A Journal of Christian Thought at Duke
C R U X
Photography by Victoria Wu
- the decisive or most important point at issue -
Photography by Victoria Wu
Mission and Vision
To present Christian perspectives on social, cultural, and academic topics within the Duke community.
We believe that Christian intellectual exploration and imagination yield abundant life.
Letter from the Editor
From Seed to Sequoia
Interview with Dr. Jed Atkins
Strength in Weakness
I Need Some Lovin’
Disclaimer: The articles below reflect the words and opinions of the individual authors and do not represent the views of Duke University or the Crux communityat-large. All art and photography in this issue are from Duke students and by Duke students.
Photography by Victoria Wu
Letter From The Editor
Staff MAGAZINE EDITORIAL BOARD
Dear Reader, Many of us at Duke are searching for answers. We seek answers to our questions of academic success, career, financial stability, and the ideal college experience. Since we are profoundly deep-thinking creatures, we also seek answers to questions of identity, of meaning and purpose, of the “good life,” if our whole lives up to this point have been worth it, and as our faculty interviewee Dr. Atkins perceptively noted, what if we’re not finally happy after all this? These are deep, urgent questions with the potential to shape our lives and worldviews more than we can know, which is why Crux believes that today is the day to pursue the truth about who we are, where we are going, and why we are here. We seek these answers alongside you and with you, through means of intentional dialogue (in Crux Conversations), thoughtful writing (our magazine and blog), and a hunger to share the treasure that has satisfied our search. You might say that we aim to uncover the “crux” of what so many of us search for at Duke: the secret to human flourishing. As Christians, we believe the answer is found in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and his cross, that purchased abundant life for his people. We desire to join Duke’s rich ideological discourse with this magazine (among other avenues), writing to explore how God’s
ANNA NORTHUP, editor-in-chief class of 2021, psychology GABBI ZEGERS, magazine managing editor class of 2021, cultural anthropology
plenteous life intersects every area of our own, from mental health to sex to personal narratives. We believe that Christian intellectual exploration and imagination yield abundant life, and subsequently our magazine theme this semester is “flourishing.” With the busy midterm seasons, bustling academic life, and being on 40+ listservs, sometimes our deepest questions about life – about ourselves, our destinies, and our purposes – can fall by the wayside. We are grateful that Duke offers us four years of our young lives to stop, think deeply, and discover profound truths before ultimately choosing our paths. We invite you to join us as we chase after these questions, and share the deeply satisfying answer we found in Jesus Christ. As always, we are excited to dialogue, and please reach out – we would love to have a conversation with you! Crux Conversations is a community where we seek truth together, honestly and openly, and you can find information about CC on our Facebook page. My number is 845-803-0716 if you would like to contact me for any reasons pertaining to Crux or details about any of our group. Thank you for joining us for this edition!
MARGARET GAW, magazine design editor class of 2022, english
AYDEN CASE, blog managing editor class of 2022, biomedical engineering
ACHILLES DABROWSKI, blog visual editor class of 2022, electrical and computer engineering
NOAH BREUSS-BURGESS, crux conversations editor class of 2022, history
CHRISTINE ASHIMWE, publicity director class of 2021, visual media studies
WRITERS NEFER BASTULI
class of 2020, international comparative studies
class of 2021, mathematics
class of 2020, psychology
ANDREW RAINES class of 2021, economics
class of 2021, computer science
DOROTHY ADU-AMANKWAH class of 2021, english
Sincerely, Anna Northup
class of 2020, computer science
CARLY MCGREGOR class of 2020, psychology
class of 2021, electrical and computer engineering
Photography by Victoria Wu
fists. When my mind races alongside the tears down my cheeks, I attempt to console myself with the promises I find in the Bible:
From Seed to Sequoia -
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you (Isaiah 43:2, ESV).” In the New Living Translation, the “waters” are referred to as “rivers of difficulty,” and the “flames” to “fires of oppression.” When the battle wages in my mind between the consolation of Scripture and the chaos of my own emotions, this verse shows me that when I feel anxious, overburdened, and inadequate I am not alone nor will I be consumed by my problems.
Flourishing through the Fire Photography by Victoria Wu BY Nefer Batsuli Contributing Writer
I admire the resilience of a Sequoia tree. Towering over 200 feet with a trunk spacious enough to house a family, these trees are rightfully labeled the most voluminous and second tallest trees on Earth1. Who would have thought that this impenetrable giant had such humble beginnings. The unique aspect about a Sequoia’s birth is that its seed is encased in a pinecone until released onto the bare soil. The seed is released when a forest fire incinerates the fragile cone and the surrounding brush, leaving a carpet of ashes in its aftermath. If you sift through the ashes, you’d be surprised to find the unlikely sole survivors: sequoia seeds, some smaller than a grain of rice, now exposed to the nutrient-rich ashes that will serve as the breeding ground for its exceptional growth.
Resistance runs in its resin, as these trees build an immunity to fire and disease, aging over a millennium, and earning their title as the formidable pillars of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. As I gaze up at the Sequoia tree and wonder in awe at its attributes, I tilt my head higher and catch a glimpse of blue sky that marks its limits. It is at this point that I look higher and am reminded of the limitless God who enabled such a growth and crafted the characteristics of this wooden spectacle. The same God who sustains the fragile seed in the fire is the same God who sustains my fragile heart when the fires of anxiety over my future, overwhelming responsibilities, failures to uphold the “Duke Perfection” facade, and issues with friends and family seem to smolder the joy that I grasp so tightly in my defensive, child-like
Yet too often, I let the anxiety, comparison, and drama win the battle, causing destructive lies to run rampant in my mind. These lies say “you’ll never measure up,” “you can’t handle all of your responsibilities,” “you are alone,” “is there any point in moving forward?” or the most dangerous, “God does not hear you.” In the moment, I forget that these are lies, and I feel like the tiny Sequoia seed in the intense heat of the fire, waiting to be scorched at any moment. What I did not realize about the Sequoia, is that, in order to flourish and become a formidable giant, the feeble seed had to be broken out of its safe and comfortable encasement. Although not burned, it encountered the scorching heat of the fire and was forced to claim its space on the ash-ridden ground. Only through fire was it freed and setup to establish roots to anchor it to the earth. Too many times in my life I’ve felt like this tiny seed, broken out of my comfortable ways and forced to hit the ground hard and acknowledge painful experiences - lies I believed about myself and toxic mindsets that I have let disrupt my peace. In the moment, this ground felt like the cliché “rock bottom” where my mental health hit an all-time low and my joy came and went with the hour. I didn’t realize that hitting the ground forced me to come face to face with my broken foundation.
I learned that the foundation on which I built my thoughts about my worth, my abilities, the size of my problems, and conflicts with those I loved was fatally flawed, cracked, and infested with lies in every crevice. This broken foundation led to cycles of destructive habits and thoughts that made me believe that my God was not present in the pain. I didn’t understand at the time that this pain and exhaustion would force me to relinquish the false control I thought I held. To finally break out of my familiar pinecone, I had to expose the red fingernail marks engraved in my hands from clinging to myself for so long. I placed them in the palms of Jesus, who in exchange, showed me the nail piercings He willingly took on for me so that I could be healed of my marks. In exchange for the hurts he gives healing, burdens for blessings, and hardships for hope. It is then that His words in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 resonate with my pain: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” It is also then that I understand that, like the Sequoia, these seemingly lifeless ashes would be the breeding ground for my growth. The nutrients from which I draw life. When my control and sanity seem like they are burned to the ground, and I am forced to deal with the ugliness of my thoughts, it is God’s comfort and the truths of Scripture that restore and console me. He promises“to never leave nor forsake me,” so when the fire burns a little too closely and I feel overwhelmed by my anxiety, responsibilities, and conflicts, I can trust that He has the power to sustain my feeble existence (Hebrews 13:5, ESV). He has the power to bring me to a place of peace and control over my thoughts, in which I become a formidable and impenetrable pillar against the lies I once let compromise my foundation. This process of growth only began after I gave up trying to cope using temporary methods of appeasement. Often I would drown out my thoughts by consuming mindless hours of You-
tube and Netflix, sleep excessively, and use overwhelming schoolwork and responsibilities as excuses that I was “too busy” and always too tired to care for my spiritual and mental well-being. I thought scrolling through memes and Snapchat stories would provide quick-fix laughs to my troubled emotions. I would rant to my close friends before bringing my frustrations to God in prayer, placing too high of an expectation on them to console me and keep me in check. These habits may not seem toxic on the surface level, but when I rely on these things to bring me peace instead of dealing with the underlying issues of anxiety, insecurity, and avoidance, I remain stuck in cycles that bring only temporary satisfaction.
our lives for the purpose of experiencing joy and walking alongside each other in hardship.
