“Aristotle tells us that a statue lies hid in a block of marble; and that the art of the statuary only clears away the superfluous matter and removes the rubbish. The figure is in the stone, the sculptor only finds it. What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to an human soul. The philosopher, the saint, or the hero, the wise, the good, or the great man, very often lie hid and concealed in a plebeian (common or vulgar person), which a proper education might have disinterred, and have brought to light. I am therefore much delighted with reading the accounts of savage nations, and with contemplating those virtues which are wild and uncultivated; to see courage exerting itself in fierceness, resolution in obstinacy, wisdom in cunning, patience in sullenness and despair.”
This paragraph by Joseph Addison is so relative when working with men in Teen Challenge; many men have come from prison or homelessness and although by no means do I consider them as “savages”, they have nonetheless displayed the traits he attributes to savages. Street smart, resourceful, and cunning are all virtues developed to get along in the hostile places some of the men come from. When gospel light, work ethic and Godly wisdom are applied, and as the rubbish falls away, we see emerging a glorious new creature.
Sculpture by Philippe Faraut