “The impressive complexity in the Nautilus pompilius shell,” http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/nlin/pdf/0210/0210013v1. pdf. 7. Ron Knott, “Fibonacci Numbers and Nature,” Fibonacci Numbers and the Golden Section, http://www.mcs.surrey.ac.uk/Personal/R.Knott/ Fibonacci/fibnat.html#petals. 8. George Markowsky, “Misconceptions About the Golden Ratio,” The College Mathematics Journal 23 (1992): 2-19. 9. R. A. Dunlap, The Golden Ratio and Fibonacci Numbers (Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Company, 1998). 10. Koun Han, “Nature’s Favorite Number,” Caltech Undergraduate Research Journal 4 (2003): 11-17.
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” -Romans 1:20, New International Version
Finding What’s Missing by Amanda Tewksbury
Have you ever seen a pitcher point to God after ending an inning, or a football player kneeling to pray after a touchdown? Have you seen a cross necklace jump from side to side around the neck of a runner in the Olympics? Have you ever wondered why? Legendary basketball coach John Wooden, NBA Champion and MVP David Robinson, and Cy Young winner and San Diego Padres pitcher Jake Peavy, and many others, all have something in common: they live and Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
play for Jesus Christ. There are many athletes out there taking the credit, soaking up the fame, the glory, and the money. But coaches like Wooden and players like Robinson never bragged about their accomplishments and abilities. Instead, they put the focus on God, letting the world know that He gave them all of their talent and strength, and without Him, they would have never been so successful on and off the court. As a player here at UMaine on the women’s basketball
team, I feel obligated to explain why no athlete can find true almost every day, and I was devastated. My mother had been happiness only in sports no matter how successful they are. such a light in my life and someone whom I admired, and it Nothing can ever fill the hole that Jesus Christ can fill; no was so hard to see her in pain and suffering. It felt like things sport, person, or anything else. Athletes such as Robinson just kept piling up, and the strength I had been relying on for are great examples, because they realized that after winning a so long began deteriorating. I started to talk to God more, but championship, they still couldn’t be satisfied. After a big win, it was more like questioning than anything: “Why God? Why teams only start looking to win the next one. There is never me? Why my mom? Why am I hurt? I’m a good person! I go to true satisfaction in sports or in life; there is always something church, I’m nice most of the time, why all of this?” more that we strive for, no matter what we achieve. These Then, on a seemingly innocuous summer night, my athletes and coaches were able to recognize that mom overdosed on painkillers. My mother only Christ could satisfy them. My life is now did not want to live anymore. Thank God, she changed forever because I have come to this survived and made a full recovery, but I realized realization as well. then that my strength was gone. I couldn’t do I have loved playing basketball ever this by myself any longer, and I couldn’t begin since I was three. Basketball was my life from to understand why any of this was happening sixth grade until I entered college. It was my in my life. While I was injured, it gave me time source of happiness and excitement, and it was to read the Bible, and tell God how I needed a way of escaping from problems and myself. I Him and although I couldn’t understand these kept playing because people noticed me and it circumstances, I knew that He could help me. made me feel like I had worth and value. I have Looking back, He’s helped me so much more pretty much always believed in God but I never than I could have ever imagined. thought God could be a part of basketball, I began attending Fellowship of let alone be the reason I play basketball. The Christian Athletes meetings by my senior transition I had to make in allowing Christ to year in high school and I learned that Christ Photo Courtesy of Doug DeBiase had given me these abilities in basketball. He be the reason I play was a tough road. Through hard times and situations, He showed me one important lesson: also gave my mom the courage to continue to fight the battle the only way I could play basketball and be completely satisfied against her alcoholism, and my family the strength to endure. with my life, day in and day out, was by living for Him. Although my mother is still battling, I know that God’s plan In high school, I appeared to be a happy, positive “jock.” for her is better than mine, and this knowledge brings the peace I grew up in a great upper middle-class family, with parents and that I’ve wanted for so long. siblings that loved me, I went to church every week, and I had Once I was able to start playing again, I recognized that talent in basketball that was evident early in my life. From the without Him my talent alone could not fill the hole that I had outside, you would think that I had all that I could have wanted. been looking to fill my entire life. The passion that I had for But really, I was insecure, moody, and I felt like something was basketball has become so much greater than it ever was before missing so I always wanted more. More wins, more trophies, my life was changed. Slowly but surely, He guided me to playing more friends, more fun, more happiness; anything that could for UMaine, which has been an awesome experience. I never take away this empty hole I felt in my heart. I had the idea that dreamed of being in this situation that I’m in, proving that His playing basketball could do that for me. I knew I was gifted, so plan is always better than our own plans because He has given I became very focused on my sport, knowing that if I played us our talents and desires for a reason. David Robinson once well enough it could get me a college scholarship. As the years said, “I can run. I can jump. I can block shots. I can dunk. But went by, I put in hours of work striving to achieve that, thinking I can’t take pride in that. I’m successful because God gave me that reaching this goal would fill that hole and give me the the ability.” I used to take great pride in all the hard work I satisfaction that I needed. So I practiced and competed, and put into my basketball skills, but that way of thinking left me worked hard to get better. I poured all my effort into basketball. feeling empty and unhappy. I had to recognize that, despite my The summer going into my junior year changed my hard work, God gave me the desire to get where I was before life. I tore the meniscus in my knee, and I had to miss the I could find joy. I’ve found that true fulfillment only comes most important tournament for college recruiting. My mom from knowing that everything in my life is because of Him. was also going through a very difficult time then. She’s an Basketball was once my way of showing people the work and alcoholic, and she was very insecure and felt increasingly talent I thought I had achieved by myself. Today, basketball is unstable and lost. She became worse than ever before, drunk my way of saying, “Thank You.” 15 Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
Volunteer Opportunities, Charities, Ministries, Service Projects and more! Whatever you believe in, experience the joy that comes from serving those in need. “Give that which is within for charity, and then all things are clean for you.” -Luke 11:41, New American Standard Bible
Manna Ministries Mission: Give hope to the people. What they do: Run a food pantry and soup kitchen; offer residential substance abuse treatment (Derek House) and mental health and substance abuse counseling (Manna Outpatient Services). Greatest Need: Financial Support. Manna is providing fuel assistance for 15 to 20 new families a month this winter, at a cost of $1500 per week that they did not budget for. How you can help: Prayer, organizing food drives and fundraisers, volunteering at the soup kitchen or food pantry. Paid counseling jobs are also offered to interested students. Who to Contact: Bill Ray, Director. (207)990-2870. Email: email@example.com. Online: www.mannamaine. com. Where: 629 Main Street, Bangor. When: Open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Maine Mission: Provide adult caring friends to all kids who need and want one. What they do: Make and support relationships with kids (ages 7-14) and older role models for the purposes of mentoring, teaching, and friendship. Greatest need: BBBS is in dire need of male volunteers- they have over 100 kids on their waiting list and 90 percent of them are boys. Financial support is also needed. How you can help: Volunteering! You can be a big brother or sister, lend a hand in the office and event planning, and help with fund raising. Who to Contact: Stacey Coventry, Mentoring Coordinator. (207)947-2063. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Online: www.downeastmentor.org. Where: 27 State Street, suite 35, Bangor. Upcoming Events: “Bowl for Kids’ Sake” at the end of March- a team bowling party at Family Fun Lanes in Bangor. Contact Stacey Coventry for more information on participating or sponsoring a team. Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
The Bodwell Center Mission: Build a strong community. What they do: Tons of stuff ! Adopt-An-Elder program, Alternative Spring Break, Black Bear Volunteers, Black Bear Mentors, International Service Trips, Service-Learning, and UMaine Cares, to name a few. Greatest need: Local poverty needs to be addressed. How you can help: Joining one of the service organizations mentioned above or hosting food/clothing drives or fundraisers. More information on the above groups and many others is available on the Bodwell Center’s Web site. Who to contact: Audra Grady, Coordinator. (207)581-4194. E-mail: FirstClass. Online: www.umaine.edu/volunteer. Where: Memorial Union, Room 312. Revival Fires Ministries Mission: Provide a fun safe haven for youths. What they do: Offer a place for kids to come and hang out, play pool, video and computer games, and be mentored. Greatest need: Volunteers to hang out with and mentor the kids. Who to contact: Jim Russ. (207)827-1011. E-mail: email@example.com. Online: www.revivalfiresministries.net. Where: 811 Main Street, Old Town. When: Every Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Crossroads Resource Center Mission: End hunger in the state of Maine. What they do: Run a food pantry that serves 2000 families a month; provides clothing, furniture, toys, and financial assistance to needy locals; offers substance abuse treatment and faith-based counseling. Greatest need: Non-perishable and canned foods, especially meat, vegetables, pasta, and sauces. Clothing of all sizes and genders (the warmer the better) is also needed. How you can help: Crossroads needs all the volunteer help they can get, particularly ones willing and able to do some heavy lifting. Who to Contact: Brenda Davis, Director. (207)827-1298. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Online: www.crossroadsministries-online.org. Where: 2 Wood Street, Old Town. When: Open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 16
