Friday, August 17, 2007

One True Word

I have a friend who has spent the last couple of months obsessed with beauty. I think the compelling tension is this: beauty seems often to be the opposite of goodness. The superficiality of beauty seems to be at odds with true goodness's to-the-roots-ness. If I may.
Also, I read this article about the Modernists--that for all their disdain for deity their belief in a higher truth is proved by their preoccupation with the "right." Hemingway had his "one true word," Joyce had his epiphanies, and on and on.
I guess what I want to say is this. Today I was putting together a design for the Writing Center's PR campaign. I was tinker-tinkering when suddenly I found the perfect color. I knew it was perfect because deep in my gut something sparked. The perfection of it shocked and delighted me.
I think that beauty is a state of something temporal reflecting a divine perfection. We're drawn to beauty not for the incarnation's sake, but because something in our soul resonates with the eternal balance or the truth that it reflects.

Jesus Camp

I spent my Sunday afternoon with a documentary called Jesus Camp. It was interesting and well made, a little inflammatory (whenever you're targeting kids things get thorny I think. And by thorny I mean potentially emotionally manipulative), and really interesting. The film follows a couple of kids going to a bible camp for a militantly fundamental evangelical group. Yeah, it's as creepy as it sounds. Also interesting, it follows the children's preacher who runs this thing. She is predictably kind of tired, overweight, and lonesome.
There's a lot that I could say about the doc, but what hit me most was this: when they were interviewing these kids, there was this tangible guilt at their imperfections. Also, one night at the camp was dedicated to this flaming jeremiad that pulled these kids, sobbing, to their knees. This was the point where I was able to detatch myself from the religious group, where I was able to say "this is wrong and terrible." But.
Do we do this?
On my way home from my mission I had this great convo with a girl who had a evangelical background. We bantered and bore testimony and shared diagrams, but the thing that lost me the fight I think was my doubt in myself. I was in the beatup stages of late mission depression and I couldn't testify about faith and repentance. (Am I doing it again?)
So this is my conclusion, and something I wish I would've internalized, and am internalizing: our confidence in the Lord and his forgiveness is the best best missionary tool we have. And our understanding of the atonement is what sets the church apart.
I think there's a balance between arrogance and confidence, but I don't think that being a little oversure of our salvation is a bad idea. We have a loving and all-powerful eternal being on our side for heaven's sake.

Friday, August 10, 2007


This is what I love about August: I was cold last night. I came out of my refridgerated call center job and I wasn't instantly rewarmed by the asphalt oven. At 2:30 when I was walking to my car I almost shivered. I didn't turn my fan on when I was sleeping last night. Granted, a boy I know was eating chili out of a can that he'd heated on the back seat of his car, but the signs are clear: fall is coming and I am soo excited.