Wheatonâ€™s Unofficial Undergraduate Journal
Reinventing Celibacy A Phenomenology of Flirtation I Am Something of an Accidental Anglican Suspicion and Recognition The Relics Of of St. Highlights MyClive Father WeMany Are All Antiques So Stories, So Little Time
Volume 5, Issue 12 Spring Fall 2009 2010
the pub Thoughts from the Editor My ancestors were alchemists and bakers, so I had low expectations when I started Ping Pong 101. The humiliation began, as I knew it would, the moment I stepped up to the field of battle and began smashing shots into the net with uncanny precision. My opponent and instructor increased the hurt by attempting to fix what was obviously broken, often by grabbing hold of my limbs and trying to run me through the “proper” motions. It was during one of these puppet sessions, as my arm was being jerked around in a motion that was supposed to be a counter that I realized I was angry at myself for failing a sport I cared nothing about. This is because, Like many Wheaton students, I have the bad habit of taking life entirely too seriously. The feeling of failure is even worse in the classes where I do want to succeed. Strangely, Ping Pong provided an answer to my perfectionistic woes. One thing I admire about Ping Pong is that it is, in essence, a ridiculous sport but it wears that ridiculousness proudly on its sleeve. Championship matches involve two players in thigh-high shorts maneuvering a small piece of plastic with rubber paddles. It is thrilling to watch, and requires extreme skill, but the intensity that its devotees edges on the farcical. Nonetheless, players pour hundreds of dollars into custom blades, constrictive shorts, and days of their lives into perfecting the game. If only undergraduate Academia was so honest in its obession. Cramping oneself up in a study or coffee shop for hours trying to read philosophy or write a short story is on the same level as bandying plastic orbs about in short shorts. Realizing the comedy takes away none of the gravity of academia, but it does replace whatever pride or self-hatred the two can generate with a healthy sense of
purpose. The act of reading and writing needs to be akin to practicing Ping-Pong. Even failure provides the simple joy of using your body, and gets one step closer to what you ought to do. Shouldn’t the same be true of using your mind in the academic arena? The burnouts I have experienced in college all resulted from the fact that I view being intellectual as something I have to do all the time, and perfectly. But I would never spend six hours a night on the court without giving myself a water break (not that i'd ever spend six hours on the court). If only sessions of reading Hegel were accompanied by timeouts and cheerleading. Our assignments, whether they be Augstine or Avi, should be treated as seriously as any sport; which is to say, we should honor failure as much as we do success. Finding the humor in my own limits has allowed me to overcome the void of my own ping pong skills, and I believe it is equally effective for humble academic progress as well. To get yourself in the spirit, I would suggest reading this issue of The Pub in gym shorts, with a sweat band if the spirit leads. There’s certainly some tough stuff in here (two philosophy essays! Oh my!), but think of it as a challenge to stretch your brain rather than defeat it. The bottom line is that we’ve put a lot of work into this issue, but we’d rather see you living within your intellectual limit than collapsing while reading. Still, I think you will find it more than worth the effort. And if your ever have a hankering for a game of Ping Pong, let me know.
Nick Tomlin Editor-in-Chief
Special Thanks: We would like to give special thanks to Student Government and Yo Yo land 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. We would also like to thank the Vox Clara foundation for their support and counsel.
the pub [narrative] 5, 21 Highlights Of My Father A Shirt To Wear
Briana Bryant Laura Popa
[poem] 3, 4, 11, 34, 38, 42, 43 Trillium Cicada Sonnet Duke Ellington Speaks to His Son Straight A’s Seeing (you) Catch Ice
Jana Papp Jana Papp Blade Barringer Steve Hoey Sarah Mathias Carla Albert Carla Albert
[essay] 13, 26 A Phenomenology Of Flirtation Suspicion and Recognition
Marty Jones Chris Manzer
[review] 35, 39 So Many Stories, So Little Time: Peter Mulvey’s Letters from a Flying Machine Surprised by Hope: Resurrecting the Resurrection
Daniel Leonard Steven Doelman
The Pub is an Associate Chapter of Vox Clara. For more information please visit their website at www.voxclara.org Cover Photo: Tower by Sean Zellmer Sean Zellmer is a senior philosophy and math major from Livermore, CA. One day Sean wants to create Artiﬁcial Intelligence. Sean@lejeunerenard.com
Trillium Jana Papp
We are surrounded by a pale gauntlet of branches, dry and endlessly unyielding. The honeysuckle tugs harshly on the sleeve of my coat, I tear one away— the clean-stripped skin of the thing is alive. Over your head, a hawk swoops, kyrie, kyrie to the muttering of saw-toothed leaves. A little farther—we emerge into the wasteland of our woods— an uncomfortable emptiness of hip-high weeds and white poles marking the gas line. We cross through the sour musk of fungus, puffed and pungent, nearing the low, dark beds where trillium leaves part red-capped whorls over the drab earth. You turn to see if I am following, your head scarcely discernable in the darkening twists of branches. Small sounds grow in my eardrums: the harsh rush of the nurse’s pen on the clipboard, a crumpled jacket brushing against the plastic bedrail, the murmuring of conversation in the next room. I avoid your face, staring at delicate webs of tubing that cradle your head in an alien embrace. I can’t follow you here. I reach out for your hand— the tips of your ﬁngers were never this smooth the translucence of your jaundiced knuckles bright amid the tilt and swell of bedclothes.
Cicada Sonnet Jana Papp
Nearer still to limestone than the sky, the ravenous grey-tinged nymphs, still mute, writhe in a sodden tangle of hair-thin roots, until sediments rip—surfacing, brittle wings drying in the sun, wide-rimmed eyes unblinking. They ﬂy, fanning south, to feast on ripe fruit and soft-sprung leaves. First militant, they dilute in harsh murmurs as the gnawing summer dies. Later, we ﬁnd hard-cracked amber husks of bodies tucked into broken fence rails, embalmed like brittle amulets among a slew of peaches fallen in the dust: skin slurred, dark-pocked pits revealed. Beneath our feet the soil stills, and settles.
Jana Papp is a senior English writing major from Nicholasville, KY. She keeps a bear skull in her room. At least, she think it’s a bear skull. Let her know if you think you can identify it. Jana.Papp@my.wheaton.edu
Highlights of my Father
highlights.” I showed him. “I don’t know, honey. I like your hair now,” Briana Bryant he said. I hugged him and he smelled like Calvin Klein One — the only cologne he had had for years because my parents are frugal with their I am drawn towards the multi-colored array money. “You’ll tell me when you need me?” of hair dye boxes often enough that my hair “Sure.” I said as ran up the stairs, pounding has been rough and damaged from the abuse. Over the years, my hair has been transformed the white carpet two steps at a time. Later, I read the instructions in solitude from standard brown to a wide range of colors. on the cold bathroom Sophomore year it was linoleum. The box red, as a junior it was “I don’t know, honey. I says I can achieve an orangey blonde, beautiful hair with the like your hair now,” he and, after graduating new formula. Even from high school, it said. I hugged him and he though it claims to was black. Coloring smelled like Calvin Klein be an easy process, my hair coincided with periods of One — the only cologne I know that dying hair can turn into a change in my life, so he had had for years long ordeal if I let that I soon associated transition with a because my parents are lead-color liquid drip onto the ﬂoor. I have growing dissatisfaction frugal with their money. permanently stained with myself. The only a toilet-seat before. I consistent voice telling me I was beautiful throughout these phases was have also dyed my hair so black that the baby hairs on my forehead were stained for days. my father. My dad is not a stranger to helping me with my hair. When I was ﬁve, he used to blowdry my mousy-brown head in the mornings. He said it was because “it looks so beautiful when it’s soft and shiny.” We stood in the bathroom, and he would shake the blow dryer far enough away from my head so that it would not hurt the sensitive parts on the tops of my ears. After about ﬁve minutes of the standard blow-drying, he stepped back, “are you ready for the loopde-loo, Lucy?” This was my cue to bend over
On a break from college one semester, I asked my dad to help me put highlights in my hair. “I don’t know how to do that,” he told me. He was reading on the couch my mom had gotten at a yard sale. “But isn’t it cool with the highlights?” I illustrated to him with the box. The girl on the cover had luscious black hair with ﬁery streaks of red. “There are two steps, ﬁrst the dye, then the
[narrative] and shake my hair wildly like I was a rock star. father became hair-dying sessions alone in the He wobbled the blow dryer over my head until bathroom with my boxes and applicator gloves the blood pounded and I was hot and tired from when I became a teenager. One of the ﬁrst times all the whirling. Then I ﬂipped my head back I dyed my hair, in tenth grade, I was dating a conservative guy who upright and my hair shocked when I would be steaming, my Blow-drying sessions with was appeared at school face, ﬂushed red. After my father became hair- with red hair. For me softly brushing my hair down a little, he would dying sessions alone in it was liberation from his expectations that stand back and admire the bathroom with my I would be sweet and me. quiet, the kind of girl “Just like Farrah boxes and applicator that I thought listened Fawcett,” he said proudly. Other times after gloves when I became a during sermons and blow-drying, my dad teenager. One of the ﬁrst baked cookies with her mom on Friday nights. would put pigtails in my times I dyed my hair, in In eleventh grade, at hair. He brushed my hair more gently than tenth grade, I was dating a new school, orangey meant that I my mother — who used a conservative guy who blonde was trying to cater rapid strokes to get it to the expectations was shocked when I ﬁnished. My father, on wealthier girls in the other hand, would appeared at school with of Boston who wore gently hold the middle red hair. North Face jackets and section of my hair and sported sunny blonde then brush out the tangled knots at the end. I usually kneeled on hair as a trademark of — what felt to me like — the ground while he leaned forward on the their success. After high school, moving again couch, his face concentrated and careful as he meant inventing a persona to inhabit, one that tugged my hair into pigtails. He had a million might be more successful than the last. I wore nicknames for us, but his favorite was calling black hair with a sense of deﬁance, though this each of the girls “Lucy” with no discrimination time it was a quieter rebelliousness: black came between my mom, my sister and me. We were closest to my regular hair color. Every time I dyed my hair, my dad would his Lucy’s — for no other reason than because struggle to ﬁnd words to express his dismay he liked the name Lucy. I grew tired of having my hair styled, when my brown head would emerge from the and as soon as I had a choice and could do bathroom as a spontaneously re-envisioned it on my own, I only blow-dried and brushed blonde or red. When I was younger, my dad my hair when my mom forced me to. My dad felt justiﬁed in grounding me for making adult stopped doing it. Blow-drying sessions with my decisions I had not consulted him on, but the
the pub Do we need our fathers? Psychologists say ﬁne line between what my dad perceived as immoral, and what was technically just an the relationship between a father and daughter amoral choice reduced him to shrugging his is crucial to mental health, even affecting what shoulders as I became a teenager. He was never age girls enter puberty. Psychology textbooks the kind of father that laid down the rules will tell you this with avid concern, stating that “because he said so.” Instead, when I ran down girls with close relationships to their fathers are the stairs from the bathroom with new hair, less likely to engage in early sexual activity. In he would jump up from the white couch and the midst of discussing my high-school issues come over to feel it, shrugging his shoulders in with numerous counselors they would always indecision the whole time. Sometimes he asked ask with apprehension, Do you and your dad have a good relationship? Did you me to turn around so that feel close to him growing up? he could see what it looked In the midst of Underlying their questions like from the back. Often discussing my high- was the tension of my he would say, “Well, I liked eating disorder and the the way it looked before,” school issues with role my family members and then qualify this so played. I told them that as not to hurt my feelings, numerous counselors by saying “But you did a they would always ask my dad taught me what men were supposed to be, great job with the back,” with apprehension, before I ﬁgured out that as if the fact that it was not not every man was like a spotty application meant Do you and your him, before I understood that it was okay. dad have a good that there were other relationship? Did expectations of me that I could not fulﬁll. My father was you feel close to him In high school I began packing up his laptop growing up? to notice that men looked downstairs. There was a at me, sized up my ﬁgure, lonely slapping of some pages and a “…honey, are you going to need cast glances in ways that I was unaccustomed to dealing with at the age of sixteen. I knew that I me? Up there?” I suddenly realized that I had done the had changed and that the games of dressing up entire process without him and he was waiting and putting on lipstick suddenly served a very real and sometimes painful purpose. It was the to see if I needed him. “Probably not anymore,” I said. I felt a sudden awareness of my own body and the sense stab of guilt, even though he did not care about that it mattered: whether I had a short bob or the hair-dye, but only about whether I required long hair, whether I ate chocolate chip cookies or salads, whether I wore eyeliner or no eyeliner, his assistance. all of these decisions were suddenly laden with new meaning — it was a slip into a new
[narrative] if I need anything else for college. Even so, he helps me bring my bags downstairs, plops them in the center of the living room. It makes me afraid that he will hurt his back — only recently I realized he is not indestructible, that he can be hurt, even fooled.