Title: Chasing Daylight: Seizing the Power of Every Moment Author: Erwin Raphael McManus Publisher: Thomas Nelson Date Published: Jan. 10, 2006 Pages: 272 Price: $14.99, Paperback
Erwin Raphael McManus, author of The Barbarian Way and Lead Pastor at Mosaic Church in Los Angeles, truly captivates readers in his newest book, Chasing Daylight. Through his analysis of the story of Jonathan1, son of King Saul, McManus presents the idea of living life to the fullest, where every moment is seized and nothing slips by. Reading through Jonathan’s story, McManus was enthralled by the notion that if we are willing to step out despite uncertainty, God can and will use us. He found himself wanting to tell everyone about the changes they can make to live in this way, which is his reason for writing the book. Aimed toward Christians, this book can be a great kick-start for someone who is newly learning what it means to follow Jesus, but can also provide a wonderful push for someone trying to find something new in their faith. It is directed at anyone who is searching for God’s will for his or her life. McManus’ main objective is to break down the barriers that are holding most people back from embracing the life that God created for them. He does so by really digging into the story of Jonathan who, along with his armor bearer, took on the Philistines and changed Israel’s history. While Saul and the rest of his army slept underneath a pomegranate tree and waited for God to show them what to do, Jonathan decided to go until God stopped him- an initiative that led to victory in battle. By seizing his divine moment, Jonathan opened up the playing field for God to make huge changes in history. Though the book may have been a little wordy compared the size of passage it covers, there were very few times where it was repetitive. In fact, I often found myself needing to re-read paragraphs or sentences to ensure I grasped the thought in its entirety. My only criticism of it is that McManus made
a big mistake in cross-referencing. He opens every chapter with a title page that has quotes from a story he calls “The Perils of Ayden.” From what I could find, this is some kind of fantasy story that McManus is in the process of writing that parallels many stories in the Bible. Though the passages did complement the story nicely, he never explained what they were or where they were coming from. It would have been a smart choice to cross-reference a book that was in circulation, but the Ayden tales just didn’t work for me. This is a quote from the author found on the back of the book: “There are few things more powerful than a life lived with passionate clarity. Every moment is waiting to be seized by those who are chasing daylight. When we are passionate about God, we can trust our passions.” Though this is a powerful statement, reading it made me think this book was going to be full of clichéd, cheesy advice. Thankfully, the back cover is the only part that even comes close to that. McManus has a good grasp on when and where the correct time to be passionate is. He also makes sure his readers know that his interpretation is not the only one or the correct one: these are his thoughts, not necessarily the right thoughts. Drawing from his experience and that of friends, the book is personable and relatable. Overall, he is a great writer and did a fantastic job in this book. Chasing Daylight is an amazing book that will challenge you far past what you thought were your limits. It will be highly beneficial to anyone who hungers for more, and anyone who is looking for what to do next, where to go, and how to answer the call. We all have the capacity to live a life that “chases daylight”, and this book explains how to embrace that. -Molly Lizotte 1. Found in 1 Samuel, chapters 13 & 14.
Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
Doulos Music “He who has ears, let him hear.” -Matthew 11:15, New International Version
Artist: Red Album: End of Silence Label: Essential Records Release Date: June 6, 2006 Genre: Christian, Hard Rock, Ambient
Since the release of their debut album, End of Silence, Red has been gathering an army of hard rock fans. Touring with popular groups such as Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, Seether, Sevendust, Puddle of Mudd, and Skillet; Red has had a huge amount of exposure, playing over 250 shows within the past year. With music influenced by bands such as Linkin Park and Chevelle, Red uses a combination of powerful electric guitars and piano and string arrangements, creating a distinctive sound that effectively connects the listener to the message and progression of each song. Lead singer Mike Barnes uses passionate and dynamic vocals to bring a compelling emotional reaction to the listener. Although the lyrics alone are somewhat lacking in originality and complexity, the instrumental and vocal techniques are effective enough to compensate. The tracks on End of Silence deal with sadness, anger, confusion, and other harsh realities of life. Red’s goal through their music is to represent passion, pain, and most importantly; redemption. They want to let their listeners know that they aren’t alone in their suffering, and that there is hope through difficult trials. Their songs are about overcoming negativity and hurtful experiences, and finding strength in God. I highly recommend this album for those who are looking for heavy, intense, and powerful music with meaning. -Samantha Young
Artist: Phil Wickham Album: Cannons Label: INO Records Release Date: Oct. 2, 2007 Genre: Contemporary Christian, Acoustic Rock
In his second full album as a signed artist, Phil Wickham really shows his ability with his music in Cannons. Following his self-titled album, it is clear that Wickham pushed for variety and tried to make every song beautiful and captivating, as his debut album was somewhat melodramatic. What I found is that Whickham has now created an album of songs that are delightfully crafted, with flowing electric guitar parts, beautiful vocals, and very full drum beats, but also a compilation that is fairly similar and not too exciting. In the front booklet he states, along with lyrics, a short bit of his intentions in writing each song. It is obvious to see that he was searching for meaning and melody, not so much for variety in style or lyrics. Songs like “After Your Heart,” or “Cannons” are sure to be hits, either in personal stereos or sung in worship settings. I personally love his song “Sailing on a Ship,” which he wrote on an idea he took from C.S. Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Though at times cliché and repetitive, this rising artist has really proven himself, with his gorgeous voice and inspiring songwriting ability, as someone to be watching in the future, and this album is surely something to spend some time with. -Molly Lizotte Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
The Lighthouse Café
The Lighthouse Christian Coffeehouse Café, located in the basement of the Twin City Motor Inn in Brewer, is a great venue for local music. Open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 3-11 p.m., this café is a great place to find good food, good coffee, and good fellowship. With live music every night, pool and Ping-Pong tables, and conference rooms, there is something for everyone. They take pride in the fact that they are a safe, fun place for youth and college kids to come at night, with plenty of things to keep them entertained. As a music venue, they allow anyone on their stage as long as they are willing to sign a paper stating their intentions. They have had performances by everyone from full local bands on the rise, to a couple worship leaders with a guitar. If anyone is looking for a place to play or hear some great live Christian music, the Lighthouse Café is the best place to go. With friendly service, caring ownership, and devoted customers, this place will leave you wanting to come back every night!
Atlantic is a progressive indie rock band that was formed at Bethany Bible College in Sussex, New Brunswick. The band is comprised of five guys, all of whom are college seniors, with the exception of their front man Cory Doiron who graduated in 2006. While most students were enjoying a much-needed rest this summer, Atlantic spent their vacation (and fall semester) touring the United States and Canada. They played mostly at churches and youth rallies, but are notable for a small concert they put on at UMaine on Nov. 7 in cooperation with Campus Crusade for Christ. Atlantic’s undeniable talent shows through in their ability to take a popular song and make it their own. They are known for taking hymns and adding in a little heavy guitar and Doiron’s rock star raspy vocals to make them something you can’t help dancing to. Their originals are just as catchy and easy to follow as the great songs they cover. Their sound is bursting with moving bass lines, rocking drums, and very full guitar parts, with two electrics pumping out licks together. In the realm of Christian music, I would say they are comparable to Story Side B or Sanctus Real in vocal quality and indie rock music style. Their newest album, Our Expressions, From Your Heart, is a live recording of a show they did in Presque Isle, ME, in May of 2007. It captures their sound well, though isn’t the best music I have heard from them. Their song choice is great, with a mixture of upbeat rock songs and quiet, acoustic hymns. Listening to the CD, you begin to be excited for the next one that will show their improved sound quality. If interested in learning more about this exciting new band, check them out at www.myspace.com/bbcatlantic, where you can find bios, pictures, video journals, recordings of their music, and more.
