Wheatonâ€™s Unofficial Undergraduate Journal
Reinventing Celibacy I Am Something of an Accidental Anglican The Relics of St. Clive We Are All Antiques
Volume 5, Issue 1 Fall 2009
the pub Thoughts from the Editor If Wheaton has taught me anything, it is to value
The purpose of writing papers should be to hone our ability to assemble and think on our own, rather than merely deconstructing someone elseâ€™s argument. But the end result is rarely a real understanding of the topic; arguments are forged under a deadline, and the result is the muddle we consider undergraduate studies. There isn't enough time to read everything well, but that is no reason not to pick up the habit. We will not always have access to a professorate to guide our thinking. We will have to meet the ideals of the so-called real world head-on and make choices that we will have to live with. We will have to speak plainly about what we believe. This thought, as commonsensical as it is, fills me with terror as I approach graduation. I am terrified of the fact of believing in something. That brings us to the little journal you are now reading. The Pub is not perfect, no publication (especially an undergraduate one) is perfect, but we are a step towards living out the intellectual lives that we are taught to value here at Wheaton. And so, I challenge you, dear reader, to challenge us in that regard. Read carefully; give these pieces the benefit of the work and thought that the authors invested in them. Mark them up, re-read them, discuss with your friends. Then give us an earful! Think we've missed a point? Write us a piece for the spring, improving where we failed. Consider it an opportunity to live your education out in the "real world" that your professors warn you about. Look at you, thinking on your own. You must have had a liberal arts education.
people with perspectives removed from my own. I happen to be enraptured with a certain dead Russian author at the moment, in addition to a mind-crush on Albert Camus. Whether Christian, benignly pagan, or atheist, there is an element in good writing that helps us view both Creator and creation in a clearer light. We undergo a liberal arts education to broaden our perspectives and ideas, to benefit from a spectrum of knowledge rather than just the lens of our chosen discipline. Unfortunately, there are many cases within our bizarre intellectual/ evangelical culture where we simply ignore any thoughts outside of our own pet opinions. A good deal of this is simply because looking at something honestly is difficult. It requires a good deal of reading, an equal amount of grace, and time. All are short on a college campus, so we cheat. It is easier to dismiss Nietzsche by focusing solely on his pronouncement that "God is dead," but the task grows far more difficult when one attempts to read and understand the work surrounding it. Thoughts of depth, beauty, and even Christian truth emerge from what was dismissed as worthless. To turn my lens on myself, I owe the same respect to leaders in the evangelical church: James Dobson and Rick Warren to name a few. Beneath what I sometimes see as misguided attempts to right wrongs there is a genuine desire for what is good. When I see my small reservations in the light of a whole argument I understand far more. I don't necessarily agree, and that point is key, but I actually benefit from this enlightened disagreement. Strangely, I've found that taking classes at Wheaton does not always promote this type of thinking.
Nick Tomlin Editor-in-Chief
Special Thanks: We would like to give special thanks to Student Government, to The Logos at Yale University, and to Steve Nelson of Sierra Gems for their financial support; to our faculty advisor, Dr. Read Schuchardt, for his counsel; and to the wonderful staff of the SAO for all their help.
the pub [narrative] 5, 9 Having Coffee with Hana We Are All Antiques
Brittany Bronson Cora Mills
[poem] 3, 4, 16, 34 Old Wishes In every story she writes Windmills Digging Yourself Deeper
Bethany DeMasie Bethany DeMasie Meredith Moench Daniel Leonard
[essay] 13, 17, 25 A Primer on Post-Modernity: The Need for Christian Hope Reinventing Celibacy The Relics of St. Clive
Jonathan Larson Christine Colón Brittaini Maul
[review] 29, 32 I Am Something of an Accidental Anglican Martyr’s Crossing: Fiction That Makes Israel-Palestine Personal
Will Hierholzer Christine Kindberg
Cover Photo: Willy Dewitt or Not 2009 by Joseph Weber Joseph Weber is a junior studio art (photography) major from Elkhart, IN. If, from birth, you eat a chocolate bar once a day for 36,500 days, you’ll be 100 years old. Joseph.Weber@my.wheaton.edu
Old Wishes Bethany DeMasie
They are like a chorus of children, only it is always a rehearsal: they flirt, knock scores to the hardwood floor, stab each other with pencils, untie shoes and wait for a cue that will come they donâ€™t doubt like mothers about six oâ€™clock in the parking lot.
In every story she writes Bethany DeMasie
the sons have red hair that won’t cooperate, chase unlucky toads, and lose annual footraces to clever and unhappy daughters. Mothers wear plaid aprons and listen to political radio programs, slamming spatulas on the counter and cursing those goddamn commies when the kids are outside. Fathers come home from work early or not at all, and spend weekends at jazz clubs regretting that they stopped playing bass. First loves will end for foreseeable reasons that daughters are about to explain in a cafe when the final sentence reads, “Then a bomb went off ”; death, as if by principle, takes no enlightened turn.
Bethany DeMasie is a junior English major with a music minor from Evansville, IN. If Bethany’s head were chopped off, she could survive for nine days before dying of starvation. Bdemasie@gmail.com
Having Coffee with Hana
I sighed, “Yeah.”
I always wondered how Hana and I became friends, the girl who went to see Andrew naked Brittany Bronson on opening night and the girl who blushed whenever he smiled at her. I think we were just amazed by each other. I was struck by her inability to judge anyone, and I think she was Hana and I met for coffee our senior year once drawn to my willingness to listen to anyone. a week at Bellatazza. The small tables, the 30- Hana broke my stereotypes of Democrats. I day biodegradable cups, and the barista with broke her stereotypes of Christians. And every dreadlocks went well with Hana’s long, red hair, Wednesday we met together to make sure they flowing skirts, and the kept breaking down. tattoo on her wrist. I There were moments I think we were just always arrived before of discomfort. When amazed by each other. I she did, ordered my 12 Hana talked about ounce non-fat vanilla was struck by her inability smoking weed, I latté, and grabbed pretended to know to judge anyone, and I “The Source,” a free what a bong, a bowl, newspaper chalk full of and a hit was. I invited think she was drawn to political commentary. her to church a few my willingness to listen to times, but every time I pretended to read editorials on the Iraq anyone. Hana broke my I mentioned God it war, while sneaking like talking about stereotypes of Democrats. was occasional glances a friend of mine she I broke her stereotypes at Andrew, the other met once but did not barista, a former remember. But of Christians. And every really model who went Hana wanted to be a Wednesday we met naked for a scene in musician and I wanted the “Rocky Horror together to make sure they to be a writer, so we Picture Show.” Hana held tightly to our kept breaking down. eventually arrived in dreams and our coffee her white Honda, the cups on Wednesday back of which was covered in bumper stickers mornings throughout first and second semester, with slogans like, “One love, Bob Marley,” and as we talked about art, life, college, and “Fuck Bush.” She offered an apology for being Andrew. late every time, but it was never necessary; I The first thing Hana and I ever shared was could look at Andrew all day. our love for jazz. We were members of our high “Oh God, that man is hot,” Hana said. school jazz choir and our friendship began over
[narrative] the background noise of augmented fifths and Dylan. sevenths. Since that time, I have come to accept We took her car to lunch one school day that I am better suited as a consumer, rather when I first saw it. “Look,” I smiled slightly, and than a producer, of jazz, but Hana—Hana had gestured towards the dashboard, “It’s Jesus.” a gift. Hana let out a laugh, and then stopped Listening to Hana sing was something I herself, concerned that she had offended me. did frequently. Our choir stood in an arc when “Yeah, it is,” she said. we performed, and a cute boy who was my best I examined the Jesus closely. I had never friend and her crush, stood in between us. I pictured Jesus smiling that big. He looked like he heard her powerful soprano voice almost every just played a joke on someone. Maybe he just told day. For two years I had Peter to go catch a fish, I always wondered the honor of singing open its mouth, and take harmonies thirds and the cash inside and pay what it would be like fifths below it. Hana his taxes with it. Maybe to have Bob Sant for a he was standing around recorded two songs for her Berklee College of with the other disciples dad; two years later, Music audition, and I put saying, “Just imagine the when I visited Hana them on my iPod. I still look on Peter’s face when listen to them sometimes, he finds that drachma!” one summer night, and it feels like we’re I reached my finger Bob offered to roll me towards together again, when Jesus and flicked I sing the harmonies his head with my finger. a joint, and I stopped alone in my car to the He moved rapidly from wondering. soundtrack of her voice. side to side, hitting his Hana and I dreamed up our lives together hands on the dashboard. “I bet he really gets over coffee. Hana imagined singing in Jazz going on speed bumps,” I said. clubs, while I would read my prose in cafés. I Hana exploded into laughter and I joined looked forward to those Wednesday mornings her. Our laughter filled the small space of the because my dreams felt safest there, spoken over Honda, echoed off the dashboard; for the soft cups that disappeared in thirty days. Over few seconds the laughter surrounded us, Jesus the small surface of those tables, there was no danced to it. room for criticism; we reveled in the safety of it together. Hana’s parents divorced when she was four. Her mother, Denise, was a chemist, and Denise’s Hana had a Jesus bobble-head on her boyfriend lived with them throughout Hana’s dashboard. He had large cartoon eyes that life. Her father, Bob Sant, was a local artist looked upwards with a big smile that showed who pioneered the art scene in our city, an exhis white, plastic veneers. He held his hands Mormon who left the church during his teenage out to his sides, bobbling back and forth to Bob years. My junior year, Bob chaperoned one of