reality where women had already been learning survival mechanisms with tools like makeup, contacts, diets, for a long time. I felt like I was the last to know — like when I was younger and every girl had been invited to a sleepover, and I was the last to ﬁnd out. I learned quickly to copy other girls around me, but even this failed when I began staying out late to go to parties at houses I did not know. When I was in my senior year of high school, my father would stay awake to wait for me to arrive back home. Each night I arrived around three in the morning — sometimes drunk or generally disoriented, after spending time with another guy that my dad did not know — to him patiently sitting on our couch. His eyes would be rimmed red with sleeplessness, his lips dried and face lined. It was the chiseled age marks in my father’s face, those hollow dimples in his cheeks, like he was sucking on a continuous cough drop. I used to wonder, how old is he now? Sometimes I would show up even later in hopes that he would give up and go back to sleep. Usually I would stumble upstairs with a quick, “why don’t you just go to sleep, Dad?“
When I began lying to my dad my junior year, our relationship became strained. Many times he would simply believe the lies I told him as answers because it was too hard for us both to know that I was slowly distancing myself. It was the beginning of another move, and I was dating a guy that my dad disliked. I asked my dad to drive me to a friend’s house to work on a Pre-calculus project, and because I was still without a license, he happily conceded to drive me. While pretending to call my friend on the phone, I directed my father to an unfamiliar neighborhood where I planned to have Alex, my not-so-fabulous boyfriend, pick me up. I pointed to a house up the street and told him shakily, “… drop me off right there by those bushes.” As I walked up the random, snow-packed driveway, my heart was beating so fast that every step I took felt shaky and uncertain. I waited for him to drive away — to leave me. He was still lingering in the car in front of the shuttered house as I pretended to strut up the driveway rimmed by snow. As I rang the doorbell of an empty and dark house, he called. “Come back Briana,” his voice rang in the dullness of the night. “I know this isn’t the house.”
I have ﬁnally ﬁnished the dye and washed my hair out in tub. “Come look at my hair,” I call downstairs. He clunks slowly up the steps and he stares at me, shufﬂes over and pushes a stray wisp of hair back behind my ear. First pausing, he says, “…it looks nice.” Then he cranes his head to see from another angle. This is the way my father says it is not. “I know you like it plain, brown, and blowdried,” I tell him, unfazed. He is convinced I am not ready to leave tomorrow, asking several times if I have packed,
Before we leave at three in the morning, I plan on sleeping, but sleep eludes me. My mind
the pub whirls in bed, waiting for the digital numbers to form their red lines into three, double dot, The Raleigh airport has only a few dozen zero, zero. I climb out of bed and pour a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios with milk. Unsatisﬁed people huddled around at this time in the morning. It’s huge and with this, I cut a grapefruit modern, full of desks in with a little knife, slicing I climb out of bed perfect, straight lines. An thin lines like a surgeon. and pour a bowl of attendant points us to a The kitchen mocks my where my baggage insomniac silence. I bump Honey Nut Cheerios booth is handed over, weighed, into a wall on the way up and placed on the conveyer the stairs to my bedroom, with milk. Unsatisﬁed belt. Over the years, my hoping that my dad does with this, I cut a dad stays with me at the not hear the racket. He grapefruit with a little airport less and less. He sleeps lightly. When the clock knife, slicing thin lines used to help me with my bags, check me in, and ﬁnally establishes the time like a surgeon. The walk me up to the security at three, I am not there to line when I was ﬂying to see it happen but sitting kitchen mocks my visit my grandparents in in the living room staring insomniac silence. New Hampshire. Now he at the fake poinsettias on leaves and lets me do this the coffee table. My dad, groggy, sleepy-eyed, and almost boyish-looking, alone — he thinks I want to be independent. I get nervous in loud airports and busy ﬁnds me there, dazed. kiosks with strangers. “How long have you been up?” he asks. “Are you going to stay?” I ask. We haul my suitcases into the car, and as He looks surprised, almost unsure. “Of he backs out of the driveway, I tip the seat so that I can lie down. My dad is quiet, driving course.” He gives me the tiny keys that lock the with a cup of coffee in hand, and slick wet hair baggage. “Don’t lose them,” he says, and we from his shower. My hair still smells like hair- walk to the security checkpoint. I am laden with a carry-on backpack, which houses mascara and dye and conditioner. “I hope your plane departs tonight. I’m a pink laptop. He is quiet, funny-looking with his slick hair. worried about the storm in Chicago.” I tentatively hug him so that he knows I “It’ll be ﬁne, Dad.” “There’ll be too much testosterone now, am here. When he squeezes back, my body relaxes just two guys and your mom,” he laughs. “At least the house is quieter without us. It and I wonder if he really needs to know. He sees the crowd coming ﬁrst, before I am must be kind of nice sometimes.” I shift in my ready. He points to them, turns to me and says, seat and watch him. “You better get moving, honey. You should get “It is. Quieter, I mean.”
[narrative] smiling and waving. “I’ll let you go.” to that checkpoint before that church group.” The lines around his face are deeper — “You better go.” He points toward the his smile is older, but what mass and I see that they are moving too fast, but I still The lines around his I am most struck by is that I am struggling to let him want to say goodbye. face are deeper — depart. It might be the Now I am picking up my bags, laughing, smiling, his smile is older, sudden realization that I am his grown-up daughter, saying “…see you later, dad. but what I am most the one who is supposed to I really do love you.” I can see the security guards standing struck by is that I be ready to go. Perhaps it is the conﬁdence I see in his restlessly, ready for the group, am struggling to let eyes that I can do this. I am the line still open now. him depart. standing still, watching him I want to say it is too fast. release me, clutching my It is not fair. Now he is touching my newly dyed hair, backpack. Now he is my father, a green shirt, saying, “…you look pretty today. I like your waving with assurance, a tan man with lined hair darling.” He begins to back away from me, dimples turning and fading into the airport rush.
Brianna Bryant is a senior English literature major from Chiang Mai, Thailand. Briana is looking forward to teaching wild classes of four-year-olds to ﬁnger paint and count their toes next year when she teaches Early Childhood with Teach For America. Briana.Bryant@my.wheaton.edu
Duke Ellington Speaks to His Son (a found poem) Blade Barringer
Now I can say loudly and openly what I been saying to myself on my knees. A man is a god in ruins Being born of royalty
is nothing. Royalty is inherited from another. Royalty is inherited from my mother. Royalty, my mother told me, is nothing like being blessed. Blessedness comes from God. If you are God´s son you are strong. You don’t have to worry, you are God´s son.
You´ve got to ﬁnd some way of saying it without saying it. Art is dangerous when it ceases to be dangerous you don’t want it. It´s like an act of murder; you play with intent to commit something. Never be satisﬁed, never. Be satisﬁed never. Enough. Never. Enough. New music? Hell, there’s been no new music since Stravinsky. All music comes directly from the book of life. I merely took the energy to pout and wrote some blues.
