Thomas Hunt

photo of Thomas HuntThomas Hunt is passionate about all that life entails, excluding physical exertion and grammar. But apart from that, he loves his family, friends and learning about history, theology, classics, and his Christian faith. He loves Trinity and it is a place he calls home, and a place that has helped him grow up, but not grow alone. He wants everyone to know that if they enjoy his blog, and decide to spend money on presents for him, please do not send penicillin (or yard trimmings), for to those, he is allergic. Thomas is from Calgary, Alberta and is a History major.

 

Recent Blog Entries

Last Blog - Baccalaureate Speech

Fri, 06 May 2011 18:23:31 GMT

This is the last blogging I will be doing as a TWU student. Graduation weekend was a week ago and now I'm back in Bragg Creek, resting and up and deliberating on what's next. As always, my blogging output was less than I had hoped for - but with no complaints received I suppose there is nothing to apologize about. 

I was asked to make an address at the TWU Baccalaureate service, and below is the text. Should you still want to follow my blog you can, just at a new website. I'm moving shop to thomaswshunt.blogspot.com - hopefully see you there. 

Thanks and God's peace be with you,

Tom

 

Baccalaureate Service – Graduation Speech, April 29, 2011

 

My warm thanks for the honor of allowing me to speak this evening on how I have seen God working in my life.

Although I hope ‘I have eyes to see’ I cannot admit to having seen God’s work manifest itself in instances awe, grandeur, the miraculous or the transcendent. My four years here have had few mountaintops and little enrapture. Not a desert, but certainly dryness.

I have not witnessed the strong wind, the earthquake or the fire; but it is no worry, for as the Bible tells, “the Lord was not in the wind, the earthquake or the fire.” The low whisper of God is invisible. As is often his best work.

Too regularly have I forgotten this: the whisper, the invisible. I haven’t had the courage to wait upon the Lord. I found it easier to work with God, in the world than in myself.

It led me to measure my spiritual advancement by my material accomplishment - every success a blessing, every blessing a gift from God, and every gift a sign of God’s working in my life. But to quote the Imitation of Christ, “It is a wise lover who considers not so much the lover’s gift as the giver’s love.” Truly, I wait regularly for the gifts, but not for the giver.

God’s enabling me to do more – is not the same as God’s ennobling me. Similar to how Henry David Thoreau points out “while civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them.”

Two events from my four years exhibit this.

In the span of one year, I spent a semester studying political theory at Oxford University, and then encountered political reality, as an intern in the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada. I was introduced to pathways of power and prestige, but without Jesus, they were without purpose.
It is to my great discredit that I have more gladly walked the halls of power and climbed the stairs of an ivory tower than walk humbly with God along the Road to Calvary.

I’ve fallen into the trap of speaking more to others about what God has allowed me to do in this world, than what God is himself doing and has done for the world, and the world to come. I witness to myself more than God.

Regularly I am reminded of the words “Jesus today has many lovers of His Heavenly Kingdom, but few of them carry his cross. Many follow Jesus up to the breaking of the bread, but few go on to the drinking of the chalice of his passion.”

T.S. Eliot writes in a poem “We shall not cease from exploration / and the end of all our exploring / will be to arrive where we started / and know the place for the first time.” Too late, however, is it to walk life’s many miles, and look back, only at the end, and see that what you bore was your own ambition, not your cross – both heavy loads – only one an easy burden.

The daily commute of the Christian is the way of the cross. I travel it infrequently and always imperfectly, but never without the Lord’s help. I have my Simon of Cyrene just as Jesus did - I have seen God working in my life in the ways in he has helped me carry my cross.

Being at a university, it isn’t a surprise that my Simon of Cyrene has taken the form of wisdom – of learning and theology – both in what I’ve learnt and from whom I’ve learned it. Faith without knowledge is like sight without perception. Love without knowledge is like a river without irrigation. Hope without knowledge is like walking without directions.

Though knowledge enhances faith, hope and love, Knowledge is not faith, hope or love. Though theology helps me know my cross, bare my cross and walk with it – theology is not my cross – theology is not my Christ. A saint once said, “I would rather experience repentance in my soul than know how to define it.” Too often I have been able to define faith while lacking the will to live it.

God speaks often in whispers, works with the invisible and promises what is not yet come. In a way, I’ve allowed him to work in me in so far as I’ve taken to heart what C.S. Lewis once wrote – that “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next.”