Modern Day Jeremiah Rising up out of East Orrington Congregational Church in Orrington, Maine, Modern Day Jeremiah saw their beginnings in October 2003. Since then, the band has experienced some changes in members and altered their sound much. As worship leaders for a contemporary service at EOCC called “Worship Our Way,” MDJ plays every Sunday night at 6 p.m. The band has put out two full albums, but their latest really captures their sound best. With upbeat guitars, great vocal harmonies, and flowing, thought-provoking lyrics, United As One: Songs of Praise and Worship is a great album through and through. Featuring two female vocalists and one male, MDJ sticks out in the music scene for their lack of a front man and their ability to have three lead vocals. The addition of a full-time piano player and two electric guitars has given them a great full sound. Their name comes from the book of Jeremiah, chapter 1, where God calls Jeremiah to speak for him. Jeremiah proclaims he cannot for he is too young, to which, God responds, “You must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you.” It is MDJ’s mission to reach youth across the state and surrounding area with the message that they are never too young, too big, too small, etc., to do the work that God has called them to do. Giving God the glory through their music and message, MDJ is a real blessing to the state and is definitely a band worth checking out. Hear them at www.myspace.com/ moderndayjeremiah.
This page is a collaboration between Molly Lizotte and Tyler Francke 19
Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
CREATIVE WORKS “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you’re the leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” -Romans 12:4-8, New Living Translation
God has blessed each of us with unique gifts. God has given us these talents so that we would use them to fulfill His plan for our lives. He does not want us to simply use our gifts, He wants us to improve upon them and be proficient in them. He wants us to use our talents in ways that will make a difference; in ways that will enhance our lives and the lives of others. We, as artists for Christ, are working to use our gifts to glorify God. We hope to effectively share our hearts, our spiritual experiences, and our deep love for God through our work. We hope to convey a powerful message, expressing our faith in a way that we feel essays and reason alone would not portray in complete fullness or meaning. -Samantha Young
The Prayer Meetings Prayer brings us close together, Our hearts pressed like Pencils in an elastic band, Our tender wounds exposed and bleeding. But by prayer’s end we are closed, Our faces no longer Torrentially affected By our misdeeds, confessions, and Mutual pain. -Sarah Farnham Artwork by Samantha Young
Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
I’m Heading Home When I leave this place, Don’t ask me to come home. I’m already there. For earth is just a waiting room, a continuous prayer. When I leave this place, I will only pack one bag, full of mistakes, life’s lessons, and love.
When You Rain
If there comes a time when you need to talk to me, I’ll always be there, look above. I’ll be walking beside you in all that you do. Don’t run too fast, don’t walk too slow. Stay in the middle and don’t look behind you.
When I prayed to you I felt emptiness inside Without you here by my side I miss you And then it rained
Don’t cry for me please, I will be happier there than I’ve ever been. Instead, laugh and smile over the memories we shared.
There you are so high above me Why do I keep pushing on? Why do you keep holding on? Then you speak And it rains
When I leave this place, Please don’t have sorrow, For there comes a time when today will end, And for me there will be no tomorrow.
I keep standing in the rain Because when I do I feel you I just keep standing in the rain Looking up at the gray sky
I’ve packed my bags, I’m heading home. -Jenna Redman
And your words Hit me like thunder Strike me like lightning Nourishing my bones You help me to go on When you rain I keep standing in the rain Because when I do I feel you I just keep standing in the rain Looking up at the gray sky You help me to go on When you rain -Emily Desjardins 21
Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
Just a Look I broke- Face down
The fire started deep Coals I thought cold Reignited by embers of lust, Hollowing my chest out, smoke rising, Blurring, stinging my eyes.
Make me new!! But in reality I just want to feel good, Habitually forgetful, I lash out in pain I curse and scratch at your name, God, I want a new view to see you in.
Who do I praise? Who do I thank? Inside a sea of churning sickness To credit myself with righteousness? Fruitless.
Change me! Change me!! I cry but I’ll bet That I’m in league with Augustine Make me chaste, but not yet! So I wait and I wait and I wait,
Where can I find you? I want to know. How could I praise? How could I praise? Where does my strength to speak generate? I fought the fire in my chest with waving hands, But only fanned the flames My mind ablaze, how could I praise Your might and power when all I see is my ivory tower going up in smoke
But no golden chariot takes me away And I learn that we’ve only got today, All we choose is today. But no rapture. No instant healing.
My hands are dirt, My hands are made from dirt, I’m crumbling to be free from this!
This sin that I’m in takes more than peeling away the surface layer of skin, More than one prayer More than one praise More than one moment It’s a life work to change.
My chains grew light under your eye But I held tight to what has been crucified, My dirty guilty hands.
Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
Please! Change me! Bury me!
Wayward I will smile at you But I Hate you inside. Filled with love Yet love can fuel the greatest hate I am a beautiful contradiction, Apparently. Some would say I’m just a coincidence I don’t believe them (I was never religious) But I wish it were so. Then I would have an excuse I would need no excuse For the way I am. A Fantastic Universal Mistake. It sings A beautiful song in my ear. To be free to slavery In either direction
A beautiful contradiction How I despise it. And yet, How badly I need it, It is my only hope My single most joy. I wish I could… Could destroy it. Break down this world And end the madness. End this decadence Finish the decay, Welcome death And release this bitter Arrogance. Let me rephrase myself: In death there is silence And rest. But I am young yet My drive for destruction Will ease, My flickering hatred Will cool,
And I will find peace In this life Before the next. I will learn peaceful Servitude to the Lord To my Lord. But until that time I will rebel I will not hold back Because it is all I know how to do I will be true to myself Because it is all that I know. I understand now, that As a child does So will I Grow up and see The anger and sadness And pain evaporated. And I will be left with peace In my Fathers’ house. -Seth McCann
Down to the Streets by Jonathan Ramsdell
Sometimes I hate this job. Michael walked up Main Street, watching everyone pass by. Every ten years, it was his job to come down to the streets of the world and oversee the tally of all humanity. Being an archangel had its downside sometimes. Through the course of history, mankind had become increasingly selfish, destructive, and hateful.
“I have never seen faith so low,” she sobbed. “No one has faith anymore it seems! I feel useless…”
none had even a glimmer of God’s faith. Michael narrowed his view to Christians. On the busy street of downtown Secoville, Michael could only see a couple dozen cleansed souls. The angel was right; faith was lower than he had ever seen. At least ten souls had rejected their Christian upbringing altogether. Another dozen were placing all of their faith in their own goodness, thus making their pure faith lower than most of the non-Christians around. From what Michael could see, only Frank kept a strong relationship with God by reading his Bible and praying daily, at least until recently. Work was getting in the way again. Like clockwork, Michael thought. Every year from mid-November to the end of the Christmas season, Frank’s industry kept the workers for longer hours than normal, making his quiet time with the Lord almost disappear. Today, however, Frank was heading toward his church. It had been too long since he had spent some time alone with God.
Michael looked around, concentrating on the faith of those walking by. So many placed faith in their paycheck, but almost
Michael tried to comfort Faith and moved on, following Frank towards the church. He felt like he needed to recharge as well
Praise God that it is almost time. Michael noticed Faith on the other side of the street, nearly doubled over in tears. He quickly crossed and ran toward Faith. “What’s wrong, Faith?” Michael asked. He hadn’t seen an angel cry so hard since the Dark Ages.
Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
after looking into the dark souls of men. Michael watched Frank head up the granite steps to the church entrance and pull on one of the doors. Locked?! Since when has the house of God been locked? Frank looked disappointedly at the door, then turned away. However, physical doors cannot stop a determined angel. After watching the dejected parishioner walk away, Michael passed through the closed doors. He entered the sanctuary and approached the altar to pray, but Michael immediately felt something missing. As the mighty archangel kneeled down, he noticed what it was. God’s presence was not in the locked church. Michael was stunned. Ten years ago, this church had been in excellent health and growing, but now it was dead? The archangel searched the church’s memories, attempting to find the time where they lost God’s presence. He skipped past the adultery of the minister when he saw God’s forgiveness next to it. He paused when the deacons declared their antagonistic standpoint on the “King James Version Only” belief, noting that this may have started the downfall. Browsing through the memories, he found what he was looking for. After years of neglect of the poor and needy and ignoring the pleas of the lost, the church finally split over the color of the new carpet. Michael looked down at the floor and decided that they had chosen the wrong color anyways. That shade of green was not worth splitting a church over. Michael couldn’t stand being in the dark church any longer. He left it and Secoville as well, traveling to the next town over, Perso. People had always generally been more faithful in small towns like Perso, but even this was changing as they were slowly becoming overrun by the cities. He headed towards the pastor of the New Hope Church of Perso, after seeing Charity standing by him. She pointed to a homeless woman digging around in the church’s garbage can and whispered to the minister. Michael was shocked to see the Reverend shrug her off and walk away. Michael ran Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
up to Charity, who sat down open-mouthed on the curb. “I can’t believe it,” Charity sighed. She looked questioningly at Michael. “He always used to have so much love for people. What happened?” “Ten years can really change someone,” Michael replied sadly. Charity looked at the poor woman. “We have to help her,” she said. Charity walked over to another parishioner named Amy who happened to be walking by. When Charity whispered softly in her ear, Amy stopped and looked at the homeless woman for a second, then offered her jacket to her. “At least Amy still has some love in her,” Charity said, relieved. Michael smiled, his heart warmed by the woman’s love. Her humility will not go unrewarded. He would have to tell Meek to have a chat with the Reverend as soon as the tally was Artwork by Maggie McMoarn complete. Michael could already tell that he was not going to have a good report for his Lord. “The tally has not gone well, Lord,” Michael said. “The Christians have lost their first love.” “Like the church of Laodicea1, I am about to spew this lukewarm church from out of my mouth,” God replied. “I have been knocking at their hearts’ doors for many years, yet more close each day. The end is soon to come, and the church will not notice it happening. Thank you, Michael. Although the news you bring grieves me, it was not unexpected.” Michael bowed low to the ground in reverence. As he turned to leave, he was amazed to see a tear fall from Jehovah’s eye and land at the foot of His throne. 1. Revelation 3:1-10.
While You Were Sleeping...
About 100 people around the world die every minute. That’s five people every three seconds. The thought came to me, “how many people die while I sleep?” Originally I was thinking in literal terms. If I sleep six hours, that is 36,000 people dead who were alive when I went to sleep. But then I thought of all the time I spend completely oblivious to the world dying around me, essentially while I “sleep”. The world is dying without my Beloved Savior. If what I know is true, and Jesus is the only Way, then there is no time to waste. While we play, and distract ourselves, the world dies. While we are busily selfabsorbed, the world dies without a Savior. I’m sorry.
I have the greatest gift in the world. The Creator of the Universe loves me. In His great grace and infinite mercy He called me to Himself to be His adopted child, and heir to all creation. Blind and oblivious to the world around me, I have forgotten that He has called you too. I have the best news in the world. There is an infinitely loving Creator, our Savior, who loves His creation. But I let you die without Him. I’m sorry. I’ve been entrusted with the cure to the world’s sickness. How shameful of me to keep it from you! If you don’t want it, don’t take it. But the last thing I want is for you to go without knowing that I had it and that you could have it too. These drawings are titled “While you were sleeping.” The “you” is me. These drawings are convicting to myself. I’ve been sleeping.
For similar imagery I would direct you to Amy Carmichael’s writing: “Thy Brother’s Blood Crieth.” My drawings are roughly based on her theme though our approach and visions vary. -Brandon Jones
Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
Hope, in Death by Sean Fitzsimons
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” -Hebrews 11:1, New International Version
Arthur Benettson sweat. He moved his leg like a sewing machine; his eyes were as big as sewer covers. “Will everyone hear me fine?” he wondered. His pulse raced as he rose and walked across the platform to the podium. He was the focus of the stadium of scientists in the bottom of the crucible-shaped auditorium. He felt the pressure and heat of his announcement in his dry mouth. His palms left steamy stains on the wooden podium as he realized the room was full of people he didn’t know. He cleared his throatand stuttered into the microphone: “Good morning, my friends. Today, we stand on the edge of a new world. As pretentious as that sounds, my colleagues and I know how true it is. Since the inception of our research with the Gian project two years ago we have dreamed of this moment. As a scientific community we are…” Moments away from pressing the button he felt divorced from his body. His lanky frame was standing over the control monitor and he was reading his speech automatically, but he wasn’t really hearing what he was saying. Benettson started to relax a little and his mouth curled into a smile as everyone was taking notes and cameras began to flash. Finally, it was time to unveil all he had been working on for three years. Benettson’s voice quavered and his hand hovered above the glowing button. A pause, filled with rustling pages and squeaking auditorium seats. Pause. Press. Release. Light.
New Vision in ‘07?
By Janet Stocking Bangor Daily Chronicle SANTA MONICA, CA – Today, at 11:23 a.m. the scientific world experienced a Copernican breakthrough with Arthur Benettson’s astounding research on the existence of alternate dimensions, or a “spiritual” realm. The auditorium of Illusa Technology was packed with over 300 of the world’s leading physicists, quantum theorists, and chemists. The Gian lenses projected onto a screen above the audience and as the lenses were turned towards the audience they revealed light and dark spots, allegedly supernatural activity. The lenses are stated to “allow us to see the non-visible environments surrounding us…” Dr. Benettson, head of the project said, “the Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
team was inspired by Biblical passages such as Isaiah 6:1 that describe the spiritual world and its unseen glory. The evidence found with the lenses for the truth of those religious texts is monumental. When I finally saw the images appear on the screen above, my stomach leapt as I realized, this was it, all those Sunday school teachers and old wives’ tales were right! We are surrounded by angels and demons all the time!” The project’s findings have been disputed from the start and has received pressure from religious special interest groups. Jeremiah Flank, leader of the Council for a Pure American Heritage, is openly opposed to the project, protesting outside the event despite pouring rain, only stating, “This type of work is of the devil.” He could not be reached for further comment. Benettson pushed the front door to his apartment open only to be halted by the thin golden chain. “Hold on – coming!” called a round female voice. The smell of cooking beef greeted Benettson, a click and a stiff hug later and his fiancée pulled him by his hand to the elaborate living room and they sat down on the tan couch. She piled three papers in front of him, the titles cementing the magnitude of the experiment. The New York Times screamed “REVOLUTION!” The Washington Post questioned “God Proven?” The BBC simply stated: “Lenses Allow New Vision of World.” Kathy didn’t say anything. Benettson sighed; their relationship was still strained, just as it had been for weeks. The lenses hadn’t given him a new perspective on Kathy. Arthur Benettson, in a suit and tie, dazed from his release, still amazed that it was over, felt slightly hollow. No, it was more than slightly. Silence. Nancy Quinn of NPR spoke evenly from the kitchen satellite radio; “Today history was made at Illusa tech…” Nancy Quinn continued like a friend filling the conversation. After a few accolades and sound bytes for Arthur’s work, Kathy looked him in the eyes. “So tell me again, what do these lenses do? They allow you to see what?” “Well, they let us see past the normative diffraction limit in standard altitude pressure…” “English please,” she interjected sharply.
