Sarah Kenny, John Christenson, Johanna Depenthal, Lucy Rose Till, Anna Shane, Anna Jakubiec, Stephen Quillen, Anna Li, Brett Hiddleston
Working on this edition, my first as an editor, I was struck by the level of callousness that goes into put- ting any compilation together, moreover the power dynamics of reading in general. Writers are at the mercy of the audience. As readers, we control the fate of their works. We say ‘good’ and we say ‘bad’. We determine almost instantaneously the fate of the long labors offered us, and so pieces entered and exited this issue. Communication is a tricky game. There are so many places it can go wrong. What do we think, what do we want to say, what do we say, what do they hear, what was it worth? Then you throw us editors in the middle of all of this... Yikes.
This issue contains a lot of thinking. We do not all run the same course at Wheaton, but we run the same ground. We may hit the same landmarks—the difference is in direction. This is where the power of the reader comes in. Because we are never just readers, but also critics, evaluating the credibility of the writer, judging most harshly when we sense that we are steps ahead of them. Our experience the measure of their credibility.
Desert mystic Abbe Felix was often asked by his disciples to impart wisdom. One particular story goes that, aged and disheartened, he replied, “There are no more words nowadays . . . God has drawn the grace of the word . . . since there are no longer any who carry their words out.” The problem was not that nothing had been said, but that the disciples had not really heard. They were unchanged. On the surface, the endgame of reading is to listen. But do we really understand what we’ve read if we are not changed by it? Transformation requires that we consider our own experience secondary to what is testified.
This narrative is not exclusive to literature: the story of the Church is of the blind seeing and the seeing see- ing-blind. Of discerning individuals being exposed to the truth, that all is not as it seems. At its heart, revelation is an act of faith. This issue centers around the ideas of isolation and reality. Hopefully you will feel challenged. As you read their works, listen and take the writer’s testimony personally. Listen and be changed by them. In uncertainty we may find reason to believe.