the pub our choir trips. I rode from Portland, Oregon, to husband.” San Francisco in the passenger seat of his Land Rover. We all thought he looked like Conan My mother died when I was four. One O’Brien. All the Mormon kids rode in the other morning I shared with Hana how much I am car, so for nine hours he told us stories about looking forward to being reunited with my growing up in the Mormon Church, and ended mother in heaven, when time, death, memory, each one with, “It was really trippy.” I always and all the things that have separated us will wondered what it would be like to have Bob have no more power. Hana cried when I told Sant for a dad; two years her this even though she later, when I visited Hana does not believe it will Loving Hana was the truly one summer night, Bob ever happen. She wanted to closest I think I have say the right thing, but she offered to roll me a joint, and I stopped wondering. not, so she wiped her ever come to loving could I declined, and crossed tears with her napkin and someone as Jesus my arms tighter across my said nothing. chest. Bob shrugged his loved. I knew she shoulders, taking a hit on One Wednesday would never change, morning in March, Hana Hana’s bong. Hana and I talked so I loved her just to arrived later than normal, about her parents’ divorce with a large white envelope love her, like Jesus in her hand. “I got into one time. Hana told me that her parents are still loved those He knew Berklee,” she told me. friends, they get along well, My mouth dropped. would reject him, and although she and her “Congratulations,” I told brother jumped from house disown Him, dip their her, and I bought her coffee to house most of her life, bread in the wine and to celebrate. she was never angry. She “How amazing would betray Him. said she understood it was that be?” she said to me the best thing for them; later on that morning. they were unhappy together, and more than “What?” I asked. anything, she wanted her parents to be happy. “If you ended up in Chicago and I went I sat quietly across from her. I wanted to to Boston.” say the right thing. “Well, are you okay about I breathed deeply, “That would be it?” amazing.” Hana gave her usual response and laughed. I will remember that moment forever, when “Brittany, you know my dad. Could you be we felt our dreams at the edges of our fingertips. married to him?” They were tangible then, not yet pushed out I smiled slightly. to the fringes and clouded over by the voice “He’s a great dad, but he’s a shitty of practicality. We planned to meet in Philly
[narrative] because it was between Chicago and Boston and neither of us had ever been there. We reread Hana’s acceptance letter several times that morning, and when Andrew walked by to wipe down tables, we seductively put our hair behind our ears and laughed at nothing.
roots between people. Hana was the kind of friend who was hard to have, but that I wish I had more of. The kind of friend I could never change, but deep down, never wanted to. I have plenty of friends who remind me of my salvation, but I need more who remind me of my humanity. Having coffee with Hana was having coffee with doubt, fear, anger, insecurity, and the flesh I am constantly trying to rid myself of, but need in order to experience grace. We never shared faith, but we shared our humanity, and it is my knowledge of my humanity that draws me to God more than anything else. Loving Hana was the closest I think I have ever come to loving someone as Jesus loved. I knew she would never change, so I loved her just to love her, like Jesus loved those He knew would reject him, disown Him, dip their bread in the wine and betray Him. I picture Him on her dashboard sometimes, the hope of my life, dancing and smiling in a car covered in swear words. I do not know if He is desecrated there, riding through Hana’s life as a car decoration. But it is there on her dashboard, underneath a Buddha air-freshener: that He is Himself. Hana is someone Jesus may never rescue, may never change. She may not become a Christian, she may never read a Bible, she will likely continue to gaze over him as she journeys this life. But He never leaves her. With arms open, He stands, He bobbles, and He loves because He is God, and God is Love, and He is incapable of anything else.
Hana eventually came to Bible Study with me one Thursday night, simply because I was speaking. With weeks of practice listening to me in a coffee shop, I guess she thought she could do it at a church. After I spoke, Hana and I sat on a curb outside for an hour and cried together. “I want to believe it,” she whispered through her tears. “But I’m sorry. I just don’t think I’ll ever be able to.” I rested my hand on her arm and nodded. “That’s okay.” We never talked about God again. Hana is a semester away from graduating with a double major in Sociology and Women’s Studies. She still has long, red hair, but never went to Berklee; she now only sings in the shower and the car. She lost her dream of becoming a musician, but picked up a new one along the way: she wants to open a home that offers support to women seeking refuge from abusive relationships. We only go to Bellatazza one or two times a year now; each time we are a bit more distant, have less to talk about, and share less in common. It is no one’s fault, and there is no bitterness; there is just time, space, distance, and all the things that gradually grow
Brittany Bronson is a senior English writing and communications major from Bend, OR. She knows how to beat box. Stop her if you see her and she’ll lay down a beat. Brittany.Bronson@my.wheaton.edu
We Are All Antiques
of us start down the path. “Midwestern drivers, slow as my last Cora Mills husband. You know, I swear, I’d like to take the driving exam here just to see how some of you all are allowed on the road to begin with. I swear, I would.” We are taking a walk, three generations long. My aunt moved from Utah back to Fort Every Saturday, my grandmother, aunt, father, Wayne when we found out my grandma was sick, and I make our weekly trip along the rocky path a U-turn from her teenage days when her life’s that circles 1.63 miles around our local YMCA. dream was to escape Indiana. Grandma Mills It has become one of those outings that none of has frontal lobe dementia, a disease that strips us seems to notice anymore, a sojourn that we her of short-term memory as well as other social make, habitual and necessary. inhibitions that would be desirable in a woman Another Saturday. We have just picked up whose mind is crowded with a lifetime of longmy grandma and are rolling into the Y parking term memories shrouded by bipolar disorder. lot. Aunt Shelley My grandma’s drives up in her lime personality shifts in My grandma’s navigation green car; the vehicle polar extremes. At through the gaps in her that lets the rest of one end, she is a the Midwestern world memory is like driving over woman who loves her know she is “not from children and whose potholes while trying to around these parts.” mind records, biased Last year my aunt by contentedness, only read a map; she always turned, as she puts s c r a p b o o k - w o r t hy it, “fashionably fifty” loses her place at the next memories. At the other, and celebrated with she deteriorates into bump and never quite a manicure and spa woman whose past recognizes where she is or if awounds package deal. She of divorce, she missed that last turn. attempted-suicide, is always trying to isolate her age and, and the estrangement as a senior consultant at Mary Kay cosmetics, of her children are still bleeding. My grandma’s she has become well trained in fusing vogue and navigation through the gaps in her memory is vintage. like driving over potholes while trying to read “Hey guys! Glad I’m not late, but you a map; she always loses her place at the next wouldn’t believe the traffic on Dupont,” she yells bump and never quite recognizes where she is in greeting as Dad helps my grandma out of the or if she missed that last turn. car. Grandma Mills points to a small shrine of “It’s always like this on Saturdays. Evening forget-me-not flowers that flank the entirety of entertainment rush,” Dad responds as the four the path. “Look at those flowers! Just beautiful.