“Sorry,” he countered sarcastically. “You know I don’t understand all that scientific crap! And you don’t have to be sarcastic. I hardly ever see you and now you’re on the front page of the Times! I get calls all day from my mother and friends, asking what you’re doing and I don’t even know what to say to them! I just want a simple answer: what is it you’re working on?” “Hey, I didn’t mean to be sarcastic, it’s just been a long day for me. Uhhhh, I thought that you knew what was going on with the Gian project… It’s been all over the news.” “I didn’t want to read about it.” She stopped and looked down at the periodicals, “I wanted to hear it from you.” Benettson felt a knot of guilt tie in his stomach. “I don’t even know if its true, but the lenses are supposed to allow us to see into the spiritual side of life.” He moved and put his hand behind her and continued, “When we hook these thin little lenses the size of a quarter,” he pinched his fingers in an okay sign, “just this big, and put them up to a monitor they split the light rays, and when we run a current through them they work even faster.” “Oh.” She started to uncross her arms. “The team thinks that we’re seeing stuff the Bible talks about. The team thinks that it’s angels and demons and all that. When we’ve tried the lenses on people it gets weird, I can’t even describe it… black and white fog… shapes…” he squinted his eyes. “I don’t know. The team…” Kathy frowned, “You keep talking about the team! But what do you think?” Benettson smirked, “You really want to know? Really?” He scooted right next to her thigh and leaned over to her ear, telling a secret, “I think…” his voice lowered to a scratchy whisper, “it’s all a bunch of garbage.” She giggled like a little girl. When the opaque morning demanded a return to the office Benettson felt divided and unmotivated. The interstate commute seemed more frustrating and slower than normal. The swoosh of the automatic doors was the same, the labyrinthine laboratory corridors were the same, the offices with brilliant men forgetting their sons’ birthdays were the same, but it felt different to him. He moved quickly to his own office with his head down and jumped when he saw the form of Mr. Angles, his boss. “Benettson, hawareya doin’? Well, today I just got a great idea. This press release with the Gian lens has been the biggest thing in centuries for us, you know. Our company shares are going through the roof ! Everyone is eating this spiritual realm stuff UP! Even those straight-laced Christians!” Benettson winced visibly at his exaggerations and imposing floppy body oozing out on his desk. He noticed his mammoth butt and thighs crunching and
crumpling his papers. Mr. Angles pushed forward with his neck to move towards Benettson for a fake shoulder pat. “Oh yeah,” he chuckled, “You’ll be moving to the ninth floor today, no more low stuff like this for you!” He laughed; Benettson didn’t. “Anyways, what we need is a human interest story to really get those preorders going, aaaannndddd I think it would be great if you wore the Gian lens over your eyes for. say, a day or two.” He stopped and pursed his lips and moved his eyebrows up. “We’re just going to give an interview on Rebekkah Snole and Good Morning USA shows, that’s it. Then you can take off the lenses with your one-of-a-kind experience, and we’ll have shut up those human rights hippies going on about using 12 gigawatts to power the lenses. Whaddya say?” Benettson knew the other guys would never do this. “Well, hmmm? You’ll be…” Mr. Angles began to argue with him. “When?” “You’ll do it?!!” Benettson pushed his hair back, and blew out a tense breath. A raise wouldn’t be that bad, he thought, and maybe I’d finally know for sure what the lenses are showing… “I’ll do it, but no Delilah interview, she’s an air head. I will do Larry King.” “Fine, fine, that’s just fine. Look, I’ll get someone to move your stuff. You head down to the lab.” Mr. Angles looked him in the eye and pumped his hand vigorously. The agreement hung on Benettson, pulling him forward out of the door with the weight of it. The trip to the basement aged him considerably (go before you change your mind… go before you change your mind…) his thoughts spun like a dryer tossing and heating the ideas and possibilities, how could he actually do this? (what was I thinking?!?!) going down the stairs, (what if it overheats?). Suddenly he was there. They put the lenses on his face in the bright white room (why is that so hot?). Faster, faster, faster they strapped the lenses to his eyes tightly! The charge increased in sound! The wires jumped with current, the scientists smiled over the controls and glowing buttons. Press. Release.
Scientist Injured in Illusa Technology Lab By The Associated Press Bangor Daily Chronicle
SANTA MONICA, CA – In the beginning of the workweek an accidental power surge from a faulty capacitor jolted the site of the Gian Lens Project. The lead scientist Arthur Benettson was attempting to use the lenses over his own 27
Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
eyes when the accident occurred, which has left the fully functioning lenses fused to his eyes. “It was a tragedy,” stated Illusa Technology’s president Hal Angles. “So strange, so sudden, who could say that it would happen when we were using it?” The client’s fiancée is pressing charges as the accident was quickly seen as an mechanical malfunction. Arthur Benettson is in critical condition and is being treated at the Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center. A woman in her thirties wails and drives in rush hour traffic, tears assaulting her mascara and eroding her future. Her cell phone was on speaker: “Mom, you wouldn’t believe what happened to Arthur…” Hal Angles stared emptily at the updating news on msnbc.com. Regret numbed his limbs and heart, his mind free to feel the cutting wire of guilt. Outside his dark oak doors people ran up and down the hallways clutching printouts, papers, giving interviews. A mother and father held each other and moaned in pain from their only son. The house grieved. The nurse’s stack of cheery, clean laundry spread light in the sterile hallway. Whistling a tune, she was calloused against the sadness all around her. A door was ajar revealing warm hospital darkness. Inside a man with a newly shaved head and face looked paradoxically old and infantile at the same time. Although gauze covered most of his face, the white wraps were strapping more color, sound, and vibrancy underneath than can be imagined. A leg kicked, a foot pushed up, the beep of a heart monitor reaching 140, 160, 175. His mouth gaped like fish. He was awake.
I never moved my mouth but I sang deeper and fuller than I have ever done before. We continued singing in a round, alternating voices, praising the light. Suddenly my head was forced down, my bones unable to work in this sacred place, utterly oppressed, utterly crushed, utterly loved. I was unworthy of the glory. “Arthur.” I started to moan. “Arthur.” I screamed with all the air and energy in my body, screamed not to leave this presence. I knew I was moving back to incompletion – my other half there. I felt a prick in my spine, and I was gone. “He’s returning, going down, heart at 200…200… 195…180…185…170…170…171… We’ve got him. You gave us quite the scare,” a new voice told me, small and totally human. What had I seen? Where had I been? My eyes clenched shut; I ignored the other comments, and felt numb and drained all over. I heard her shoes clack against tile, moving away from me. I opened my eyes in despair; What had happened to me at the lab? I felt the nausea and adrenaline rising as I looked around, I was seeing the outlines of the walls of my room but the rest was blue-black darkness. I realized I saw through the walls. The world looked like it was a blueprint! I saw movement above me but mostly shadows and dim darkness. Where was I? On Earth? In a hospital? I think I’m in a hospital… Through the blue-black fog I saw a few lights and glowing silhouettes of people, a few precious beacons. I was hypnotized by the lights, the space I was before…it had some of this beauty. Something was horribly wrong with my eyes; I had to get out of here. “Sit down, please.” someone called from the darkness. “Sit down, Mr. Benettson!” she screeched like a slippery fan belt, words like clanging cymbals. “You are not allowed to leave this room!!” She was gone from my sight, I couldn’t tell her from the black curtain that was all around me. I moved quickly towards the door outline, and dragged myself towards one of the beacon-silhouettes, thirsting inside for the light it had. I had tasted completeness, and it awakened something in my soul. As I got near it suddenly I was invisibly repelled and forced to the cool tile. A blazing comet streaked into my view, inscribed with words on her heart, her clothes unable to cover the lit magnesium underneath. She was unapproachable: she was a smaller version of the source I had seen, like candle lit from a campfire. The emblazoned person moved closer to me, something sharp in her hand. The suffocating feeling tightened over me as she bent down over my sprawling, crawling, writhing body. Nananananana hahahaha…
BOOM! A thin thread of silver fired across the infinite blackness, cutting a horizon. A crack in the complete dark, and the echo made me feel as if the skin on me would rip off. How was I alive? Where was this place of nothing? I felt a breeze, a movement, and rushing air – the line widened, glowed with a dim light, and oscillated as another sound erupted like a volcano. The oscillating line suddenly pulled taut, now halving the sky. I stood up. A chorus louder than any sound on earth cried, HOLY HOLY HOLY! a triplet I thought would shatter me with its power and volume, instead it pushed me to my knees. HOLY HOLY HOLY! the faceless sound cried, light ignited the line, shoving back the darkness, illumination spreading all around me. I felt my chest begin to sing along with the bodiless chorus; 28 Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
I think I remember them changing my bandages. I
