Bears, Beets, and Ancient Philosophers

 

bears, beets, and-2

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there lived a man. This man lived on a farm. One day, as he was watering his beets, he looked up. The sun was high and the bright rays obscured the image which was before him. He squinted, catching a glimpse of a late-middle-aged man with the longest beard he had ever seen (excepting Gandalf, of course) and dressed in a toga. The toga-clad-long-bearded man was walking directly towards him. “Slave!” toga-man called out. The farmer turned to look behind him, wondering who could possibly be addressing so impertinently. “Slave!” the man shouted again, this time louder. The farmer was aghast to discover toga-man was actually attempting to speak to him this way. While the farmer collected his wits, contemplating which words could possibly express his utter indignation, the toga-clad man saw the farmer’s metal name tag flash in the sunlight. He tried to sound out the strange word. “Dee-white,” he said slowly.

“DWIGHT! My name is Dwight!” shouted the beet farmer. “And I, sir, am no man’s (nor woman’s) slave. I am Dwight K. Shrute III, son of Dwight K. Shrute II, son of Dwight K. Shrute I, and I expect never to be addressed by you (or anyone) by any other title. What do you think you are doing on my land?  I do not recall inviting cross dressers to parade around my beets. Be aware that I am always acting in self-defense . . . occasionally preemptive defense.”

The man in the toga noted Dwight’s pale yellow shirt, which was only slightly more yellow than his skin, the large, odd mirrored rims around his eyes, and the short, stiff, oily hair split down the center of his head. The bearded-toga-clad man began to speak.

“I certainly will be aware, D-white K Shoot. Let me explain myself. My friends call me Crates. You may address me as King Socrates. It was yesterday that along my journey I had an enlightening conversation with–”

Dwight: “Stop. You can’t just parade around my beet farm telling me that you are Socrates. You’re just Jim in a toga. Well, you can’t fool me, Jim! I thought I told you never to try this again.”

Socrates: “What is a ‘Jim’?”

Dwight: “This is not funny. Identity theft is not a joke, Jim!”

Socrates: “I do not know of whom you speak. I have no knowledge of a ‘Jim’.”

Dwight: “Well, if you’re really Socrates, prove it. What is the greatest form?”

Socrates: “Why, that which is good must be the greatest form.”

Dwight: “You’re right. Jim would never know that. Hello, Socrates. I’m now going to take your picture and post it all over the web to show everyone else how inferior they are. I’m sure they’ve never had Socrates standing next to their beets.”

Socrates: “I see your mouth moving and yet the words which you speak mean nothing at all.”

Dwight: “Just stand still.”

Socrates: “What is that thing?”

Dwight: “Siri, open camera now.”

Siri: ‘Opening camera now, Jedi Master Dwight,’ came the robotic response.

Dwight: “I trained her to call me by my correct title. And you, Socrates, may feel free to refer to me as such, too.”

Socrates: “The black box speaks?” gasped Socrates. “Is this magic? Is it from the gods? And what is a ‘web’? You must be a philosopher.”

Dwight: “Correct. I am. This black box is only the government’s weapon of mass destruction and means of knowing where everyone is and what they are doing, looking at, and searching for. The web is the World Wide Web. It’s a giant black hole of Chinese merchandise and cat pictures just waiting to be bought, seen, and known by all — another weapon of the government to slowly brainwash humanity.”

Socrates: “The government? Do they use this weapon for the good, the true, or the beautiful? This powerful black box must be a god, then?”

Dwight: “False. It is plastic. The government would not know what is good, true, or beautiful if my mother hit them on the head with a cast iron pan.”

Socrates: “Your government is bad, then?”

Dwight: “Correct.”

Socrates: “In order to create an ideal society, you see, we must have superior guardians. The government is essential. That is why we philosophers must teach them what is good, true, and beautiful.”

Dwight: “They won’t listen.”

Socrates: “Then we must have our auxiliaries overthrow them. Have they a strong militia?”