Blade Barringer is a senior interdisciplinary studies major (English writing and music composition concentrations) from Long Beach, CA. He is an audio engineer. If you want to record a song you wrote, he will help you do it. Blade.Barringer@gmail.com
A Phenomenology Of Flirtation
a dozen hermeneutics resulting in a million different interpretations, and directed numerous conversations in such a way as to tacitly suggest to my interlocutor that I, Marty Jones, am interested Marty Jones (I think?) and would be interested in your being interested too, please. I love the adrenaline kick that comes with successful attempts at ﬂirtation — like the It is a truth universally acknowledged that moment after she ﬂashes that suggestive smile Wheaton students are attractive, interesting, in response to your (possibly) clever quip. The funny and smart. Most of us fall between the uncertainty and the memory of past failures add ages of 18 and 22. The majority of us are single, an element of danger; I will never forget one and furthermore do not wish to remain so — experience of trying to ﬂirt with an acquaintance but ironically, many of us are also sensitive to by pretend-menacing her with a taut rubber a powerful fear of commitment. Conditions are band, which I, of course, accidentally loosed — directly into her eye, making perfect, as one member of her cry and destroying my Flight of the Conchords I’ve broken into chances of successful ﬂirting might say, for widespread, with her forever.1 Though wanton, irresponsible acts sweat at the of ﬂirtation. The likelihood statistics to support the unintended (was it the increases with each degree claim do not exist, who Fahrenheit above freezing, would disagree that ﬂirting unintended? was each ray of sunshine that is tremendously popular — it unintended???) reaches our winter-swept at Wheaton and at every touch of a girl’s faces and each minute of other college and university? daylight maintained during I would like to clarify hand, subjected a dinner — Spring is a what exactly is involved in season for playing all kinds single kind word to a the act of ﬂirtation from the of games. dozen hermeneutics perspective of the ﬂirter, for Flirting can be two reasons: one, to increase resulting in a a thrillingly positive self-awareness (and perhaps experience; it can also for some, self-possession), million different turn into a terrifyingly so that regardless of what interpretations... negative experience. I we do and how we go know something about about doing it, we may at shaky hands, ﬂittering heart-valves and straining least know that we are doing something and just to get words out of a stubborn throat. I’ve hopefully have an insight into our reasons for broken into sweat at the unintended (was it doing it; two, to raise practical questions for our unintended? was it unintended???) touch of a community having to do with the essence of the girl’s hand, subjected a single kind word to act of ﬂirtation that I hope to identify. Why do
[essay] a teenager “ﬂirting” with an old woman at a we ﬂirt so much here, anyway? If you are reading this, I take it that nursing home, as a way of being kind). The you know something about the subject, and more literal subset of the broader category of that you’ve earned your knowledge through “ﬂirtation” that I intend to explore is dependent experience. This is important. I am peering into upon meeting this minimum threshold level of this well of embarrassing memories in hopes of sexual attraction in the ﬂirter towards the one discerning the essential structure of the act of being ﬂirted with. This type of ﬂirting, then, ﬂirtation by way of a roughly phenomenological the essence of which I intend to tease out, is a method. Phenomenology, for present purposes, purposeful way of relating to another subject in will be understood as a way of clarifying our whom one ﬁnds some cause for sexual/romantic conscious experiences of things; it is an attitude interest. I think this narrowing move is justiﬁed of reﬂective analysis applied to our unreﬂective acts in order to bring to light the essential because I take it to be obvious that many instances of ﬂirtation in threads that hold those acts together — the The more literal subset of the broader sense involve some level of sexual aspects or structures the broader category of attraction on the part without which each “ﬂirtation” that I intend of the ﬂirter towards act of X could not be the one ﬂirted with an act of X. Since all to explore is dependent (the “ﬂirtee” from here of the data entering upon meeting this onwards), and so I have into consideration are derived from minimum threshold level only limited the analysis those particular cases. experiences of the thing of sexual attraction in the to The minimal level of being described, it is sexual attraction will up to every reader (and ﬂirter towards the one necessarily remain ﬂirt) to decide whether being ﬂirted with. unspeciﬁc, but, as the what is said rings true when the tuning fork of their own experience is U.S. Supreme Court pronounced regarding the question of identifying pornography, “you struck against this analysis. So, what is ﬂirtation, then? First, some know it when you see it” — in the case of this essence, perhaps, you know it when you feel qualiﬁers. Some uses of “ﬂirtation” are intended it. Additionally, I will restrict the analysis to more metaphorically than literally. The quasi- ﬂirtation from the perspective of the one who ﬂirtatious modes that fall within this category ﬂirts, without the assumption that the ﬂirtee include ﬂirting with ideas, “ﬂirting” with different is willfully reciprocating with her own acts options in the course of one’s deliberations of ﬂirtation. The ﬂirter could in principle be about mundane decisions, and ﬂirting with ﬂirting with someone who is totally uninterested a person whom one does not regard with a or unaware of his ﬂirtatiousness, and if the minimal level of sexual attraction (for example, analysis is accurate, his ﬂirting would still need
the pub to be formally constituted according to these would emphasize include the acknowledgement of and adherence to a constitutive set of rules, structures. With prefatory comments out of the way, and an ability to abandon the game at any time I will begin with a description of particular by discontinuing one’s regard for those rules. In instances of the act under investigation.2 Mark each of the examples of ﬂirtation above, M could sits with his friend Anna on a couch, ostensibly have made moves going beyond the implicit pale of acceptable ﬂirtatious to study together; their The game-like behavior — in example one, shoulders touch in spite of M could have asked rude or there being room for them experience of invasive questions about the to sit distinctly apart, and conversation continually ﬂirtation, I would personal life of A, or initiated too much physical touch; in tends towards their personal lives, at Mark’s gentle again emphasize, the second example, M could direction. does not depend have actually physically hurt A or pushed the argument In another instance, on the ﬂ irtatious out of the bounds of ironic Matt heatedly argues with in example three, Allison; the conversation behavior’s being playfulness; M could have stared without ends with her punching him deliberately abatement or explanation repeatedly as he ridicules her. her discomfort However, both are laughing, reciprocated by atgrewA tountil a level sufﬁcient to and the argument turns out to have been artiﬁcial. the ﬂirtee, as much compel her to leave the table. The game-like experience In a ﬁnal example, as the examples of ﬂirtation, I would again Murray makes repeated eye contact with Abby from seem to suggest. emphasize, does not depend on the ﬂirtatious behavior’s across a crowded table. Both are involved in conversations with other people being deliberately reciprocated by the ﬂirtee, as nearer to them, but Murray makes a point of much as the examples seem to suggest. Given drawing Abby’s attention to his glances at her, the indirectness of ﬂirtation (a second essential which he moves to hide in the moment of her structure discussed below), it is not easy to identify in the course of conversation, and it is meeting them. These are all instances of the type of comparatively easy for the ﬂirter to deny in the behavior I have identiﬁed so far as ﬂirtation case of an accusation; most people will tolerate involving sexual attraction, with the ﬂirtation in being ﬂirted with to a certain degree in the each case being intended necessarily by M, and case of the ﬂirtation being unwelcome, since it plausibly (but not necessarily) reciprocated by A. is difﬁcult in this way to successfully call it out. The ﬁrst essential aspect that I imagine to be Additionally, barring the suspicion of ulterior partially constitutive of this type of ﬂirtatious act motives on the part of the ﬂirter, it is ﬂattering to is its game-like structure. The game-like aspects I be ﬂirted with, which may increase the tolerance
[essay] of the ﬂirtee for the ﬂirter’s ﬂirtatious acts without compelling the ﬂirtee to reciprocate. In each of these cases, the rules are unique to the situation, established with the initiation of each particular game as the ﬂirter starts to pick up on the attitude of the ﬂirtee towards him and his acts of ﬂirtation. The particular rules governing ﬂirtatious behavior are distinct from those governing social interactions generally; to wit, following general social conventions may in some cases signal or result in the canceling of ﬂirtatious behavior, as the rules of the latter game may exceed or even oppose those of the former. For example, Merty (a good friend of mine) may try to ﬂirt, with some success, with a coworker, Angelina, each day at the typical workplace water cooler. She seems generally receptive to his quirky humor and way of revealing too much about himself in conversation, but one day is overcome with guilt over allowing Merty to play the game to her in spite of her having a serious boyfriend (of whom, it ought to be said, Merty knows nothing). To signal to Merty that his ﬂirting is no longer okay and that his game ought to be canceled, Angelina interacts with Merty on a purely formal level, operating strictly according to the tacit rules of general workplace conduct. She is polite and cordial and businesslike and totally uninterested in being ﬂirted with, and as a result, Merty’s game is ﬁnished. This essential structure of ﬂirtation manifests itself in the ﬂirter’s experience of a compelling need to abide by the rules of the game as they are determined in each instance of ﬂirtation. These rules are discerned through the ﬂirter’s capacity to empathize with the one being ﬂirted-with, so as to allow the ﬂirter to represent to himself the ﬂirtee’s levels of
receptivity (or mere tolerance) towards the ﬂirter’s ﬂirting.3 Disregarding the implicit rules of ﬂirtation would be tantamount to entering into a new mode of relating to the ﬂirtee — as in the preceding example, Merty could at any point have disregarded the rules of the particular game being played with Angelina so as to relate to her not as a ﬂirtee, but strictly as a coworker, something he ends up being forced to do. Disregarding the rules of a game is a common way of signaling to other participants that one is no longer interested in playing. A second every-present aspect that may turn out to be an essential structure of ﬂirtation is its indirectness. In each of the initial examples, M never acknowledges to his intended ﬂirtee that he is ﬂirting with her, even though he is. Flirtation never enters into the explicit content of his actions towards her, and were it to explicitly enter into the content of his actions, the act would change from ﬂirtation into another active way of relating. The factual content of a ﬂirter’s actions is almost inﬁnitely variable — from the personal line of questioning pursued by M in example one, to the ironic attacks on A in example two, to the wordless but suggestive soliciting of eye contact in example three. I can ﬂirt verbally or nonverbally, at greater and lesser levels of intensity, in acts determined by my understanding of the implicitly acknowledged rules of my interaction with my ﬂirtee. Could ﬂirtation, based on a minimal degree of sexual attraction towards the ﬂirtee on the part of the ﬂirter, be possible without being indirect? A direct statement of a ﬂirter’s intention to ﬂirt could conceivably be made between periods of sustained ﬂirtation, but could the statement itself — “I am ﬂirting with you” — be ﬂirtatious? This would depend on
the pub the level of irony in the communication of the intention — the width of the ﬂirter’s smile as he says to the ﬂirtee that he is ﬂirting with her, perhaps. This is because irony is essential to the implicit sense of the rules of the game of ﬂirtation; the need for ﬂirtation to be communicated through indirect or ironic acts of communication is in fact the cardinal rule of the game, since a direct, straight-faced initiation of the same actions would effectively change the meaning of the ﬂirter’s particular acts and even the game, so that he is no longer ﬂirting at all — imagine M mercilessly insulting A without any indication that he does not mean what he is saying. Furthermore irony is a primary mode of purposeful indirect communication. Enough wink-wink ironic playfulness could compensate for the breaking of the cardinal rule of the game, but to remain ﬂirtatious, the statement would need to be rectiﬁed in the moment of its utterance. In this way a direct statement of a ﬂirter’s intent to ﬂirt could remain itself ﬂirtation, if the ‘sin’ of the direct utterance were to be ‘atoned for’ within the system of implicit rules in the moment of its being committed by a sufﬁcient level of ironic playfulness, as ironic playfulness is also the currency of right action within the rule-governed realm of ﬂirtatious behavior. If the sin remains unatoned-for within the system of implicit rules — if the ﬂirter maintains a straight face and serious demeanor in directly addressing his ﬂirtatiousness — then not only the rule, but the game itself is broken. It is disregarded by the former participant, signaling a disregard for the ﬂirtee-as-ﬂirtee, and by extension the ﬂirtee as conceivably unwitting arbiter of the rules governing the ﬂirtatiousness of the ﬂirter. However, this move also initiates
