Culture-Making - A Response By Emilia Gore

Culture-making World’s waking A restlessness overwhelms The watchfulness That’s needed Heed seeds sown In patience And gratitude

--Emilia Gore

We all make culture. The question isn’t whether or not you’ll engage in culture-making, the question is what kind of culture you’ll produce and promote. Members of Charlottesville’s community heard Tim Keller speak these words at a national event, Q Commons, on a Thursday evening in October.

Recently, UVA culture has attracted national media attention. No headline or University response can fully capture our University’s nuanced culture. Still, as I read the articles, my heart sank. What kind of culture have we created? As I searched for an answer through discussions in class and conversations among friends, I felt both hopeful and discouraged. Some friends attacked our University culture and others defended it; but more importantly, the majority of us forgot about our collective ability to shape it.

Students left for thanksgiving break with heavy hearts and heated heads. Unrest still marks the grounds as we return from our gratitude-centered holiday. Conversations in the dorm revolve around the stress of finals and a readiness to return home. Currently, we foster a culture of comparing and complaining. Personally, I want to move our culture toward one of gratitude and thankfulness. It goes beyond not complaining; it’s “more than a mental exercise, more than a formula of words. We cannot be satisfied to make a mental note of things which God has done for us and then perfunctorily thank Him for favors received. To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything He has given us—and He has given us everything.” (Thomas Merton, Vintage Week 12) This advent season, what would happen to our culture if we sought to see God in everything he has given us?

EmiliaGoreEmilia Gore is a 4th year Political and Social Thought major from Washington, DC. Some of her interests include Mandarin, sustainable agriculture, ethics, and Cuban history. This year, Emilia will lead a Food and Agriculture Organization committee at UVA's Model United Nations and continue to manage the UVA Community Garden.