Sounding My Barbaric Yawp

I didn’t quite make it to the Arboretum today, despite my best intentions.  Instead, I interviewed for a tutoring position at EcoAcademy, a charter high school in downtown LA.  I was really impressed by the emphasis on community and mentoring; I think I could really get behind their goals.  Talking about my personal and professional goals with my interviewer helped me realize how much I value opportunities to empower others to be able to express themselves in a way that is both effective and authentic to who they are as creative and capable individuals.  It’s been a while since I’ve given thought to just why I love to do what I’m doing with my involvement in the Fuller Writing Center and my private tutoring business.  As much interest as I have in theological training and as fired up as I get about shaping the education of tomorrow’s church leaders, I believe my calling has always been outside the church walls.  Even in college when I had high hopes of getting into an MFA program for creative nonfiction, my dreams were always too big for some small-circulation Christian devotional magazine.  I know it sounds hokey, idealistic and naive, but my secret hope is to impact the world–and to do it in a way that is unique, creative, and in all honesty God-breathed.  I have always reserved a special kind of awe for art and ideas that carry in them (for me, at least) a glimmer of the power that spoke the world into existence.  I know this is the age of image, whether YouTube videos or breakthroughs in cinematic experience.  But I confess that my heart finds the foundation and culmination of artistic expression in the word.  If you’ve ever seen Dead Poets Society, you can’t deny the power of words to shape a youth into a strong, confident adult whose greatest merit is character. (Of course, the last scene is the best, but I can’t risk spoiling the moment if you haven’t seen it.)  DPS brings me back to my initial point, that I could rock this job if they gave me half a chance.  I can’t compete with Robin Williams’ charisma, but his passion is something I think we all share–all of us whose euphoric moment is seeing the confused face light up with understanding, that breakthrough so hard-won.  Don’t tell anyone, but I think there may be something of a teacher in me after all.

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