Dwight: “Against me? No. I can take on anyone. When my mother was pregnant with me, they did an ultrasound and discovered she was having twins. When they did another ultrasound a few weeks later, they discovered I had absorbed the fetus. Do I regret this? No. I believe his tissue has made me stronger and I now have the strength of a man and a little baby.”

Socrates: “So I see. But, to return to what I was previously saying, we must teach the people what is good. In order to do so, we must inform them that their lives must be communal, for the goodness of the whole depends on its parts.”

Dwight: “Question. No, statement. You must follow me inside. Now that your picture is posted on Facebook, the government will be at my doorstep in no time looking for you and asking where I’ve hidden my time machine. That’s none of their business, so we must hide you.”

Socrates: “You keep using these words without any meaning. What is a ‘Facebook’?”

Dwight: “It is the largest social media database known to man. I use it to inform fellow humans how inferior they are. I feel it is my duty to humanity, although it is a heavy one to bear. Here. See for yourself.”

Socrates glanced at the glowing box, on which he read that Jim and Pam got married and Angela Houston changed her profile picture to a picture of a scrawny, frowning cat that appeared to be as old as Socrates himself. He saw that Phyllis was “eating a sandwich,” and Kevin commented, “ooh, what kind?”

Dwight: “See? Utterly inferior. The whole lot of them.”

Socrates: “You are right, Shoot. These people must learn to control their desires and extinguish their unintelligent thoughts in order to reach the realm of the true. Cats and sandwiches are illusory. They are nothing. We must seek that which is beautiful. As a philosopher, is it not burdensome knowing that the earth is full of inferiors, that no one truly knows, and that we philosophers must occasionally lower ourselves to lead this fallen race?”

Dwight: “I couldn’t have said it better myself, Socrates.”

When they reached Dwight’s rustic abode, Dwight led Socrates into the kitchen. “Would you care for any water?” he asked.

Socrates answered, ”I suppose I must. Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live.”

After discussing whether the happy man was the most moral, to which Dwight simply replied, “False. The strongest man is the happiest,” the two became fast friends. They bonded over their mutual belief in philosopher male superiority. Dwight moved Socrates into his basement and taught him more about social media and fed him all of the beets he could ever wish for. Meanwhile, the two plotted to overthrow the government in order to lead the people to that which is good, true, and beautiful.

THE END.

The Good, the Bad, and the Hip

the good, the bad, and the hip

By: Seth Heard

African American Vernacular English “…has been called ‘this appalling English dialect… gutter slang… the dialect of the pimp, the idiom of the gang-banger and the street thug.’” Americans as a collective tend to bad-mouth African American slang. Considered synonymous with ghettos and the poor, its reputation is overall a negative one. Ironically, the word bad-mouth is a sample of African American English history within itself. Bad-mouthing originally entered English from the West African language Mandingo. The original word was da jugu which meant slander or abuse, literally a “bad mouth.” It is one of the many words white Americans have borrowed from Black English.

The history of African American English starts with the Creole theory. The Creole theory explains how Black speech came about. This theory states that Black Speech originates in West Africa, at a trading post named Mambolo. Here English speaking slavers brought the English language to the African middle men who sold the slaves. Blacks and whites here communicated in a basic language called pidgin which is a mixture of both their languages. Even today, the language still persists in the area. In that time, there was a fort along the river where slaves were kept before being sent of to various new lands. The slavers mixed the different tribes of Africans so that they would not understand each other’s languages. This was done to stop revolts. The slavers spoke to the slaves in pidgin English. With little choice, the slaves learned it to speak amongst themselves. Slaves started speaking in Black English before they even set shackled foot in America.

Also, some Black speech partially derived from the dialects of their slave owners who hailed from multiple parts of England. One interesting example comes to modern day African American English as saying axe instead of ask. Interestingly enough this difference is firmly based in Old English. The original Old English word was acsian. As time passed the “ks” sound was reversed by English speakers. A reader can find the verb axe, meaning ask, fully conjugated in Chaucer’s Troilous and Criseyde as axe, axen, and axed. The verb appears again four centuries later in the novels of Anthony Trollope. Axe is used by the country squires when they speak in their local Barchester dialect. Even somewhat recently axe was used by white Southerners. The word stopped being so widely used because it became so closely associated with black speakers.