[narrative] Scott, how’d you find this place? I’ve never been to a spot like this before. Gorgeous.” My grandma cannot function by herself anymore. Although she is in spectacular physical shape for seventy-two—even now she’s running up the path ahead of us—her mental capacities are unreliable, coming and going as they please like transients in a library. Her fragmented mind has rendered my grandmother incapable of living on her own. One would never realize this, though, upon first meeting her. Under initial observation, she seems the same as any grandmother—smiling, laughing, engaging— but listen a little longer and you’ll hear the duplication in her speech like a voiceover in a museum exhibit that repeats every three minutes. The decision to place my grandma in an institution was primarily my dad’s, but his brother and sister were in full support. Now, Grandma Mills lives in a nursing home, although my parents refuse to call it by that name. Dad chides, “It’s not a nursing home, it’s a memory care residence,” the way people call dumps “waste disposal facilities” when everyone knows they’re still where you store your junk. We walk together along the graveled patch, pebbles crunching under us like Styrofoam peanuts. Grandma Mills is out of breath after only a short distance now. We catch up to her and Dad puts his arm around her shoulder, a comforting and simultaneously patronizing gesture. “I almost made it to that curb, see? Right ...whew...right there. Almost made it.” Grandma Mills clutches her chest now, heaving for breath. “You sure did, Mom. You’re still in great shape for being fifty-two.”
“Oh, shush you,” my grandma gently feignpunches Dad’s shoulder as his comment wipes twenty years away from her. “This gettin’ older is sure not for sissies,” my grandma laments. Same every Saturday. Habitual as always, my aunt begins to talk about the past. She recalls a time thirty years ago to when she and my father were teenagers and she turns to Dad to ask him whether they share similar memories. “Scott, do you remember going on those road trips out West?” My dad laughs, showing he remembers. “I don’t remember much about where we went—just those endless hours in the car. We stocked up on piles of junk food. Mom always had two bags: one of ho-hos and twinkies and the other of comic books. She was great, weren’t you mom?” My grandmother looks up at this now, wondering if she has heard her son right as he mentions her name with praise. She laughs; my father has evoked pleasant memories. “I used to absolutely love those trips. I’ve got some photos back home in a box by the front door closet. You’ll get those down when we go back to my house, won’t you, Scott?” My father changes the subject. Grandma Mills no longer has a house; it was sold a year ago. We now pass the blue flowers as the gravel path curves, and my grandma, as if on cue for the scene she has rehearsed a hundred times, remarks about how beautiful they are, the way she does every Saturday. Neither my father nor my aunt listen, their attention is impervious to the comment my grandma has made so many times “You know how we used to read those Archie
the pub books?” my father continues on, “Well, now I of sentimentality. see them in antique shops and on eBay. They’re “Look at those flowers! They’re absolutely going for nearly $50 a book.” Dad is addicted to gorgeous. Scott, how’d you find this spot?” eBay. Ten years ago when the commemorative I look at the silver ring on my pointer finger. state quarters were released, he began collecting I bought it at a retro shop last summer where it them, claiming them as an investment to my had been preserved for nearly forty years under college education. glass- still as silver as it had been when it was At this my aunt throws back her dyed cherry- crafted. But now, after two months of wear, it red hair and lets out a whoop as only my aunt has begun to fade, discoloring to a rusty copper, can. Aunt Shelley is a woman who can flaunt erasing four decades of preservation. I look from cheetah fur. the ring to Grandma Mills. “You’re kidding!” “Where are we, Scott? I’ve never been here “Nope, check it out for yourself. I should before and I want to make sure I remember to see how much those come back.” Batman comics I had We are circling It is a graveyard full of are going for. We’ve around back to the papers, cards, 7th grade parking lot. Aunt still got them stashed away, somewhere.” Shelley and my father homework, Christmas “My gosh, I wish I have quickened their decorations, photos, would have saved pace, eager to return mine. It seems like all broken furniture, and other to the cars now in the junk from our day sight. They walk memorials to the dead is getting bought up immersed in each and sold off at auction. other’s company, past. This is where Dad’s I can’t believe—I just laughing about some comics will be; this is where joke my father has can’t believe it. Well, Grandma Mills’ photos will told. Grandma Mills I guess we are all antiques now.” trailed back, be, boxed and forgotten in has In the basement bending down to of my house there is a a morgue of sentimentality. pluck a blue flower. room we call the “junk “Just beautiful,” I room” because it houses everything that we have hear her murmur, but I am as unresponsive as cast aside from the present, but cannot bring my father and aunt, wondering what antiques I ourselves to throw away. It is a graveyard full of have collected and if the blue flowers will be one papers, cards, 7th grade homework, Christmas of them. I wonder what item in the basement decorations, photos, broken furniture, and other will iron out the wrinkles in my memory. memorials to the dead past. This is where Dad’s The gravel path blends into pavement as comics will be; this is where Grandma Mills’ we reach the car, cloaked in copper twilight. photos will be, boxed and forgotten in a morgue The blue night seeps over the horizon as one
[narrative] generation after another climbs into the same car to sit for a moment together. My grandma clutches the blue flower in her weathered hand, her veins root-like as she clenches the stem, as though to make sure it stays real a little while longer. Another Saturday. Another souvenir. “Shelley, did you see those flowers? The blue ones. Beautiful.”
“I sure did, Mom,” my aunt says, wrapping her arm around her mother’s shoulder and giving it a tight squeeze. We are all antiques, my aunt says. Some of us fade with time, becoming junk stuffed in a basement room; yet, others appreciate with value, clutched tightly in the hands of future collectors.
Cora Layne Mills is a sophomore English literature and studio art major from Fort Wayne, IN. She was once nearly assassinated by a butterfly and has since had a deathly fear of them. Cora.Mills@my.wheaton.edu
A Primer on PostModernity: The Need for Christian Hope
is most often thought of as being completely opposed to Christianity in general and Christian Truth in particular. Other Christians think that it is exactly what Christianity needs today to witness in a multicultural society and return to early church practice. Despite all the strong Jonathan Larson feelings and unkind words, no one actually talks about what Post-Modernity is or is not. Most often Post-Modernity is seen as the Post-Modernity has pulled a rug out from influx of relativism and despair in the 20th beneath our feet and we no longer know where Century. Since Western society perceived WWI to stand for safety. Before turning in anger to this as being a pointless war in which so many died, practical joker, let us re-asses where we are by they could no longer think that reason and science asking the questions. Who am I? Where am I? were making everything unquestionably better. And where am I going? Often the answers will The Modern utopian dreams were shattered fall into what most Christians would call a world- as hope was lost in humanity. There also began view. These questions are asked to describe a lack of security in the unchangeability of one’s outlook on life—where we stand—and the external world with Einstein’s Relativity. what basic presuppositions we possess. We can People then began to extend relativity to then compare different cultures and religions moral and cultural norms as well because the on a seemingly neutral basis to see which more ground was no longer stable. By questioning the accurately describes reality. Post-Modernity groundwork in one field we allowed ourselves breaks in and destroys the systematizing power to question other fields, so now we simply take of these questions by the question for granted negating their power to Despite all the strong and allow ourselves to provide any set definition question everything. The feelings and unkind on the world and requiring question Post-Modernity us to be always asking the words, no one actually asks in general is, “Could questions because the things be different from talks about what Postanswers are in constant what they are?” Postflux. Modernity is or is not. Modernity questions the Post-Modernity, and fixity of our experience the post-modern question have been largely and the experiences of others that Modernism misunderstood in recent days, though slowly sought to bring. By asking the question and not we are understanding it more and more as our already assuming to know the answer, since culture is thoroughly imbued with its mentality. everything is subjective, Post-Modernism pulled Still, what does it mean? So often we simply the rug out from under our feet, prohibiting us assume a definition without taking sufficient time from asking if there is anything solid to fall on. It to really assess it. For Christians, Post-Modernity even suggests that there might be no floor at all.