After all, “Blessed are they who believe without seeing.” And truly, by believing, they see all the more.

Thank you.

 

Be Thou My Vision

Fri, 25 Feb 2011 00:33:23 GMT

Be Thou My Vision

About a month ago I had laser eye surgery and I’ve wanted to do a blog about it ever since. It’s an uncanny experience, which apart from the mild discomfort of a few highly complex procedures, was remarkably easy and efficacious. The novelty of being able to see anew is something that does ware off, save on a few occasions, but I hope the significance is never forgotten.

There have been a few instances, mostly in nature coming upon some scenic landscape, where I stumble upon an old memory of the same sight. It’s always the same: I recall having been there before, and having had taken off my glasses to try to see nature as I could naturally see it: gratefully but poorly. Now I have no need to do a double take: I can gratefully see – and see perfectly.

A few weeks ago I was walking around the Trinity Western pond and this very thing happened to me. Something new happened though. It struck me that there was a kind of vision which science and technology could not impart, a clarity that no procedure can produce. It is a form sight as valid as any, and even truer. There, by the still waters of the pond, with the faint droning of cars passing, and the more distant rumbling of a train approaching, the old hymn ‘Be Thou My Vision’ came to mind:

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

I asked myself, with some equivocation, “Do you I have eyes but do not see?”

With thanks for what I could see, and with prayers asking to see what I did not, I walked the rest of the pond trail, many times over repeating the supplication, “Lord, be thou my vision.”

Now at the end of my blog my thought seems to have come full circle. Writing this in the library is a fitting setting, as it’s here that I’ve realized that one of the great benefits of getting a Christian liberal arts education is that it equips students with new ways of thinking to match the new vision we receive from God.

Holistic education is a term often touted, and its said that our university education offers an approach that builds a whole person – I think that is true but subtly misleading. The city of God and city of man have different ideas of ideal students – of what it means to be a whole person: that is why Paul writes not of a whole Adam, but an old and a new one. This is, in most respects, related to the notion of worldviews. I suppose that all I wanted to get at is that Jesus presents a new-worldview, not simply a new worldview. Something I have cherished about TWU is that it includes in its curriculum old truths for new living. A different way to the view the world - a different world to view. As St. Paul Wrote in 2 Corinthians: 

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.

Four years after enrolling, I’m glad I came. 

Last Semester

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 22:38:49 GMT

Well, it certainly has been a long time. I haven’t blogged in months, though not without good reason, but nevertheless, I apologize. That said, I never got a flurry of emails requesting new blogs, so I can’t be sure who I am apologizing to, if anyone at all. But let sleeping dogs and inactive blogs lie. 

I spent the last semester in Ottawa, attending TWU’s Laurentian Leadership Center, and interned in the Prime Minister’s Office. For reasons of discretionary prudence my blog had to go inactive, which is part of the reason why I’ve been so silent over these past months. But I’m back now, though not for long. It happens to be my last semester here. I’m not sad it’s ending because it’s run a good course. I usually consider it to be poor sport to enjoy everything but the ending – like cherishing spring but not autumn, a flower’s blossoming but not wilting, a beginning and not an ending – I’ve found there is as much to learn about yourself in your last year of university as in your first. But enough of that let me fill you in on a few things.

After arriving home for Christmas I thought it would be a well-spent initiative to write down a few aphorisms regarding my impressions of the capital. These are all theoretical in nature, nor are they a reflection on those whom I worked with, as I have nothing but good things to say of them.

Here are a few of those already written:

-       A government’s most loyal opposition is time.

-       The price of participation in power is the participation in little else.

-       The Blackberry is a ball and chain; the news cycle an angry mob; the Internet a double agent.

-       Big government makes for little people.

-       Ask not what your country can do for you, but what your country shouldn’t do for you.

-       A government has no conscience of their own, only the consciences of many. 

I intend to take more advantage of this last semester with regard to blogging. I hope to write more regularly. There are only so many ‘lasts’ you get in life, and each one is indirectly a chance to prepare for the last ‘last’. A good ending is as good as a new beginning, and it is a shame not to afford one’s last semester as much reflection as the first semester received excitement and adventure.

I’ll leave you with a few good quotes and some extra thoughts I came upon during Christmas reading.