Meditating on Scripture and praying with an authentic heart helps me overcome the negative thoughts, because I can choose to believe life-giving words or life-destroying words. Meditating on Scripture means that we replace our wrong beliefs about who God is and what He says about us with what is said in the Bible. We then speak truths over our minds until the truth overrides the lie. For example, with graduation around the corner, I am easily consumed by worry over it, and worry about my previous mistakes and failures, my GPA, and the probabilIt was only after bringing trusted friends and mentors ity of receiving a job offer post-graduation. Alternatively, I into my pain, habitually reading Scripture, and praying can choose to believe and apply what Scripture says about with an authentic and honest heart that I was able to anxiety in Philippians. The Bible instructs me to “not be counteract the lies and receive peace. I believe that God anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer created us for relationship, and He places certain people in and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to
Photography by Victoria Wu
God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV). I no longer choose to believe the lie that my God is elusive in my struggles. I replay the story of the Bible over and over like a song in my heart, allowing it to override my thoughts until faith, peace, and hope win the battle over fear and anxiety. This choice isn’t one and done, but has to be made day by day and hour by hour. Overtime, my mind develops a filter that more easily sifts through lies and truth. It seems like we spend so much time and mental energy just trying to cope, and we ask God for the bare minimum to just get us through the day, or at least till lunch time. There are seasons where all we are able to look towards is our next step, because an anxious and restless mind robs
the last bit of sanity. I believe God has called us for greater. We weren’t meant to just spend this life coping or living in anticipation for the good moments. I believe we were meant to not just endure the fire, but to grow in it, and ascend to heights. Like strong branches, we can raise our arms in worship and point to our Creator who not only sustains, but causes us to flourish. Like the Sequoia, He establishes my roots, creates a solid foundation built on biblical truths, and strengthens me through and through; then I can say with confidence the words of King David, “when my heart is faint, lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2, ESV). When my mind is overwhelmed, this one thing I know, I choose to believe with all my heart and soul: My God is a healer, and the fire brings about my flourishing.
Photography by Victoria Wu
Interview with Dr. Jed Atkins Dr. Atkins is a professor in the Classical Studies department, and regularly teaches undergraduate courses on Roman and Greek political thought. He has published two books on those subjects and is currently exploring the concept of toleration in early Christian politics. With an extensive background in Classical thought, we asked Dr. Atkins about how students can best flourish at Duke, and how he, as a Christian, sees his faith relating to his work and to his students’ lives.
What does it look like for students to flourish at Duke? Sometimes, it’s easier to see the lack of flourishing than just flourishing. One indicator that just jumps out in the Duke context is mental health. Studies have shown that in the last ten years, the need for students to be treated for mental health, anxiety, and depression has gone way up at Duke. Part of that depends on being able to incorporate rest into your life in a very healthy way, and it’s very hard at a place like Duke. It’s really hard to “turn off” when you’re in a culture that’s always “on.” Rest requires planning. It requires people who can turn off with you and help you turn off. So I think, in the Duke context, one way you can facilitate human flourishing is by learn-
ing to rest and by working rest into your schedule. The other thing I’ll throw out is finding meaning and purpose. Studies find that flourishing is connected to satisfaction: are you making decisions that are going to bring you satisfaction? And one of the great opportunities that you have when you’re this age is to explore. What is my purpose? What brings me meaning? And it’s a lot better to ask those questions and make progress on that question when you’re twenty than when you’re fifty, and you wake up and you say, “Wow, I’ve spent the last thirty years of my life making decisions, and I’m in a job and I’m really not happy with where I am.” It’s a great opportunity at Duke -- and really important -- to explore meaning and purpose.
What are the most important things to your students? What do they value the most? I think one thing that my students fear is failing, and they try to avoid failure. It’s so competitive to get in here, when students come here they’re very well conditioned to meet and exceed expectations, to tick off the boxes that are necessary to get where they need to go. But then what happens if you fail to meet expectations? What if you fail to tick off the boxes? For the first time in your life, you come here and you’re struggling. I’ve taught first year students in FOCUS for the past four or five years, so I see this a lot. They have a great fear of failure. But there’s a second question that I think is more terrifying. That’s
the question of, what if I check off all the boxes and I’m still not happy? What if I do everything I’m supposed to do and I’m still not happy? You have the formula and it’s working as it’s supposed to, and yet it’s not working for you. We can distract ourselves so much from asking that question: am I happy or not? I think one reason we’re not happy to embrace it is because it’s such a scary question: Is my life amounting to something? It is meaningful? Am I satisfied? It’s much easier just to keep our nose to the grindstone and check off the boxes. Then I think, positively, what they value strongly is recognition. It can be both healthy and unhealthy, but the healthy one is a deep human desire, and Duke students are no different from other human beings: the desire for Photography by Emery Geyer
someone to recognize us and affirm us and to say we have value. I see a great hunger for that among my students. In what context do you think life has the most meaning and value?
I was the director last year of a FOCUS program, and I’ve taught for it the previous four years, on freedom. In that FOCUS group, we have students and we deal with a lot of courses that are related to politics, political thought, and economics. I do one on equality and liberty in American political thought, but we have students from across the political spectrum - the last time I taught it, it was pretty close to 40/60, sort of conservative versus liberal. The students live together, we talk about difficult political issues, and they love it and they get along together. Being a part of society with people we disagree with is an important good. Hospitality is so important. It’s a great idea - it’s a Christian idea - and it’s the idea of sharing meals with people, even with people that we may disagree with. That can be a super great way of building community. What is it about Jesus Christ that appeals to you, or draws you?
I think it’s when you’re able to connect what you’re doing to a larger mission: a larger narrative, a larger context. Where did I come from? Who am I? What’s my destiny, and how do I help and assist those around me? If you think about it from a Christian perspective, and you think about meaning, you can think of what went wrong in human flourishing through the Fall in the Bible. With the Fall, we have brokenness. Our relationship with God was broken. Our relationships with one another and with creation were broken. Our relationship with our work was broken. Our relationships with ourselves were broken. We can’t do the things we want to do. We die. Thus, the story of So, I like epics and epic heroes. To me, Jesus is the ultithe Gospel through Jesus is that God is redeeming it all. mate hero of the ultimate epic. If you go back to Genesis He’s calling us to walk through this world of brokenness 3 where we were before, we have the world broken and until one day he fixes it all. That’s one illustration of a all our relationships broken. narrative that gives you an God says that he makes a overarching picture that We relate to each other as contract promise that involves brosays who you are, what’s holders, and that can destroy gratitude, kenness - that he is going your purpose, where you’re because what we get is what we feel to crush Satan. He makes a going, what’s your destiny, like we’re owed. There’s no room there promise that he’s going to and how you fit within a send someone to set things larger framework. There are for gifting, and as a result that can lead right. In Christian theology, others that people can offer, to a breaking apart of communities. that’s who Jesus is. That’s but the Christian narrative what’s amazing about Jesus makes sense of meaning in he’s more powerful than us, that way. more so than any other hero, because he’s someone who How do you see your work and initiatives on campus as has power over all things in the universe. In Colossians 1, contributing to student flourishing? it says that he holds all things together. At the same time, he’s also the suffering servant. He teaches with authority, I’ll give you a couple of examples. One is through CCS, but also - this is really remarkable - he learns obedience. the Center for Christianity and Scholarship. We do some He clears the temple, but he still wouldn’t break a bruised short courses, and they’re designed to help students step reed. He’s the shepherd who protects his sheep by dying out of the tyranny of the urgent and seek some perspecfor them. So, that picture of Jesus as this epic hero who is tive. When you think about flourishing, one part of that both powerful and personal is something that captivates is finding purpose and meaning. One [course] that we did me. was on wisdom. I’m someone who has been out of college How do you live out your faith as a faculty member? for a number of years, and looking at all of the decisions that I had to make after college, very few courses in colI think one idea that’s important is the idea of integrity. lege prepared me to be able to make them. Think about As a Christian, that means seeing myself and others as wisdom as a way of gaining perspective, making skillful I believe God sees me and others. Everyone is extremely life decisions and navigating life well. So that course was valuable as an image bearer of God, but at the same time, designed to help students flourish by helping them to also broken. So I think that that understanding of people consider several different models of wisdom.
will allow you enter into relationships with hope, with patience, with empathy, with compassion, and with respect. So at a very basic level, relationally, I think that’s a really important one -- the notion of integrity. What has your research on Roman political and social thought revealed to you about human flourishing? I think it gives a healthy political relativism. By stepping outside of our own time and place and stepping into a new time and place, we can understand basic problems about the human condition. That gives us a new vantage point, and we can see our problems more clearly. So what I argue in my book is that Roman political thought has both problems and solutions that are both familiar and foreign to us. The Romans had problems we can identify with really clearly - for instance, problems with peaceful coexistence in Roman society, problems over free speech, questions about imperialism and liberty - but they also have very different answers than what we have. They have solutions, they’re not ours, and we can come back to our own vantage point with a clear perspective as to how our own culture might distort us. That’s not to say we should go back to Rome. But it does enable us to think through our own problems for ourselves with a very new perspective. One small instance of that, like we were speaking about earlier, is gratitude. Ancient Roman culture was based on
gift culture. For us, our culture is sort of capitalist meritocracy, and very individualistic. We relate to each other as contract holders, and that can destroy gratitude, because what we get is what we feel like we’re owed. There’s no room there for gifting, and as a result that can lead to a breaking apart of communities. Ancient Roman gift culture was also extremely hierarchical and aristocratic, so I’m not saying you want to go exactly back to what they did, but it does help us see some of the weaknesses of our own that we don’t even question. C.S. Lewis says this: Most of all, perhaps, we need intimate knowledge of the past. Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present, to remind us that the basic assumptions have been quite different in different periods and that much which seems certain to the uneducated is merely temporary fashion. A man who has lived in many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village: the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age. I think that there’s some wisdom in that approach; by returning to the past you’re able to see more clearly the presuppositions of the present that you might be blinded to otherwise.