[essay] Thus we are now suspended in the air unsure of what is or might be below. The Christian cannot ever fully ally with the Post-Modern because he knows the rock on which he must inevitably stand is Christ Jesus. But first, let us look at where we were standing before the rug was pulled. Looking back on modernity we see that it is only a rug; however, at the time it was a good foundation by which we could accomplish anything with science and reason. The little advances were seen to be only the beginning of making this world better and better with no possibility of any challenge that reason could not conquer. Modernity placed its hope in an eschatological future utopia brought into our present timeline. At the time Christians saw the possibility of bringing about the Kingdom of God; however, looking back on the Modern hope, the Christian sees that it left out fallen humanity and our need for grace. So, where can the Christian turn, not being able to ally with either of the ideologies that have infected our age? We are rejected by both sides yet we can never fully separate ourselves from them. Without Christianity, modernity could have never built a false hope in the first place. Reality, via the post-modern question, proceeds to smash our false hope only after the realization of our sinfulness. Most often, Christians attempt to separate themselves completely from both Modernity and Post-Modernity by grasping the idea that I have my Bible and that is sufficient. But in doing this they simply fall back in with Modernity by thinking that they can escape through their own power and reason. They dismiss the post-modern question as one of relativity and despair and one to which they are not prone because they have a firm foundation. Yet, we cannot and should not try to
dismiss Post-Modernity. The question has been asked of us and now we must respond. We can only respond by taking the question seriously. Therefore we first recognize that there is still a rug under our feet and always will be. Then we can pull it out ourselves knowing that we will just put another back in its place because of our fallen nature. We must not simply try to prove Modernity and Post-Modernity false, but as Christians must recognize the rugs’ weaknesses are our weaknesses as well. We have a common humanity from which we cannot escape. For the Christian, it is in our weakness and not our strength that we can overcome the world. One thing Post-Modernity has shown us is that Modernity had the drive to create systems to systematize all realty, but actually would do violence to reality by totalizing and consuming the thing it was trying to describe. By understanding this tendency to totalize from Emmanuel Levinas, Christians can see that they themselves do the same, and create idols of God to worship rather than God himself. Thus we get Jerry Root’s summation of C.S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed: “I want God, not my idea of God.” It is only by recognizing our weakness that we can ever break from a systematized view of God and come to see that a God who is greater than all systems has offered himself to us. PostModernity has denied the place of the strong, and allowed the weak a voice. So Christians must accept their weak place as opposed to the strong one they have held for the last 1500 years. We cannot escape the spirit of the age; it permanently indwells us and corrupts our thoughts. We are all entirely modern and post-modern always and at the same time. The moderns were post-modern and the postmoderns are modern. The one implies the
the pub other. We are always standing somewhere before for both are fully real and present here and now. we can get anywhere else and we are always The Post-Modern hope cannot see less of the moving, with every thought and action we take. world but it necessarily sees more and responds The original questions of identity can never to more. That is why Modern hope will no longer lead to a system because once they are asked, do. It does not satisfy. This is crucially important they intrinsically change us so that the next in terms of evangelism since it is assumed time they are asked the answer will always be Christians put forth a Modern hope that does different because we will have changed. It is the not deal with all the issues at hand. If Christians Post-Modern return to Heaclitean flux, in which cling to a modern hope, as we are so often prone we cannot step into the same river twice. to do, we will be shattered by the Post-Modern It is in this milieu that Christians must make question that we find ourselves unable to answer. sense of their distinctive hope that does not fit Christian hope is an optimistic pessimism that either the Modern world or the Post-Modern realizes the fallen state of how things are now world. First, however, we must recognize what is and hopes in an eschaton that is outside of our distinctive of Post-Modern hope, which to many current timeline. The Christian must hold this seems an oxymoron. optimistic pessimism For hope in the For hope in the Post-Modern in a unified dance Post-Modern world that flows with life world must deal with the must deal with the and not attempt to suffering, pain, and suffering, pain, and violence define and separate violence in our it. Therefore, world, and cannot in our world, and cannot think Christian hope and think that things will that things will just get better truth after the Postjust get better given question given the natural course of Modern the natural course often seem relative, of human progress. not because the human progress. Post-Moder n question sees no hope cannot be based on the given state of the truth left, but because there is too much truth to world at any given time, because otherwise it will fit within any previous system. To be a Christian always be overwhelmed with despair. To have is not to stand still as the world moves around us. hope in the Post-Modern world requires us to It is as T. S. Eliot says in East Coker, â€œTo be still understand the whole scope of life, all the good and still moving/ Into another intensity/ For a and bad, recognizing the range that life brings, further union, a deeper communion/ through and then accepting the range as joy: a joy that the dark and cold and empty desolation/.../ In will weep at the suffering and rejoice in the good, my end is my beginning.â€? Jonathan Larson '09 was a philosophy major from Wheaton, IL. He is currently working as a media specialist at a Christian school in Bogota, Colombia. After his daughter was born this last summer he became a true philosopher in that he loves Sophia. Pilgrimphilosopher@gmail.com
Windmills Meredith Moench
Windmills— six line on a hill’s ridge: two standing still, their three silver arms frozen, juxtaposed (their arms shooting to the light-crested heavens, peach with the morning rain mist), four turning slow, like a clock’s hands creeping, declaring Time— from the top of a hill. In their silent strokes saying, “look where Time has brought me” from nuclear mushrooms and solar panels, back— to wind in wheels on a hillside, chiming with the church bells’ toll.
Meredith Moench is a sophomore English writing major from Kandern, Germany. When she was a kid living in Scotland, she had a mixed Scottish/American accent, speaking with a Scottish accent at school and an American accent at home with her family. Meredith.Moench@my.wheaton.edu
acknowledge that a few monks and nuns who had received celibacy as a special gift might be Christine Colón able to resist sexual temptation and focus on God, but the consensus was that for “normal” singles, celibacy was too much to ask. They would try very hard to abstain before marriage, Reinventing Celibacy but they couldn’t be expected to live the rest of A few days ago, I received a letter from a their lives without the blessings of marriage and prisoner who had read a short piece I wrote for sex. Christianity Today on the need to affirm the value But what happens when the expected spouse of celibacy in today’s evangelical church. This doesn’t arrive according to our timeframe or at man, who is 52 years old, entered prison at 19. all? For many older singles, this leads to a crisis He became a Christian in faith as they begin at 21. In his letter he to wonder, “If God But what happens when told me how much really loves me, why the expected spouse he resonated with my doesn’t he give me this discussion of celibacy, doesn’t arrive according desire of my heart?” and I was struck by many to our timeframe or at all? Unfortunately, his tone. Rather than of the discussions expressing frustration For many older singles, this of singleness in the with his years of leads to a crisis in faith as evangelical church enforced celibacy, this avoid this issue by they begin to wonder, “If man talked about the simply assuring singles necessity of focusing God really loves me, why that their spouse will on godliness rather come if only they doesn’t he give me this than being consumed have enough faith. In by the desire for our book, Bonnie and desire of my heart?” another person. He I approach the issue recognized the importance of marriage, but from an entirely different perspective: what if he concluded by saying that his time in prison God’s purpose for our lives is not bound up in had taught him the value of living “a fulfilled whether we are married or not but rather in how celibate life in Christ.” we glorify him in whatever state we are placed? This is a message we don’t often hear in We begin to explore this issue by investigating today’s society. When my co-author, Bonnie various messages that singles receive from both Field, and I wrote our book Singled Out, which the secular world and the evangelical world provides the framework for the ideas I discuss that make it difficult to be single: messages in the article in Christianity Today, we were struck that tell Christians singles that it is impossible by how few Christians singles could imagine to resist sexual temptation; that sex is necessary celibacy as a fulfilling way to live. They might for full intellectual, emotional, and spiritual