a new regard for the former ﬂirtee as a fellow subject considered (and related to) in a new way. The two preceding essential structures of ﬂirtation for the ﬂirter are jointly sufﬁcient for a third structure, which I have just introduced. This would be the status of the ﬂirtee as the arbiter of the rules and supreme judge of the performance of the ﬂirter in the arena of his game. This results from a synergistic combination of general precepts of right conduct in public space, and the particular mood and mindset of the ﬂirtee in the moment of the ﬂirter’s initiation of his game, which determines the kinds of ﬂirtatious acts the ﬂirter believes he can successfully initiate. It is not necessary for the ﬂirtee to consciously accept the role of arbiter and judge, as I have tried to indicate; the status is an imaginative product of the ﬂirter dependent on the ﬂirter’s perception of the attitude of the ﬂirtee towards his ﬂirtation. He responds, in the course of the game, to the signs expressed in the face and words of the ﬂirtee as a morallydeveloping child responds to the reprimands and praises of an authority ﬁgure; they help him to course-correct and stay within the bounds of acceptable behavior. However, unlike the authority ﬁgure, the ﬂirtee may give signs of approval and disapproval without conscious awareness — through unconscious signals of discomfort, such as awkwardness in body language and facial expression, or other modes of revealing that go beyond what she purposes to reveal in communication. It is important for the ﬂirter, in the course of playing his game, to minimize these moments of discomfort and tacit disapproval in the ﬂirtee; if they are allowed to develop into being the salient aspects of the ﬂirter-ﬂirtee interaction, the ﬂirtee will be compelled to
[essay] discern the source of the discomfort in order necessary disconnect between a ﬂirter’s literal to stop it. This would force the acts of ﬂirtation acts and their actual intended meaning, and into explicit thematic awareness on the part of outside of special conditions obtaining, a direct the ﬂirtee, whether she had been tacitly aware acknowledgement on the part of the ﬂirter of or unaware of them before. Explicit thematic his ﬂirtatiousness destroys the game for himself awareness in the ﬂirtee (and, ﬂirtee forbid, (and for his fellow participant if the behavior verbal acknowledgement of this awareness) was being reciprocated). This second aspect would be sufﬁcient to kill the ﬂirter’s game, is an extension of the ﬁrst in that irony is the cardinal rule of ﬂirtation; without the saving grace of ironic playfulness For the ﬂirter, this again is it is assumed as the head of the structure of since the ﬂirtee’s ﬁ nal judgment and funcimplied rules of ﬂirtation discomfort and desire of other for relief from it would tional apocalypse, and regardless perceived individual have already eliminated so we have revealed a rules in particular any recognition of the second deadly offense instances of the game. ﬂirter’s intended ironic playfulness. For the within the rule-governed Finally, the ﬂirtee exists representationally in the ﬂirter, this again is ﬁnal system of ﬂ irtation: ﬂirter’s imagination as judgment and functional arbiter, judge, and referee apocalypse, and so we ineptitude. in relation to the ﬂirter have revealed a second deadly offense within the rule-governed system and the established system of rules in each of ﬂirtation: ineptitude. The ﬂirter is therefore instance of the game. So what is the signiﬁcance of the essence aware of a need for competent irony in attempting to ﬂirt; the game of ﬂirtation may be of acts of ﬂirtation for Wheaton? I have only canceled as a result of one’s deﬁciency just as it observations and questions. First, the game-like may be canceled by one’s sin of directness and experience of ﬂirtation on the part of the ﬂirter, seriousness, in the eyes of the subject-supposed- with the ﬂirtee understood as referee and ﬁnal judge, creates a distinct valuative system in which to be arbiter, judge, and referee. In the preceding discussion, ﬂirtation the ﬂirter locates himself. The parallels between (narrowed to a kind expressed by a ﬂirter in our existence as persons in God-governed moral whom has been met a minimum level of sexual space, and the ﬂirter’s existence as a ﬂirt in attraction towards the intended ﬂirtee) has been ﬂirtee-governed ﬂirtation space, are striking. I found to have three essential structures: ﬂirtation would wonder whether Wheaton students may is experienced by the ﬂirter as a rule-governed derive some sense of their worth from their game-like activity, with rules established (not successes and failures in this arena, which would necessarily by conscious intent) by the ﬂirtee, amount to an inappropriate surrendering of and as an extension of this ﬁrst aspect, ﬂirtation one’s self for another’s appraisal and evaluation. is essentially indirect and ironic — there is a The game of ﬂirtation would in this way fall into
the pub the same category as the Wheaton games of from the refusal to explicitly acknowledge ﬂirting “maintaining an appearance of holiness for the as ﬂirting for fear of the game’s destruction. I public” and the less common “judging yourself have irresponsibly ﬂirted in the past, generating and others by your comparative GPAs.” The consequential attraction between myself and my common thread running through these games reciprocating ﬂirtee that neither of us intended is a desire for some kind of existential validation to follow through on in a signiﬁcant way. It is from the others surrounding each of us; though enjoyable to ﬂirt with someone, especially when this desire is not intrinsically wrong in a moderate it is being well received — but the emotional form, at its extreme, the relevant others are put consequences may eventually defeat whatever primary enjoyment was (even if only momentarily) being derived from the in the place of God, who These cases of selfgame. Flirting with others has already spoken a ﬁnal pertinent word on our value deception can swell whom you care for can lead the harming and ultimate as creatures apart from our over time to form an to destruction of an otherwise performance in any humanhealthy relationship, if constructed evaluative immense psychic no thought is given to the context. A ﬁnal note on this undertow of feelconsequences or manner theme of the game-likeness ings of generalized of ﬂirtation. If ﬂirting of ﬂirtation reaches beyond the analysis: the problems anxiety, dread, and did involve some kind of commitment to the ﬂirtee, of the evaluative space guilt over the tacit people would not typically created by my initiation of ﬂirtation are enormously knowledge of one’s ﬂirt with anyone they didn’t anticipate seeing again. As compounded with the mistreatment of the I understand things, it is introduction of other known in fact easiest to ﬂirt with ﬂirters inclining towards my ﬂirtee and even someone whom you do not ﬂirtee. A situation like this one’s self. anticipate seeing again, as is potentially disastrous for it minimizes the chances of everyone directly involved, and is excruciating to watch from the sidelines. someone getting hurt while still creating space In the aftermath of such complicated messes, for the enjoyment of the game. Furthermore, the constitutive dimension I’m sure God hears many of those involved say: “why do you allow us to do these things to of irony opens wide the door to self-deception. It is common when engaged in ﬂirtation to push ourselves?” A second line of observations has to do with conscious thematic awareness of it down, to the indirectness of ﬂirtation. Flirting enables force it to recede into the tacit periphery. When a way of playing with the idea of romance two people are involved in reciprocal ﬂirtation, and relationship without the expectation of questions may naturally arise in their minds commitment, as is well known. This in part results having to do with the ultimate ends of their
[essay] interaction, but those questions are frequently disregarded for the sake of preserving the pleasantness of the moment. The feelings of the other person over time — for example, the state of the ﬂirtee’s affections for the ﬂirter going beyond the primary moment of his ﬂirtation — may be passed over, ignored, reasoned out of existence in the mind of the ﬂirter simply because they represent the unpleasantness of real consequences. These cases of self-deception can swell over time to form an immense psychic undertow of feelings of generalized anxiety, dread, and guilt over the tacit knowledge of one’s mistreatment of the ﬂirtee and even one’s self. In extreme cases the microcosmic morality of the game of ﬂirtation may even invite participants to compromise on their actual
moral commitments. It is clear that ﬂirtation can be done with varying levels of integrity and responsibility. Though an enjoyable way to pass the time with an attractive friend, ﬂirtation can be dangerous for those who (perhaps willfully) do not know what they are doing. I hope this analysis proves useful to those who would like to take the risk of initiating games of their own, if previously they have lacked sufﬁcient conﬁdence or trust in themselves and their motives. Assuming basic moral sensibilities, self-awareness and an eye for self-deception are crucial precautions for playing outside without hurting others or getting hurt yourself.
Endnotes 1 This, uh, happened a long time ago. 2 I feel obligated to comment on the fact that the ﬂirters in my examples are all male, as is the general perspective taken throughout. This is not sexism; I’m just committed to the idea of only writing about what I know something about — a very limited set of things not including ﬁrst-person experience as a female. Too be clear, I believe with all my heart that females can be ﬂirters too. 3 Empathy is meant in a technical sense: I have the capacity to empathize if I am able to project someone else’s ﬁrst-person mental content for myself in such a way as to be then able to anticipate how they will react to something, such as my acts of ﬂirtation. 4 Apocalypse: read in two senses — the ﬁrst as Armageddon, with the destruction of the game, and the second as Revelation (as this would signal the uncovering of a new side of the ﬂirtee, with the loss of ﬂirtee-status).
Marty Jones is a senior philosophy major from Lima, OH. Marty lives at the Scottage and does not consider himself a ﬂirt.
A Shirt To Wear
Noah tells us, in ASL since he is deaf, when we needed to meet up to head back to campus. Laura Popa After that, we split up quickly, and I soon ﬁnd myself wandering around the convention hall alone. Being around so many deaf people is Noah and some other friends invited me to the invigorating. I am surrounded by hands in Deaf Expo, a deaf cultural convention held motion –– all colors, shapes, and sizes moving annually across the nation. This year it was up, down, and around like popcorn bursting out about twenty minutes away, and deaf people of an open bag. I see a short, wispy-haired older from all over the Chicago area were expected to woman in the midst of the motion. She looks come. Since I am a CODA — a Child of Deaf like a grandmother straight out of a movie, the Adults — it made sense for me to be there. I do one who always has fresh-baked cookies and not interact with many deaf people at college, so a story to tell. I ﬁrmly, but gently, tap her on the shoulder to get her opportunities to mingle attention. She jumps a and let the culturally The “I Love You” sign little in surprise. I wave, deaf side of me come serves as a ubiquitous and she waves back. out are wonderful. I tell her my name As my friends deaf cultural icon — both L-A-U-R-A and then and I push open the women and men wear isshow her the signdoors to the Deaf Expo it proudly. It makes its name my mother gave convention hall, the ﬁrst thing that greets us is a way onto everything from me: my hand forms an “L” shape and makes a giant display of t-shirts. A garish pink t-shirt magnets to crochet work, circle in the air twice. She tells me her name immediately drew my to hats and pens. I've and her sign-name, attention, printed with a large, white hand, even seen it tattooed on and pretty soon we formed almost like the someone’s bicep once. start to share brief life stories. I discover that hand sign you see in the air at a hard rock concert, but with the thumb she was originally born in Indiana, but came out as well. This bright shirt proudly displayed to Illinois twenty years ago to work in a factory. American Sign Language’s (ASL) shorthand for Her movements are slow, yet vivacious — they “I Love You” because the ASL letters “I,” “L,” remind me of a little girl expressing herself in an and “Y” are all included in this hand-shape. The arthritic body. Nineties rave music interspersed with “I Love You” sign serves as a ubiquitous deaf cultural icon — both women and men wear it Reggaeton plays loudly. Intrigued, I attempt proudly. It makes its way onto everything from to ﬁnd its source. As I get closer, the music’s magnets to crochet work, to hats and pens. I've bass beats almost knock me back. The music is coming from a Spanish-English-ASL even seen it tattooed on someone’s bicep once.