On a smaller scale, the city of Philadelphia bears an interesting story of Black English. It was a haven for freed and runaway slaves. A legislative act in 1780 stated that any slave that came to Pennsylvania and who remained there for six months would be free. The black population grew rapidly in 1790 with the Haiti slave revolt. According to the census for 1790, 10,000 African Americans lived in Pennsylvania.

Though sometimes difficult to identify, Black speech was certainly influential in Philadelphia. Though written evidence is scanty, black people groups would most likely have been employed at sea in the shipping business during this time period. African Americans of the time were more likely to travel broadly and speak multiple languages. There is even a record from 1762, where a runaway slave from the Caribbean lived in Charleston and New York. According to the records he spoke fluent English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

In many ways, with their multilingualism and travel experience, Black communities would be exposed to many different types of culture, which in turn, would have enriched their speaking. It makes sense then, that one of the first readily identifiable words of African origin had to do with shipping. A Georgia planter, writing from Savannah, explained a way to extract sesame oil from seeds. However instead of using the word sesame, a word which had been well established in the English language, the planter employed the term bene. Bene is another West African word. It is probable that the seeds themselves and the manner in which they were cultivated hailed from Africa as well.

Even more than a century later, Black speech was changing the language landscape of the time. Southern blacks started to move north for the plentiful factory jobs that existed there. During the 1890s over ninety percent of African Americans lived in the rural south. Sixty years later over ninety-five percent had moved to the urban north. Here African Americans did not leave behind the stigmas associated with their race.  They lived on “the wrong side of the tracks.” It was during this time period, it seems, that the birth of widespread “ghetto talk” was born.

The speech of the poor blacks began to dominate the language of the people for which they worked. The words and phrases which were picked up into general society often had to do with pleasure. Dance names readily illustrate this principle. Dances like the “cake walk” and the “hootchy-kootchy” were followed by “the shimmy”, then the “jive” and “boogie woogie.” Even earlier musical terms and genres such as “jazz” and “blues” had completely renovated the idea of music. Interestingly enough the word hip, used in popular culture to denote something in vogue or “cool,” probably came from the African word hipikat which in the original language meant someone finely attuned to their environment. Eventually, “Jazz” came to mean having sex, so did “rock’ n’ roll.”  “Boogie woogie” was used as a nickname for syphilis. “Boogie” was a southern word which originally meant prostitute. Even the phrase “shacking up”, which first meant living together in a common-law relationship, came from black speech contemporary with this time period.

It is interesting that the general conception of Black language is jaundiced, synonymous with the ideas of the poor, the uneducated, and the unrefined, yet the culture surrounding it is of such an interest to white America. Some authors even goes so far as to describe it as “one of the paradoxes of American life.” English speaking youth of the later twentieth century embraced black culture as a mark of their generation. Some authors attribute this to the fact that youths find “ . . . a covert prestige or generational protest in imitating black speech.” Put simply, “You wanted to be ‘cool,’ ‘groovy,’ ‘mellow,’ and certainly not ‘square.’ Then there’s ‘to blow your top,’ ‘uptight,’ ‘right on,’ ‘hassle,’ ‘far out,’ ‘bread’ (for money), ‘make it,’ ‘put down,’ ‘ripped off,’ ‘cop out,’ ‘no way.’” Even the English word man is a very early example of Black English first recorded in 1823. All of this is interesting because African American English came to be widely integrated even though its speakers had no military or political dominance. This brand of English originated from a largely poor, often oppressed minority who originally spoke a different language than English, yet it shaped the way Americans talk.

Even more interesting, millions of Americans speak a dialect of English not easily understood by the rest of English speakers. Most of the usage of this dialect occurs in inner cities. It is a speech which is surprisingly consistent from place to place. An African American in Detroit will sound more alike to an African American in Philadelphia than a white American from Detroit will sound like a white American from Philadelphia. Black speech is a national speech. It is the language of the urban ghettos.