[essay] maturity; and that marriage is essential for a we as singles embraced our freedoms and began happy life. Then, we turn to scripture, the early to participate fully in the work of the church. church, and contemporary Christian thinkers Think of the powerful witness that these freedoms to evaluate the truth of these messages. What could be for unchurched singles who might be we find is that throughout history Christians more willing to seek out a church community have had a difficult time where they would feel seeing both marriage and The assumption often valued as children of God singleness as important brothers and sisters is that Christian singles and and valid ways of serving in Christ. How might we cannot experience God, often giving one begin to see celibacy in a precedence over the other. new light?” life fully until we The reality is, however, are married, but is that scripture affirms both, Placing Marriage in suggesting that our focus Perspective marriage really the should not be on obsessing One of the first perfect solution for over whether marriage or steps in this process must celibacy is a better way be placing marriage in a every ill a single to serve God but rather proper perspective. While Christian might on actually serving God we acknowledge that in whatever state he has today’s secular society experience? called us. may not value the family The following excerpt from Singled Out: as much as it should and we recognize that the Why Celibacy Must Be Reinvented in Today’s Church church should be a haven for families to provide (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2009) comes toward the the support that they need, marriage cannot be end of our study as we pull together many of the the sole focus of the church. As we have discussed concepts that we have been exploring: in previous chapters, many evangelical leaders “...Surely, scripture reminds us again and who speak to singles hold out marriage as if it again that our loyalty to Christ supersedes all were the Holy Grail. Marriage is our ticket into other loyalties even those as good as loyalty maturity as a Christian, full membership in the to marriage and family. Why, then, can’t we body of Christ, and ultimate happiness. The see both marriage and celibacy as valid ways assumption often is that Christian singles cannot of serving God for the limited time that we experience life fully until we are married, but is are here on earth? What would it mean, for marriage really the perfect solution for every ill instance, to radically reconceive our ideas of a single Christian might experience? celibacy to empower Christian singles to live our Let’s begin with a discussion of Christian lives fully for God without remaining in stunted maturity. We have probably all observed Christian adolescence, searching obsessively for a spouse, singles who refuse to grow up and choose rather or wallowing in depression and self-pity? Think to live as immature adolescents until they of the transformations that could take place if find a spouse. Is this a danger that Christian
the pub singles may fall prey to? Certainly. Immaturity, however, is not limited to singles. Immaturity is a human condition: one that we must all confront as we work to develop into the Christians that God wants us to be. Do the responsibilities of a spouse and children help many individuals to grow more mature? Yes. But so may the responsibilities of negotiating a job, a mortgage, an illness, or any other reality of life without any support from a spouse. The difference is not necessarily the outward trappings of life but how we approach the challenges that God allows us to experience. In The Sacrament of Love: The Nuptial Mystery in the Light of the Orthodox Tradition, orthodox theologian Paul Evdokimov addresses just this issue, remarking, “Trying to prove the superiority of one state over the other [marriage or celibacy] is...useless: it is an abstract, because impersonal, process. The renunciation at work in both cases is as good as the positive content that the human being brings to it: the intensity of the love of God.”1 What transforms us into mature Christians are not the externals of marriage or singleness but rather the work that we allow God to do within our hearts. Marriage cannot be the answer to spiritual maturity. Marriage also cannot be the ultimate cure for loneliness as so many try to suggest that it is. Do many singles feel lonely on a Friday night as they sit watching bad reality television while seemingly the rest of the world is contentedly communing with their families or experiencing blissfully romantic dates? Yes. But so do many married men and women who discover, often to their surprise, that their spouses do not fulfill all of their deepest needs. In their essay, “From Conduct to Character—A Guide for Sexual Adventure,” Stanley Hauerwas and Allen Verhey refer to what they term “‘Hauerwas’s law’: ‘You
always marry the wrong person.’”2 Rather than supporting the romantic ideal that marriage will live up to the intense, fairy tale excitement that is so often portrayed in literature, movies, television, and music, they remind their readers that “the adventure of marriage is learning to love the person to whom you are married.”3 And often that process is a difficult one of realizing that a spouse may never understand the deepest feelings or yearnings of your heart. Only God will ever truly know the deepest recesses of each of our hearts, so, ultimately, each of us will remain, to one extent or another, lonely in this world as we come to recognize again and again that only in eternity with Christ will we ever feel completely known and loved. As Ronald Rolheiser declares, “We are always in some way frustrated, in some way sleeping alone, whether we are having sex or not.”4 Marriage may be an image of Christ’s love for his church, but it cannot fulfill our deepest longings completely. Neither does it always contain the amazing, transcendent sexual experiences promised to many teenage abstinence pledgers. While the leaders of many abstinence campaigns often highlight the glories of sex that will automatically be theirs if they just wait until marriage, the reality is that, as Hauerwas and Verhey remark, “Sex is as frequently messy and boring as it is spiritually fulfilling.”5 In many cases, the church has simply accepted the world’s construction of love as demonstrated solely by a passionate, emotional connection, which is revealed through intensely erotic sexual encounters. In Real Sex, Lauren Winner reminds her readers, “Married sex is a given. It is solemnized and marked in ritual. It is established. It is governed by vows. It becomes a ritual in itself; it becomes a routine.”6 The idea of marital sex as routine is one that
[essay] many Christians and most non-Christians would reject. Doesn’t routinized sex demonstrate that there are problems in the marriage? Perhaps the problem lies not in the routine sex but rather in the overly romanticized view of sex that many Christians have come to accept. Rather than seeing sex as part of the covenant of marriage that will go through various stages and transformations in the course of the marriage, many mistakenly believe that if they aren’t reveling in a sex life that is as exciting as the couple in the latest romantic movie something must be wrong. Sexual satisfaction becomes the barometer for every other aspect of life, and we come to believe that sex is the solution for all of our issues of intimacy and community. Theologian Marva Dawn provides an interesting perspective on this issue, declaring, “It seems to me that much of the sexual behavior in U.S. society today is grounded in the failure to distinguish between our profound needs for support on the level of social sexuality [building nurturing non-romantic relationships with people of both sexes] and the attraction of exciting genital stimulation.”7 Have we overemphasized sex to such an extent that we expect a good sex life to resolve all of our other issues? At times, we do, and as Dawn suggests this overvaluing of sex leads many to inappropriately seek for support in sexual activity. Speaking particularly about sex, Hauerwas and Verhey argue that if we told the truth, “extravagant expectations could be lowered, the possibility and plausibility of saying ‘no’ could be nurtured as well as commanded, and the harm of unfulfilled expectations lowered.”8 And this applies not only to truth about the sexual act but also to marriage as a whole. Marriage and sex are blessings given by God, but by overemphasizing them, we place
huge pressures on Christian married couples to live up to these unrealistic expectations, encourage individuals to use sex as a means of trying to find fulfillment for other aspects of their lives, and leave singles feeling like secondclass citizens who will never be fully functioning humans, let alone Christians, if they don’t get married. Acknowledging the Complexities of the Single Life In addition to placing sex and marriage in perspective, we also need to acknowledge the complexities of life for contemporary Christian singles. Too often Christian singles are defined simply as teenagers who need to be encouraged to abstain until their perfect partner comes along. Older singles in particular need much more complex discussions to help us confront the confusing realities of our lives. Simply glancing through the chapter titles of Camerin Courtney and Todd Hertz’s book The UnGuide to Dating provides a glimpse of just how complex this world is. Today’s older Christian singles must confront “The Dating Drought,” “Men in the Church: O Brother, Where are Thou?” “Changing Gender Roles,” “Dating NonChristians,” “Internet Dating,” “Matchmaking,” “Sexual Temptation,” “Body Image,” “Biological Clock,” and “Intergender Friendships.”9 These older Christian singles cannot be satisfied with the simple, romantic tale of just trusting God until he brings Prince or Princess Charming to the door. Many of us have already had to encounter the idea that God may not have this partner in store for us. In addition, the world of the church may also become more difficult for us to navigate as we begin to realize just how far our singleness sets us apart from the rest of the