Run BY Joey Li Contributing Writer
Photography by Margaret Gaw
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, ESV) Duke students are busy. Everybody understands the struggle of too much to do and not enough time; if you don’t, I’d genuinely love to hear about how you do it. We have a love-hate relationship with the grind — sleeping late, skipping meals, and inhaling coffee in order to do work, get the grade, and do it again. Welcome to Duke. Most of us live in a blur, either chasing after something or being chased by something. Sometimes it’s peers, sometimes it’s grades, sometimes it’s the hazy image of the “I should be.” We find ourselves running through life, often unable or even unwilling to stop. Personally, I find I need to stop and ask myself: why? Why am I so concerned with this running?
There are many, many reasons we find ourselves running, but mostly they come down to this: we’re at Duke. We got into Duke by running, we came to Duke to run and to run better, and, at the end of the day, Duke is just a checkpoint. Even when we’re tired and stretching ourselves thin, we are in control, doing what we want. When we’re feeling the runner’s high, even Christians are unimpressed by Jesus’s offer of rest in the passage above. We may be tired, but we know what we’re doing. Well, in my experience, we know until the moment we do not. Eventually, the runner’s high wears off and becomes plain exhaustion. Everybody is pretty much obligated to have these moments in their life. Maybe it’s a class that goes badly, stirring up questions of competence or even changing career trajectories. Maybe it’s a sweet friendship that fades after a semester of neglect. Maybe it’s health problems. Worst of all, maybe nothing is wrong. There is actually nothing to complain about in
life, except that the running never stops, and it’s tiring, and it feels like there should be more. Regardless, we reach a point where we realize something is wrong, and we can’t continue down the path we were headed down; something, anything, has to change. We stop and we step away for a bit. Eventually, when everything is not quite so daunting, we reset our course. These times of stoppage are actually a blessing. It’s at these times, when we choose what will give purpose to the running, that our lives are determined. Running is, and always will be hard, but purpose is the difference between a satisfied exhaustion and a hopeless one. We see this all the time: when choosing careers, when doing community service, and, for me personally, when doing physical activity. Yet, we rarely consider the course of our lives as a whole until we reach this point where we realize that whatever is wrong, we cannot continue. In these quiet and still moments, we have to face the question of what we believe our life is truly about. This
question is incredibly complex, and ultimately each person’s own job to answer. There’s a lot of things I wish I considered more often, though. Grades, approval, and money bring only temporary satisfaction. There are billions of people who are far less fortunate, and any real answer to the meaning of life should be robust enough to work for them too. Death comes to all, without fail, and any meaning of life must account for an ultimate end of life. Jesus’s offer is out there: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29, ESV). A yoke was a piece of wood that rested on the necks of two animals and joined them together as they plowed a field. To take up the yoke of Jesus, then, is to be bound to him. What Jesus offers in this passage is the chance to put down other burdens, burdens imposed by self, by others and by society, and instead to take up work with him, making life about him. This, he says, is true rest. 17
Honestly, this can look like a pretty mediocre offer much of the time. It’s appealing to fixate on the abstract promise of rest, but it comes at the cost of giving up your life, it seems to replace old burdens with new burdens of God, and it’s not immediately clear what being “yoked to Jesus” even means or how that concretely fixes anything. Why sign on, then? It starts with the belief that God exists and that Jesus was God. Those are obviously big, big claims that require evidence. However, for the sake of argument, let’s assume this is true and see how that would shape the way Jesus’s offer should be evaluated.
and writer, points out, when Jesus says he is gentle and lowly in heart, he is promising that, despite the fact that he is perfect and we are not, he is willing to be with us. He doesn’t stand over us, asking us why we struggle so much or why we aren’t further along; he bears our failure, working alongside us. Grades, other people, and the ideal life are harsh masters. Jesus, because of the price he paid on the cross, can offer mercy. Running toward the ideal life/career/relationship does not allow for rest, because it’s ultimately built on the conflict between desiring control over life and being unable to achieve it. Running toward God does, because one can have faith that he is in control, and he is always good.
First, if Jesus is God, his yoke is a higher purpose. It gives a meaning Thus, if Jesus is God, his call can Everybody serves which is sufficient in and of itself give our lives meaning and his work some god, whether because God is, and which transcends can allow us to rest. Perhaps the death because God does. Thus, if Jesus is or not that is Jesus. most important question, then, God, we can rest in the confidence that is this: what does being yoked to life does have meaning, and our exhausGod concretely mean? How do I tion never needs to be hopeless. That’s one way in which do God’s work? Should I become a missionary overseas? Jesus’s yoke can bring rest. How do I know God is happy with what I’m doing right now? These are questions I grapple with myself, and there It can be difficult to understand, however, why followare many answers of varying degrees of completeness. Ining Jesus requires a complete giving over, and how it does stead of fully exploring those, though, I’ll end on a story. not merely replace existing burdens with burdens of a different kind. The answer the Bible would give is that evAfter one of Jesus’s most famous miracles, in which he erybody serves some god, whether or not that is Jesus. In feeds the five thousand with five loaves and two fish, the more familiar terms, this is seen in priorities. Functionally, crowd follows him, wanting more. Jesus tells them not to whatever is someone’s first priority reigns sovereign in work for the bread that is temporary, but to work for the their life, and that becomes “god.” Whether family, career, bread which will satisfy eternally. Understandably, the or even just happiness, whatever we want most in life con- crowd asks, “What must we do, to be doing the works of trols us. Time, perception of reality, decision making - all God?” Jesus answers them, “This is the work of God, that of these will change in response. you believe in him whom he has sent” (John 6:29, ESV). For example, as a pre-med, one must make sacrifices, putting time into volunteering, studying, and shadowing. The priority of becoming an excellent doctor dictates how life must operate. The same story holds when someone joins Teach for America, the army, or a personal quest for happiness. Every decision follows from some mental calculation used to evaluate worth. Thus, in the Bible’s view, the choice is not a matter of keeping or relinquishing control, but rather choosing what will control you. The choice is not between keeping control of your life and giving it up. The choice is simply what you will worship. Jesus says he offers rest, then, because in comparison to any other cause or priority, “[his] yoke is easy, and [his] burden is light.”
The work of God, then, ultimately must be founded upon right relationship with God and belief in Jesus. The specifics may vary, but at heart this discussion begins not with a question of what, but who. Being yoked to Christ is not identified by the work one does, but by Jesus, who leads. P.S. If you want to know more about what it means to do God’s work and walk in his rest, https://www.desiringgod.org/topics/knowing-gods-will has great articles on the topic.
Why is that? It lies in who God is. As John Piper, pastor Photography by Emery Geyer
Salvation Unexpected: God’s Pursuit of an Anxious Soul in China BY Joyce Zhao Contributing Writer
For most of my life, I believed in the importance of being the best version of myself--or most importantly, being the best version in everyone’s eyes. Ever since I accidentally tasted the fame and glory of being the top 4% of my grade my first year in middle school, I could not shake off the feelings of being praised and elevated by those around me. My teachers started to see me in a different light as they saw the potential in me to succeed academically. My classmates were impressed by the progress I achieved and began to regard me as “one of those smart kids”. After all, those were the best things ever said to a girl who had always been teased for being awkwardly tall and disliked for being loud and quick-tempered. This sudden change in people’s opinions of me somehow relieved the anger and bitterness I harbored for not being seen, appreciated, and loved in the ways I wanted to be. Thus, with the hope of leaving my old reputation behind and proving my greatness, I began to require of myself a lot of things: having the best grades, getting into the best school, being the most popular one among my classmates, being the teachers’ favorite student, and being the child that my parents can boast about in front of my relatives. I spent all my energy and time carefully crafting and maintaining this image of myself, and upon graduating middle school, I did become who I wanted to be. I studied really hard for the high school entrance exams and eventually got into one of the best high schools in my city Shenzhen, China. My teachers and my parents were all well-pleased with all that I accomplished. Of course, there were many ups and downs along the way and countless moments when the anxious fear of failure tormented me over and over, but I simply thought of the anxiety and stress as the necessary cost on the road to be the best. I continued to live my life this way for most of high school--until I could not anymore. Here, all the other students also did well on their entrance exams too, so I was no longer the smartest one in class. My grades no longer stood out as I struggled more and more in subjects like math and chemistry. I tried to fight back to the top but failed over and over again. I fixed my eyes on the other people in my class who were better than me at everything. As a result, I felt the familiar shame of being too much and not being enough at the same time. I was always haunted with the voices that kept telling me, “you are too tall and not pretty enough,” “you are too dumb and not smart enough,” or “you are too boring and not cool enough.” It never stopped.
