21 August 2011

We are but men

I recognize it was only a couple blog posts ago that I wrote about my visit to Andrews University.
Well now I can say I am writing from this hallowed mecca of Adventism, a school I will come to terms with as home.

As part of orientation week for incoming freshmen at the university, it has been a tradition for the men's residence hall to go on a retreat for the weekend. From what I had already heard about this retreat (strangely named "Man Up"), this was going to be a rough-and-tough, deliberately masculine sort of event. "Boot camp" was also used as a synonym for this event. I was displeased.

Since I began boarding school in Auburn, I've been well-aware of the promotion of the male stereotype in centers of male dominance, such as gyms, the wilderness, and the dormitory. My freshman year in academy dormitory, there were several guys who worked out in the weight room a lot, who kept the television on subjects like cars, hunting, and football, who made ignorant comments on the world, and asserted their manliness to fresh fish like myself. Those guys were intimidating but I learned to deal with it. Eventually those guys left or graduated and I was able to foster an environment of intellectuality in the school.
Not really. I wanted to.

When I came to the campus of Andrews about a week ago, I knew I would encounter the promotion of the male stereotype again as I returned to dorm life, and I have seen a bit of it. But I was wrong about the dorm retreat.

What I had thought was going to be a weekend of running miles and doing push-ups turned out to be something better. Instead, this "Man Up" event focused on the what it meant to be a man in Christ, how to handle for the burdens of the school year with the help of God, and what it meant to have a community of faith, especially for us as Adventist men. Once again I was assured that even though most of these guys don't exactly understand the gospel and righteousness by faith, there was loyalty and respect for this faith of ours.

I'm not sure why I was uncomfortable with this weekend, or with the promotion of the male stereotype. I mean I've served in Pathfinders for eight years so I'm familiar with wilderness survival, obeying orders and such. I guess it's just that I don't identify with guys who like cars, football, and working out. Of course I'd much rather read a book, go to a museum, or cook in the kitchen. Perhaps I'm subscribing to the post-modern view on gender where boys are free to play baseball or bake cookies or write. Regardless I'm thankful for what I found here.

Ellen White wrote a letter to a fellow who I suppose wasn't the most gentleman of characters, on what it means to be a man:
"You have looked upon it as a weakness to be kind, tender, and sympathetic and have thought it beneath your dignity to speak tenderly, gently, and lovingly to your wife. Here you mistake in what true manliness and dignity consist."
- The Adventist Home, p. 228.
After all, the greatest want of the world is the want of men.

10 August 2011

The summer's gone and all the roses falling

As I was driving home I noticed the moon shining kindly on me. It was as if it were laughing at my melancholic face, all the while knowing that the next time I see it again my view will no longer be obstructed by the evergreen trees.

Tonight is the last night I sleep in Washington, for a few months at least. I am reminded of the emotions I felt four years ago when I was a freshman going off to boarding school an hour away. Even now I try to assure myself that it will be the same as I leave for university, but I know it isn't.

06 August 2011

Summer's Requiem No. 2

IT IS a very early Saturday morning and I ought to go to bed since my parents get upset when I wake up late on Sabbath, but I can sense a rush of thoughts in my mind that beg for release. So here I am tonight writing.

Quite often in my young life I will question and doubt my faith. I do read a lot, and the National Geographic and other literary substances will generally push for an evolutionary agenda. This leaves me feeling like I should accept what most of the educated world accepts.

Or I may find myself thinking about society and the world today and I'll come to the conclusion that religion follows a pattern that can be predicted, and that we are all we need to create a better future.

And when I find myself discouraged and downcast with the way the world turns - when I prefer humanism over hymns or Darwin over the desire of ages - I think about something that gives me hope.

An old man once said that to be an Adventist doesn't mean to just believe Jesus is coming soon, but to absolutely love the thought of it. Alas when I find myself distraught with church doctrine, world problems, or sinful people, I go back to the essence of my Adventist faith. I get homesick for a place I've never been to.

How can humanity be torn between doing evil and desiring a better day? Only a creative power could have instilled within the human soul the hope for something better.

It's so strange to want to go home, to a place I've never been to, but I can forcefully call it home.

Quelle pagaille mon écriture est

05 August 2011

I am a failure and you have made me one, Summer's Requiem No. 1

AS I wait for my piece of technology to finish updating, I write haphazardly the first part of a requiem for summer.

The title of this post is a part of an infamous quote by former President Clinton. I often feel that that statement always applies to me.

For every year that I've had this blog, it has been a tradition for me to write about how miserable my summer was and how I didn't accomplish the things I wanted to.

Pas la fin