Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Tale of Ernest Christian (Explained)

Several people have wondered at my posting The Tale of Ernest Christian. Given its relevance, I think it is worth returning (in brief) to this story, and what I find powerful about the questions it raises: Why does this happen? Is this inevitable? How might it be prevented?

The Tale of Ernest Christian is not about me per se. The strength of this story is the degree to which it reflects every divinity student after a time. I have been back at YDS only a few months, but I sense the cynicism and rigor mortis all around me. Given the variety of people that I know, we are certainly not alone. While some aspects of the Tale will resonate more with some than with others, each of us sees a reflection of our unique spiritual struggle in this simple story.

Like our reflection in the story itself, the answers we glean are unique to each individual. This is why I posted the Tale. Not merely to reveal something about me, but to reveal something about you. That's not to say that thinking about these questions resists systematic analysis completely, but that the power of reflection is greatest when each person encounters him/herself in the story, and wrestles with the answers that are unique to the individual. A long hard look in the mirror is rarely a fruitless endeavor.

For myself, I anticipate the approaching storm, and would like to ensure (to the best of my ability) that I am attached firmly to the Rock, no matter now strong the winds may blow.
Grace & Peace