Photography by Victoria Wu
I tried my best to ignore those voices. I believed that as long as I pressed on and worked hard, those obstacles I turned to the page as the book told me to, and these would pass and I would become who I wanted to be, just words started to flow out of the paper and into my heart: like the times before. However, contrary to my expectations, many things that I held as important to my identity 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your were shattered even more during the second semester of life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about my second year in high school. I did not do well on many your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than of my AP exams (chemistry and calculus are just not my food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the thing) and was extremely uncertain about which college birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into I could get into. I was already very self-conscious about barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you the fact that most of my other girlfriends in my class were not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by beeither dating someone or having people pursue them, ing anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 28 and my self-confidence was completely crushed when I And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the worked up the nerve to confess lilies of the field, how they my feelings to someone I liked, grow: they neither toil nor Here I was, holding this little blue but got the answer “no.” As spin, 29 yet I tell you, even book in my hands, completely if that were not enough, the Solomon in all his glory was student magazine I led got sus- stunned by what I read. I felt like, for not arrayed like one of these. the first time ever in my life, someone pended by the authority figures --Matthew 6:25-29 of my high school because they finally saw that I am extremely anxious could not agree with some of Up until today, I still can and extremely worried. Someone the opinions we expressed in not fully grasp why I felt saw this draining life I was living our publications. Everything what I felt the moment these that happened during that sea- and chose to step in and tell me that words entered my heart. I it is not supposed to be this way. son smashed my “best version grew up in a well-off family, of myself” into a million pieces. so I never had to worry about All of my deepest fears became reality. I thought to myself what I will eat or drink tomorrow. It also did not make that I was indeed unattractive, unintelligent and unworany sense why my normal, success-driven self would be thy, because the grades, the people, and the achievements moved by having more value than the birds of the air. Yet that used to tell me I was not those things were now all it was still unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Here I gone. was, holding this little blue book in my hands, completely stunned by what I read. I felt like, for the first time ever in I was left face-to-face with my weaknesses and my limits. my life, someone finally saw that I am extremely anxious For the longest time in my life, I had used all my strength and extremely worried. Someone saw this draining life I to run away from them. I tried my best to control the was living and chose to step in and tell me that it is not details of my life so that nobody else could see them, and supposed to be this way. He saw my restless heart and that would mean they do not exist, but I could not escape cared enough to show me that I am much valued and from them anymore. My failures followed me wherever I loved. This person’s voice, unlike all the voices that I was went. familiar with before, did not accuse or hurt me; it was gentle and steadfast, simple and powerful, truthful and It was a period of time when I had no choice but to get loving all at the same time. It fundamentally challenged along with the worst version of myself, and that was when everything I believed about myself and my life, but gave a little blue book found me. I could barely recall how this me the most emotional rest I’d ever experienced. book ended up in my hands. It was randomly laying on my dad’s office desk at home and its cover said “the Holy It did not take me very long to figure out that this perBible - New Testament” in traditional Chinese characters. son’s name is Jesus, and I could not help but be curious I somehow decided to open it and found a page listing about what other things he said. I took the little blue passages appropriate to certain problems. When I saw book with me to my boarding high school, and reading the subtitle “when you are anxious, please read this,” I it became my favorite pre-bedtime activity. I chose the immediately turned the page to which it guided me, since listing according to my mood every day and read what “anxious” was exactly what I was. this wise guy Jesus had to say about the problems I faced.
Photography by Victoria Wu
Time and time again, he brought me out of my little self-preoccupied world and spoke life and peace to me wherever I was. At that point, I knew nothing about Christian theology. I didn’t quite understand how the Holy Trinity worked. I had no idea what a church was like. I barely knew about the significance of the crucifixion of Jesus. The only thing I knew for sure was that this person named Jesus knows me and cares about me without me having to prove anything about myself, and that alone makes me wonder why he is the way he is, and to want to know him more. That marked the beginning of my journey of knowing Jesus, who I figured out later is also Himself the Creator of the universe and the Almighty God. As I get to know more the person and work of Jesus Christ, He fervently invites me to see this ultimate higher reality that contradicts everything the world told me before: the reality in which strength is no longer defined by how good I am at hiding my weaknesses and presenting a perfect appearance, but the perfect power of the King that rests on my biggest flaws and my deepest shame. Beauty is no longer defined by how tall I am, what color my skin is, what kind of clothes I wear, or how many boys think I am cute, but the original and wonderful image of God which He care-
fully and confidently formed in each and every one of us. In this, glory does not look like the enviable exam scores, the number of likes on social media, or the approval of parents and teachers, but the brightness of God Himself who heals the sick, shields the vulnerable, includes the excluded, comforts the broken-hearted, and, above all else, chose to die on a cross to rescue the lives of sinners before they even knew Him. Thus, the reality that truly matters is not about me anymore, but all about who He is and what He has done. It has always been hard for a spoiled, only-child like me to accept that I am not the center of the universe, but how much better an alternative it is that our universe revolves around a God like this! During the years after I became a Christian, I have frankly failed to remember and live out this reality time and time again. I have drifted back to self-absorption, but as faithful as He is, Jesus goes after me time and time again so that I can turn back around and at least get a short glimpse of what He has to offer. With all that I am and all that my life is, I know that just seeing a small part of this reality has changed my life forever in the best way possible.
The Case for Strength in Weakness BY Gabbi Zegers Magazine Content Editor
“What is the meaning of life?” is probably the oldest and most-avoided philosophical question. The most straightforward answer to this question can be found on the internet. Life is “the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.” It is also “any of a number of successive existences in which a soul is held to be reincarnated” and “(in art) the depiction of a subject from a real model, rather than from an artist’s imagination” (11). However, the five dictionary definitions Google offers for the word “life” evade the question of interest: Why are we alive? In a world full of changing circumstances and continual encounters with our futility, it is no wonder the reason for our existence seems so elusive. Yet we still ask, wonder, and yearn for more: for something beyond the insanity we run into every day. The question that stems from this is, can humanity risk being vulnerable to the insanity it faces, yet still live a life according to our existential purpose? Vulnerability appears to be far from the answer to thriving by living out our purpose for being in today’s world. To be “vulnerable” means to be “capable of being physically or emotionally wounded,” “open to attack or damage; assailable” (9). Synonyms for “vulnerability” are “defenselessness, susceptibility, and weakness” (8). In short, being vulnerable could not seem less advantageous. Friedrich Nietzsche agrees with this. He argues that the sole purpose of life is to win the competition against others, as well as our own weaknesses. However, Brene Brown, a social scientist, and the Apostle Paul both argue that vulnerability provides insight into a purpose to life beyond competition. Duke University students’ collective attitude toward vulnerability is mixed. Many have realized their desire for authentic and meaningful relationships (1). However, the presence of ‘effortless perfection’ on campus shows that many Duke students also experience a competition
to hide any evidence that they may be assailable or flawed. This phenomenon begs the question: is competition the purpose to life, or might vulnerability serve as a window to an ultimately more fulfilling end to our existence? Nietzsche’s Viewpoint: A Hopeless Existence In his novel Thus Spoke Zarathrustra, Nietzsche argues that humans live most productively by defeating their weaknesses. The greatest obstacle to human evolution, Nietzsche asserts, is humanity’s belief that they are under a force of obligation. When liberated from obligation, humans have evolved into the Übermensch. It is marked by self-sufficiency, and it is the result of human having overcome their biggest obstacle: themselves (5). Nietzsche describes the transition of humanity into the Übermensch through three spiritual transitions. It starts with the person having the spirit of a camel, which takes on what is most difficult for the spirit out of its “wanting to be well loaded” (5). Nietzsche’s camel takes on humility and humiliation, serving as a hyperbolic metaphor of humanity taking pride in displaying its moral shortcomings to high standards. Nietzsche suggests that humanity can break this nonsensical trend by placing its trust in its own independent sense of moral goodness and purpose. Thus, the camel becomes a lion which defeats its own sense of obligation to anything besides itself (5). Humans with this victory attain “the spirit now wills his own will”(5). Humans with the spirit of the lion can say no to duties and assert the right to create new values for itself, yet chooses not to. The final metamorphosis occurs as the spirit of a lion that turns into a child. The child represents humanity’s new beginning of following its own rules, independent from any forces outside its own wisdom which once tried to control it. Humanity with this spirit is the Übermensch. The greatest triumph of the Übermensch in this transition is that it is literally self-made. These spiritual
transitions of humanity depend on humanity’s willpower alone. They are disconnected from any existing sovereignty above whichever moral limits a human puts on themselves. However, Nietzsche is not arguing that the objective purpose to life for humans is to become the Übermensch. The self-made Übermensch necessitates that humanity creates its own purpose for becoming it. This transition therefore is simply the most productive purpose for existence and allows for humans to at least feel victory in a cruel, cold, objectively purposeless existence. Nietzsche describes the moment of transition into the Übermensch as “ the hour of the great contempt.” It is the hour at which one finds their happiness, reason, virtue are “poverty and filth and wretched contentment” (5). It is the time in which the person exclaims “How weary I am of my good and my evil! All that is poverty and filth and wretched contentment’” (5), because they realize that in and of themselves, their actions and accolades ultimately amount to nothing. Admitting weakness in the face of a higher source of goodness or moral thinking is exactly what Nietzsche says has blocked humanity from reaching its potential. Vulnerability, therefore, cannot help humanity flourish in any tangible way. Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability in Intimacy Brene Brown, a social scientist and influential speaker, disagrees with Nietzsche’s conclusions about vulnerability. She argues that vulnerability reveals an objective purpose to our existence: deep intimacy with something outside of ourselves. Through qualitative fieldwork and her own struggles with vulnerability, she concludes that humans constantly struggle between feeling worthy or unworthy of receiving love and connection from others (6). Shame, according to Brown, is the fear of disconnection and the thought of “there [is] something about me that if other people know or see it, that I won’t be worthy of connection” (6). Whereas guilt comes from the notion that someone has done something out of line with what is good, the person feeling ashamed feels that they are inherently bad (2). This is the attribute, Photography by Emery Geyer
Brown and other researchers observe, shared by humans who feel most alone and disconnected.
ness to oneself first and then to others. Courage, which promotes wholeheartedness, is the drive “to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart” (6). In order to be able to be connected, compassionate, and courageous, Brown argues that vulnerability is the key ingredient. It is the ability to be “truly, deeply seen,” and to be honest with one’s own self and others in terms of shortcomings and emotions (6). Vulnerability takes risks, even though the outcome is uncertain, because there is hope for contentment. Brown states that in order for this to happen, vulnerability “is not comfortable-- it is necessary” (6).
