It is 2018, and I’m beginning the year with a similar mindset to the one that I ended 2017 with. Its late, and I’m torn apart. I’m no wordsmith, and this blog is made to be a collection of my thoughts and observations. Questions can be directed to my contact page, or comments can be left. I have to ask a genuine question, and I have to make a lot of ‘I’ statements. Lets begin:
Who is concerned with the optics?
I mean this is a strange, slightly confrontational way, and I ask this question
See, I think that, in my small Christian college, there is a need to concern one’s self with the holistic development of a person. I think that, in most cases, this translates to wondering “how people are” or “why people aren’t present” both inside and outside of the classroom. And I think that same concern is found in a sort of Midwestern Christian Ambivalence that pervades our daily interactions. I know I’m not elaborating, but stick with me here.
As Christians, we are wholly devoted to embodying Christ. Sometimes, this translates into a “die-to-self” mentality that has excellent effects on our day to day life. However, the catastrophic effects of that mentality occasionally evolve into a greater, more indistinct problem. Today, I ponder, in this passion-filled blog-ment, if that is because “dying to self” reads more like “becoming inauthentic”.
See, for myself, these ideas are separate, concrete, strong, resilient, and important to my faith. On one hand, lies the acknowledgment that there is a spiritual calling to come as you are, but on the other a call to loose yourself of the shackles that maintain the fissure between you and God. Yet, I can’t disregard the truth: “Dying to self” often masquerades as the antithesis to coming as you are. It allows us to see that Christ calls each one of his children to him and that our hope ought to be to let him shine through us. But, contrary to masquerade, in allowing that light to shine through us, we are not erradicated- we don’t stop being ourselves. Which makes me question why we aren’t concerned with the optics?
Why aren’t we concerned with looking right?
As Christians, we have a calling to see further into the world, further into the hearts of others, and to worry about (yes) whether or not we respect someone’s preferred gender, or (again, yes) whether or not we respect someone’s entire race. As Christians, being unaware and ignorant of the optics in any given situation creates a problematic circumstance.
For me, this stems from a week of new hair and comments that most can argue, “have no racial ties.” This thought comes after a semester of racial heartache and ambiguity, and a weakness that I can’t overcome. This comes after a time of watching empowered passivity evolve into people asking “What can I do?” in lieu of actively doing something. Likewise, this comes with the knowledge that I attend an institution that is Christ-centered, and also so very incapable of zooming out. An institution that has 20/20 vision but no ability to truly see the observable.
I live on a campus that desires the benefits of a number and can make a minority feel like a goal.
I watch friends harm themselves post-graduation as they miss opportunities to learn to drink responsibly.
I experience a campus that can barely handle catholicism, let alone Jewish/Muslim faith-based responses.
I breathe in the air of a place that is eerily anti/ pro-LGBTQIA+.
I watch students leave places and ignore groups and educators because of clear racist tendencies.
I watch my fellow students of color leave the institution or experience dismissal before even being here a year.
I’ve enjoyed hearing students talk about their voices being unnecessary, and learning that “the board” and “the trustees” and “the alumni” hold the power.
I watch the hours pass until graduation.
I know that we as students are learning, and I love the talk of problems taking time to solve. But when time is of the essence, and I believe we have more time in stock than we’d like to admit, I begin to think that problems don’t take time to solve. Those problems take a willing ear to hear.
I persevere because I’m tired of complicity.
I’m strong because I have to hold myself up
I advocate because I have a loud voice
I’m Tired because most minorities just are (and also because it’s late)
The world is asleep at 2 A.M., but C’est la vie.
Prayerfully posted with Epicurus nearby,
P.S. if you didn’t know, my dog’s name is Epicurus, but we shout Epic and he comes either way!