Grace Hwang, Teddy Stocking, Quentin Rynbrandt, Marissa Tirado, Christabel Barry, David Jones, Nathan Hadley, Thomas Leng, Christopher Erdos
When I was a freshman, I decided to avoid thinking about certain issues because they threatened to undermine some of my core beliefs. When I spent time writing poetry and thinking, Christianity didn't appear to make sense to me. So I stopped thinking those things which threatened the safety of my convictions. But early on in my sophomore year I was assigned Don DeLillo's White Noise, and was forced to think about them. I read the first page, looked up at my roommate, and said, "This is going to ruin my life." And it did. And I renounced Christianity for a while. But it was the first step towards a commitment to intellectual integrity.
David Foster Wallace once asked if it was a coincidence that "it's in college that most Americans do their most serious (...) mindless general Dionysian-type reveling". His answer? "It's not. They're adolescents, and they're terrified." He says, "those naked boys hanging upside down out of their frat-house's windows on Friday night are simply trying to get a few hours' escape from the stuff that any decent college has forced them to think about all week."
Wheaton doesn't have many naked frat boys. It doesn't even have much Dionysian-type reveling, at least on the surface. But I believe that, at Wheaton, we still experience the fear that comes with the challenges of exposure to a myriad of ideas. And if we don't think we are afraid, we are probably either lying or doing something wrong.
Part of the mission of The Pub is to provide a space outside of the classroom to face ideas, and to revel in them. In this issue you'll find thoughts on death, theodicy, social media, monasticism, cultural divisions, and more.
You'll find students like yourself who have faced these issues in academic and artistic ways. It is my hope that the prose and poetry in this issue will encourage you to continue thinking about problems, both those that you've encountered already and those you haven't. It is also my hope that the work of your fellow students contained here will provide a place to revel in ideas and words.
Sometimes I feel as if complaints about the lack of Dionysian escape on campus are fairly common. While this is probably a worthwhile discussion to have, I think we often miss out on the more important question. We will always find ways to escape the difficulties of the ideas we encounter, and at Wheaton we might be doing this simply by pretending to treat problems objectively. But we are not isolated from ideas, and being Christian does not detach us from the world or the philosophic challenges inherent therein. Rather, the essence of Christianity is the incarnation of Word to Flesh, of transcendence to immanence, of principle to particular.
So use this issue to brave that towards which we are mandated to brave. Don't close yourself from ideas or their possibilities. Open yourself up to change. Maybe the fear inherent in this act-the same fear that David Foster Wallace writes about-is what the Proverbs writer means when he says, "the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom."
E. Jesse Capobianco