Those with the sense that they are not living their best life possible often feel as though they cannot connect to those around them. Competitiveness contributes to feelings of shame and solidifies disconnectedness. A study conducted on young homeless men in Australia found that violence is not only normal and seen as necessary on the streets, but requires emotional detachment. As a result, the subjects expressed deep feelings of shame and the weight of societal stigma from their violent acts (3). They did not feel liberated by their competitiveness, but The reason it is not comfortable, but it is necessary, to felt weighed down. They believed that they could no be vulnerable in order to connect with others is because longer be accepted in normal relationships because they humans live in a world in which there are many pressures had detached themselves from to for people to perform well. This is empathy in order to commit noted at Duke University in the push Is competition the acts they thought would help against “effortless perfection” (10). In purpose to life, or might them survive. The result of the process of connecting, humans vulnerability serve as a window this approach was emotional will make unwise choices or mistakes. turmoil from the feeling of This, Brown says, can start the cycle of to an ultimately more fulfilling disconnection. This aligns shame (6). A vulnerable and liberating end to our existence? with Brown’s observations approach to this situation would be to that when we numb vulneraembrace the fact that they have made bility, we numb joy, gratitude, and happiness (7). Brown a mistake and admit that they need help to succeed. This and the case of the young men from Australia show that approach will simultaneously allow a person to gain wispeople who feel unable to flourish are those unable to dom from an experience of making a mistake and prevent connect deeply with those around them. them from suffering from a cycle of shame. By default, the opposite of this is also true. In an ongoing study on shame and humiliation, researchers from Wellesley College found that healing from shame “involves reestablishing a belief in empathic possibility. That is, the person struggling with shame must come to believe that another person can respond empathically to his/her experience” (2). They should be able to believe “her efforts to bring herself more fully into relationship will not be met with severe judgments and rejection, and that there will be the possibility of mutuality” (2). In other words, healing from shame occurs when one can feel free to share the parts of their emotions or story that are not pleasing to them. It comes from being able to express one’s thoughts and experiences without worrying they may be looked down upon by the listener. This research coincides with Brown’s theory that those with the strongest sense of goodness and contentment in their lives have the strongest sense of love and belonging. These are people who are connected, compassionate, and courageous (6). She argues that connection is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. Compassion is kind-
Nietzsche would examine Brown’s views and question why should we even feel shame from disconnection, if there is nothing to justify connection? The young men from Australia did not need to feel shame from isolation. There is no logical reason for it, unless there is a force greater than humans which dictates that one needs to feel ashamed if they are isolated. He would argue that Brown’s points are derived from the idea of our own authority over our lives, which adds to the psychological burden of having to give up one’s strength. If one is connected or if one is isolated from others, it ultimately does not matter! Ultimately, both Brown’s and Nietzsche’s viewpoints raise questions around how humans should treat vulnerability. Should we buy into the innate desire to be deeply seen that Brown has noted? Or should we push away from any sense of need for intimacy, and feast on self-sufficiency, as Nietzsche would see fit? The answer to this question revolves around an even broader question: does being vulnerable lead to flourishing and the best possible livelihood, coinciding with an ultimate purpose for our existence?
The Apostle Paul One of the most influential leaders of the early Church, the apostle Paul, embodies vulnerability in his letters in a way unmatched by Nietzsche and Brown. Paul does not fail to describe how crucial it is for humans to be vulnerable to flourish. However, he also agrees that vulnerability needs to be justified by a larger purpose to existence: that is, a higher force in charge of both morality and physical creation. In this way, Paul both unites and contends against Nietzsche’s and Brown’s viewpoints. Paul would agree with the basis of Nietzsche’s existentialist philosophy: everything on Earth is passing away. Writers of the Old Testament in the Bible acknowledge that we live in a world where everything is transient. We come faceto-face with our own weaknesses. Solomon, the wisest and wealthiest of Israel’s kings, wrote, “Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere” (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11, ESV). Paul, trained to become one of the Jewish religious leaders for a sect called the Pharisees, was familiar with the words of King Solomon while spreading the news of Jesus’ death and resurrection across the Roman Empire. Paul reflects this in his letter to the early Church in Corinth: “the present form of this world is passing away” (1 Corinthians 7:31b, ESV). There is nothing humans can do to stop it from diminishing. Does this mean that humans must fight for the last scraps of what is left in existence in order to give themselves some semblance of meaning? Paul would answer, “No.” He recognizes that humans ultimately control neither their purposes for existence nor their destinies, but that God, an entity separate from what humans can conceptualize, purposefully orchestrates everything that occurs.
their short-lived existence to get to know the God who created them. He would agree with Brown’s conclusion that humans were made for connection. Being deeply seen and vulnerable is healthy and contributes to the purpose for human existence. Paul urges the early Christians to “consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth” (1 Corinthians 1:26, ESV). In other words, Paul wanted them to consider that most Christians and themselves were the most vulnerable to attack in their societies. As a group, early Christians were the ones with the least security. They were constantly under the threat of persecution and ridicule from assailants in the Jewish priesthood to Roman emperors. Many early Christians lost their lives when sharing their beliefs. The group as a whole was anything but strong. Thus, Paul expresses that he has the freedom to “boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses” (2 Corinthians 12:9b). However, Paul also continues on with the verse, “so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9b). Brene Brown defines vulnerability as the ability to be “deeply seen by others” (6). Paul is therefore not only calling the Corinthians to be seen by others, but acknowledges that humans are already deeply seen by God. God wants humans to understand this and that he loves them dearly and has made himself accessible to them. Humans cannot meet God’s standards for living obediently towards him. Humans are disobedient toward God in their most natural state. Paul writes to the early Church in Colossae that in humans’ earthly nature are “sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed” (Colossians 3:5, ESV), which yield “anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from [our] mouth[s]” (Colossians 3:8, ESV). He does not even escape this portrayal of the human condition: “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” (Romans 7:18, ESV).
Therefore, Paul suggests that humans would best use 27
However, Paul’s solution to this is not that we have to be ashamed nor take on the burdens Nietzsche portrays through the spirit of the camel. Paul, in terms of taking on the burdens of moral perfection, was blameless under the Jewish laws for purification. However, he writes clearly in his letter to the early Church in Philippi that this is not what provides deep satisfaction in his life. He writes, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (Philippians 3:7-9, ESV). When Paul places the dependence of faith on the righteousness from God, he suggests two attributes of God. He shows that God is not scrutinizing us. God loves us so much that he sent Jesus to do what we could not do so we could be deeply intimate with Him. Jesus said as much when He was on Earth: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17, ESV). God’s main purpose for sending Christ into the world was not to hunt for sinners and condemn them. No, God’s purpose for sending Christ was to save the world through Him from the condemnation it deserved. Paul reveals this in his letter to His apprentice, Timothy: “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4, ESV). Secondly, God does not figuratively add burdens to the backs of Nietzsche’s camel, but takes them away by showing that we do not need to - and cannot - save ourselves. Taking on Nietzsche’s challenge of transforming into a lion from a camel ironically places another burden on humans to free themselves. As Paul has already described, humans on their own do not have the willpower to make perfect their hearts and minds through their own sheer willpower. When humans look to their own strength to free themselves, they repeatedly run headlong into their own insecurities and weaknesses. On the other hand, Christ offers rest. He explains to his disciples, as recorded in the Book of Matthew, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am
gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, ESV). In essence, Christ is asking humans to place the burden of transforming one’s spirit of a camel on himself. He becomes the spirit of the lion for humanity, and fights against the oppression of having to pay for our own sins. God did this by becoming weak. Paul urges the early Church in Philippi to “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:5-7, ESV). Jesus’ entire life, death in humiliation, and resurrection three days later was so that “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9, ESV). Nietzsche’s transition from the lion to the child, and therefore the Ubermensch, is remarkably similar to the saving transformation that Paul and Christ describe that occurs when one comes to acknowledge Christ as Lord. However, there is an important distinction between the transformations to full flourishing that Nietzsche and Paul describe: the presence of an intermediary. Nietzsche writes that one must fight for themselves against what weighs them down from perceived freedom. Christ fights for humans against the corrupting force that pulls humans from peace and full relationship from God: sin. When Jesus destroys sin, he also destroys our reason to be ashamed in front of God. We lose the sense that we are not worthy of love and connection because Jesus made himself unworthy of it and took the punishment we deserve. Therefore, humans who believe this are doubly transformed. The first transformation is from a camel into a sheep. Sheep follow a shepherd, who they know will protect them from what will kill them. Here is the grace of knowing one is saved and welcomed by God, but there is also truth the of knowing not to do what is evil, harmful, or destructive. However, even when the sheep get lost, the shepherd comes and finds them, nurtures them, and assures them that they are still accepted. God came down to Earth as Jesus Christ in order to find His lost sheep. Jesus metaphorically describes God as a shepherd with one hundred sheep who will leave ninety-nine of them to search out one of his sheep who is lost from him (Matthew 18:12-14, ESV). In the next transition, a sheep becomes a child of God. Humans who could not come to God on their own are adopted by God’s choice into an intimate, familial relationship with Him. Paul shows this in His letter to the Galatians: “And because
you are sons [through Jesus’ work], God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Galatians 4:6, ESV). Without vulnerability, one could not see their need for peace, purpose, and rest. We could not come into God’s protective arms and understand what it is like to trust Christ with our largest and heaviest worries. We could not be deeply seen in our weakness and even more deeply loved by the God who created us. Conclusion Duke University is a world of multiple opportunities presented in a short time frame. With this flood of chances and choices, it is easy for students to become overwhelmed and unsure of how to proceed. This can be amplified when all other students seem to have every part of their college experience and career path mapped out. When they are calmly, cooly, and collectedly independent. The important application point to take away from the conversation about vulnerability is that humankind is not obligated to appear as if they have everything figured out and under control. This is especially relevant in settings
like Duke University, in which individuals with a wide range of talents are surrounded by exceptional opportunities. The effort to formulate and express an agenda for managing these opportunities is an anxious one, especially when confronting others who seem to be doing better. However, in Paul’s writing, students in competitive settings can know that weakness is not only normal but an opportunity to see the beauty of life’s purpose: connection with God. Paul, in his second letter to the Church in Corinth, states, “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10, ESV). This shows that there is a purpose in life beyond the competition for self-sufficiency. The purpose in this life is to start an eternal relationship with the God who created us. He loves us so dearly that He sacrificed His Son and His power to save us. God made himself vulnerable to human weakness by sending Jesus to Earth to save us and re-establish our relationship with Him. God would sacrifice His own power and strength to save us, turning weakness into strength.
