The painting on the left is The Ascension of Christ by Salvador Dali. It was completed in 1958 and it is part of the Pérez Simón Collection. I like it. In fact, I like it a lot. I like the crazy yellow “sunflower” shape in the center. I like the depiction of the angel gazing out from behind the glowing red clouds. I like the subtle reference to the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. I especially like the way Dali positions Christ’s body. In many ways it is the counterpart to Dali’s Christ of Saint John of the Cross painted a few years before. In Christ of Saint John of the Cross, Jesus is portrayed from the viewpoint of the Father. In The Ascension of Christ, Jesus is portrayed from the viewpoint of the disciples. One is a portrait of humiliation. The other painting is a portrait of exaltation. Both are crucial to redemption.
On August 30, Kanye West won an award for being a brilliant artist of some sort. During his acceptance speech he claimed that awards shows were ridiculous, called himself an artist’s messiah, confessed to smoking pot, and announced that he would be running for president. A year ago, maybe even a month ago, I might have sighed and muttered, “Oh, Kanye,” but this time, with the nagging realization that I probably have more deadlines than talent, all I could do was think about how I will never be able to write like that and have people support it. Everything felt so meaningless.
During the winter of 2014, I was 18 and doing the same thing every other college student was: scrambling for a summer internship. Unlike most other college students, I didn’t have a lot of options. Editing internships for English majors in NYC are lovely, except for when they’re unpaid and super competitive.
Dear readers, writers, and friends:
Many of you know that Relief Journal is in the process of transition. I’m here to give an official update on the situation. After a number of years of service, Brad Fruhauff felt it was the right time to step down as Editor-in-Chief of Relief. I will be taking over in that role, and transitioning Relief’s operations to Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. This will enable the journal to benefit from an unprecedented level of structural support while retaining in full its editorial autonomy and unique spirit.
My daughter has been reading each night from The Meditations, the journal Marcus Aurelius kept as he commanded the largest army the Roman empire had ever assembled on its frontier. For a decade, he wrote with disciplined regularity as battles raged and as the plague that would one day bear his family name, The Antonine, destroyed the lives of citizens and barbarians alike—2,000 each day at the height of the epidemic. By 180 A.D., five million people had been killed, including Aurelius himself.