[narrative] interpreting service, a very helpful amenity in ears, and American accent pressured us. But, light of the fact that many Hispanic deaf people with “CODA,” there was an actual term for my in the U.S. only know Spanish and ASL in a cultural place, and it even came on a t-shirt. An air horn blasts. Startled, I spring world that functions primarily through English. “Why are you playing music?” I ask the around to see an impish child wielding the air horn. I raise my eyebrows and smile at him, and service representative in ASL. “Dancing is a signiﬁcant part of Hispanic he giggles. “What are you doing?” I laugh as I ask deaf culture in the U.S.,” he says, pausing quickly to gesture to his right where some deaf with both ASL and English. “I’m doing a hearing people are dancing to the test,” the boy replies in rhythm. “See? We really An air horn blasts. English, “got to ﬁnd out enjoy it.” I ﬁnd another Startled, I spring around who else hears here.” “Makes sense, I guess. gargantuan merchandise to see an impish child Have fun,” I say as I shrug stand with shirts wielding the air horn. and walk away to the sound proclaiming “I Love I raise my eyebrows of another air horn blast You,” “Proud to be behind me. Deaf,” and “CODA.” and smile at him, and Here, I have a place. In a strange way, the he giggles. “What are But even here, in this place fact that I can publicly proclaim my identity as you doing?” I laugh as where no one ﬁnds it weird that my hands ﬂy about a CODA without having to speak comforts me. I ask with both ASL and as I speak, I ﬁnd myself I have always known English. “I’m doing a empathizing with this little boy and his air horn. how to talk about other hearing test,” the boy people’s identities. The terms for their replies in English, “got I am with my mother identities were readily to ﬁ nd out who else in our van, driving to my accessible and met with high school youth group. widespread agreement. hears here.” She became hard of But attempting to talk about my sister Audrey and my place in the hearing as a little girl. However, that never kept world was like trying to speak without language. her from listening to Frank Sinatra, watching There were no terms to adequately describe my The Sound of Music, enjoying Romanian folk place. I did not even know the words “CODA,” music, or holding aural conversations until she “third culture kid,” or “deaf culture” existed emigrated from Romania twenty years ago. Now until I got to college. All I could say was that all she hears are bells and low noises. Because of Audrey and I were different, unable to ﬁt the the timing of her hearing loss, she never learned mold into which our white skin, fully functional English phonemes, so she pronounces every
the pub word in a Romanian accent. The sun shines on me through the window as the radio plays “Amazing Grace” I cannot help but sing along –– “Amazing Grace” is one of my favorite songs. My mother starts singing along off-key, offbeat, and to her own lyrics. She laughs at me and dances, her whole body moving up and down like a slow bobble-head ﬁgurine to the music in her head. She softly smacks my shoulder and says, one hand on the steering wheel, one hand signing, “It’s not fair that you can sing.” She forms a rather exaggerated frown. “Well, I can’t help it, Mom! It’s not my fault I can sing.” “I know, my baby. But I want to hear you. Why can’t I hear you?” “Do you wish you could hear?” “I accept being deaf. God has given it to me. But sometimes I wonder why He didn’t also give me the chance to hear you sing.” “I don’t know, Mom. But I like that you’re deaf.” “I know, but just once. I’d like to just once.” “Me too, Mom.” We move on to talk about other lighthearted things. But our bodies slouch and drag as we sign, each carrying the weight of longings unfulﬁlled. A friend at church greets me and we exchange the usual formalities. Though my church congregation consists of mostly hearing people, my parents have attended this church since before I was born, and were the only deaf people in the church for a few years. “You know, it’s so nice that God gave your parents such great daughters to take care
of them. It must have been so hard for them without you two,” my friend says. “But my parents don’t need our help. They survived alright before we were born,” I replied, somewhat troubled. “That’s true, but your being there certainly makes it easier for them. And you know someone’s going to need to take care of them when they get older. God has given you a valuable gift, and you should use it. Not everyone can speak Sign Language.” There is much I want to tell him. I want to say that I have got bigger plans in life than becoming an ASL interpreter. I want to tell him that my relationship with my parents works like that of any other family — that they take care of me, not the other way around. I want to ask him what right he or any hearing person has to expect me to always be an interpreter, never a daughter. Judging by his reaction to my previous comment, he will not hear me, and I have had enough of not being heard by those who claim to listen. If I could scream like an air horn, would it even help? I smile and take my leave. Finals week is over. Mom and Audrey have come up to help me pack and take me home. After packing, we are hungry, so my sister and I head out on a food run. “Mom, what would you like us to get?” I ask in ASL. “I want that sandwich from Subway, the one with ham and white cheese on the white deli roll. Remember, white cheese, not yellow cheese. Also, get olives, green peppers, and the shake stuff.” We tell her to wait in my room for us while we go get the food. This seems simple enough,
[narrative] but my mother tends to be rather headstrong friends in ASL. And they understand her. I have and self-reliant, particularly when she has a become more or less used to my friends nodding need to fulﬁll. She wanted her ham and cheese nicely as my mother tries to speak to them in sandwich sooner than my sister and I could English. But this is different: Bethany and Benjamin are telling my mom about the ASL bring it, so she decided to ﬁnd food for herself. My sister and I come back to the room club at Wheaton, and for once, I get to listen in. We talk for the next hour, to ﬁnd that my mother has, covering a variety of topics in fact, left, and not just for When my sister from my mom’s history in a bathroom break. She is and I arrive, I see Romania to her thoughts on nowhere to be found, and she worship. My sister and I do did not leave a note. something I have not have to interpret. We do Since my mom does not literally never not need to be the method of have a cell phone, we end understanding. We join in the up having to take part in an seen before: my conversation. unwitting game hide-andmother having an seek with my mom — who does not realize she is hiding. actual conversation My father walks into my This somehow makes it with my friends uncle Nicu’s tiny apartment harder. We had plans to take in Romania, hugging and our sandwiches to the Stupe in ASL. And they kissing my aunt as he enters. to meet my friends Bethany understand her. Nicu had a stroke two months and Benjamin, who know prior, a third of the way ASL, so I call and ask them to join the search. I am very grateful that my through my sophomore year of high school. He cannot speak or walk and has limited mobility, lovably loud mother is not hard to miss. I go around campus, my sister to the but he still hears, thinks, and wishes very much laundry room, and Bethany and Benjamin to so to speak. Nicu leans over, watching my father the Beamer Center. Almost immediately, I get a from the living room, and a smile dances on his face. Memories spring up in his mind of what call from them. “Hey, we found your mom in the Stupe,” their poor family from the mountains had to Bethany said, “I think she wants to buy food or adjust to — the sudden deafness that happened after my father became severely ill as a young something.” “Thanks! Could you tell her not to, boy. My father says, “Hello,” in a high-pitched though? We already bought her some.” “Sure. We’ll meet you down in the Stupe, voice that he does not realize he has. My father sits next to Nicu and hugs him. Shaking, my okay?” When my sister and I arrive, I see uncle feebly takes his brother’s hands into his something I have literally never seen before: my own, and my father squeezes them tightly. My mother having an actual conversation with my uncle looks his brother directly in the eyes,
the pub wishing he could only remember how to move his mouth because of the stroke. My father smiles and tries to speak to him with his voice. Nicu begins to cry. He suddenly understands his brother in a way he never did before. He realizes what it is to be completely dependent on touch. He has become my father, as a young boy, receiving that ﬁrst connecting touch after a complete loss of communication. My father and uncle sit like that for ﬁfteen minutes, knee to knee, hand in hand. I look up at my father, my two-year-old arms stretched out with innocent anticipation. My father gestures swirling, and I nod my head excitedly. He holds one of my wrists, and with his other ﬁts my hand onto his. Our hands ﬁt
snugly, like puzzle pieces. I grip his wrist tighter, and he smiles impishly and nods. Then, he holds my other wrist and deftly picks me up. Wildly, he spins me around. I am caught up in the thrill and danger of it all. We laugh, and he spins as fast as his strong arms can take me. I feel my body going up and down, moving more like a ﬂag than a person. When I feel afraid, I look into my father’s joyful, laughing face and feel his stocky, calloused hands tightly holding me. I know I have nothing to fear. We spin faster and faster, and my hands began to slip against their will. A brief ﬂash of terror runs through me before I feel my father’s grip tighten, and all is well again. He tells me, with this one touch, that he will never let me get lost, that he will keep me safe for as long as he is able. I know that I am safe, that I am home.
Laura Popa is a senior anthropology major from Apex, NC. Her favorite dessert item is actually bread, jam (any kind, really), and butter, especially when had alongside a cup of tea. Laura.Popa@my.wheaton.edu
Suspicion and Recognition
more to do with seeing the limitations of our own viewpoint and the legitimacy of another’s, than with the conviction of certainty regarding our own particular set of beliefs. Christopher Manzer Hegel is not a name frequently used by evangelical Christians when we want to talk “The wounds of Spirit heal, and leave no scars behind” about our faith. This is not surprising; Hegel’s language in most of his texts is notoriously difﬁcult and an easy pantheistic caricature What are we doing when we invoke reason in a can be made of his philosophy. Many ﬁnd it discussion? More often than not we use reason easier to understand Hegel’s erstwhile student, like a cudgel — gathering the various things we Søren Kierkegaard, whose dramatic account believe into the Lord’s iron rod to beat down of individuality and faith ﬂies in the face of those we disagree with. With this basic impulse, I Hegel’s apparently life-crushing logical system. embarked on the seas of philosophical thought. While defending Hegel against Kierkegaard is I imagine the expectation of many students who beyond the scope of this essay, I want to discuss a part of Hegel’s famous, ﬁrst come to Wheaton is I want to suggest that if often mystifying, text, something like this, though without the war-like reason and knowledge the Phenomenology of Spirit. Among many intricate ornamentation. We expect have more to do with corridors of thought, Hegel that, by educating ourselves seeing the limitations provides an insightful at an institution committed to both the evangelical of our own viewpoint account of confession and forgiveness, for him tradition and rigorous and the legitimacy of the characteristic features scholarship, we should leave with beliefs well another’s, than with the of modern Christian life. For all of the accusations deﬁned and well defended. It is not wrong to have this conviction of certainty made against Hegel, that he is an atheist, or a expectation. If we did not regarding our own anti-Christian, leave with something like a particular set of beliefs. pantheist, etc., I ﬁnd his exploration coherent, workable set of reasons for believing and doing certain things, of the practical life of Christians to be valuable it would be difﬁcult to see why we take the for the seriousness with which Hegel explicates trouble to become educated at all. Nevertheless, the demands of reconciliation. What is valuable I think that we can become so preoccupied in Hegel’s discussion of reconciliation is the with defending a certain set of beliefs that we precise way in which he diagnoses epistemic ultimately become unreasonable. Through an rigidity and provides a way to overcome the examination of the work of G. W. F. Hegel, I kind of understanding that fails to recognize want to suggest that reason and knowledge have reasonable disagreement.