Photography by Emery Geyer
I Need Some Lovin’
“Sex is either consecration or desecration, with no neutral territory in between.” -Roger Scruton BY Andrew Raines Contributing Writer
Why does sex matter? It seems a rather futile question to ask under the current circumstances. It is rather obvious, however, that it does matter. From evangelical purity culture to the #MeToo movement, we are all acutely aware of the power that sex holds over us. For most of us, it is a hopelessly comic affair, accompanied by countless opportunities for making a fool of ourselves. And so, society in general, and religion in particular, have dedicated tremendous energy to the precarious task of doing it right. Acknowledging the difficulty inherent in seeking to flourish sexually – and thus the need to follow certain patterns to do so – in no way hinders us from rejoicing in sex as a good. Rather, it makes such joy possible. Both high society and popular culture vilify Christian teaching on sexuality as puritanical and outdated. The Church gets pilloried for placing unreasonable limits on the sexual freedom of contemporary people. Moreover, Christians are sometimes worthily accused, at least in America, of worrying about what people do in bed much more than whether or not they have a bed to begin with. Thus, opponents to Christianity certainly would have predicted that the marginalization of the Church in our culture would lead to a new flourishing of sexual and mental health. Unchained at last from all that old religious nonsense about sin and shame, individuals ought to have been freed to live openly, vividly, fiercely, unburdened by guilt or fear. Indeed, we have at long last achieved the sexual liberty activists had so longed for, and yet we are finding it wanting. It seems after desperately reaching for the sun, we flew too close and are now hurtling back down to earth. We are as Icarus had he survived the fall. The wider culture is beginning to realize the underlying wisdom of the Church’s sexual ethic: it is indeed difficult to cultivate truly respectful and mutually consensual relationships. There are many good developments as a result of the sexual revolution, and there were many aspects of the old, patriarchal customs surrounding sex that needed to be tossed aside. For this, we must be grateful where it has forced us to confront our hypocrisy. Nevertheless, much of what held us together has also been tossed aside, and it may be impossible to recover. As Wittgenstein lamented, reviving tradition is like trying to repair a torn spider’s web with your bare hands. We have been “liberated” from old sexual mores, but the new regime of anti-morality may prove to be far more constraining. Having at last attained the pleasures we were promised, as they turn sour in mouths we have also realized they were not the pleasures we so wanted. We as a culture are meant to hold two wildly antagonistic positions in tandem. On the one hand, the #MeToo
movement has brought us to the stark realization that the act of coitus has such supreme value and is susceptible to such awful corruptions that it must be approached with the utmost caution. On the other, fashion dictates that anyone and everyone can have sex for any reason they desire, as long as it is between consensual adults. As the revolutionary slogan goes, “il est interdit d’interdire!” – it is forbidden to forbid. Scarred and scared, we have seen from the #MeToo moment that “sex is a gigantic force in our lives and unless controlled becomes unbridled lust under which woman is victim and suffers most of all.” Thus, many of us have begun to recognize that once you have given people beds, you really had better worry about what they did in them, for that can have just as damaging an effect on their wellbeing. How, then, shall we live? Let us take a look, then, at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of sexual health: “Sexual health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.” Now, I doubt anyone would object to the basic premises here. The WHO seems to value mutuality (enjoyment for all involved) and consent (not just a lack of protest). Agreed. This probably represents what most of us here at Duke consider a good sexual ethic. Indispensable as consent and mutuality may be, I wonder whether these two parameters are really all that is required for sexual flourishing. There is still so much that can go wrong under those basic guidelines. I can have a consensual and mutually pleasurable relationship with a person while at the same time cheating on them with someone else. I could give my consent but it only be out of desperation or willingness to please. The Church can do better than that. What constitutes a healthy Christian sexual ethic goes beyond a check list of thou shalt nots. Now, I can feel people’s objections. So much of what people think of sexuality in conjunction with Christianity is precisely that: a list of thou shalt nots. Across the religious and philosophical spectrums, a puritanical stream is of course apparent. Within the heresies of Gnosticism, Manichaeism, and platonic dualism that infected much of the early church, this strain teaches that spirit is good and holy whereas matter is fallen and evil. For the most part, this sort of philosophy claimed the purpose of life was to escape matter. Essential to that mission, of
course, is the avoidance of sex which ties us to the material the release of desires welling up from the “real me” inside. world. Sadly, as many of us know all too well, this heresy Any rules placed on this mode of self-expression would, is alive and well in some churches. Rigidity surrounding therefore, be to deny the true personhood of the individChristian practices of sex has caused untold harm to peo- ual. ple’s bodies and spirits. We would thus prefer that sex take the “shape of waBut biblical Christianity is not limited to that one poter,” flowing with the appetites of those who engage in it. sition. Genesis tells us the Creator made the whole array Traditional sexual principles are shunned as fussy anachof the physical and found all of it – from supernovae to ronism and any suggestion that sex ought to have an incoral reefs to sexual human beings – “very good.” Then, tentional form independent of free choice is derided as an in Jesus Christ, God took on human flesh and thereby arbitrary imposition. Christians would caution, however, redeemed it. Accordingly, bodies, sex, and sexual desire are that although good sex does indeed include dynamism all good, even very good. Plato may well have been a puand free choice, if it only has the shape of water – that is, ritan, your grandmother too, but Jesus, God made flesh, none at all – it is actually in bad shape. For good or ill, our most certainly is not. sexual choices have consequences and form our charWhat separates the Christian view of sex and pleasure acters. Moreover, sex is never a purely private affair – it from that of the WHO, then, is this: sexalways has effects in the wider community. uality must be expressed within the conThe glory Cause and Effect text of love, defined as willing the good of God is This is why love of the other as other of the other as other. In other words, a human being is so crucial for Christian sex. Remove it, desiring their good not for your sake but fully alive.” and historically you get male domination wholly for theirs. This is expressed most of women on one hand and on the other fully in the total gift of self, spiritually meaningless, throwaway encounters. The and bodily – an act characterized more perennial problem of patriarchy perpetuates a loveless, by decision than emotion. Otherwise, reducing sexual self-serving sin. It rears its ugly head all over the place toethics to mutuality and consent misses the reality that day. So much so that the American Psychological Associasex is inherently the progression from idiocy (from ἴδῐος, tion has diagnosed traditional masculinity as toxic. “Toxic one’s own or private) toward ecstasy (ἔκστασις, to stand masculinity” – as if it were masculinity that were at fault outside oneself). If you want to see what happens when this standard is ignored, take a long hard look at both the for such behavior. That is exactly the issue: such men are not masculine by God’s definition. Brutish, patriarchal, reality of widespread sexual violence and the prevailing licentious, whichever you prefer – but not masculine. To hookup culture. Loveless and recreational sex, sex as contact sport, has conscripted a vast army of sad, anxious, and be masculine, to be a man as God intended, is to respect – to love – women. broken men and women. On the other end of the spectrum, hook ups are the In large part, this is because most of us, the children epitome of capitalist exploitation of bodies. This loveless, of a heartless consumerist society, only know how to self-serving sin participates in the consumerist culture by love ourselves. Our culture is so obsessed with a sort of trying to treat sex as a commodity that two parties can self-creation – the impossible quest of deciding for ourtrade apart from commitment. Sell the masses condoms selves what will make us happy – that bland toleration is the only objective value many of us recognize. Within that to prevent pregnancy, the pill to guard against condom-breakage, an abortion to remedy pill-failure, pornogmode of tolerance, freedom – with sexual freedom above raphy to escape intimacy, surgery to evade undesirability all – is the greatest prize. Deprived of this, we somehow – perhaps an injection could one day prevent emotional feel that we have been cheated, that we are not being our attachment to sexual partners and, at last, we will engage “authentic selves.” in a free sexual market. Our modern hero’s journey is that of the person who At the same time that we are desperately longing for searches deep inside herself and, enduring whatever obstacles society has placed on her, strives to embody the “real” connection in serious relationship, we are cheapening the encounters that we are having. The justification that “we her that she finds within. And, of course, only she could all have needs” is absolutely correct – the problem is that ever have realized who that “real” her is – no one should we are often so woefully misguided in identifying what ever dare to suggest that she ought to have discovered they actually are. Having sex with a stranger to scratch an someone else in there. Nowhere is this right to self-actualization more sacred than in the realm of sexuality. Sex is invented itch is not serving us well. That, rather than just