think they even changed my clothes. Bed sheets came and but I tried to stay away from the mirror most days. One time, went, the sun went up; the sun went down, the earth spun, my when I sat in my chair watching a black shape swirl down a mind spun a tapestry of doubt, with these new eyes had I really funnel into someone’s chest I got this feeling washing over me, seen God? Had I really been in his presence, or was it just a shock like I hated the world, I hated everything that had happened of electricity? Faith. What is it for me? My fiancée reminded me to me and nothing would ever fill me up. Then I had pinpricks that the Bible says, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for all over my skin, I felt chilled and my teeth would chatter, the and certain of what we do not see”. That intended hope, instead room grew dimmer, and I heard a snake-hiss whisper behind made me sick with worry. If I had seen the all-loving Christian me, filling my ears, but when I turned – it stopped. It was only God, why was he so utterly terrifying? Was it really faith when the door behind me open a crack, maybe the old steam furnace. I was terrified of the consequence of not believing? Could I be The doorknob was freezing cold when I went to shut it again. faithful to something I was petrified of disobeying? Because I had Today I got into my chair and sat at my post, peering seen God’s majesty, could I have the gift of child-like faith? through the shades. I saw my favorite spot of activity at the The Gideon’s Bible placed in my bedside drawer offered corner in front of Starbucks. From what I saw it seemed to be a no comfort. It said I needed faith to know God, to be at peace, I tumultuous spot of dark and light swirling together. I reached threw it at the wall and one day when the nurse wasn’t looking, for the binoculars and focused them on a man with no legs and buried it under my uneaten dinner on the foam “Faith is integrated an open guitar case. A passerby was stopped… tray. I had scoured its green leather for answers, by hard work, he looked to the man sitting…above him the but it only made my heart pound when I opened it, black fog and starburst of white moved…the work not entirely seeing like a film negative with my screwed up eyes. passerby was in the balance of these opposites. it changes He reached into his pocket and turned to walk, Could I be innocent again? Why should I believe in ours; a God who would destroy me just by seeing him? I everything we see.” but threw something down in a guitar case. His wondered all day and all week and all month until they kicked light was encouraged, and better yet, he had left a little light me out of my hospital bed and sent me home with a box of gauze behind, not in the crumbled bills in the guitar case, but inside and a broken heart. They said I was getting better. I grew bitter. the sitting man.... The wind rattling the window woke me up. I opened The door handle quietly clicked and Kathy peeked her my eyes again to my strange blueprint view of the world. I didn’t head in. really want to be up this early but I slept a lot and couldn’t “Good morning…. What are you doing?” she asked, sleep in anymore. The accident hadn’t changed anything but alarmed. I put the binoculars down on my lap. my vision, so I got up and stretched. The door to my room was “Just...looking, uhhh, sitting.” shut; the shades were down, but I still had my secret. I kicked “What do you mean looking? You said looking. The the cane on the floor under the bed. I went to the window and doctors said you should stay away from bright sunlight, you stared right into the sun, feeling its warmth. Although the skin know that. I don’t think you should be pressing down on your around my eyes was scarred, they still opened a little. Through face with anything, let alone these binoculars. Why do you even the slits the morning poured in through the Gian lenses. have these?” She walked over without an answer and picked It was a bright urban morning, people were already out them up. “Now let me put the cream on so the skin will heal.” walking, shopping, and rushing around – fathers, sons, and For the next few minutes I tilted my head back and laughing girls. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something felt sorry for Kathy. As she unwrapped the bandages I saw her that looked like swirling black fog move towards a pedestrian heart beat faster (up close each person was an X-ray, outlined as she stood on the corner. The black form funneled into her and glowing). She began to chat about something, but I saw and she suddenly darted across the busy street. the light in her dim as she pulled away the layers of gauze I had been seeing these swirling black forms enter and saw my burned flesh, I knew that her heart was gone. people ever since the accident, my little mystery to figure out. “I’ll make breakfast in a few minutes, you just relax Occasionally I would also see light inside of people glow and and let that cream dry. Today we have to go down town to see burn bright for a minute pushing back the darkness. I even saw Dr. Jamison and do some errands. Oh, where’s your cane?” a few people who always had light glowing inside of them, soft “It’s a walking stick, a cane is for and old man. Look, as moonlight when they were alone, but a spotlight when they I’m fine.” My words shot out and they dimmed her even more. were gathered. What was different with them? “Well here it is,” she picked it up from under the bed. As far as I saw, everyone had the black mist entering “Come on down when you’re ready.” them sometimes, and everyone had their light shine out every “I will. See ya.” once in a while. So far I hadn’t seen the black fog come into me, She left as quiet as she had entered but my world was a 29 Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
little darker. I’m glad she’s taking care of me, and as I thought this, the world got brighter. I’m glad for the way she stuck with me through the settlement and the tough beginning days. Each thought increased the light and contrast. I was really thankful, even if I couldn’t say it. I went over to the dresser, and got a shirt and new pair of underwear. I never even saw the black fog twirling its tendrils underneath the crack in the door. I didn’t turn around as the room got cold. I didn’t pay attention as the fog slithered around my ankle and gripped my waist. The mirror tried to grab my attention, I knew I shouldn’t look, I couldn’t handle it, but I couldn’t resist. I glanced. The black fog covered my face and ran down my back like a net. A bell tolled and my vision locked onto my reflection, my muscles tensed and I couldn’t turn away, not even if I wanted to. I saw my heart, and I was pulled into it and out of this world. I landed in a black void again completely alone, and without bandages. I hadn’t been to church since my first year of college when I tried everything, but I knew that I was in God’s presence now – or more accurately, under God’s presence. I was in that formless expanse, not standing on anything but not falling, and above me was God. Suddenly an illuminated Bible opened in front of me and words flew off the pages, sentences fired like missiles at me. I watched in horror as a hailstorm of words came down. “Oomph!” One sentence hit me solidly in the gut and kept going through my body, doubling me over in its wake. The phrase: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” whizzed past by my ear. A blizzard of commands and laws flew around me, there were so many and they moved so fast I couldn’t read what they said, “You shall not steal” hit me on the cheek while I was on my knees, “Honor your mother and father” joined in the assault on the other one. The commands gathered, “You shall not covet” hit me in the face and knocked a few teeth out. I shrieked in pain and anguish of my heart. Was God still above me? Was he trying to kill me finally because I had seen? I looked and saw God as a hammer swinging down towards me. I was crushed into a million pieces and scattered like stars in the sky. The commands were like shooting stars in the black void falling in terrible beauty, orchestrated from above. The laws and requirements continued to pile up around me forming a wall, building a literal prison for me. I was sealed into a cell as “Keep the Sabbath holy” slid into place in the roof. I wept and my bleeding mouth and tears flowed out. Who was God who would make the world this way with rules that no one can follow? It’s not that I hated God, I couldn’t follow his rules so I just tried to be a good person. I tried to be positive and believe that it would all be okay if I was good, but inside my dark cell, in my heart, I knew I hadn’t really 30 Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
even done these things. I didn’t even really play by my rules. I felt around my prison and found a lock with a largering of keys near it. I grabbed the keys shakily and put one in the lock. It fit perfectly. I was overtaken with a vivid memory of the time when I was little and volunteering with the Boy Scouts, I was in the brown uniform, complete with acne and braces. I saw us packaging food at Christmas to give out to the community. Feeling warmed again, I was good, I was good, I was a good person, I thought and hastily turned the key in the lock, but the key snapped as soon as I moved it. Another equally vivid memory of what I was thinking that day flooded over me: “I can’t wait to get home, this is stupid…I hate this…When is this over?” I remembered the other half with rising terror. My breathing came in ragged gasps and as I fumbled for another key; another memory filled my mind – this time when I was a little older. I saw a friend walking in the rain on campus, I pulled my car over and yelled if she wanted a ride. “Now we’re even,” I had thought; the key broke to dust in my hand. Frantically, I tried the other twenty keys in my hand in the lock, all memories revealing and cutting, but ultimately not good enough. I wasn’t good. I pounded on the door, screamed at it, kicked it, and scratched in the dark, clawing like an animal. A pounding answered me…from outside? I shut my mouth. It started again. A pounding, a knocking on the door, was God swinging at me again? Where could I run from him? The pounding continued from the outside, doggedly determined…bam bam bam. I would do anything to get out of here, cornered in the dark. How could I open the door, who could open the door? The pounding…bam bam bam…continued. I didn’t know what to do…bam bam bam… “Come in,” I finally said. The door opened quickly and fully. I couldn’t help but break down in the open doorway. Tears streamed hot out of my eyes. I felt the scars disappear, my body was restored, my heart held and supported for the first time – maybe in my whole life. I felt all together; I felt whole. God found me; he stepped into the doorway and into my prison and called me home. When I arrived back from my journey only a moment had passed, and I stared into my reflection in the mirror for the second time. The fog was completely gone. The light inside had changed, the breakfast smells were rising through the door, and I realized this was all a wonderful and temporary gift. Like the lenses, I believe faith is also grafted into us, planted on top of what we perceive; a lens that brings clarity. Faith is integrated by hard work, work not entirely ours; it changes everything we see.