the pub The problem he addresses, which I Schaeffer, and those who follow him, are not the am calling epistemic rigidity, is clinging to a only ones dealing with epistemic rigidity. This conviction with regard to knowledge that one difﬁculty is not limited by religious or political is not entitled to hold, vis-à-vis other positions. afﬁliation. In addition to this, Schaeffer is quite Moral psychologist Robert Roberts and a complex ﬁgure. Without his conviction that philosopher Jay Wood describe it at its worst in Christianity can speak (even if it is something Intellectual Virtues: “…it is the inability to grasp quite speciﬁc) to this post-Christian age, and theoretical alternatives to one’s own; it is the his practical charity in reading and conversing tendency for the views from other vantage points with those students and citizens laboring under to look stupid or infantile or uninteresting or just the “death of God”, evangelical intellectual opaque.” It usually works like this, à la Francis culture would be stunted. So, despite Schaeffer’s insistence on his systematic Schaeffer: in the wake of the modern crisis, certain We do this at Wheaton set of “answers,” he is not an unambiguous questions are raised against in our rejection of example of the rigidity of reason, religion, objectivity understanding discussed and certainty, and positions outside the Christianity must reassert scope of our own set of above.To return to the itslegitimacy against the beliefs, and one does topic at hand, epistemic questions of modernity. Philosophers like Kant, not even need to be a rigidity is a kind of intellectual attitude that Hegel, Kierkegaard, and reader of Schaeffer or leads to a conviction that Nietzsche, as well as 20thone’s own knowledge is century artists and literary an evangelical for this causes one ﬁgures are some of those to be the case. It is a absoluteand to reject other reasonable who have posed these matter of suspicion. viewpoints without real questions. While Schaeffer consideration. Schaeffer is quick to commend charitable dialogical exchange, he is certain that does this when he rejects as irrational or nihilistic the conversation will end where he wants it to, the various contemporary philosophers, like when he writes, “as Christians, we do have artists, and theologians he interacts with, the answers to the questions posed by reality.” due to his conviction that the answers he has, Without pursuing Schaeffer’s thought in great systematized in certain propositions, overcome detail, I want to point out the main characteristic all of his interlocutor’s beliefs. We do this at of his mode of intellectual engagement that Wheaton in our rejection of positions outside appears in the intellectual culture of Wheaton the scope of our own set of beliefs, and one College. This characteristic is the conviction of does not even need to be a reader of Schaeffer a conclusion. That is, a systematic, cohering set or an evangelical for this to be the case. It is a of propositions (or presuppositions) that are non- matter of suspicion. Suspicion that theologians negotiable and universally true. Let me be clear: are subverting the word of God. Suspicion
[essay] that campus organizations like Solidarity are just trying to make us feel guilty. Suspicion that all conservatives want to do is protect their interests in a net of security rather than exercise faithfulness to the word of God. In each situation the exchange of reasons stops because trust is lost. Epistemic rigidity is a form of intellectual isolation because one is primarily concerned with preserving their own beliefs. This undermines a concern for the truth of a matter. If another person disagrees with me, it is easy for me to believe that they have an ulterior, non-rational motivation for doing so; particularly, when I am convinced my position is already the most sensible, rational position to be had. Hegel can correct for this tendency, and he is able to do so while showing the necessity of Christian religious life to that end. Hegel addresses this problem in the book I mentioned above. Hegel’s goal in the text is to describe the ascent of an individual to what he calls “absolute knowing.” This is knowledge that is not relative to or conditioned by any other beliefs: it is complete, though it may not be a complete set of propositions (as will be argued later, absolute knowing is similar to practical wisdom). The concept is ambiguous, but the basic idea is this: absolute knowing is a comprehensive perspective on one’s beliefs, their origins, their hold on a subject, and their legitimacy and span. In this way, absolute knowledge concerns a certain position of the subject with regard to their beliefs — the way they see these beliefs and the way they see themselves — that can be called a viewpoint. Although Hegel will be discussing the complexities and contradictions of the morality, his claims about the moral life can be extended to the speciﬁc issues of intellectual culture under
discussion in this essay. First, Hegel discusses the conﬂict between moral theories that reveal themselves in certain modes of moral action. Second, intellectual culture is a matter of action; since knowers do things, like read texts, converse with other people, criticize, and debate, there can be an ethic concerning what we do with our minds. Third, and most importantly, Hegel himself describes the continuity between “observing reason” and “active reason.” Observing reason is the activity of knowing about things — investigation, analysis, critique — while acting reason is the knowledge involved in practice — most obvious in moral knowledge, but involved in any judgments we make about how to act in a given situation. Additionally, knowing involves a variety of activities. Immanuel Kant, along with Hegel, notes that things do not passively implant themselves in our minds. For something to be intelligible, it must be understood in certain kinds of categories, ranging from the highly abstract ( such as the theoretical apparatus of the natural sciences) to the exceedingly common (concepts like causality, unity, or categories of sense, like red, orange, loud, quiet). By understanding and categorizing the world we experience, our minds exercise a kind of activity over phenomena. Of course, there are much more obvious kinds of activities, the ones associated with scientiﬁc investigation and experimentation, the intellectual practices mentioned above, like reading, discussion, and critique. Reason is exercised in this domain as much as in more theoretical work, so much that the distinction between “observing reason” and “active reason” seems more and more difﬁcult to maintain. The difference is relative. In any event, active reason itself is a kind of knowledge. It is the knowledge philosophers like
the pub to call “practical wisdom.” Quentin Lauer offers beyond secularity to the religious life. The two moral ﬁgures Hegel discusses will this helpful comment on the transition from “observing reason” to “active reason”: “‘reason’ be called the “beautiful soul” and the “worldly remains an empty abstraction if the only means actor.” Each represents an extreme point on the of giving it a content is ‘observing’ nature in the spectrum of moral theory. The beautiful soul is all the ways it is observable... mental activity, the rigorous moral judge and the worldly actor however, ﬁrst reveals itself not in the theoretical is the result-oriented pragmatist. Hegel notices investigation of what is the case but in the that there are internal contradictions in each practical work of guiding action.” This means of these viewpoints, then showing how these that even when we simply “observe” what is the contradictions point beyond to a higher, more case, we are involved in a variety of practical comprehensive viewpoint. From the viewpoint activities, and such activities can and should be of absolute knowledge there is no contradiction that is not accounted understood to have and no further moral dimensions. The two moral ﬁgures Hegel for, viewpoint to which Since there are discusses will be called one could ascend. activities involved in What I will argue human understanding the “beautiful soul” and later is that absolute and knowledge and the “worldly actor.” Each knowledge does such activities can have not involve some a moral dimension, represents an extreme particular content, Hegel proposes point on the spectrum of but a particular kind that confession and of activity. forgiveness shape moral theory. The beautiful Both the our moral and soul is the rigorous moral beautiful soul and intellectual lives. the worldly actor Hegel’s discussion judge and the worldly that the of confession and actor is the result-oriented recognize way of the world forgiveness is poised stands against the between the secular pragmatist. virtuous person. As moral life and the confessional life of Christian religion, and the author of Ecclesiastes writes, “…there are involves the self-contradiction of two moral righteous people who are treated according to viewpoints. Hegel is trying to synthesize the conduct of the wicked, and there are wicked standards and norms of social life with the people who are treated according to the conduct confessional reality of Christian religion. Hegel of the righteous (Eccl. 8:14).” Furthermore, articulates the point of connection between both the beautiful soul and the worldly actor the two, so his account is not quite theological, recognize that any action they perform can be nor is it entirely ethical. What emerges as reinterpreted as selﬁshness and vice, despite contradictions in the secular moral life point their intentions. Because any moral action must
[essay] be enacted by a particular individual decision, developing and has yet to be an active, concrete the actor can be accused of acting not out of participant in the world they are criticizing, and moral duty, but out of selﬁsh motives. All it takes the moral complexities therein. For most students is a little change in perspective for an action that this is a phase, as we begin to act in concrete was considered virtuous to become selﬁsh. After ways in our churches, outside of the often-lofty world of ideas at a university. It is possible for all, “no man is a hero to his valet.” The worldly actor accepts the risk of both positions to be critiqued. It seems that in selﬁshness, abandoning the obligation she has the failure of both, Hegel has left us without a basis for moral action, and to explain her actions in quickly ended his ascent to terms of moral duty. On the What Hegel is absolute knowledge by falling other hand, the beautiful soul describing here down a deep crevasse. chooses not to act, in fear of The impasse cause by contaminating his connection is the way that, in this deadlock is bridged by to absolute moral duty and confession, one mutual reconciliation. The righteousness. Where the is able to get out- discourse of reconciliation is beautiful soul can rightly confession and forgiveness. accuse the worldly actor side of oneself, By confessing, Hegel claims, of abandoning morality and see one’s “[one] does not merely ﬁnd altogether, the worldly actor can rightly accuse the beautiful own actions from himself apprehended by the other as something alien and soul of hypocrisy since the the viewpoint of disparate from it, but rather beautiful soul has abandoned ﬁnds that other, according to the actual world for an illusion another, such its own nature and disposition, of righteousness that has no substance. Take the young, that this viewpoint identical with himself.” What Hegel is describing here is the enterprising Wheaton student is not different, way that, in confession, one is that chooses, upon his or her strange, or other able to get outside of oneself, return home, to criticize his or her parents, church, pastor, than one’s own. and see one’s own actions from the viewpoint of another, such or congregation. While certain criticisms of their parents’ theological, that this viewpoint is not different, strange, or other ecclesiological, or political views may be valid, it than one’s own. Confession is, then, recognition on is easy to see why such activity is frustrating for the part of the confessor that what may seem parents, church, pastor, and congregation. This right from her viewpoint is wrong from another student has not lived yet, he or she has not yet person’s viewpoint; that this other viewpoint is take up the work of ministering to a community. legitimate. Of course, this confession must be The criticisms offered by this imaginary student met by the forgiveness of the one confessed to, are illegimate, not because they are theoretically such that the judge himself sees his own ﬁnite incorrect per se, but because the student is still position as critic. Forgiveness is recognition, on