cultural stigma, might explain why many of us feel “dirty” doing the walk of shame the next morning, or, God forbid, a couple minutes after climax. Friends and culture might contend that you need to have as much sex as possible, but this is simply not true. Why lend your body to someone who does not care about you? It may be easy to get caught up in hurried motions and stolen breaths, but lust is selfish, and love is selfless. Only love will satisfy. How is such love cultivated then? Well, this kind of love is necessarily covenantal. This is because deep, abiding love can only come to be if it is in fact abiding. It is forged through living through both the quotidian and the extraordinary together. For this reason, in order for sexual flourishing to occur, long-term monogamy is required. This makes room for love that is so powerful and concentrated that it is able to overflow and create new life. We are thus enabled to participate in God’s vibrant creativity. Sex, then, is the way we use our bodies to express the promised, covenanted bond between ourselves and our beloved. In giving oneself entirely, one signifies to the other that “with my body I thee worship.” Through this divine act, “the two become one flesh.” These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth This discussion would be incomplete without also addressing the path of celibacy. There is a “deep and pervasive public pessimism” about whether or not actual celibacy is even possible. A deep-seated psychological presumption lurks behind this: that celibacy is unnatural and even harmful. And if it is not necessarily unnatural, then it must be fanciful. This position is often traced back to Sigmund Freud, but his actual views concerning what he termed “sublimation” (repressed and redirected sexual desire) do not necessarily support this view. The Oedipal cocaine-user’s stance remained unclear and inconsistent to the end, but he did finally decide that all of us must engage in sublimation in one way or another. When Freud talks about Christian celibacy in Civilization and Its Discontents, he neither disparages it nor claims it impossible. Instead, he observes that celibates are those who have managed to direct their love to “all men alike” rather than to one “love-object.” With the commands of Christ in mind, that does not sound too bad to me. Nevertheless, Freud objected that “a love that does not discriminate seems to me to forfeit a part of its own value […]; and secondly, not all men are worthy of love.” Many agree. But none are better prepared for the task of “lov[ing] [their] enemies” than celibates who love so indiscriminately. As humans, we desire to be taken possession of, even if only for the moment of
orgasm, by some force greater than ourselves. Our flesh cries out “fiercely for consummation and fruition.” In choosing singleness, Christ-followers can widen this ecstasy beyond the usual confines of sex and gender. Odd as it sounds in the present day, you do not need to have sex to be fully human. Most of us have no idea what we’re doing. Some of us come to Duke and delete Tinder for Grindr, while others, if you can believe it, come and trade Grindr for Tinder. Others of us get no more action than a few chance encounters at Shooters. And I’m in the same boat as everyone else. So, who should let a college sophomore tell them how they should lead their sexual lives here and afterward? No one, I suppose. But I don’t think that we are condemned to inventing the wheel for ourselves in every generation. Perhaps there are, in fact, some small bits of wisdom in the supposedly repressive, patriarchal sexual mores of our great-grandparents’ generation. And so, while the Church desperately needs to expunge legalism and shaming from the conversation, the world also needs to come to terms with the depravity that lurks behind so much of sexual interaction. Sex is a fire capable of bringing both warmth and destruction. Our only hope lies in basing our sexual lives on the example of Christ’s self-sacrificial love. Only when sex becomes a sharing of “ourselves, our souls and bodies” can it be a worthy endeavor. Many of you may find yourselves agreeing with some of what I have said, yet still pray under your breath with St. Augustine, “Give me chastity, O Lord, but not yet.” Very well, the Lord will have you. As Pope Francis has said, Christianity has a whole lot more to offer than just the “pelvic issues.” But sex is an important aspect of our existence here and now, so it is worth getting it right. The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” And thus, the Church’s teachings on sex are not meant to be burdens but an invitation to fuller life; the gospel’s Nos are always in service of a greater Yes. Photography by Victoria Wu
BY Ben Burnette Contributing Writer
For millennia, people have been trying, with varying degrees of success, to relate to the divine. For just as long, people have been trying, also with varying degrees of success, to relate to other people. Those two pursuits are not unconnected. Usually, the way cultures have seen their god(s) has dictated the way in which they have lived in community with other people. Cultures with violent gods are usually violent, cultures with strict gods are usually strict, and so on. The question for Christians, and those considering Christianity, is, “What kind of god is the Christian God, and what does that mean for how Christians should see other people?” Obviously that is a very big question, but it has a remarkably short answer. The Christian God is a forgiving and loving God, and Christians should live in communities built around forgiveness and love. Even if you are not Christian, the Christian model of community is still valuable, a claim I will expand on later. At its core, Christianity teaches three things. We as humans are fallen and sinful. God sent His son Jesus Christ to take on the burdens of our sins. Because of His sacrifice, humans are redeemed. These statements may sound a bit too religious-y for those of you who are not Christian, but bear with me. Each of the these statements teaches us something valuable about living in community, namely how we as people ought to treat other people, regardless of whether or not we believe in God. Before I go further, let me tell you part of my story. I grew up in a Christian home. My grandfather was a minister. I was raised in an environment that placed a strong emphasis on the ideas of right and wrong and following the teachings of the Bible. I expected that everyone just did what the Bible said was right and did not do the things it said were wrong. Things were that simple. Except of course they are not. That is an easy way to think about morality, but I missed two big parts of the picture. First, I missed the reasoning behind the laws of the Bible. The Bible is not a book of arbitrary rules, its goal is to tell us how to relate to each other and to God. Thinking of it as a book of rules misses that point entirely. Secondly, I was too young to really understand the reasons people would break the rules. As a result, I had no understanding or grace to offer those who broke the rules, only judgement. Because I lacked understanding my faith was hollow. It looked fine from the outside but had no real substance. In high school, I started to drift away from my Christianity. I never stopped believing in God, I just stopped letting my belief shape my actions. I did not do anything
too bad, that is, I was not necessarily doing anything that would be considered immoral by secular society. Still, the choices I made interfered with my relationship with God and hurt the community of friends I had around me. As a result, I grew more distant from my friends and my family. I felt lost and alone. The religious idea of sin is, broadly, anything that draws us further away from God, which can include wrongs committed both towards God and towards one another. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology notes that, “Perhaps we most often think of sin as wrongdoing or transgression of God’s law. Sin includes a failure to do what is right. But sin also offends people; it is violence and lovelessness toward other people, and ultimately, rebellion against God.” I think, though, aspects of the idea of sin are easily recognized by us all. Even without a biblically based definition of sin, everybody can recognize that we often face choices that have an impact on those around us. Sometimes we make choices we know will hurt those with whom we are in relationship. Our actions have real consequences and can cause real injury. These acts create distance between us and those whom we ordinarily love. Unfortunately for society, people are flawed and our flaws hurt those around us. We all know this reality has always been and will always be the case. In spite of this fact, every community must find a way to survive despite being made of flawed individuals. It is in pursuit of how communities not only survive, but thrive, that I think Christianity has the most to teach us. The hardest and the easiest truths to come to terms with in Christianity are that we can never be good enough and that we do not have to be (which truth I think is the hard one and which I think is the easy one depends on the day). In Christian belief, we can never be good enough because God is perfect, and humans are not. Back when I thought the Bible was just a set of rules people had to follow, basically I thought people could be good enough. Now I know better. Our sin gets in the way of our relationship with God. The problem is on our end, and not His. Despite that, Christians believe they can still have a relationship with God, because He made the sacrifice for our sins through His son Jesus Christ, so all our imperfections are forgiven. Because I used to think that people could earn their redemption, I also did not grasp the idea that I needed grace, and so it was difficult to accept. I was too hard on myself and others for mistakes. When properly understood, Christianity avoids both these pitfalls. Christians know that their goal is to be in relationship
with God, and that requires working on all their shortcomings, but they also know that His forgiveness means they need not be overcome with despair when they fall short of that aim. The same truths apply to flourishing communities. To be in community with others, we must recognize that nobody is perfect, and that nobody has to be. In a flourishing community, the community is willing to meet those in it where they are, not necessarily where they should be. It makes over and above sacrifices for the sake of those in the community, forgiving them as they forgive others, and as God forgave us all. The Bible says, “Bear with one another; forgive whatever grievances you have against one another. Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you” (Colossians 3:13, NAB). The biblical idea of God’s relationship with humans is meant to inform how humans relate to each other. You may not be Christian, but you do not have to be to recognize the need for forgiveness in communities. We cannot expect that our communities will never hurt us, nor is it healthy for every hurt to be held against the one who hurt us. We must remind one another we are still accepted despite our flaws. At the same time, the individuals in that community still need to recognize the way in which their actions affect those around them, and, without being consumed by guilt over the ways in which they come up short, work to improve themselves and the community. They should not become complacent, thinking that since on balance they are good enough they need not strive to improve.