She moves as He moves His heartbeat her rhythm—His Gospel in her feet Dance undignified Extravagant abandon Her body His voice
Mercy My Lord, My God, I need You now This life I failed and lay it down I am unworthy, selfish, and untrue To seek elsewhere when I know I need You I’ve followed Satan down an empty road Found nothing but loneliness and bitter cold God You gave me life and You gave it again And still I let myself fall back into sin My God bled for me and stood to embrace me And I left Him there to follow he who hates me I’m not worthy of Your mercy or Your gift My spirit is Yours alone to lift I’ve prayed the prayers; I believe the story Yet I still don’t deserve to see Your glory But my God, if You could only show me the way I’m ready now to give it all away My plans, my dreams, my hopes, my fears My worries, my doubts, my pride, my tears I beg You to take all that which was mine I am ready to submit to Your design My Lord, My God, I pray that You Would take me, and break me, and make me new.
Revelation fire In the presence of the King Fueling endless praise What strange devotion This reckless, foolish worship …More undignified?! Behold the slain Lamb Risen, alive, salvation Passion pleads r e s p o n s e -Becky Rogers
A Reminder for the Morn Let not the baggage of today be the burden of the ‘morrow! Let the breath of Christ, at break of day, put your worry far away. For with the morning dew come His mercies, freshly new And remember every morn, when you draw first conscious breath, ‘Tis a brand new day, and Christ has saved you from the death!
-Paul M. T. Savoy
Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
who I am, who I was by Tyler Francke
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions -- it is by grace you have been saved.” -Ephesians 2:4-5, New International Version
“Who am I?” It’s a question that can be very difficult to answer, especially for college students as many of us are still in flux: changing majors, deciding on jobs and careers, trying to find a meaningful relationship, and developing into the people we will be for the rest of our lives. It’s a question that I will try to answer for myself in the following pages. A simple response would be best, but they seem to come up short: I’m a sophomore at the University of Maine. I’m a Journalism major. I’m a Lakers and Kentucky Wildcats fan. I’m a waiter at Ruby Tuesday. I’m the editor in chief of this publication, a project and a group of which I am very proud but an office by which I am very humbled. All of these things are true but don’t adequately describe me; surface details such as these could not fully describe anyone. One aspect of my life that I try my best every day to make not a surface detail is that I’m a Christian. I realize this word can mean a million different things to different people, so I’ll tell you what it means to me: I’m a sinner who was very lost and confused and I found something that brings me more fulfillment then I ever thought possible. It’s not always easy to live out, but it is so real. The idea for this publication began with the desire to share the story of what God has done in my life. The vision has come a long way since then, but that desire never left. Everyone has a story, and I’m not writing this because I think mine is better or more special than anyone else’s, because it’s certainly not. But if I want to describe who I am, why I live the way I do, and why I wanted to start Doulos, this testimony is unavoidable. I have only considered myself a Christian for about a year. I was baptized and raised Catholic but never really identified with the faith; church was just something I did for an hour a week when my parents made me. When I was twelve, my parents divorced and my mom, little brother and I wound up in Presque Isle. I attended church maybe ten times between then and when I went to college. During my high school years I was plagued with an extreme lack of self-confidence and even depression at times. I had a great group of friends that I loved hanging out with, and I pretty much got along with everyone, but I never had a serious girlfriend or any friend I was really close to. Ironically, I craved a deep relationship but wouldn’t open up about myself to anyone so that kind of bond could never grow. My thoughts on God during this time were few, but if I had to I would classify them somewhere between agnosticism 32 Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
and apathy. I would pray occasionally, when I wanted something, and if I didn’t receive it I would get angry at God and decide He must not exist. Overall, I did believe in God because something told me that life just didn’t make sense without Him being in the equation somehow, but I didn’t have any reason or desire to pursue that any further. In my senior year, I would often go on long drives with no particular destination in mind. I look back on that and realize I was searching for something. Like many freshmen, I started to drink a lot in college. I partied some in high school, definitely more my senior year, but I reached a whole new level during my first fall semester. I spent my first three nights here totally wasted, and until October I got drunk every weekend I was at school. I didn’t have any good reasons for drinking so much; basically it just seemed like the thing to do at college. All my friends I hung out with were doing it, and at that time I was not one to go against the crowd in any way. I partied because I was dependent on people’s approval, and it made me feel accepted and popular. There were a few times when I questioned the prudence of that lifestyle, such as when my buddies and I would trek, halfdrunk, up College Avenue in the cold to a frat party, only to be turned away because we didn’t have enough girls with us. There were other concerns too, like a tragic history of alcoholism in my family. My constant lying to my parents and younger brother to cover up what I was doing also caused me great duress, pretending to be one person in front of them, and pretending to be another with my friends, all the while not knowing who I really was. One weekend everything came to a head. I went out to a party on Thursday night even though I had to write a paper for one of my classes. I wrote it later that night, drunk, and got a B-plus. On Friday I got hammered and made out with a friend’s girlfriend…twice. Saturday night, I got more trashed than I ever had before, almost got in a fight (my fault), puked in a bathtub, and ended up sleeping with a girl I barely knew. All this happened on the night before my family came to visit. I was too hung over to go out to eat with them like we had planned. The sex tore me up more than anything. People sometimes talk about random hook-ups like they’re no big deal (it’s even a Facebook option for how you know someone) but casual, meaningless sex was something I knew wasn’t for me. I had done that before, and vowed that the next time it happened it would be with someone I loved. I let alcohol take
that from me. of my Catholic background, I had been acquainted with the I decided to take a break from drinking for a little while idea of sin, and I knew that God didn’t like it very much. after that weekend. One of my close friends from high school, So I wandered around our campus and I thought and I the only really strong Christian influence in my life at that prayed and I tried to work things out. I asked for forgiveness time, supported me in this decision. In fact, she encouraged for everything that I thought could be considered sinful. For me to take it a step further and give up drinking all together. most of the issues I came up with, it was the first time I had ever “Yeah right,” I told her. looked at them as being wrong. I didn’t know it then, but God’s However, as time went on and we talked more and more Spirit was guiding me through that. Central to Jesus’ message and got closer to each other, I realized that I had developed is repentance, basically admitting your sinfulness, asking feelings for her. I finally decided to try to give up drinking forgiveness from God, and making a decision to turn from sin because I wanted to be with her. and seek righteousness. It is with this line that He began His It was around this time that she started to tell me about ministry: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” 1 At that God. I always got uncomfortable whenever she would bring it time I didn’t have any idea what repentance even was, but it was up, but at the same time I liked to hear her talk about Him. It exactly what I was doing, and it was exactly what I needed to do. excited me to think that God might be something more than Needless to say, asking for forgiveness for every sinful just an arbitrary belief, something that could actually have an thing I could think of took quite a long time. I kept expecting impact on your life, someone who could support you, help you, to feel something change with each passing step but nothing and love you. It scared me too, because the way she did. The next thing I thought of that might was trying to get me to think would force me to “I wouldn’t trade a be holding me back was harboring bitterness embrace an ideal that all of my friends at the time second of it. I had toward others (another truth in Jesus’ teachings thought was really weird. And the last thing I wanted about which I knew nothing at the time). been breathing for So I thought of people that I hated (usually my friends to think of me was that I was weird. I had lots of questions for her, and she eighteen years but my for no real reason), people I was mad at and answered them the best she could, but she didn’t life didn’t really be- bitter towards, and I let go of that bitterness. always have answers that satisfied me. Sometimes we gin until that day.” I really forgave them all: those who I believed had trouble connecting because our backgrounds had abused me, hurt me, and mistreated me. were so different: she had grown up going to church and her Up until that point, I had experienced a pretty rocky dad is an ordained minister. relationship with my younger brother, and I instinctively knew It didn’t “click” until I called another high school that it was something that was holding me back. I asked for