the pub congregation. she is not yet married orneed an intermediate Perhaps one of the first steps in category here to bridge the gap. acknowledging these complexities for singles According to Grenz, “An individual can lies in reformulating our ideas of celibacy. never be celibate in a de facto manner, that is, For most, celibacy is simply because he or an antiquated word she is not yet married Perhaps one of the first associated solely with or was previously the Catholic Church: married. Rather, the steps in acknowledging priests, nuns, and monks celibate person has these complexities take vows of celibacy, chosen the single life for singles lies in but it certainly has no as the best option for part in contemporary the fulfillment of a reformulating our ideas Protestant society. Even personal calling.”11 For of celibacy. For most, those such as Stanley many older Christian Grenz who have a celibacy is an antiquated singles this is a much more nuanced problematic definition, word associated solely view of singleness than for it seemingly offers most do not necessarily with the Catholic Church: us only two alternatives: define celibacy in a to be dissatisfied priests, nuns, and monks way that acknowledges and frustrated with the complex realities our single state or to take vows of celibacy, of today’s older singles. make an official vow but it certainly has no In Sexual Ethics, Grenz of celibacy, similar to divides singleness into that embraced by the part in contemporary four categories: “youth Catholic Church, as a Protestant society. and early adult,” means of fulfilling some “unchosen,” “willed radical calling in which celibate,” and “postmarriage.”10 Many older marriage would be a hindrance. In her book Christian singles today are caught between the Get Married Candice Watters gives some very “unchosen” and “willed celibate” categories. specific examples of how she believes this type We have remained single, waiting for the right of celibacy should (or should not) manifest itself partner, but may now be beginning to realize in the evangelical church. She writes, “If you’re that this partner may not actually arrive. We going on a missions trip once a year, volunteering don’t necessarily feel called to celibacy in the at church twice a week, and holding down a traditional sense of that calling, but we also do traditional job, and on top of it all, dating the not want to live the rest of our lives focused cute new guy in your singles group, you’re not solely on looking for a spouse. The problem following the celibate job description.”12 So what is that there is too large a distinction between does constitute the celibate job description? these two categories. We simply because he or Watters asserts that a celibate life should aspire
[essay] to Paul’s level of devotion as expressed in 2 defining celibacy by this standard implies that Corinthians 6:3–10: unless you are actively experiencing persecution “...giving no cause for offense in anything, as a celibate warrior for God, you must be so that the ministry will not be discredited, married. but in everything commending ourselves What we need is another category: those as servants of God, in much endurance, in who are committed to celibacy until God reveals afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, a different plan for them. Laura Smit is one of in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in the few to present this idea. In her discussion of sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, Paul’s view of singleness in I Corinthians, she in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in remarks, genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power It does seem...that singleness must be of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the default choice for a Christian, given the the right hand and clear preference for the left, by glory singleness expressed in By defining celibacy in and dishonor, by this text and in Jesus’ these terms—being called evil report and good teachings. In other report; regarded as by God to live chaste lives words, the burden deceivers and yet of proof is on the true; as unknown yet as strong, single Christians decision to marry, not well-known, as dying for as long as he desires us the decision to remain yet behold, we live; as single. Christians to fulfill this role—perhaps punished yet not put should assume that to death, as sorrowful they will be single we can begin to affirm yet always rejoicing, unless and until they the many older Christian as poor yet making have a godly reason singles who have decided many rich, as having to marry. Christians nothing yet possessing never marry to accept the challenge of should all things.”13 out of insecurity, fear, Philippians 4:11. While Watters a desire to escape the is correct that we all parental home, a need should strive for this level of devotion, whether for affirmation, or a search for financial stability. we are single or married, it is problematic to Christians should only marry those who enhance assume that there are only two options—get their ability to live Christlike lives, those able to married or be persecuted as a celibate witness for be true partners in Christian service, those who God. The reality of our world is that Christian give them a vision of the image of God and the devotion does not usually lead to torture and glory of Christ.14 imprisonment, even for those who serve in fullThis type of celibacy does not necessarily time overseas missions. While it certainly can require an official vow or a special vocation and does for some, this is not the norm, and for which singleness is essential. Instead, it is
the pub a powerful recognition of the truth that Paul expresses in Philippians 4:11: “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” By thinking of celibacy in this way, perhaps we can begin to move away from the terms “gift of singleness” or “gift of celibacy” that are so frustrating to many singles. As Lauren Winner remarks, “Perhaps we ought not fixate on the call to lifelong singleness. Some people, of course, are called to lifelong singleness, but more of us are called to singleness for a spell...Often, our task
is to discern a call to singleness for right now, and that’s not so difficult. If you are single right now, you are called, right now, to be single— called to live a single life as robustly, and gospelconformingly, as you possibly can.”15 By defining celibacy in these terms—being called by God to live chaste lives as strong, single Christians for as long as he desires us to fulfill this role—perhaps we can begin to affirm the many older Christian singles who have decided to accept the challenge of Philippians 4:11 (203–9).
To get the full context for the above excerpt, check out Singled Out: Why Celibacy Must Be Reinvented in Today’s Church (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2009).
Endnotes 1 Evdokimov, from The Sacrament of Love: The Nuptial Mystery in the Light of the Orthodox Tradition. In Theology and Sexuality: Classic and Contemporary Readings, edited by Eugene R. Rodgers Jr. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2002. 186. 2 Hauerwas and Verhey, “From Conduct to Character: A Guide to Sexual Adventure,” in Christian Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender, edited by Elizabeth Stuart and Adrian Thatcher. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996. 180. 3 Ibid. 4 Rolheiser, Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality. New York: Doubleday, 1999. 204 5 Hauerwas and Verhey, “From Conduct to Character,” 180. 6 Winner, Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2005. 119. 7 Dawn, Sexual Character: Beyond Technique to Intimacy. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993. 9. 8 Hauerwas and Verhey, “From Conduct to Character,” 180. 9 Courtney and Hertz, The UnGuide to Dating: a He Said/She Said on Relationships. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006. 10 Grenz, Sexual Ethics: A Biblical Perspective. Dallas: Word. 160–63. 11 Ibid., 174. 12 Watters, Get Married: What Women Can Do To Help It Happen. Chicago: Moody, 2008. 34. 13 Ibid. 14 Smit, Loves Me, Loves Me Not: The Ethics of Unrequited Love. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005. 77. 15 Winner, Real Sex, 139.
Dr. Christine Colón is an Associate Professor of English. She began teaching at Wheaton in the Fall of 2001. She teaches 19th-century British literature. She is also the proud owner of a Jane Austen action figure as well as a set of Macbeth finger puppets. Christine.A.Colon@wheaton.edu
The Relics of St. Clive
comforts behind and work on brief projects for those less fortunate. But these weekends and Brittaini Maul extended stays “with a purpose” were not spent in the service of the living. Rather than teaching VBS to orphans in Guatemala or spooning out rice in African refugee camps, these volunteers Notions of pilgrimage and sainthood have donated their vacations to the renovation of a a tendency to seem antiquated. The idea of dead man’s house. traveling a vast distance to see the bones of A tour of the grounds begins in the garden a particular saint feels and moves through the naïve, foreign and often hallway into the common Rather than teachlaughable. When people room. The common room ing VBS to orphans in refer to modern figures as our tour guide showed us saints, they rarely mean it. Guatemala or spoon- was restored, which is an Here at Wheaton College, interesting way of saying: ing out rice in African home of the Narnian “made even better than wardrobe, we jokingly refugee camps, these it was.” To make things refer to C.S. Lewis as our more authentic, they had volunteers donated added back in the heavy patron saint. But a summer visit to The Kilns, Lewis’s their vacations to the wool curtains used during house in Oxford, reveals bombings and renovation of a dead WWII that such a title might be positioned a ration book man’s house. less of a joke and more of on Lewis’s desk. The walls a reality. of the room were a pretty, The restoration process of The Kilns began eggshell white, but the ceiling above the crown in 1993. The C.S. Lewis Foundation, a group molding was a discolored yellow. Lewis and his of Christian and, from what I could gather, friends liked to smoke in their common room, American scholars and enthusiasts purchased the as did most of the British in the 1940s and 50s, home. They obtained a series of photographs, and as a result the walls were covered in a thick taken by post-Lewis owners before beginning a residue from years of constant pipe smoking. It modernization process. For eight years, over two was streaked, unbecoming, and disgusting. So, hundred people traversed the Atlantic, supplying rather than keep a constant influx of smokers, their own transportation and board costs, to work the society decided to pretty up the room but on the renovation. The Foundation called their leave the ceiling as a talking point. When you program for this “Vacations with a Purpose.” enter the common room, you are entering a The addition of the phrase “with a purpose” is common room that is close to what Lewis would a jarring rhetorical choice. It contains echoes of have used, but really it is even better. It has been short term missions’ statements that convince perfected. eager church goers to leave their creature Additionally, there are pictures of Lewis