This form of speech which so closely ties people from all over the United States together, also serves to alienate the same people from others around them. In 2014,  a study, published by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, explored children who were born into households which spoke African American English. The study’s goal was “to examine the relationships among minority dialect use, language ability, and young African American English (AAE)-speaking children’s understanding and awareness of Mainstream American English (MAE).” Eighty African American English speaking children ages three to eight participated in the study. The ability to notice differences between the two dialects was judged, as was the children’s lexical comprehension of Mainstream American English. “Receptive and expressive vocabulary, receptive syntax, and dialect density were also assessed.” The results displayed that children with larger expressive vocabularies completed the experimental tasks better than did those will smaller vocabularies. The children with higher levels of dialect density, those who spoke mainly African American English, found it harder to comprehend mainstream English. The opposite was true for those with less of a dialect density. “The results suggest that children with high levels of non mainstream dialect use have more difficulty understanding words in MAE . . . .” This could explain why inner city communities maintain their own languages and often live so insularly, they simply understand each other. Further, they have trouble understanding those who speak outside of their dialect. This could explain why African American English has continued to flourish throughout America, it is a lingua franca of sorts.

From its very inception in the slave prisons of West Africa to the modern day inner cities of the United States, African American English has a colorful and unique history. It has bled into the American vernacular seamlessly and often unnoticeably. English would be a very different language without the influence of African American English.

 


 

Works Cited

Bailey, Richard W. Speaking American: A History of English in the United States. Oxford: Oxford University Press, ©2012.

Bragg, Melvyn. The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language. u.s. ed. New York: Arcade Pub., 2004.

Edwards, Jan, Megan Gross, Jianshen Chen, Maryellen MacDonald, David Kaplan, and Megan Brown. “Dialect Awareness and Lexical Comprehension of Mainstream American English in African American English-Speaking Children.” Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. 57, no. 5 (Oct. 2014): 1883. Accessed February 25, 2015. http:// go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE           %7CA386919932&v=2.1&u=tel_s_tsla&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&asid=e284199e6ae4f 8b734de026a4a50537c.

MacNeil, Robert, and William Cran. Do You Speak American? A Companion to the Pbs Television Series. New York: Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2005.

The Role of Memory in Prayer

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By Professor Brandon Spun

Memories are not just about the past. They are images, narratives, promises, and ideas which we carry with us in the present moment.

How I understand who I am and what I am doing right now is dependent upon memory.

Memory is complex because we are not indifferent to that which we “treasure up” in our hearts (Luke 2:19); we are selective. We are editing and framing our experiences, not just passively receiving them.

Without an inner-editor, the data would overwhelm us. The problem is that we also tend to edit our stories in order to suit ourselves. We selectively forget that time we cut someone off in traffic; the food item we ‘forgot’ to pay for; the time we snapped at the kids. Sometimes we tuck something away in a corner, hoping to ignore it, or simply because we don’t have the time or energy for it.

There are other times that memory betrays us (in both senses), returning again and again to a moment of guilt, shame, anger, or pain. Memory can be one of our most merciless critics and companions.

This helps direct our attention to the role which memory can play in our prayers. In the context of prayer, memory is not just a record of events which can be revisited, but a witness to ourselves, to our values, to our living-beliefs, and to realities which have yet to be penetrated by truth and love.

At the End of the Day

After a busy day, our brains are disorganized and reverberating with new experiences. Part of the business of sleep is to organize and quiet the confusion. This is why sleep plays such a fundamental role in learning. There is a natural cycle in which new information is integrating into the organization and orderliness of our minds. Without sleep we experience forgetfulness and confusion, and we quickly become overwhelmed.

Sleep doesn’t just refresh the body, it aids the interpretive power and processes of the mind. In a similar way, prayer re-collects the soul, giving it rest and clarity in truth.

Taking Captives

Liturgy and prayer reorganize the data of our lives. The soul encounters within itself a certain level of discord and disorder each day. Without prayer, we awake and start spinning plates which all seem equally essential to our existence. Christian or not, we can experience the world through a lens of fear and desire which is highly disordered.