friend at the University of Southern Maine. I hadn’t talked to forgiveness for the way I had treated him, and I forgave him him in a few months, and he told me that he had found God in for how he had treated me, and I vowed to make an effort to that time. In him I was able to see that a person could be truly change our relationship. I acted on it immediately, e-mailing and radically changed, apparently by God. He told me about him that very day to tell him I was sorry and that I wanted to the joy and the peace that he felt and the prayers that had been change and be a good brother and friend to him. We have been answered. Everything about him was different, even his voice. much closer ever since. He sounded free. After just a few hours of prayer, I had let go of issues He advised me that the decision began with prayer. He that had been weighing me down for years, but I didn’t feel any told me that God wouldn’t change my life unless I gave Him closer to God. I had forgiven everyone who had ever wronged permission. That night I prayed, really prayed, for the first me and I had repented of every sin I could imagine, but the nasty, time in years. I told God that, if He was listening, I wanted to conflicted feeling in my stomach was just as strong as before change. That I wanted more from life. I said that I wanted to Exhausted, out of ideas, and running late for a test, I try to live for Him. decided that I had to give it up. God wasn’t real after all, or if He I woke up in the morning expecting to feel free and at was, I simply wasn’t good enough for Him. I was heartbroken peace like my friend said he felt. I didn’t feel anything like that. at this, because after all I had been through that morning I had Instead, there was this strange, conflicted feeling in the pit of come to a point where I was desperate for God. I was dying to feel my stomach. I was confused and disheartened. something, to know it wasn’t all in vain. I realized with shocking However, I decided not to give up. I tried to figure out clarity that I wanted God more than I wanted anything else. why what I had prayed hadn’t worked. My first thought was This was the last thing I prayed before I went in to take the test. that the reason I hadn’t felt whatever I was supposed to feel Forty-five minutes later, I was walking back to my dorm was that God didn’t want me because of all my sins. Because room and something incredible happened. As I passed by the 33 Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
place where I had said my last prayer, a weight was lifted from me. The conflicted feeling melted away, and it was replaced by an overwhelming sense of peace and joy that filled my whole body and tingled in my fingertips. My feet were as light as air and I really can’t describe it any better than to say that I felt high. But more than just the feelings, there was an actual physical sensation in my chest that I was being filled with something. There was an undeniable pressure there; it was almost hard to breathe. At that moment I stopped, and with a ridiculously big smile on my face I looked to the sky and thanked God for hearing my prayer and answering it. I said I knew that I had a lot of work to do in my life, but I would be committed to living for Him from that point onward. And I have been ever since. I haven’t always honored my commitment the way that I should, but that doesn’t change my promise. I am bonded to Him now. People ask me why I’m a Christian and why I live the way I do, and this testimony shows why: I made a decision a year ago, and now I don’t really have a choice anymore. What I felt and experienced that day was simply too profound to ignore. You are free to interpret it however you like but there’s no doubt in my mind that it was God. Nothing else can explain it. As I’ve said, this life is not always easy, and it’s not always fun. I’ve certainly experienced some amazing things
since that moment that changed me, but I’ve also been through some really difficult times. I’ve had to grapple with deepseated issues that I never would have needed to confront had I continued living the way I was. I’ve lost connections with some of my best friends, people I love and with whom I never wanted to lose touch. But I wouldn’t trade a second of it. I had been breathing for eighteen years but my life didn’t really begin until that day. Through the good times and the bad, I have strength to persevere, hope to pull me through, and a joy I simply can’t express. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this publication. I hope you enjoyed it and I pray it made you think. I believe that the answer to my opening question, “Who am I?” is my faith. I believe this because we are only in this world for a short while, and the things we study, the jobs we do, the careers we follow, and the relationships we have (everything I mentioned in my opening that we college students spend all our time striving for) will fade away in the generations to come. God, however, is eternal and there are choices we face in this life that have eternal consequences. Do not take them lightly, for how we respond to these decisions is what really makes us who we are. 1. Matthew 4:17, New International Version.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” -Matthew 7:7-8, New International Version
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” -1 Peter 2:24, New American Standard Bible. Artwork by Brandon Jones.
Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
Closing Remarks That’s all we have for you this issue. In the future, this sectiion will feature an orignal opinion or commentary piece on a current event or Christianity-related issue. However, this time we will leave you with a collection of quotes that we found inspiring, challenging, and fitting. We hope you will like them as well. We’ll see you again next fall! -Doulos Staff
“That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.” -Patrick Henry (1736-1799).
“Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.” -Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564).
“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” -Albert Einstein (1879-1955).
“No man is excluded from calling upon God, the gate of salvation is set open unto all men: neither is there any other thing which keepeth us back from entering in, save only our own unbelief.” -John Calvin (1509-1564).
“I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I do know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, He will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather He will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?’” -Mother Teresa (1910-1997).
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” -Galileo Galilei (1564-1642).
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Nelson Mandela (1918- ).
“When it is not in our power to determine what is true, we ought to follow what is most probable” -René Descartes (15961650). “I do not believe that a world without evil, preferable in order to ours, is possible; otherwise it would have been preferred. It is necessary to believe that the mixture of evil has produced the greatest possible good: otherwise the evil would not have been permitted.” -Gottfried Liebniz (1646-1716). “Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” -Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758).
“It is finished.” -Jesus of Nazareth (ca. 0-33).
Doulos will be back for our second issue in the Fall semester of 2008, but not everyone who contributed to this publication will be returning. Many of our good friends and colleagues who worked tirelessly alongside us in producing this journal are graduating and moving on. Their names and majors are listed below. If you are willing, please pray along with us for God’s blessing and guidance in their lives. Their help was invaluable and they will be dearly missed. Lorén Babirak, Pre-Med Sarah Farnham, English/Theater Matthew Hunter, Political Science/History Brandon Jones, Civil Engineering John Knight, Biology Matthew Leland, Mechanical Engineering
Seth McCann, English/German Maggie McMoarn, Civil Engineering Kevin Mitchell, New Media Becky Rogers, Communication Leslie Workman, Pre-Med
Doulos: A Journal of Christian Thought
INFORMATION ON SUBMISSIONS We encourage anyone to submit an article, essay, short story, poem, or piece of artwork for us to consider for publication in a future issue of Doulos. Submissions should be respectful and thoughtful and should seek to promote intelligent discussion. Doulos wants to give you a chance for your voice to be heard! If interested, please contact Editor in Chief Tyler Francke on FirstClass for more information on the submissions guidelines and rubric and on the selection and editing procedures.
INTERESTED IN CONTRIBUTING?
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
For our upcoming Fall 2008 issue, we are looking for new members to the Doulos team, particularly on the design and editorial staff. We need to replace graduating seniors in the positions of Poetry/Fiction Editor and Art/Photography Editor, and we want to establish and fill the new position of Editor of Articles and Essays. Of course, anyone who wants to contribute to the vision of Doulos in any other way is welcome. As you can see, whatever your passions, skills, and schedule, there is a place for you in Doulos if you are interested. Please contact Tyler Francke for more information and section meeting times!
We will gladly consider for printing in subsequent issues any letters that are thoughtful and serious in nature, regardless of whether the viewpoints expressed agree with ours or not. Submissions should be sent to Tyler Francke on FirstClass or send through regular mail to DOULOS, 5748 Memorial Union, 150 Wade Center, Orono, ME 04469-5748 (no postage is required for on-campus mail).
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the journal, the editors and advisors, or the University of Maine.
CONTACT US! Love us? Hate us? We want to know! At Doulos, we value the opinions of our readers. Please e-mail all questions, comments and concerns to Tyler Francke on FirstClass or send any regular mail to DOULOS, 5748 Memorial Union, 150 Wade Center, Orono, ME 04469-5748.
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