the pub the part of the forgiver, that the confessor’s own beliefs I have cannot be considered absolute, in viewpoint is legitimate, despite the criticisms a virtue of the reasonable disagreement of others. forgiver can make. This may sound different This is a kind of knowledge: I know something than what we normally think of as confession about my own position that I previously did not and forgiveness because in this account the know. In this section on the beautiful soul and actor does not already think what they are the worldly actor, Hegel is trying to presenta situation where doing is wrong. Each confronts the ﬁnitude neither individual Both confessor can resolve their and forgiver were and limitation of their disagreement with convinced of the viewpoint; neither can the other through righteousness of the addition or their viewpoint, have an absolute set of maintenance of some until they judged beliefs, but they can have of their beliefs. Both each other. This is a the beautiful soul much more serious absolute knowledge in and the worldly actor case of confession their acknowledgement of have valid, reasonable and forgiveness, and criticisms of each demands more of this limitation, which they other. The only both confessor and transcend in recognizing further viewpoint forgiver, than in an each can have is that ordinary situation in this limitation and the other is equally which one does what legitimacy of the viewpoint the entitled to their one already knows is of the other in the practice beliefs. In this kind of wrong. By enacting absolute difference confession and of forgiveness. and disagreement, forgiveness, through language, moral life becomes religious. Language each knows that their viewpoint is limited. Hegel is important here because Hegel is able to get writes, “just as the former has ato surrender at the active character of absolute knowledge its one-sided, unacknowledged existence of — one must speak and say, externalize oneself its particular being-for-self, so too must this in dialogical exchange, to achieve this kind of other set aside its one-sided, unacknowledged knowledge. Inevitably, this language is religious. judgment.” Reconciliation demands that both For Hegel, the religious practice of Christianity the confessor and the forgiver recognize that is an essential contribution to the ﬁnal viewpoint. their individual viewpoint is not absolute and By enabling this view of the self that recognizes that another viewpoint should be recognized. Each confronts the ﬁnitude and limitation its limitations this exchange provides a way of their viewpoint; neither can have an absolute set beyond them through the practice of holiness. When I confess and when I forgive, I of beliefs, but they can have absolute knowledge in recognize the partiality of my own viewpoint. The their acknowledgement of this limitation, which
[essay] they transcend in recognizing this limitation and Hegel’s conceptual analysis of reconciliation is the legitimacy of the viewpoint of the other in about more than the vague feelings of “respect” the practice of forgiveness. Hegel writes, “It is that characterize the politics of tolerance. the actual I, the universal knowledge of itself in its Confession on Hegel’s account is not simply absolute opposite, in the knowledge which remains a matter of morality — the active, moral life internal, and which, on account of the purity of of individuals is intertwined with their selfits separated being-within-self, is itself completely consciousness and self-knowledge. Therefore, universal.” Hegel is struggling here to express it is a matter of knowledge to recognize the the way in which, through a certain kind of limitations of one’s own viewpoint. I would like to sketch out some activity (confession and forgiveness), one can have a kind of knowledge that uniﬁes “absolute consequences of what has been argued by opposites.” As this quotation indicates, the two returning to the discussion of Francis Schaeffer. viewpoints that are reconciled remain separate; Let me reiterate my appreciation of Schaeffer: in they are not synthesized into a new set of beliefs. a manner characterized by integrity and charity, Schaeffer attempted to What is universal about this understand and respond to knowledge is maintenance Yet, it seems that society in a comprehensive of absolutely different his insistence on way. Yet, it seems that his viewpoints, in the unity insistence on a certain set of one’s own mind. This a certain set of of Christian answers to cannot happen through an Christian answers modern questions undercuts increasingly comprehensive to modern the admirable conversation set of beliefs, but only Schaeffer wants to initiate. through a practical questions undercuts What Schaeffer does not do wisdom, that allows for the admirable is examine his own positions, the acknowledgement his form of evangelical of different viewpoints conversation Christianity and his related in actual situations of Schaeffer wants to philosophical commitments, disagreement. in light of the philosophers, In this way, absolute initiate. authors, and artists he knowing looks similar to the old Socratic truth — to really know is to interacts with. Figures like Kant, Hegel, acknowledge that I do not know. To be more Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche have particular exact, Hegel argues that “knowing” does not things to say to the Schaeffer’s foundational and these foundational terminate in a set of propositions, however well commitments, defended they may be, but does terminate in my commitments (to the simple objectivity of understanding that my own beliefs are not the truth, rather than a more complex, perspective only reasonable ones that can be held. While this driven and phenomenological account of truth) may seem like garden-variety liberal tolerance go unquestioned in Schaeffer’s dialogue with (which may not be such a bad thing), I think Western culture.
the pub This is not to suggest that our reasons for holding beliefs are unimportant. Yes, our reasons for holdting to certain positions are rendered relative in the face of another’s disagreement, and in the face of the ﬁnitude and partiality of our viewpoints. But this does not mean we stop asking for reasons or are less rigorous in our intellectual practices. What this does mean is
that, for intellectual matters with regard to our beliefs, our reason, and our justiﬁcations, we must trust the practice itself. This is not ﬁnally a trust in any particular reasons, rather in the process of dialogical exchange, in the demands of rational discussion. This is a trust in reason — the practice of intellect — rather than any reasons themselves.
Christopher Manzer is a senior philosophy major from Petoskey, MI. Chris once owned a dog that had a drug addiction. Chris.Manzer@my.wheaton.edu
Straight A’s Steve Hoey
I knew a kid once who said, “My parents are going to kill me If I don’t get straight A’s this semester.” He got one B. So, his father held him down While his mother stabbed him to death.
Steve Hoey is a senior communications major from Pittsburgh, PA. He is not an artist, but he is pretty good at faking. StephenJosephHoey@gmail.com
So Many Stories, So Little Time: Peter Mulvey’s Letters from a Flying Machine
intricate ﬁngerpicking patterns. He’s learned to use the expressive range of his deep voice to maximum effect, often switching into halfspoken intonation and speech-pattern rhythms to phrase the lyrics just right. He has honed his writing skills over a twenty-year music career, with twelve albums and nearly one million tour Daniel Leonard miles to his name. His breadth of experience staggers; among other things, he: earned a degree in method acting from a Jesuit university in his native Milwaukee, moved to Dublin, “He helped me remember who I am.” This was Ireland to perform on street corners, spent a my friend’s answer when, during intermission year playing in Boston subways to make rent, at a Mulvey concert, I asked what she thought. narrated documentaries, and recently completed The response is not atypical: after she said it, a thousand mile tour by bicycle. He reads I recognized faces in the audience from his and references Christian mystics, existential philosophers, T. S. Eliot, performance six months and Billy Collins. Beyond prior in another holeHe’s developed sheer talent, Peter has wit, in-the-wall venue eighty an incomparable wisdom, and personality. miles away. When Peter Mulvey is in town, art- approach to the guitar Now, in his early forties, he is hitting his stride, writing folk fans come out of the involving extended the best songs of his career. woodwork. They do this techniques, unusual Mulvey’s latest album because of the intimacy, Letters from a Flying honesty, and engagement altered tunings Machine (2009) explores of his solo performances: (frequently lowering what has always been Mulvey takes the stage Peter’s driving question: with nothing but a kind the bottom string What lasts? In the face of baritone voice, a beat-up by more than an inexorable change and loss, guitar, and the conviction that songs change lives. octave for percussive why--how--ought we to live? Throughout the album, The ﬁrst thought of thump), and intricate Mulvey includes narrations most people hearing him is, “This guy is good.” ﬁngerpicking patterns. of letters written to his nieces and nephews during He has developed an incomparable approach to the guitar involving airline ﬂights, explicitly addressing the role of extended techniques, unusual altered tunings future generations in his search for meaning. In (frequently lowering the bottom string by more the ﬁrst letter, “Letter from a Flying Machine”, than an octave for percussive thump), and Peter reminds us that, in all our apparent
[review] progress and technological development (“They and our very existence, what matters is not for are baking cookies in the sky, Edgar!”), nature what we live but for whom. The sole worthwhile and spirit precede us; marvels such as modern human pursuit is trying (and failing, and trying) ﬂight pale in comparison, “because the sky to love: “On a wing and a prayer, I don’t know is and was full of birds.” The second, “...Plus how we’ll get there; we were just crossing the street, still ﬁnding our the Many Inevitable feet. But you’re the song Fragments,” followed and Mulvey describes the that I know, the only one, elaborated by the song and so I’ll carry it there “Dynamite Bill,” ﬁnds pattern arising from his on a wing and a prayer.” that past generations Although the album have likewise struggled inquiry in the letters as has a start-to-ﬁnish arc, with impermanence "time-time-time-love;" “Some People” and (sometimes self-induced, that is, if the passage “Mailman” stand out as in situations where “you songs to hear and rehear, gotta make something of time overturns to sing along to, to tell go boom”) while our achievements, people about. “Some acknowledging their People” includes ﬁddle, role in transmitting to our stability, and our electric jazz guitar, and us the things that do still very existence, what brushed drums for a last. Peter’s third letter, matters is not for what thorough Dixieland vibe “Bears”, relays his niece’s “I was born in the ﬁrst encounter with the we live but for whom. — wrong era,” Mulvey says idea of human mortality: — and offers a whimsical future generations, too, will face the Question. And yet, for Peter, list of human endeavors and preferences, they are its answer: “Vlad the Astrophysicist” juxtaposed humorously: “Some people go to the juxtaposes the isolating indifference of the synagogue, some people go to the woods, some universe — Mulvey calls Vlad’s anecdote “the people go to a shrink (and they think everybody single most startling thing anyone has ever told should).” The song’s refrain is a series of the kind me” — with the miraculous possibility and grace of grunts one emits while shaking one’s head and found within human beings. Like the Teacher sighing, “Some people,” as if to say, “This too is in the Book of Ecclesiastes, Mulvey investigates meaningless.” Mulvey frequently opens concerts the structures of life that might offer lasting with this song to break the ice: he understands meaning, concluding in “On a Wing and a that making us laugh at life makes us listen, and Prayer” that love, however fragile and apparently while his songs are not sentimental, they ask to ﬂeeting, is the sole answer. Mulvey describes the affect us. Hence Mulvey cultivates openness and pattern arising from his inquiry in the letters as empathy in the listener throughout the album to “time-time-time-love;” that is, if the passage of prepare her for the deeply personal content in time overturns our achievements, our stability, its ﬁnal section: not personal in a biographical
the pub Peter Mulvey loves music. Before he became sense, but personal to him and to us — things we are not willing to talk about or be told about a performer, he was a listener; the passionate unless we know someone. In “Mailman,” a playing of others inspired him to pick up the sparse, melodic piece with an inventive lyrical guitar himself. Likewise, Mulvey’s love for music structure, Mulvey notes the beauty found in saturates his own work, which enables listeners nature, then contrasts it with the ugliness of to love more fully whatever and whomever they love. This is what happened self-serving politics and to my friend at the concert: religion, in the guise of “the Among arts, we when someone else shows man on the radio telling often look to music you who they are, when us how it’s all gonna be... they sing honestly, it reminds especially the part about in particular for of who you are. One what God wants”. He mere entertainment, you internet commenter similarly points out that it is enticing memorialized the late J. D. to accept these distortions for mood setting, Salinger by noting that, after as beauty itself, or perhaps or simply as a stay she read Franny and Zooey, to think that they do have a against boredom. “I knew then how much I measured beauty by seeking love my brother.” Among good things (however wrongly) or by ﬂowing from good intentions arts, we often look to music in particular for (however mangled). With both of these possible mere entertainment, for mood setting, or simply conceptions of beauty in mind — pristine as a stay against boredom. Musicians sometimes nature and deﬁling but, gratifying nurture — treat it as something to get better at; social Mulvey considers a third way: the complicated cliques and trendsetters see it as something to set beauty of experiencing and accepting both themselves apart, making it a boundary against piercing grief and profound joy, confusion and others. Art at its best is anything but a diversion, clarity, hatred and kindness. The vast powers of turning us aside from our path. Peter Mulvey’s evil and entropy do not diminish the grace we music invokes conversion, turning us around he experience in life, “the part that we can’t quite guides us back toward our true selves, toward name.” Despite everything, it is “still beautiful.” what lasts.
