As a logophile, it became obvious when I started the blog that the most difficult part of the process would be choosing a fitting name for my site. Not only was there an incredible amount of ideas in my head, there was also the task of picking something that wasn’t taken, something original. I could’ve made the decision much easier by using my name, but I knew that every time I logged in it would remind me of logging in to my student profile and checking on my grades or financial aid. Obviously this was not the sort of feeling I wanted to have when signing in to my personal word-place, so I quickly discarded that idea.
I have a friend who associates a word with certain times in her life– sometimes she picks them before the time has even come to pass, other times she picks the word when it’s all said and done (for example, one of her more recent words was “Victory”). I’ve always admired this skill she has, even to the point of jealousy (though not a negative sort). Somehow, this friend is able to look back, evaluate a series of events, and come to a conclusion; her ability to genuinely inspect herself and have that sort of closure is something that appeals to me. I’m not very good at looking backwards, and I seem to have the habit of pressing forward no matter the circumstances, leaving many memories and people behind that, if not in my journal, will most likely be forgotten. I tend to lump memories in big piles labeled “good” and “bad” and leave it at that, without considering why it was all important, or what it means. This has worked very well for me in many ways, but I think it has led me to oversimplify my life and the choices I have made. Nevertheless, I did my best to apply this technique in choosing my name.
To Kalymma, as you may have noticed, is not English. This year, among many other things, I studied Hebrew, specifically in translating the scriptures and learning about the documented consistency in the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic contributions. To Kalymma is Greek for “The Veil”, which was located in Ancient Israel’s temple, separating the “Holy of Holies” from all of humanity. There was nothing special about the veil. It had no magical properties or special significance other than to protect people (except priests) from coming in direct contact with the power and glory of God. It was only by a devoted and pure life that a priest was able to enter the Holy of Holies without immediately dying: the pure, holy presence of the Lord cannot abide in any sin. In the New Testament, when Jesus died on the cross, paying for all of humanity’s sin, the veil in the temple was torn. God no longer needed to protect His people, for Jesus Christ’s perfect blood protected them and cancelled out their sins, allowing not just the Israelites, but the Gentiles who believed as well to finally have unity with God. God the Father could now dwell among His people without killing them. I know this is a bit of a long explanation, but bear with me a little longer. Alongside this, I took a course called Western Thought and Culture, in which I studied art, music, anthropology, and the culmination of many other things. That’s the difficulty with courses of culture, it’s very difficult to “summarize” when it includes everything. During the course, I finally learned a phrase that identified a problem I had been bumping into for as long as I can remember: the “Sacred/ Secular Divide.” As the modern church evolved, it continued to divide itself from the rest of the world for the sake of being set apart, many times justified by the example of the early church in the New Testament. However, as I studied, I began to realize that while the modern church walked away from the secular world, drew a line, and began throwing things over to the other side, the early church was completely integrated into their “secular” society.
WARNING, SILLY ANALOGY COMING UP
The early church was like a bath bomb that people sometimes put in their tubs. They were deep in the culture, letting their ideas out among the people, adding to the culture, continuing to spread and change… and bubble!
The modern church is more like… a rubber duck. We say we want to relate, sometimes we bob under the surface, but for obvious reasons, we are eventually rejected and float on the surface once more.
Now comes the “title” part. Another phrase I learned in Western Thought and Culture was “thinning the veil.” Here’s the deal: God never wanted the veil. He never wanted to be separated from His creation, it was free will and sin that led to that. And God doesn’t want people who have already met Him to be separated from the rest of His people. Just like the early church, Christians should be “thinning the veil”–actively giving to culture instead of trying to bury part with hasty replacements. Whether it be painting or typing away at a desk, every human is creating something, but it’s up to Christians to use that “something” to reveal the glory of God, to “thin the veil.” We don’t necessarily need to create something and then slap a “Christian!” label on it, let the creation speak for itself.
To Kalymma, The Veil, is my “word.” I want to end the Sacred and Secular Divide and instead pursue beauty and live life the way God created me to.
2 Corinthians 3:14-16, 18
Were I called on to define, very briefly, the term Art, I should call it ‘the reproduction of what the Senses perceive in Nature through the veil of the soul.’ The mere imitation, however accurate, of what is in Nature, entitles no man to the sacred name of ‘Artist.’
-Edgar Allen Poe