Winter Issue 1
“Together in Spirit” or “Inspired by You”
by: Brian Dant
As I sat at my desk one morning during the break, a little low on sleep, waiting for the caffeine I sipped to take effect, I wondered if this early Saturday morning would be better spent napping on the couch. I had committed myself to work this morning, chipping away at a mix of school and work tasks.
As I sat, my cozy red couch staring back at me, I was drawn to think of you all, my fellow students, or as Paul might have it, my fellow faithful servants in the Gospel of Christ (Colossians 1:7). I was struck by a sense of communal momentum, a motivation to push through my little list of tasks in honor of the work that you all do, that we all do together. We might say you were with me in spirit, encouraging me from afar (Colossians 2:5).
The night before, I had listened to a couple podcasts from Mars Hill audio, both of which had me thinking about Peter Leithart's understanding of the church. Leithart, a Presbyterian minister who directs and teaches at the Theopolis Institute in Georgia, makes the point that the church is not merely a set of social affiliations, a religious group with shared beliefs, or a support group, but is first the “vanguard of the new humanity” that “anticipates the form of the human race as it will be when it comes to maturity” (Mars Hill Audio Journal, Volume 136, item 5 and 6. See https://marshillaudio.org/catalog/volume-136).
In my corner of the world, the startup tech world, making dogmatic statements like “vanguard of humanity” is generally unwelcome, indicating a basic foolishness, a lack of intellectual integrity, or worse, a bigoted intolerance inhibiting progress—one that by now should be on the other side of history. Who do you think you are?! Claiming that YOU and YOUR people are the vanguard of humanity! Unsurprisingly, this makes it difficult for me to be a public Christian in that space, maintaining resolute conviction and faithfulness. We’ll all agree that the many in the church have and do experience difficulties that are magnitudes greater that mine, but the critique of Christianity—our supposed inherent bigotry, intolerance, and ignorance—brought forth by my culture, by many of my friends, does make it hard (for me?) to be a Christian at this particular cultural moment, which is why I was so grateful and inspired for you, the Regent student body, as I sipped my coffee at my desk that Saturday morning.
The bits of strength that I drew by recalling you that day are a meager example of the great capacity the church has for strength and support, via the grand theological momentum generated by our call to be one in Christ, enabling our role as the “vanguard of humanity.” What more could I ask for than to have true conviction that unites us—and how hard is it to find such a thing in such a world. It is this theological resonance that makes Regent much more than my (secular) company could ever be, great as this company is. As I sit with my fellow programmers, we have good conversations, laughter, and victories that create fellowship. But the bottom line is that our ultimate unity is derived from profit, progress, or a (finite and constructed) shared humanity. As such, the company lacks the call to truly open ourselves up to unity, to orient all of our work toward a shared and transcendent unity on the greatest order—we lack a real call to unity and openness to share in it. What an incredible gift it is to be at Regent, again for another semester, again embracing the true reality that we have a Head to whom we can hold fast, who is nourishing and knitting us together (Colossians 2:19), leading the way as the vanguard of humanity.
As we move into another semester, be encouraged, friends and faithful servants (Colossians 1:7). The work you do is generating a communal momentum as seen in my little example at my lonely desk—and in much greater ways, to be sure—where you joined me in spirit (Colossians 2:5). May each line edited and page turned this semester carry you forward—carry us forward—to be that “vanguard of humanity” that points the way to God’s work in Christ as he unifies all humanity in him. If it will not come from places like Regent College, from where will it arise?
The Cosmic Significance of Making One’s Bed
by: Harman Thomas
A good friend of mine and I share many things, as friends do. One of the less great things that we’ve shared is a history with depression. In sharing our stories, she let me in on a great secret. This is a secret I’d like to share with you, with an added Thomist flair (no surprise to those who know me).
If depressed, make your bed.
Make it every day. Begin each day with one simple accomplishment, an accomplishment that is an intentional act to care for yourself. She shared this with me with a plea to excuse its inevitably hokey tone (a tone perhaps suited to whatever yogi you may or may not see). But there you have it. Make your bed.