[essay] everywhere. Most people display pictures of themselves in their home, but usually they have more than one person in them or are taken at obscure travel locations. The pictures of Lewis lining the walls of the Kilns were a mixture of childhood photos, publicity photos, and pictures from Lewis’s collection. The individual pictures of Lewis as a boy were not out of place, because even an ordinary person might have the odd baby picture up. And the pictures from the personal collection, like the one of Lewis and Joy sitting on the front lawn, are completely normal. It is the publicity photos- the ones that appear on book jackets and Wikipedia articlesthat are unnerving. If Lewis himself put them up, it makes him look incredibly narcissistic. If the Lewis Society put them up, they in some way have become like a doting parent—like a mother who frames her son’s school picture from picture day and adds it to the family wall. And if the pictures of Lewis lining the walls are not authentic and were not there when Lewis occupied the house, then putting them there changes The Kilns from a restored house where C.S. Lewis lived to the C.S. Lewis Shrine, a place of relics that maybe are not holy and that probably do not have miracle powers, but are nonetheless special. At least, more special than those relics of ordinary people. No aspect of Lewis’s life is safe from this restoration process; it extends past the physical remnants of his house to Lewis’s character. The guides at The Kilns take their jobs very seriously, dedicating long hours and conversations to the unearthing of Lewis material. One of the tour guides describes every single anecdote or story about Lewis and Joy as “delightful” or “wonderful.” A talk from the chaplain of Magdelen College provided a stark contrast
to such attentive glorification of the person of Lewis. According to the chaplain, C.S. Lewis was not well liked outside of his small group of friends. Even some of those relationships soured later in Lewis’s life. So, not only was the place where Lewis lived restored to a better condition than it actually existed in when he lived there, but Lewis’s personality has been redefined into something “delightful” and “wonderful” when in fact it probably was not—at least not to a majority of Lewis’s colleagues. Many of the saints, similarly, probably were not the immaculate figures their pilgrims thought they were. Becket, for example, was probably cranky in the morning, or had bad breath, or held anti-Semetic positions, or something. He was flawed. Yet after his assassination, pilgrims flocked to Canterbury. They sought miracles and spiritual revelations. Some probably sought less honorable things, but they all went looking for something. On a much smaller scale, we have preserved the relics of an extremely prolific Christian author, and when given the opportunity, flock to his house to see his imitation kitchen table legs and hear about how he yelled, “Bathroom’s free!” upon leaving the bathtub. We might not believe that a swim in Lewis’s lagoon will heal our bodies or our souls, but like the pilgrims of the Middle Ages we are looking for something. On some level, conscious or not, we believe that visiting this place will connect us to one of our only modern saints. The problem, however, is that the Lewis of the Kilns did not exist. Places like the Kilns create a character. On this side of the Atlantic, we add to it by collecting the Lewis family papers and pouring over Lewis’s collected letters. With these elements combined, we construct an idea of who we think Lewis was. We construct how
the pub he acted, how he was perceived, whether or not restored and maintained state-rooms are visited we would like him or be liked by him. We start to by millions of people yearly. Pilgrims walk view this character as Lewis himself. We pretty through London trying to identify the different up the things that we do not like—the tar stained settings and places mentioned in Great Expectations walls, the dislike of colleagues—and we erect and can tour a similar house dedicated to places and windows In Memoriam. Once we create Charles Dickens. Stratford-Upon-Avon is one of an image that feels true, but not true enough to the most visited places in England solely because be unworthy of adoration, we forget about the of its association with Shakespeare. The Kilns, deliberate changes. We take however, are distinguished the construction as fact. On a much smaller by the explicitly religious One of the anecdotes inherent in both scale, we have pre- overtones on the tour relates to Joy the preservationist effort and Gresham Lewis’s sense served the relics of in the preserved. There are of privacy. She was very many modern writers an extremely prolific not protective of her and Lewis’s who were unapologetically privacy—so protective, in Christian author, and and vocally Christians. fact, that she kept a shotgun remember Lewis’s when given the op- People on hand to defend it. How writings not only because would she and Lewis react portunity, flock to his of their quality, but also to this learning center- house to see his imi- because of their religious mausoleum combination? associations. As a result, tation kitchen table we tend to actually treat Would they walk through the rooms, hear the spiels, legs and hear about C.S. Lewis like Saint Clive and feel honored? Or would Staples, and The Kilns is how he yelled, there be a very real and more like a site of religious painful sense of violation? devotion than another “Bathroom’s free!” Houses are inherently British tourist trap for upon leaving the private spaces, and it would bibliophiles. seem that The Kilns was a Lewis’s grave bathtub. place where C.S. Lewis did at Holy Trinity church is not have to be a paragon of Christian literati. It a brief walk from the Kilns. Approaching the might have been a place where C.S. Lewis didn’t graveyard there is a sign on a wall that reads, have to be anyone but Jack, where he could be “C.S. LEWIS’S GRAVE” and directs visitors a husband and a stepfather first and an author with an arrow. The grave is a large, pale slab, second. Now instead of a home it is a place of well maintained with readable engravings commemoration, a place that entrenches Lewis and epitaphs. The very same graveyard bears on his pedestal and allows visitors to venerate. the names of the unremembered. There are The Kilns is not the only preservationist some stones erected less than a century ago effort. Palaces around England with carefully that are already irrelevant, the damp of the
[essay] country has already worn down the etchings, and the grooves have filled in with moss. In the middle of such a place it is difficult to find any moderation in memory. For every million, maybe even ten million people who die and are forgotten within two generations of their death, there is one place like The Kilns where a person, made of flesh, bone, triumphs, failures and the things in between, is memorialized in minute
and glamorizing detail. The vast majority of people are forgotten; but a select few, like Lewis, are transformed into saints and remembered in painstaking revisionist detail. The only universal is that no one achieves real immortality. The Lewis we remember is not the one that lived, but the construction we have made of his life, a figure to represent intelligent and devoted Christianity, our own Saint Clive Staples.
Brittaini Maul is a junior English writing major from Crystal Lake, IL. She is a compulsive nicknamer. Brittaini. Maul@my.wheaton.edu
I Am Something of an Accidental Anglican Will Hierholzer
before my confirmation into the Anglican Church this summer, a friend handed me Dr. Robert E. Webber’s book, Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail. Upon reading it, I was struck by the number of parallels between Webber and myself. Although I have never attended Bob Jones University as Webber did, I too considered myself to be an Evangelical free from denominational ties for many years before joining the Anglican Church. While I currently consider myself to be a member of the Anglican Communion, I am something of an accidental Anglican. My family attended a variety of churches when I was young: Evangelical Free, Presbyterian, and Conservative Baptist among others. Though I considered myself to be a nondenominational Evangelical, I was confirmed into the Anglican this past July, and became heavily involved in my home church. The process seemed strange to me when I reflected upon my path, but then I discovered Dr. Webber’s book. Through reading Webber’s description of his own experiences that led to his membership in the Anglican Communion, I have come to see that my journey was not rare at all, or even uncommon. While I often have struggled to find words to articulate how I feel about the Anglican Church, the sacraments, and the rich tradition that I have been drawn to. Evangelicals on the
Canterbury Trail is a clear and entertaining account that mingles Webber’s personal story with an enlightened explanation and defense of traditional liturgical worship. A former faculty member of Wheaton’s Bible and Theology department, Webber writes with the purpose of outlining the particular strengths of traditional historic church denominations, specifically the Anglican Church, rather than trying to convert everyone to a mainline church. The use of the plural “Evangelicals” in the title makes it clear that he is writing more than an autobiographical narrative; there are many Evangelicals currently walking the “old pilgrim’s trail” to Canterbury, and the book is for those on the journey, as well as those seeking to understand why their friends feel compelled to make the trip at all. In the Preface, Webber writes, “While I cannot provide any statistics stating how many people are involved in this movement, I can say that I am overwhelmed by the number of people I meet who are either journeying the pilgrimage described in this book, or at least somewhat influenced by the concern to restore aspects of historic Christianity inadequately represented in their own church.” To illustrate this point, the book is divided into two parts. The first section explains six areas of faith and spiritual life that Webber feels are more strongly present in the Anglican Church. Those six areas consist of: a return to a more mystical form of Christianity, a form of worship that is focused on God rather than the individual, sacramental reality, a spiritual identity, a place in the catholic and universal church, and an emphasis on holistic spirituality. The second section presents the stories of six other evangelicals who felt drawn to the Anglican
