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Beautiful Limitation

By David Seaton

I grew up half a block away from Briarmoor Manor Pool. As I recall, the pool was pretty intimidating to a timid, little toddler such as myself. One summer, however, my dad taught me how to swim. With lots of patience, he’d hold my arms as I kicked and blew bubbles. He would teach me how to float on my back and how to push myself through the water. Eventually, the pool became my happy place. I would spend every summer day there - my dad would launch me off his shoulders as I shrieked with excitement or I would do crazy flips off the diving board. I [even] had my first kiss by the big vinyl bin of pool noodles.

Perhaps it’s rather redundant, but as I think about it now, I never would have enjoyed our pool so much if I hadn’t adopted a posture of listening and obedience to the patient teaching of my dad. Certainly, I never would have been able to fully explore all the wonderful possibilities of our pool if I had been disobedient in learning to swim in the first place. Currently, I feel as if this image is increasingly analogous to the desire and capacity to experience flourishing in my present reality. I often feel as if I’m in a strange metaphysical version of Briarmoor Manor Pool and I’m trying to learn how to swim. Sometimes I feel like one of those graceful, Olympic synchronized swimmers, other times I feel as if I can barely keep my head above the surface.

This Fellows year, however, I have begun to encounter something interesting. I’m finding that the epistemological frameworks with which I attempt to understand realized ontology, general revelation, and theological concepts are so unfathomably limited. I’m simultaneously experiencing two seemingly dichotomous realities: the wonder-terror of acknowledging the limitlessness of God’s thoughts and the naive exasperation associated with our incapacity to truly know God’s thoughts after Him. I’ll put it another way: I’m realizing that there is so much more to the existential reality of God than what I am able to find by exploring the possibilities and boundaries of this metaphysical pool. Infinitely, incomprehensibly more.

It makes me feel really small.

But that’s okay. I can afford to be compassionate to myself, as Paul has helped me realize that sitting in this tension is one of the most beautiful aspects of the human experience:

“God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’” - 1 Corinthians 1:28-31

In the midst of this tension, Christ, who is ours, calls us to experience true flourishing, which is the glorification of God and the enjoyment of Him forever. To help us in this call, for Love’s sake, our Heavenly Father asks for our obedience as he patiently teaches us how to swim: holding our arms as we kick and blow bubbles, and teaching us to float - so that we may shriek with excitement as we encounter foretastes of the glorious wonder of Him who has adopted us as children.


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Become A Capital Fellow in 2022-23

We are now receiving applications for Season 16 of the Capital Fellows program!


IMPORTANT: SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY TO WORK AT MCLEAN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - Most fellows work in the marketplace - for companies, nonprofits, government offices. We are also looking for a Worship Fellow to join our worship team at the church. This is a special Capital Fellows opportunity because you are not only paid a salary, but also your Capital Fellows program fees are covered as well!

The Season 16 program year runs from late August 2022 through mid-May 2023. If you are a college senior or recent graduate - or know someone that is - we would love to hear from you!


Pray for the Capital Fellows

Thank you for praying for the Capital Fellows each week!

This coming weekend, April 22-23, the Capital Fellows will join with close to 300 others for the 15th National Fellows Conference here in the Washington, DC area. This is the first time since the start of the COVID pandemic that the TFI Fellows community has been able to meet together for the national gathering. Please pray that this event is an encouragement and blessing to everyone involved.

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Benefits of The Fellows Initiative

You probably already know that Capital Fellows is one of 32 fellows programs in The Fellows Initiative network. Capital Fellows benefit from our affiliation with The Fellows Initiative in many ways. One of those ways is that all Capital Fellows alumni receive a 33% tuition discount at Reformed Theological Seminary for 5 years. For more information, please contact us.

If you know a church in the US or Canada that would benefit from joining The Fellows Initiative by launching a new fellows program. Please contact TFI by visiting their website.


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