Fall Issue 9
A Pregnant Thought
by: Bryanna Russell
The longest month of the year, is not January, March or October. Ask any mother, and she will convincingly tell you, the longest month is inevitably the final month of pregnancy. During this concluding month, the mother’s body, stretched and strained, struggles to find a comfortable position to repose and rest. Internal organs are stuffed and squished, her breath quickens with the smallest of activity. And as she continues to grow, despite feeling she can get no bigger, the fear of impending birth is silenced only by the overwhelming expectation of seeing the life within her face to face. Eagerly anticipating the birth of Christ mere weeks from today, my mind drifts frequently to Mary and the fruit of her womb. (Luke 1:42) And I am reminded that advent is not only a time of preparation but also a time of gestation. There are moments in a pregnancy when a mother can forget the life that grows within. No detectable movements proclaim the unseen presence and the symptoms which first announced the miracle have momentarily subsided. Other times, the life enwombed cannot be ignored for the kicks and stretching legs seemingly push open the walls to make more space. Space for growth, space for life. Still other times the mother will count the movements of the hidden precious life, to ensure its health. Attentive to each movement, a leap of joy bears witness to that which is being formed in the darkness of her womb. A mother will monitor what she consumes during pregnancy, knowing that which nourishes her, also sustains the life within. An old wives’ tale suggests that the mother will crave certain foods, previously disliked, because they satisfy the nutritional needs of her child. She wants not out of her own desire, but for the need of the life within. Sacrifice is demanded, as she abstains from certain luxuries. She does not count the cost however, and gladly prioritizes the future hope contained within her. Though exhausted from the weight of carrying an unseen promise, a mother remains sustained by love. This embodied experience of gestation is not isolated to physical pregnancy, but finds meaning also in the womb-like love of adoption, the conception and growth of artistic creation, and even in the exhausting development of a Regent research paper. Advent, however, affords us the opportunity to remind ourselves of the greatest gestation, the Word made Flesh born of a woman. Like Mary, who was attuned to Christ within her, let us be attentive this advent to Christ being formed in us (Galatians 4:9). Let us look for His movements and rejoice in His presence. Let our pre-Christmas consumption not merely satiate our wants, but nourish His life in us. In the busyness of preparation, let us rest. Reserving time and energy to rejoice in the miracle that He has made his home in us (Ephesians 3:17). And as we stretch, may the discomfort of growth and the pain of sacrifice be overwhelmed by the promise of one day seeing the Life within us, face to face.
An Infallable Response to 'Barth'
by: "Pope Boniface VIII"
Dear Barth, You are entirely correct when you declare Luther’s “proposition of two kingdoms that exist side-by-side without conflict has not been enough and it has produced a great deal of quietism in the Church.” If only that rebel Luther would have submitted to my brilliant work Unam Sanctam in which I clearly refuted his naïve two-sphere approach. I, myself, your Eminent and Holy Father, Pope Boniface VIII, so eloquently, so profoundly and so insightfully have proclaimed, “one sword ought to be subordinated to the other and temporal authority, subjected to spiritual power.” As you rightly say my dear Barth, “we must not fear ‘political sermons’ as if the Church’s service could be anything other than political.”Although your statement here is somewhat tame, I assume you understand the wonderful implications behind rejecting Luther’s approach. Combining the spiritual and political spheres implies that Christians ought to pick sides in worldly political debate. Luther thus gravely err’d when claimed we should not “make Regent into a ‘left wing’ college in order to combat ‘right wing’ colleges.” Rather, we should use the same political language, categories, and institutions as the world, and obviously, we should have the same political divisions among Christians. Luther’s miserable attempt to separate the spiritual from the political is a dangerous and ineffective theological eyesore. Alas, I lament when I consider the political influence that the Church has lost since Luther published his blasted and abominable doctrine! I am often puzzled as to why Luther invented it. It certainly could not have been due to the vast wealth and power that the Church amassed and its constant involvement in political intrigue. It was probably, as you mentioned, simply due tohis poor exegesis of Romans 13. Indeed, it is tragic that so many, such as Luther, misuse the