[review] Church. surprise to me was the emphasis on the While many students on campus do Eucharist. attend Anglican or Episcopal churches near In the churches I attended while growing campus, such as All Souls or Church of the up, I never heard anyone explain the significance Resurrection, my own experience has shown behind the grape juice and wafer we all ate that a majority of campus would consider itself once a month. While I often heard terms to be solidly Evangelical. such as “memorial,” I view Anglicanism or “reminder,” the We are not merely as a compliment to importance of the Evangelicalism, not as event remained called to remember, an exclusively separate largely unknown to in a vague, intellectual me. Upon attending category. Webber puts way, that Christ died it well when he says, an Anglican church, “Christianity is like a the heavy emphasis for us; instead we diamond. To see it in all on understanding and receive from Christ of its fullness and beauty, taking communion was we must see it from all a refreshing change. spiritual food and of its sides. Anglicanism Webber, describing his nourishment. has a side to it that is own revelation of the not found within the sacraments, writes, “... evangelical church. And the opposite of this is the sacraments of water and bread and wine, true.” Anglicanism does not view itself as the [The Church Fathers] said, are the visible, one true expression of Christianity, instead as tangible signs of Christ’s saving action. The one particular reflection. purpose of the sacrament is to signify Christ Of the six areas Webber discusses, two in and thus provide a sign of his encounter with particular stood out as very different from the us.” The importance became clear to me. We church experience I was used to in Evangelical are not merely called to remember, in a vague, congregations. The first was the idea of intellectual way, that Christ died for us; instead sacramental reality. The definition given in the we receive from Christ spiritual food and catechism at the back of the Book of Common nourishment. Prayer for a sacrament is an “outward and My increased reverence for the Eucharist visible sign of inward and spiritual grace, given as more than a remembrance fed my interest by Christ as sure and certain means by which we in Webber’s explanation of Christian life. I receive that grace.” The two main sacraments, have often felt uncomfortable with the idea of which nearly all Christians agree on, are Holy theology, which has, to me, appeared to be closer Baptism and Communion; while the Anglican to a dissection than a genuine encounter with Church also includes confirmation, ordination, God. Webber, describing his own foundations holy matrimony, reconciliation of a penitent, in rational, fact based Christianity, said of the and unction as sacraments as well, the greatest theological proofs he learned at Bob Jones and
the pub temporarily taught in Wheaton’s classrooms, “Christianity was no longer a power to be experienced but a system to be defended.” The essence of Christianity is centered on multiple mysteries, such as the notion of the Trinity, the eternity of God and heaven, and the birth, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. To approach these unfathomable mysteries with an air of confidence and certainty seems to directly oppose fear of the Lord. Webber describes his view of mystery by saying, “My God was no longer the God you could put on the black board or the God that was contained in a textbook, but a maverick who breaks the boxes we build for him.” While it is not uncommon to find students
on campus who consider themselves to be a part of mainline denominations, opinions seem to be rather polarized. Friends, upon learning that I became an Anglican, have occasionally asked in hushed tones, “Isn’t Anglicanism really close to Catholicism?” If Wheaton as a whole is to respond to Christ’s prayer for his church in John 17:11 “that they may be one,” it must be based in love that grows from understanding. While we are all busy challenging our assumptions about Christianity and the faith handed down to us by our parents, it is important to examine arguments in favor of a point, not just arguments intended to demolish ideas. If a Bob Jones graduate found his home in the Anglican Church, then who knows who else could?
Will Hierholzer is a junior English literature major from Fresno, CA. He loves poetry, classical music, tea, fountain pens, and other nerdy things. William.Hierholzer@my.wheaton.edu
Martyrs’ Crossing: Fiction That Makes Israel-Palestine Personal Christine Kindberg
Global issues rarely have a human face, which is why they’re easy to dismiss. In the novel Martyrs’ Crossing (Ballantine Books, paperback, 2002; 336 pages), dismissal is no longer an option—there are names and faces to people caught on both sides of the horror of a West Bank checkpoint. This book, by former Jerusalem correspondent Amy Wilentz, is a fast-paced introduction to the way Israeli-Palestinian politics translate into the lives of people caught in the crossfire. Wilentz intimately reveals what it is like to live and breathe the desperation most Americans only read about from a distance. Although not a complete picture, this novel is a great place to start for people who are not very familiar with the situation in the West Bank and Israel but would like to feel like they are there. Wilentz’s novel focuses on a Palestinian mother, an Israeli soldier, and the guarded checkpoint that divides, and ironically unites them in a crisis. Marina Raad is a Palestinian woman who grew up in the U.S., moved to Ramallah, and is dealing with the complexities of daily life in the occupied West Bank—including the difficulties of trying to get her asthmatic son into Jerusalem for emergency medical attention. Ari Doron is the Israeli commander in charge of security at the entrance into Israel, under
commands not to let anyone across—not even for an emergency—because of deadly bus bombings in Jerusalem. As a result, the child dies and both sides must deal with the situation as they may. The checkpoint where Ari and Marina meet is the centerpiece of the novel and the source of the book’s title. The real-life nickname of this checkpoint is “Martyrs’ Crossing” because it has been the entrance point into Israel for a significant number of Palestinian suicide bombers. The novel begins and ends at this checkpoint focusing on the desperate (and often hopeless) struggle for life on both sides of the crossing—for Israelis as well as Palestinians. Wilentz’s novel shows the development of two martyrs of her own, connected to this checkpoint, though neither is the expected type. One is the Palestinian toddler who dies in his mother’s arms for lack of medical attention. The other is the promising Israeli soldier trying to come to terms with what happened on his watch. Through these characters and others, Wilentz shows a full spectrum of the people involved in this issue and gives faces to a variety of perspectives, spanning generational, geographical, ideological, and national approaches. Wilentz characterizes people as distinct as a compassionate Israeli soldier, a young and charismatic Hamas leader, an Israeli government official missing the military’s ‘glory days’ of 1967, a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem displaced in 1948, a calloused Palestinian Authority leader, a Palestinian lawyer desperate for simple justice, a hardened Israeli soldier, and a Palestinian intellectual enjoying the comfort of Massachusetts.1 Despite the benefits of providing a wide spectrum of viewpoints, in the end Wilentz’s
the pub characters feel like a roll call of perspectives for hope. Both sides are riddled with corruption, she felt readers needed to understand the cynicism, and ingrained hatred. Leaders on both complexity of the situation. This is not a novel sides ruthlessly manipulate media for political of polished storytelling. Wilentz seems eager ends to the disregard of individual tragedies. In to bring attention to a cause through a decent the end, the novel seems to suggest that the only story, easily-readable but not written with much release is death, or escape to the neutral land subtlety or refinement. of America for the lucky As another warning, few who can leave. This Both sides are riddled sense of hopelessness is Wilentz is not ‘balanced’ in her portrayal of the abrasive, but it does give with problems of situation. Most of the an accurate portrayal corruption, cynicism, novel takes place in of the despair of this the in the West Bank, and ingrained hatred. situation. primarily focusing on Crossing by Leaders on both sides Amy Martyrs’ Palestinian characters. Wilentz is a good The humanity of the novel for readers looking ruthlessly manipulate Israeli side rests almost for a new experience of an media for political solely on the character important issue. Through ends, to the disregard an engrossing plot and of Ari Doron—none of the other Israelis are of individual tragedies. believable (if at times portrayed sympathetically superficial) characters, with the worst caricatures Wilentz provides insight portraying the Israeli soldiers and administrators.” at a variety of levels, on a much more personal Even with these flaws, Amy Wilentz does provide scale than a newspaper article. As such, it shows significant insight into the Israeli-Palestinian in story form some of the complexities of this situation. She shows that individuals from the situation for people who have heard a lot about two sides can have connections, but also shows it, but do not understand many of the concerns that with the way things stand there is no room involved. Endnotes 1 I think the only major groups of people Wilentz did not represent are Israeli settlers illegally living in the West Bank and American Evangelicals in militant support of the secular state of Israel.
Christine Kindberg is a senior English writing major from lots of places, but you could, currently, say Waxhaw, NC. She can lick her elbow. Christine.Kindberg@my.wheaton.edu
Digging Yourself Deeper Daniel Leonard
Itâ€™s surprisingly difficult digging yourself in deeper; bigger holes require serious effort. Rocks figure increasingly. Rendering edges steeper becomes onerous. Dirt collapses inward past measure. Water spurts from opened fissures. The shovel hits treasure. Passing six feet under is no easy undertaking; earth hardens past the depth of gardens, remaining unforsaking, holding us at its barrier: the hole in every failure.
Daniel Leonard is a senior interdisciplinary studies major (phenomenology of sound) from Downingtown, PA. When Calvin and Hobbes ended its run, he seized the opportunity to submit his own comic strip, Puff and Friends, for newspaper syndication and a book deal. Their loss. Daniel.Leonard@my.wheaton.edu
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Published on Nov 24, 2009