None of us live our lives in the perfect light of God. And so each day we experience a mix of that which is true and pure and good, and that which is not. Prayer and liturgy bring all of this (the good, the bad, and the ugly) into the light of truth.

What we have been treating as essential or high priority might get re-labeled as “another day’s trouble.” What we have considered shameful or embarrassing can be reorganized as forgiven and forgotten. Something which received a hair’s-breadth of attention can be brought to serious account.

Through liturgy and prayer, we remember who we are and who God is, and as we enter into these truths, into the rest of God, the flotsam and jetsam of memory is brought under the interpretive government of God’s Word.

Memory and the Heart

This is where prayer can play such a powerful role, not only in correcting, but also in directing.

Despite our own efforts, we remember things which sit uncomfortably in us. We have a great time out with friends, but something doesn’t seem right. In prayer, we revisit the evening and remember someone who clearly felt left out. Perhaps we can give them some love and attention. Next time, we may slow down and respond to such a need.

We may remember a comment that someone made, a boundary we crossed, or a kind word we failed to say. This prayerful review of the day directs us to repentance and to the fruits of repentance.

In prayer God looks with and remembers with us. His Spirit guides us to places of confession, service, gratitude, and truth. In this sense, memory is not just a quirk of the human mind, but a witness (of actions, values, and habits) open to God’s power.

When we bring our memories into prayer, we re-member our experiences with God and thus are enabled to begin seeing ourselves and others afresh. This function of memory allows us to embody the reality that we are members of Christ, under his headship. We invite God to actively interpret our lives in his Word and bring to light that which is in darkness.

Memory Unites

Not surprising, what turns up in such prayer is often ways that I have been ‘disembodied’–in which I have not had His mind in me. But this kind of prayer also institutes gratitude, the remembering of kindnesses and connections.

This submission of our minds to God is part of bringing all things captive unto Him. As we do so, we experience a wholeness in Him. He gathers the captives and those from far off and collects them into his body. He brings us into a rich and peaceful land. We become more intimately integrated in ourselves, in God, and into the lives of those around us.

Thus the power of memory in prayer is in drawing all incongruity under the mercy and truth of God.  It awakens the mind to the daily patterns of spiritual slumber and permits us to engage life wherever we experience incoherence. Prayer becomes not cliché or repetition, but engagement with the redemptive power of God.

In One Body

The height of the enactment of memory, of being made whole in God, is our communion with the crucified Christ which is also our communion with one another. Communion is the central ‘memory’ of the church in which we are ourselves re-membered or re-collected (1st Cor. 11:24-25). The preeminent act of memory for the Christian is the experience and reality of being one in the body of Christ.

(This article was originally posted here, where you can find more of Mr. Spun’s brilliant musings, and yes, even some of his Terrible, Awful Jokes.)

A Bit of Poetry

poetry

The Creative Writing students have been working on poetry this term. Here are a few samples of their work:

JASE

By: Christian Brewer

My dad told me I nearly killed my mom.
Before I’d breathed myself, I tried to take
The breath from her. As I grew, she produced
A hormone, “Beta HCG.” “A bomb,”
They called me then, “putting her life at stake.”
It’s a hard thing, being your own mom’s noose.

They never called me that. They even laugh
About it now: late nights and I.V. drips.
I wonder if it ever crossed their minds,
When the doctor brought in the research staff
And told my parents she was in death’s grip,
To let me die rather than face that grind.

She said nine months of that had helped her learn
One child was good, she laughs, “You almost killed me.
“You think I want to try again?” It showed
The hate inside, the darkest clot which yearned
To run. They said my birth had set them free.
“Jase,” dad said smiling proudly as he strode

Across the natal unit floor. I cried
Like hell, he said, devoid of any clue
Of what I’d done. She cried, “Is he alright?”
It crossed their minds just once to let me die;
Now here I was. Their son, whose birth meant new
Attempts of life, no late nights, but daylight.