If you’re at all like me, you don’t much care for making your bed. After all, what’s the point? I have articles to read, papers to write, prayers to say. I have no time for this hard work I’ll inevitably undo in a mere sixteen hours. In the grand scheme of things, it simply doesn’t matter whether my bed is made. This solace I offered myself for 26 years of unmade beds.
I took my friend’s advice when I moved back to Regent this past August. I challenged myself to make my bed every morning. Each dawn I would resist the allure of five more minutes under the covers, get up, make the bed, make coffee, and say my prayers. In that order, every day.
Again, if you’re like me, depression is a daily peril. As a theology student whose time is often spent in an intellectual, disembodied world of ideas, the threat of nonbeing, or at least disembodied, sub-human being, impinges on your daily consciousness. I may be overdramatizing that a bit for the sake of style (I have been known to do so), but you know what I mean.
You can see where I’m going with this, right?
I can’t say, “It simply doesn’t matter whether my bed is made” without first saying, “It doesn’t matter.” And that is unequivocally false. Believing in the Incarnation means that being embodied matters, and that means our embodied environs matter too. It, whatever it is, matters.
Making my bed each morning is a habit that seeps into my very bones the reality that my bed, and the body it enwraps each night, matters. Beyond an act of self-care, the habit carries with it a spiritual weight. It demands my (often somewhat annoyed) attention every morning, every day: a little mundane ceremony that celebrates by its form (if not always by its emotional content) the gloriously gracious reality that stuff — including the raucous chorus of aorta, fingernails, and mitochondria that is my body — matters.
“I say more,” says Hopkins, “the just man justices; keeps grace.” I say even more, the just man makes his bed and it matters, not only to himself but to the whole world. Keeping grace is a matter of being human, and as such it is a priestly matter of offering to God each creature as it cries What I do is me: for that I came!
With Hopkins and St. Thomas, I am given to say that my bed is a creature that is good insofar as it exists. More to the point, it is good precisely insofar as it participates in the great cosmic dance that is the Logos of God. In Christ, all things belong and find their telos. In Christ, everything matters. It is only insofar as something is not united to Christ that it doesn’t matter — the degree to which it fails to be itself, to which it fails to take up the cosmic dance.
More deeply, the dance suffers violence to the degree that each thing, be it bed or Betelgeuse, fails to be what it is — fails to matter. The fallen cosmos is cruciform. Sin punctures the fabric of reality the way nails pierce hands and feet. By recognizing the wounds of the world, by recognizing our own wounds, we take seriously what is real — just as assessing an unmade bed takes seriously both the mess and the glorious good that it is. We can only join into God’s work of redemption as Christ-shaped priests to the degree that we take seriously what matters.
Those little ceremonies like making your bed are the first step in giving the attention and love due to the things that matter — rather, due to things, because they matter. We offer up the oblations of small things like beds so that we may faithfully offer the great things — children, churches, cities and yes, selves — when they too fall into our care.
This is the cosmic significance of making your bed. The end isn’t merely self-care. The end is resurrection.
15 Dead After Communion Server Forgets to Use Hand Sanitizer
by: Matt Crocker
Sadness fills the halls of Regent College as it mourns the loss of 15 students after a tragic public health scare.
On Tuesday, January 9, at approximately 12:00pm, a number of students began to complain of severe stomach pain. Many were admitted to the UBC medical center later that day. Unfortunately, there was little health professionals could do to save them. Tragically 15 students passed away leaving the school in a state of shock and disrepair.
After an extensive medical examination, it seems that a dangerous strain of Salmonella is the bacteria responsible. The CDC has officially traced the source of the bacterium to a communion server who did not use hand sanitizer before breaking bread. It is unsure at this point in the investigation if charges will be pressed.
However, sources confirmed that they saw the culprit in question politely refuse the use of hand sanitizer. One young woman said, “I saw them refuse the hand sanitizer so I chose to go to a more hygienic communion station.” Medical professionals are asking that students seek immediate medical attention if they experience bloating, gas, abdominal pain, nausea, or fever. When asked to give a statement on the events the communion server in question merely replied, “Purell makes my hands dry.”