It is part of the mission of the people of God to celebrate, both in our worship and in our lives, the salvation won for us by Christ, and to anticipate the coming of His kingdom. But how?
In his book Surprised by Hope, renowned theologian and biblical scholar N.T. Wright writes eloquently about ideas he has as answers to this question. One specific idea centers on reflecting the beauty of God’s creation through new creative artifacts:
It is, I believe, part of being made in God’s image that we are ourselves creators or at least procreators. The extraordinary ability to bring forth new life, supremely of course through begetting children but in millions of other ways as well, is central to the mandate the human race receives in Genesis 1 and 2. To make sense of and celebrate a beautiful world through the production of artifacts that are themselves beautiful is part of the call to be stewards of creation, as was Adam’s naming of the animals. Genuine art is thus itself a response to the beauty of creation, which itself is a pointer to the beauty of God.
Ever Eden Publishing was born out of the desire to provide just that kind of creative energy and focus. It is home of the Ever Eden Literary Journal which is a quarterly publication of creative literature for Catholics. It brings together works of creative literature from the hearts, heads, and hands of Catholic women who are on fire with the love of God and ready to put that love into the concrete form of the written word.
It was during my time as a graduate student at the Augustine Institute that a desire began to stir within me to become a “pointer to the beauty of God” by starting an artistic endeavor. I have always loved the creative written word. At the same time, I saw several simultaneous but separate movements among young Catholics within the culture of the Church in America and saw an opportunity to bring the best parts of each of these movements together.
The first movement is a ground swelling of conviction that beauty is a crucial part of evangelization. Beauty draws the beholder to wonder. Wonder draws that same beholder to wisdom, and wisdom then leads the wise to love. The second movement is the desire among Catholics to support Catholic artists. Indubitably, many Catholics want to be good patrons of the arts, but many are not well enough immersed in the worlds of art to find the Catholics artists who are in need of their help. What’s needed in this generation is a kind of revival, a concerted effort to find today’s Catholic artists, who are not afraid to let their identity in Christ flow through the power of the Spirit, through the pen or the keyboard perhaps, and into the hearts of hearers and readers. Beyond just locating such artists, it is necessary to support them with a platform for their voice and a furthering and broadening of their works into the published space and beyond.
The final movement that I noticed is a trend toward consuming primarily fast media. There is an abundance of web content that exists simply to attract clicks for advertising, or to give some quick tips. There is nothing wrong with consuming this type of media, but I believe it must not be all that we consume. I firmly hold that faithful people, and people who crave the truth and beauty that faith can bring them, want to read words that move them, but sometimes they look the other way because they believe they just don’t have the time.
In pondering these movements, I came to realize that a literary journal is a perfect answer for these problems. Because such a journal features short writing, it is perfect for those who crave substance and beauty in the brief moments of time available throughout their busy day. By promoting artists who can create this kind of work, Ever Eden is connecting the works of faithful Catholic artists with those Catholics who want to support them. This is one way of bringing the vision of God’s truth, beauty, and goodness to today’s world.
A literary journal with short form creative literature was the right first publication for the company, as it aims to bridge the gap between the average Catholic reader and literature aficionados. Cultivating a broader appreciation for the written word as art is as much a goal as discovering talented writers and providing a meaningful platform for their work to be read and enjoyed.
In addition to creating a publication that specifically is targeted toward Catholics, the goal of evangelization through beauty is central to the mission of Ever Eden. Precisely because Ever Eden publishes short form works, it also makes the other works of its writers more publishable. Ever Eden’s platform is thus a springboard for the writers’ careers, bringing their pieces that point to the beauty of God to broader audiences -- drawing minds to wonder, and hearts to love.
Hearkening back to the original garden and forward to the new creation, Ever Eden is named to draw the minds and hearts of readers to that place of beauty where God dwells with his people.
I hope that all who read the Ever Eden Literary Journal, and all who write for it will be blessed by the words it contains. May it become a small space of anticipation for our future hope and inspire readers to come closer to the heart of God, where beauty and love live and move and have their being.