HELEN

By: Elizabeth Dowdell

It never should have come to this, this mess
Of war and death. I never thought that I
Would be the one for whom so many die.
Ten years… did no one think this an excess?
And do they truly die for me? I’d guess
That early on they’d claim that I was why
They came, and think so still, each time they cry
A curse upon my face. But I confess:
I don’t regret the choice I made that night –
It was my choice, I will not stoop to blame
Divine duress; I know I freely willed
To leave – And whether that was wrong or right,
You cannot lay upon me all the shame
And guilt of every man this war has killed.

JOY

By: Courtney Crampton

They buried her behind the house today.
Two months—just two—changed their lives forever.
A tiny little thing; blue eyes that sparkled
Like she knew what the doctors had told them,

Like she knew she would die. But she didn’t
Seem to mind at all. She just smiled, happy
To be here, happy to see the blue sky (though she
Didn’t even know what blue was.) She was

Happy to hear her mama sing her to sleep.
She can’t hear her now, can’t hear her mama’s
Cries. She won’t hear any cries at all anymore.
The first day she was home, they just sat there,

Watching every twitch of her little toes.
She was beautiful. “Ours,” he’d say. “Ours,” she’d smile.
When she got the hiccups, mama just laughed.
Then the baby wouldn’t sleep, but kept bawling.

Mama closed her tired eyes, “Please, oh God, please,
Let her stop crying.” But she’d give the world
To hear that baby cry again. When the
Neighbor said, “It’ll be okay.” She thought,

How does she know? How does she know it’ll
Be okay? She felt like shouting. But the
Neighbor had four perfect, grown babies at
Home. She’d never lost one. She didn’t know.

Those tiny hands encircled her pointer
Finger; The same hands that are now beneath
The dirt. “Come to bed, dear,” he’d say. She’d just
Stare at the empty crib without weeping.

They buried her behind the house today.
Two months—just two—changed their lives forever.
The small gray stone stuck out under the tree;
“Joy,” it read. There they laid their joy away.

DAFFODILS FOR NOW

By: Sara Nixon

The yellow caught her eye.
She clutched her basket’s boxy arms and walked into the store.
The flowers come from dairy farms with fields of yellow dafs.

She spots the yellow specks
with cut stalks tied with twine, and stops. The dancing heads invited her
to come.
“I need to save my cash. Just shop.”

Her yellow scarf just matched
his red and yellow shirt that fall.
The boy’s strong hand had found
her brown, long hair. Her world was small. Her world was yellow hues.

But now, the spring had dripped in. And
She only shopped for one now. Alone, her world was big and dark. She strolled around the mounds
of dafs, and then she saw the mark ­ “Two dollars off,” it said.

The yellow found a home
on quilted squares of tablecloth. The yellow caught her eye,
and seemed quite right, she thought to be with her for now.

Tracing the theme of Love in Capon’s The Supper of the Lamb

 

 

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The Supper of the Lamb by Robert Farrar Capon is a witty, delightful ode to the beauty of the world and joy of life in the loose form of a cookbook. Interwoven between the praises of good food and the best ways to cook it is a bold affirmation of the goodness of the created world. Just as God beheld the beauty of His creation and said that it was ‘very good’, we too are to rejoice that creation, loving it for the beauty that God sees in it. We are to love the world, not idolize it by loving it more than God, or by loving a fake version of the world that we create for ourselves. This love should reflect the immense love of God for us and for His creation, being unafraid of the painful cost of love, but willing to take the risk. In this love, we realize a longing for the world beyond this world, which God is preparing for those who love Him.

In Supper of the Lamb, Capon entreats his reader to love and delight in the beauty found in the world that God created. In the beginning of the book he introduces himself as an amateur cook, but he insists that his amateur status is by no means a disadvantage. Indeed he says, “the world may or may not need another cookbook, but it needs all the lovers – amateurs – it can get.” It is in his office as lover that he beseeches us to open our eyes to the world around us and to love it, to allow it to intrigue us, fascinate us, delight us, and to allow us to rejoice in its loveliness. But sadly, man often sinks into a bored indifference to the glories of this world, and the glories of the world have suffered for it in the trashy art and tasteless food of which man serves himself instead. Capon, with his love and his recipes, seeks to turn our gaze back to the good, true, and the beautiful. He entices us to once again become lovers of the sights, tastes, smells, and textures, not just of food, but of all the real things of this world that we can see with our eyes, hold in our hands, hear with our ears, and taste with our mouths.

