Raw Visions of a Zealot


It’s not the sexiest word or concept – especially for those of us who have been raised in homes, schools and churches that have encouraged (or forced) assimilation and compliance – but we as human beings need it.

From the wide-open idealism of Marxist theory to the unfettered free market system called capitalism that we as Americans participate in daily, every sociopolitical classification thus far imagined has been based on structure. Seemingly the only exception to this law would be the introduction of nihilism, which is defined as the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless.

The underlying thread among the systems with tangible design and those without is this: Purposeful lives crave and necessitate structure. By no means does this imply that capitalistic motives and excessive consumption are justified simply because they are somewhat structured and prosperous.

The fact of the matter is that they work, just as the picturesque ideals of communism or socialism would bring us all closer to the purest form of a Christ-centered church if humankind were not fragmented and corrupt.

Within our own faith, there is a deeply embedded thirst for structure because it works and it reminds us that we are undeniably fragile creatures. For this same reason, churches set up “life groups,” regimented Bible studies and even weekly service or volunteer projects.

An average APU student’s structure consists of five classes, maintaining a job, balancing a friend group, making an effort to stay in touch with family, attending three chapels a week and, if there’s extra time, visiting a church. Our community may need to reanalyze the pecking order of what we deem to be vital in our lives.

It is not practical to wholeheartedly abandon our academics in hopes of becoming fully immersed in fortification of relationships and focusing on community development (none of us have the audacity to be as radical as the man Himself), yet there is a marvelous power in developing a structural balance among our priorities.

The fact of the matter remains that when you reach that stage and grab the diploma, life’s struggle is just beginning, warming up its one-two punch. We all pay shocking amounts of money to gain an education, but more than that, we take four years (or maybe five) out of our lives to discover who it is that we are and how the minute intricacies of the human clock work.

So I implore you to create your very own structure, bobbing for the golden apples of human efficiency and compassion. Earnestly take the time to ask how another child of God is doing, regardless of whether or not your professor will put a meaningless “T” by your name on a grade sheet. Give yourself the permission to fiercely love people, places, adventures, unconventional literature and raw expression because when it comes down to it, that piece of paper, those false constructs of evaluation in the form of capital letters and the numbers in your imaginary digital bank account don’t own you. Unless you let them.