Friday, October 28, 2011

A Letter to our Students

“To all those who are loved by God and called to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” It has come to our attention that there are a few issues surrounding the Christian community on this campus that should be addressed.
Firstly, we would like to make it clear that it was never our intention to make anyone feel guilty for not being able to make it to one or more events. Perhaps it’s the nature of programming, or the cost of having various groups available to be a part of, but there seems to be an awkwardness that is created when one or more of these groups/activities is separated and elevated. While this was never the plan, we ask that you’d forgive us, and your fellow student leaders, for making this the case. You are college students and we understand that being a student is your primary role. So, to anyone that feels unconnected because you can’t make it to events, disinclined to continue trying to be a part of the community, or otherwise neglected, we apologize.
Secondly, there is a lack of promotional efforts and connectivity for finding fellow Christians on this campus. While it would be nice to have a time and place to always feel welcomed and encouraged by fellow students and faculty alike, our best efforts to do this have failed you. For this we are sorry. There is not enough listening happening from our end and we want you to know that your opinions and ideas are valuable to this community, so please feel inclined to impart such thoughts.
Lastly, after recent conversation with many students, it has become known that it is not effortless to be a Christian on this campus due to both ridicule and discouragement from students and faculty alike. While we have very little control over this, we will still apologize, because this is something that should not be happening to you in such a “tolerant” and “open minded” place of higher education.
As ministers to this campus we can’t help, but feel responsible for many of the issues being addressed above; however, we cannot be the only ones that take this news so earnestly. If these are issues that you are finding true then we must work together towards how things ought to be. Bring your concerns forward for discussion, allow your voices to be heard not only by us, but by your peers, stand up for your beliefs and allow your convictions to hold you to a higher standard then what is expected of you (from yourself and those around you) and let us gather together in order to lift each other up as brothers and sisters in the faith knowing that the victory is already won in Christ. We have nothing to be ashamed of or to fear. As the Psalmist said, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Let us live in this together, as a community of believers, and give confidence to one another in a place of ample discouragement.

“Valiantly bear the Cross,”
Your CCO Campus Ministers:
Jenn and Zane Sanders

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Little Girl in the Waiting Room Reveals My Own Narcissism

The little girl won’t shut up as I try to read my book. I look at her gallingly… Her grandmother shares with us, complete strangers, that the little girl suffered a small amount of brain trauma a few years back. I wonder how a little girl thinks of her self when her family talks about her like she’s not there. The man sitting behind them, looking as though he came directly out of a country song, was the only one who had the nads to ask what happened. The direct and diminutive response from “Grandma” was, “her dad.” Everyone in the waiting room was silent for a while, as if a doctor had come in to announce someone had died. I wonder what happened to her mother, the reason they were at the hospital in the first place. I think perhaps “her dad” got to her mother as well, but then I remember my own black eye and how I got that… The little girl continues vocalizing her thoughts to anyone that would listen and it distracts me enough to keep away from negative storylines. Imagine ‘Forest Gump’ at 5-years old with blond pigtails, polka dot rain boots, and the inability to tell the truth. “Grandma” keeps correcting her as she continually lies to the strangers that sit around me. “I’m in kindergarten.” She was only in her first year of preschool.  I pretend the lying has something to do with her abusive father or even the mother that she waits for at the hospital, but I only come back to her telling the woman that got up to get coffee, “I stoled your seat!” Am I a monster for thinking I can create stories based on the monstrous truths I run into?
At this point, I wonder if another person in the room is creating a similar commentary for me. “Look at that guy sitting over there quietly. I’d guess mid-20’s, I can tell he’s married from the ring on his hand, and a beautiful shiner to match on the left eye… I bet he got into a bar fight.” Or perhaps, after talking to me, they would assume I was breaking up a fight at my little sister’s inopportune wedding with one of the many guests there that disagreed with what was happening. Or, despite the occasional joking from my friends, they would think that my wife had hit me over some scuffle we had over dinner about work or family or whatever… If I were to tell them the truth, that I work with college students and a few of us guys were just wrestling at one of our fellowships, I imagine they would roll their eyes allowing imagination to take back over so they can go back to their enhanced, more enjoyable stories. Perhaps I should just stick to being a monster, picturing other’s stories in the quiet of my seat, instead of imagining what others imagine about me. That sort of narcissism would probably turn me into a bigger monster anyway…