Daniel Leonard is a senior interdisciplinary studies major (music, English, and philosophy concentrations) from Downingtown, PA. Daniel has had poems published in North Central Review, was a ﬁnalist for Hollins University’s Lex Allen Literary Festival Poetry Prize, and won a medal for Most Improved in group rollerskating lessons in 1994. Daniel.Leonard@my.wheaton.edu
Seeing (you) Sarah Mathias
I was blind to you as people are blind to God. They don’t think twice, question the origin of beneﬁcence, until it strikes them, brushing their teeth or pulling out of the garage: maybe he keeps coming over for a reason. As people see God, I saw you and all your care of me, all the fries you let me eat, the time you got us found in the city and told me the streets to take. I never saw you before. Now, I cannot help but see more and more of your goodness. It draws me to you and says, “You don’t have to be anyone else. I have seen you for a long time.”
Sarah Mathias is a junior English writing major and a Spanish minor from Memphis, TN. She has attended nine different schools in her lifetime. Sarah.Mathias@my.wheaton.edu
Surprised by Hope: Resurrecting the Resurrection
today is simply wrong. It goes something like this: when a person decides to accept Jesus as her personal Savior, she will obtain a personal relationship with God and her soul will go straight to heaven when she dies. She will leave Steven Doelman behind this temporary, fallen world of pain and death and evil, joining the faithful in heaven, and singing praises to God. This is more or less the narrative I grew up believing, and it was As rumors circulate that N.T. Wright may reinforced throughout my life in church. This, I was told, was the truth about the world, and become the next Archbishop of Canterbury, about the ‘good news’ that I was supposed to and with Wright’s presence at the Annual tell everyone. Wheaton Theology Conference in April, it is How does this view square with what crucial for evangelical Christians to engage the Bible tells us? It does not, according to the thought of one of the leading New Wright. Rather, this complex metaphysical Testament scholars in the world. In Surprised conception of heaven developed largely due to by Hope, Wright has distilled much of his “the residual Platonism that has infected whole formal theological works into a book for the swaths of Christian thinking.” common reader and attracted the attention of many leading Wright insists that Platonism ingrained into Western Christian thought Christian thinkers, including the popular view the dualism between our Dallas Willard, Rob Bell, Richard Foster, and Walter of heaven and immortal souls destined for an eternal realm and our Brueggemann. Wright calls salvation that mortal bodies that will decay for a radical change in how in this transient world. Thus, we view heaven and earth, as holds sway in sing songs about leaving the book’s bold subtitle makes churches today we behind a world of sin and clear: “Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission is simply wrong. pain to joyfully go ‘home’ to heaven. I am reminded of the Church.” Wright has particularly of “How Great Thou Art,” “I’ll done more to change my own worldview than Fly Away,” and “Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus.” any Christian scholar I thus far read, including Wright argues that such ‘evacuation theology’ C.S. Lewis. leads to a distorted emphasis on saving souls In Surprised by Hope, Wright delivers a and a dangerous indifference to the abuse, scathing critique of the theological confusion the injustice, and the suffering that wrack our and biblical illiteracy of contemporary world. Why waste time on improving the world Christians regarding the Christian afterlife. when it is going up in ﬂames anyway? After all, Wright insists that the popular view of heaven the world will only be put to rights when Jesus and salvation that holds sway in churches
[review] the Kingdom of God in the hope of the returns. Wright does not mince his words: “to resurrection, knowing that our efforts will see the death of the body and the escape of contribute to God’s renewal of his creation. the soul as salvation is ... colluding with death” Problematic passages remain, and though (194). Death has not been defeated; it has Wright addresses them, critics will want better merely been re-described. Christians will not explanations for Luke 23:43, Phil 3:20-21, and triumph over death; we will only outwit death. 1 Cor 15:44-47, 50. The latter, in particular, Wright issues a dire warning that this is false proves difﬁcult for Wright. Wright attempts to doctrine. convince the reader that in this passage Paul What does the Bible have to say, then, did not mean to contrast the physical with about the afterlife? Wright points us to the spiritual, but rather the corruptible with Romans 8, 1 Corinthians 15, and Revelations the incorruptible. Yet, if 21-22. Upon death, this distinction is so vital Christians will ‘sleep’ Wright challenges the to understanding Paul’s until Jesus’ second coming; then we evangelical view of the message, why does Paul himself not explain this? will rise again to gospel, shifting from After all, Paul would have witness and partake in the renewal of the disembodied and been careful to avoid potential heresies such creation and the full individualistic heaven- as Gnosticism. Would inauguration of the this distinction have Kingdom of God. or-hell conception to been so obvious to Paul’s Wright virtually the good news of the Greek audience? Wright recites 1 Cor 15 to admits that outlining us at various points kingdom of God “‘on the Christian hope is a in the book, and earth as it is in heaven’” difﬁcult task, likening all rightly so. Only when language about the future we believe that we to “signposts pointing into the fog” (xiii). But will be physically resurrected are we able to what if someone came forward out of that fog proclaim with Paul, “‘Death is swallowed up to meet us? in victory. O death, where is your victory? O It is in the person of Jesus Christ and his death, where is your sting?’” (1 Cor 15:54-55). life, death, and resurrection that we receive the Wright emphasizes the pivotal conclusion of good news of his lordship. Wright challenges Paul’s treatise on resurrection: “Therefore, my the evangelical view of the gospel, shifting beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, from the disembodied and individualistic always abounding in the work of the Lord, heaven-or-hell conception to the good news knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” of the kingdom of God “‘on earth as it is in (1 Cor 15:58, emphasis added). Our work heaven’” (Matthew 6:10). But what exactly is in this life is not wasted on a world that will this “good news?” This is a question I have be destroyed anyway. Rather, we anticipate
the pub often struggled with, having grown increasingly doubtful of the formulaic method that had been prescribed in my church. Reading the gospels, I am struck by the good news that Jesus himself proclaimed. Jesus healed the suffering and comforted the poor, proclaiming, “The time is fulﬁlled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). This was not some formula like the four spiritual laws; Jesus had not even gone to the cross yet. Instead, he was proclaiming the good news that the prophets had spoken of: “the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up...” (Luke 7:22). Jesus’ miraculous healings were not temporary measures to relieve suffering, but signs of the glorious redemption breaking into our world. Indeed, Jesus astonishingly instructed and empowered his followers to join in his work. Jesus gave his disciples “power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. And he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God...” (Luke 9:1-2). Later, Jesus tells the seventy others: “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you” (Luke 10:19). This powerful statement always puzzled me. Often, I simply ignored it, thinking that this remarkable profusion of miracles was a temporary stage in the growth of Christianity. Yet Wright’s argument — that Jesus has decisively defeated the power of evil and launched the new creation — seems to reveal the true meaning of this passage. Jesus
surrendered himself to death on the cross and rose again from the tomb to overthrow sin’s tyranny of death and destruction. Easter was not God’s Plan B to rescue us from his failed creation. Rather, Easter marked the onset of the new creation and the manifestation of God’s kingship. We, the body of Christ, are to proclaim and enact this good news. The book, to be sure, has its ﬂaws. Because of the broad range of questions he addresses, Wright does not have the time or space to delve deeper into the complexities of theological issues such as purgatory and praying for the saints, let alone world issues such as AIDS and climate change. Wright paints with broad strokes, sometimes simplifying his textual analysis too much, leaving the reader unsatisﬁed with his explanations. For example, Wright makes the claim that Jesus never said anything about his second coming during his earthly ministry; but instead of directly engaging the Scriptures, he only summarizes texts like Daniel 7 and does not show the reader the hermeneutical steps he took to reach his conclusions. Finally, though Wright often styles himself as the C.S. Lewis of our day, his writing is by no means elegant. The book reads more like a ﬁreside chat than a theological classic. Despite these apparent ﬂaws, Surprised by Hope is a vital return to the hope of the early Christians, and a powerful call to action to the Church. If Wright is correct about all this — and I suspect he is — there is much work and much thinking to be done by evangelical Christians.
Steven Doelman is a junior history and English major from Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. Steven is 6’7” and does not play basketball. Steven.Doelman@my.wheaton.edu
Catch Carla Albert
When you think about it, you have the best Part of me, The quickest and strongest of my sperm made you. The blond, pig-tail-wearing doll in a yellow jumper Clung to the space beneath my armpit And I liked my Easy Bake Oven and The burnt round cakes I created. As I rode my sea green Little Mermaid bicycle, The bottoms of my white shoes ﬂashed red Every time my feet pushed down On the pedals. Yellow, star-shaped sunglasses Nested on my face and a black Bulls cap with red letters sat Loosely on the crown of my braids. An oversized, sleeveless jersey Nearly hid my shorts, revealing Thick prepubescent legs. A few hours before dusk on a summer day Dad and I went to Granny’s. He asked my Younger cousin Nico if he wanted to play Catch in the baseball ﬁeld down the street. They walked toward the front door and I cried. I didn’t know you wanted to come. Sobbing quietly, I followed them out the door.
Ice Carla Albert
Every day dragged. Before going to work, Ma left him breakfast. Thirsty, he called My cell phone, having grown tired Of yelling for me Over and over until I awoke in the next room. Every morning, I knew who was calling, disrupting My sleep, before I saw the name “Dad” on my phone. The air weighed As much as he did. The sheets stuck To him in places.
Each day as the skin On his face became tighter. He asked me For apple cranberry juice With ice. I walked in a haze To the kitchen, Grateful to God (If there still was A God) That he did not Request beer. Rarely A glass of juice Was ﬁnished. When the ice melted, He called for More ice.
Sweat beads drooped down The side of his face— Settling in his growing beard, Sliding down his chin. His eyes looked more round
Carla Albert is a senior English writing major fom Chicago, IL. She gets wierd cravings — mostly for hot giardiniera peppers. Once she starts, she can’t stop. It’s really bad... Carla.Albert@my.wheaton.edu
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