In practice, balancing forgiveness with maintaining standards is difficult for any community. As someone who has had extensive involvement with both Christian and non-Christian communities alike, I can testify to the fact that Christianity is no guarantee of perfection. Going back to my high school days, I found myself immersed in two different cultures. One group was all of my secular friends. They did not judge me. I felt accepted. At the same time, they were not helping me become a healthier or better person. Their philosophy was that it was my life, and I could make my own mistakes, which is just what I did. I do not blame my friends for that. Those choices were mine and mine alone. At the same time, had my friends taken a more active role in encouraging healthy choices, I would have been better off. At the other end of the spectrum, when people have offered corrective advice, those people have often been Christian. The problem is that the advice often came cloaked in judgement. Again, that is no excuse for my failing to heed it. Good advice is good advice, and I should have taken it, regardless of the spirit in which it was offered. Unfortunately, that was not the way I acted, and I do not think I am alone in resenting that kind of judgement. Even if I did take the advice, it was unlikely I would go to that person again with my problems. I did not enjoy having to deal with their holier-than-thou tones, which meant that I stopped getting their advice altogether. All of this is my way of saying that I am not offering Christianity as the duct tape for your community: you
cannot just slap it on and fix your problem. Christian tenants require work and commitment, as does building a good community. And, while above I brought up my own struggles with Christians in community, I would suggest that this is a problem with Christians and not with Christianity. It is an error in execution, not in strategy. This failure on the part of Christians does not preclude a serious examination of Christianity as a moral philosophy or a model for community and personal health. In reading the Bible, it is clear that Christians are expected to do more than simply ignore sin. “We exhort you to admonish the unruly; cheer the fainthearted; support the weak; be patient toward all” (1 Thessalonians 5:14, NAB). It is equally clear that Christians are expected to do much more than simply admonish. We must also encourage others. We must also repent of our own failings. I am thankful to say that, in many ways, I am in a better place than I was in high school. Because of the mistakes I made then, my faith has grown. By moving away from my pharisaic idea of biblical teachings, I have been able to be more understanding of others’ struggles with sin and, as a result, forgive them for the ways their actions hurt me. I would like to take credit for that, but it has largely been due to people in my life who spoke to me in the way outlined in the Bible. Yes, they called me out, but they did so with love. Their criticisms were framed so that, counterintuitive though it may sound, they were encouraging rather than discouraging. Whether or not you accept the idea that there is a God who sent His son to die for our sins, the ideals of biblical community have things to offer you.
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Stained Glass BY DOROTHY ADU-AMANKWAH Contributing Writer
Many pieces of myself have I lost On this road of life Barbed signposts the rest have become Inside and out, It’s all sharp edges “Warning: Do not touch Be careful where you walk” I warn those who wish to get close Fear is my constant companion It sings a melody of loneliness Yet I laugh and laugh, I am not lonely I have friends, I am at Duke, I am making it When I fall, I stand back up Each day repeats the struggle But I laugh and laugh, I am not struggling Eat when I am not hungry Don’t eat when I am hungry Sleep too much or too little Workout, fashion, makeup I laugh and laugh to numb the pain Yet the broken pieces of my soul remain Then I see you, Jesus, Each day taking the risk to be near me The cuts on you as you embrace my sharp edges The holes in your hands As you lift my head and hold my hand “My love”, you call me As your side is pierced once again Yet, even if my healing means your pain You still come I am incapable of understanding this reality Every lost piece of me You have found and treasured You fit the broken pieces together And with the gentleness of a dove You soften the sharp edges You stain me with your love And I reflect the beautiful image of God
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If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because she cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. -C.S. Lewis, Weight of Glory
Cover photography by Victoria Wu Staff page photography by Victoria Wu From Seed to Sequoia by Nefer Bastuli Sequoia Facts: http://mentalfloss.com/article/92177/10-towering-facts-about-giant-sequoias
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Interview with Dr. Jed Atkins by Anna Northup C. S. Lewis, “Learning in War-Time,” in The Weig ht of Glory: And Other Addresses (New York: HarperCollins, 1949/2001), 58-9. Photography by Emery Geyer Run by Joey Li Romans 6:17-18 Piper, John. “I’m an Anxious Person - How do I ‘Rest in Christ’?”, desiringgod.org. Accessed March 1, 2019. https://www. desiringgod.org/interviews/im-an-anxious-person-how-do-irest-in-christ John 6
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Strength in Weakness by Gabbi Zegers Davis, E. (2019, March 4). Being honest , spreading kindness. The Chronicle. Retrieved from https:// www.dukechronicle.com/article/2019/03/duke-university-being-honest-spreading-kindness Hartling, L. M., Ph.D., Rosen, W., Ph.D., Walker, M., Ph.D., & Jordan, J. V., Ph.D. (2000). Shame and Humiliation: From Isolation to Relational Transformation. Work in Progress. Retrieved from Semantics Scholar database. Heerde, J. A., & Pallotta-Chiarolli, M. (2019). ‘i’d rather injure somebody else than get injured’: An introduction to the study of exposure to physical violence among young people experiencing homelessness. Journal of Youth Studies. Retrieved from EBSCOhost database. Nietzsche, F. (n.d.). Beyond Good and Evil. In The Free Spirit. Retrieved from https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/ nietzsche/1886/beyond-good-evil/ch02.htm Nietzsche, F. (n.d.). Thus Spoke Zarathrustra. Retrieved from https://www.theperspectivesofnietzsche.com/nietzsche/nuber. html TED. (2011, January 3). The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o TED. (2012, March 16). Listening to shame | Brené Brown [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=psN1DORYYV0 Vulnerability. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster online thesaurus. Retrieved May 7, 2019, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/ thesaurus/vulnerability Vulnerable. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Retrieved May 7, 2019, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/ dictionary/vulnerability Yao, A. (2013, May 19). ‘Never Let Them See You Sweat’: The Myth of Effortless Perfection. HuffPost. Retrieved from https:// www.huffpost.com/entry/college-women-pressure_b_2898446?guccounter=1 Life. (n.d.). In Dictionary.com. Retrieved June 29, 2019, from https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&ei=B44XXZj9N8exggf0_Zm4DA&q=life+definition&oq=life+defin&gs_l=psy-ab.1.0.0l10.6309.7993..9485...0.0..0.301.975.0j5j0j1......0....1..
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I Need Some Lovin’ by Andrew Raines Marvin Gaye, “Sexual Healing” Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, trans. G.E.M. Anscombe (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1958), #106. This was a slogan of the May 1968 demonstrations in France. Dorothy Day, The Day of Delight: The Diaries of Dorothy Day, ed. Robert Ellsberg (New York: Image Books, 2011), 409. https://www.who.int/topics/sexual_health/en/ Each of these were prominent movements in the early Church. Gnosticism taught that the god who made the world is evil and Christ saves us from it with esoteric knowledge (gnosis). Manichaeism was a similar syncretic religion positing a dualist world where materiality was shunned and Jesus never became human. Platonism has a base world of matter and a higher plane of forms. Genesis 1:31 Barron, Robert. “Sex, Love, and God: The Catholic Answer to Puritanism and Nietzcheanism.” Word on Fire. December 09, 2018. Accessed April 16, 2019. https://www.wordonfire.org/ resources/article/sex-love-and-god-the-catholic-answer-to-puritanism-and-nietzcheanism/455/. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae I-II, 26 4, corp. art. Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon: Founded upon the Seventh Ed. of Liddell and Scotts Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997). Barron, Robert. “Paul Tillich and “The Shape of Water”.” Word on Fire. December 09, 2018. Accessed April 16, 2019. https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/article/paul-tillich-andthe-shape-of-water/5734/. https://www.apa.org/about/policy/boys-men-practice-guidelines.pdf Barnes, Marc. “The Case for Complicating Sex.” Bad Catholic. March 30, 2016. Accessed April 16, 2019. https://www.patheos. com/blogs/badcatholic/2016/03/the-case-for-complicating-sex. html. 1662 Book of Common Prayer, Solemnization of Matrimony Genesis 2:24 Revelation 14:4 Sarah Coakley, The New Ascetism: Sexuality, Gender and the Quest for God, (London: Bloomsbury), 34. Matthew 5:44 Dorothy Day, The Day of Delight: The Diaries of Dorothy Day, ed. Robert Ellsberg (New York: Image Books, 2011), 267. Or so a meme posted by Avery Boltwood on Duke Memes for Gothicc Teens on Feb. 7, 2019 contends. 1662 Book of Common Prayer, Post-Communion prayer “Da mihi castitatem et continentiam, sed noli modo” (Augustine of Hippo, Confessiones, Book 8, Chapter 7, Section 17) “Gloria enim Dei vivens homo” (Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, Book 4, Chapter 34, Section 7)
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Christian Connection by Ben Burnette “Sin - Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology Bible Dictionary.” StudyLight.org, n.d. https://www.studylight. org/dictionaries/bed/s/sin.html.
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Stained Glass by Dorothy Adu-Amankwah
Photography by Emery Geyer, Noah Breuss-Burgess About Crux photography by Victoria Wu Back Cover photography by Carly McGregor
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