Scriptures. When Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world, Christ was obviously too hungry and thirsty to think straight. He should have accepted Lucifer’s offer. Imagine how far Jesus could have advanced the gospel by using the political structures of this world! When Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s,” he was certainly not indicating two separate spheres. Christ was teaching that his face should be on the coin rather than Caesars. These are obvious exegetical deductions. Barth, your position here is so wise but I must correct you on one minor point. Luther’s response to the 9.5 thesis was primarily directed against affirmative action and he never did speak against mending the Church’s relationship with First Nations. Perhaps this is why Luther said “I do not mean to come across as one sided for there is indeed truth mentioned by the previous author.” Nevertheless, it is best not to grant too much charity to such an arch-heretic. Overall, I must deeply commend you, my dear Barth, even though you stubbornly and ignorantly reject the authority of the papacy in exchange for your much overrated “the Word of God.” As a token of my approval, I will grant you a plenary indulgence for opposing such a stench-ridden, malicious, monstrous and malignant heretic such as Luther. To conclude, I, Pope Boniface VIII, hereby declare, ex cathedra, by the power of the keys of Saint Peter, that Karl Barth’s rejection of Luther’s two spheres approach is a dogma and that an anathema is placed on all who dissent. Moreover, if any king, prime minister, or president should dissent from this doctrine, I hereby depose him. Amen.
A Charred and Tearstained Letter from the Editor
by: Ross Tuttle
So, here we are. You and I, facing the last two weeks of term. Your hand is cold in mine and it trembles. Sweet Reader, I’ve never seen you so withered, so gaunt. I tell you this but you’re unresponsive. Your sunken eyes, stare unblinkingly into the inky distance. I can tell you’re tired. But it’s more than fatigue, its deeper, darker. I try to move forward but i’m stopped, held back by the dead weight attached to the arm, attached the hand that I hold. I turn and I face you. Reader, you’re almost there. I tell you this but you're looking through me, your lips moving almost imperceptibly- the smallest quiver of your lower lip, the smallest breath escaping your bone-dry mouth. You’re speaking. I lean in close to listen. We’ve never been so close before. I tell you this but you continue muttering quietly, like the sound of falling ashes. We’ve been through so much, you and I. Remember when the term started? I ask you this. We were younger then and less afraid. You, a brilliant yet misunderstood reader, still stinking of summer. Myself, a deceived youth desperately hired to become the Atrium’s pauper. Remember all the good times we had together- you blissfully consuming the content my beggar hands had collected, me pleading to your deaf ears to contribute in any small way to this weekly student publication? I ask you this and then I see it, a small glint in your eye. Life. I know you’re in there but you've seen too much. I assure you of this and you blink. I hear the sound of bells in the distance and you don’t. It has begun to rain. I start to move again and you shuffle your right foot forward and I say your name loudly as do the bells and you fall to your knees. But dear Reader, I fall with you for I too am tired. I too feel stupid when I can't finish a single crossword puzzle all semester. I too wonder why we print on a green sheet information easily accessible and available online. I too ask God why people pseudonymously beat dead horses. I say this to you and there again, the sparkle in your eye. There again you breathe out a word almost audible. Holy Reader, you've read so much this year and yet you continue to read this moody broadside. You've written so much yet you still continue to resist submitting even a modest excerpt from your oeuvre. I recall this to you as I place my arm around your now wet shoulders. The bells are louder now and we rise together. We must keep moving precious Reader, the end is nigh and Christmas. And a respite, as brief as it may seem but it is real. I assure you of this. I sing an old hymn about marching through Immanuel's ground and you whimper but you move. And we walk together into the murky future believing only in a promise that we will come to next friday where our woes shall cease, to a time when markups and moodle are no more, to a brief winter world where DQ's cease and soup is just a memory, where you finally have the time and energy to write that piece you promised me, where we may read for fun and get a full night's rest and etc. I repeat this promise to you as we stumble together, slouching towards Bethlehem and I kiss your tired head and you shiver and we are swallowed by tomorrow. May the Lord bless us and keep us till next year, Your friend and sorry editor, Ross Jos. Tuttle