Enjoy.

“Glorious men are the scorn of wise men, the admiration of fools, the idols of parasites, and the slaves of their own vaunts.” – Francis Bacon

‘You have to make good what you cannot make different’

“Don’t trade liberty for security, as you may end up with neither.” Benjamin Franklin

‘Philosophy is the art of asking good questions and accepting long answers.’

 

 

Giving Things Up and Getting Old

Sun, 21 Mar 2010 20:59:52 GMT


Lent is the most ambivalent part of the liturgical calendar. Each year I give up things to bring me closer to God, which is good, and each time I end the lent season I am usually more eager to resume whatever I gave up than I was to give it up. Nevertheless, lent is valuable, just as making one’s bed is, because it teaches us to do things (even perfunctory ones) for their own sake rather than our own. Last year I gave up listening to personal music. For over a month I read, wrote and prayed in silence. Well, that was the hope; living in dorms precludes any chance of silence. It was a valuable thing to do though, as it helped me see (as I had suspected) that I, as well as many others, are afraid of silence. Perhaps it’s because I’m anxious of what the quiet whispering voice of God will say or that in the silence I see myself, uncoloured and unobstructed. The voices that are heard in the silence speak more poignantly than the din which so often drowns them out.


This year I decided to divest myself of two personal pleasures: alcohol and my pipe (an honourable habit I picked up in Oxford). I try to treat these as I would anything else: with sensibility and propriety. It’s not unusual to hear me quoting Pascal on the subject, “Too much wine, too little wine: too much and you can’t find truth, too little the same thing.” Having said that, I fault no one who abstains, but I respectfully abstain from abstaining. When it comes to alcohol, I am concerned with quality as well as virtuous consumption. What I avoid is drunkenness and dependency. Case in point: champagne accompanies special occasions well, but it would not be well to have to have it in order for an occasion to be special. So I gave up all alcohol and my pipe (which I use once a week and no more), and have decided to do so every lent for the rest of my life. It’s been great. Things retain their value when they aren’t over indulged in. I also hoped my wallet would retain more of its money as a result, but it seems that like always, one habit replaces another: books instead of beer. Every dollar saved from not buying pints has equated in another penguin classic bought. In my freshman year I recall spending so much on books that when I ran out of money on my food card, with two weeks still left in the term, I had to forgo a number of meals because I had already spent what capital I had on good books. I would sit in my room, next to my overflowing book shelf, thinking that though I had plenty of food for thought, I had little food to eat.


On things other than lent, this semester I have been spending my Sunday evenings at the local senior citizen’s home, and to great surprise, have had a lot of fun doing it. Like lent though, I have ambivalent feelings regarding it. Sometimes I leave in a fit of laughter because old people can be a riot. Just last week I heard an elderly women (emphasis on elderly) elaborate on the merits of her lover and another woman whose moustache bettered half the guys growing theirs at TWU under the aegis of ‘moustache march’. During the prior week, in response to a variety of questions such as ‘what’s your favourite food, holiday destination, memory and occupation?’ a seasoned old dame memorably responded ‘my dog in Manitoba’ to all the above. There are other times however when I depart on a more pensive note. Their age reminds me that everything which blooms will one day wilt. I am not worried about growing old, nor I am concerned about dying young (and probably not as concerned about either as much as I should be), instead I am wary of doing very little with very much. Just as no man is to be an island unto himself, so nothing I have is to remain my own. Though tempests may disorient, it is on tranquil seas that one goes no where, and so I feel it necessary to keep a purpose ever before me. I have no desire for an idle life. Rest is important, and can be moral, but idleness is immoral. When I see the elderly, I am not afraid of how little time is left, for as Seneca points out, “It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.” I simply think and pray that I will use it well. It also prompts me to acknowledge that each day could not only be my last, but is also an extravagant gift from God. Saint Francis of Assisi gets it right when he wrote that, “this is the day which the Lord has made; let is exult and rejoice in it!” As each new day’s sun rises so the risen Son grants us the gift of making good our life and death. Rather than existential dread there is extravagant joy. That’s at least how St. Francis saw it, that’s how I would like to see it, that isn’t how I see it 8am every Friday morning waking up for class. I’m still young enough that anything before 930 am gives me at least a modicum of existential dread.

 

Till next time,

Pax

Older Posts