“What am I going to do with my life?”
Most college students wrestle with this question. Like the Basilisk of Hogwarts, it slithers through the walls of our minds, innocuous and unnoticed, until it emerges from hiding and petrifies us. Then it slithers away, still not quite answered, still mysterious.
In this issue of the Ichthus, we tackle this question. The Ichthus exists to foster and present thoughtful Christian perspectives on a variety of topics, and in so doing demonstrate that the millennia-old Christian intellectual tradition is alive and well at Harvard. As such, we are proud to present this issue, which addresses a topic pertinent to the lives of many readers.
Money, sex, and power – the words featured on our cover – are commonly thought to be partial answers to the question above (for proof, just watch television and identify the happy people). None of these three things, are, of course, bad, but most people would acknowledge that they are not what life is all about. So how should we incorporate them into thoughts about our aims in life?
The two crease lines on our cover, slicing the dollar sign and Superman symbol into quarters, form a cross, providing the context for how we at the Ichthus think about these things: Jesus of Nazareth – who died on the cross for the sins of the world, rose again from the dead, and is our Lord – somehow has something important to say about what we should do with our lives, even about money, sex, and power.
If you aren’t a Christian, you might ask what point there is in reading this issue. Well, first, because, whoever you are, you are grappling with the same questions as we are, and you’ll find companions on the adventure of understanding the joys and mysteries of life within these pages. Second, we think Christianity is true. It isn’t just a preference, as if this were a wine magazine and you were someone who didn’t like wine. Rather, we think that the Christian way to live is the way to live, and we hope to show what that means for us.
In this issue, Brooke Dickens profiles six graduating Christian seniors to see how their college experiences have transformed their faiths and future goals. Nathan Otey writes a letter to Harvard students, contending that most go about their job search entirely the wrong way. Jane Thomas describes a group of Dominican nuns who consider themselves “married to Jesus,” showing that with Christ, even sex can become secondary, and Shaun Lim reflects on his future job as a police officer.
Of course, life is often difficult, and it can be hard to know where the lofty notions of God and purpose fit into the pain and muck of the real world. In light of this, we feature Obasi Shaw’s thought-provoking take on the ancient problem of God and suffering. We also feature fiction, poetry, and guest contributions by Sarah H. Clark, Brianna Millett, and economist Earl L. Grinols, along with other student pieces.
I deeply hope that this issue encourages you, helping you get a better sense of what you want in life and why you want it. The Basilisk won’t remain hidden forever – let’s look her in the eye without fear.
Peter Hickman, Editor-in-Chief
Peter Hickman ‘16 is an Applied Math concentrator in Leverett House and is Editor-in-chief Emeritus of the Ichthus. In the fall, he’ll be a pre-doctoral fellow in the Harvard economics department.