In loving the world, Capon is not referring to what the things of the world often mean to us: their sentimental value, or what they symbolize to us, rather, he begs us to love them as they are, as God sees them. Why does everything exist? Because God loves it all. Why would He go through the trouble of making and sustaining such diversity if He did not delight in each little bit of it? Capon argues that if one is to truly love the things of this world for what they really are, one will have a profound respect for who and what God created. That love results in an insatiable curiosity to discover everything there is to know about God’s creation, and, being made in the image of God the Creator, man will inevitably create, using God’s works of art to make new works of art whether it’s food, or violins, or suspension bridges. This means to bring us back to viewing things in a very ordinary, real way, not laden with our own symbolic or sentimental values, but recognized for the beautiful things that they are in themselves.

Finally, the more deeply and truly we love the world, the more our hearts are pierced with a yearning for something beyond this world. Indeed, God himself is the primary object of our love, and in His love there is no lack, but even in our happiest moments there is a pang of longing. Our love of this earth is not meant to be fulfilled merely by the loveliness of His Creation here on earth. The beauties of this world, and our love of them are also to prepare us for our home to come, the Promised City, the New Jerusalem in the New Heavens and the New Earth. Capon says:

Why do we marry, why take friends and lovers? Why give ourselves to music, painting, chemistry or cooking? Out of simple delight in the resident goodness of creation, of course; but out of more than that, too. Half of earth’s gorgeousness lies hidden in the glimpsed city it longs to become.

Our tastes, skills, joys, and loves here on this earth will not remain here, they are a part of us, and will accompany us to our final home. In loving this earth, we are whetting our tastes for the glorious new heavens and earth that God is preparing for His people.

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Anneke Seely

Freshman

Plymouth, WI

 

Life in Motion: Michaelmas

When Jenna first showed me her video, I begged to use it for the Journal. Initially she said, “No, it’s not really New College-y. It’s more of my perspective of life here.” But that’s exactly what we wanted and she graciously agreed to share her little film with us. So, here it is: bits and pieces of life in the fall through Jenna’s eyes.

(And I promise we do study here. Occasionally.)

Watch her lovely clip below and catch a little glimpse of what life is like here at NCF.

 

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Sophmore, Michaelmas from Jenna Strawbridge on Vimeo.

Welcome

In a tiny brick church on the corner of Church and 3rd, a handful of eighteen-to-twenty-somethings are reading Plato’s Metaphysics, sculpting heads, memorizing Shakespearian poetry, writing sonnets, studying classical and modern cosmology, and composing contrapuntal music.

I am one of that handful. Sometimes, in the midst of the stress of last-minute paper-writing or the busyness of preparing for a tutoring session, I pause and remember how I ended up at this little college that no one’s ever heard of, and laugh – not a loud, sudden, guttural laugh, but more of a soft one to myself, like a bit of air through my nose. That kind of laugh. I can’t help but laugh: it is a strange and sheer work of the Lord that I am studying here at a small four-year Liberal Arts program called New College Franklin. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This Journal is our attempt at sharing our life here with you, whether it’s what we’re reading for class or for fun (from the library), or what’s happening in the community of quaint, historic downtown Franklin, Tennessee, or various creative projects we’re working on at the drawing board, what events we’re planning on campus, or in our travels home or elsewhere in wanderings.

We invite you to take a peek at our life here at NCF, to get a flavor for the place we have grown to love and dread to leave.

And now, in an attempt to appear intellectual, I will leave you with a somewhat related quote:

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language

And next year’s words await another voice.

And to make an end is to make a beginning.

(from T.S. Eliot’s Little Gidding)