Last week was question and answer week. First on Monday I was the guest on Get Some, an on campus television show focused on issues of health and human sexuality. The theme last week was sexuality and spirituality. About thirty people showed up, most of whom did so to fulfill a requirement for class. Alice, the campus nurse, asked the first question right around six pm…and before I knew it the half hour was over! After this there was a time for people in the audience to interact. The students were shy. I thought it was perhaps awkward for them to ask questions about sex to a pastor, but Alice said they were always quiet. When the first student to ask a question got a free t-shirt, a few other students found the courage to ask things. Interestingly, the first question was what I think about Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas.
All in all, it was a fun night. I was very nervous going in but I think I did my best. Alice said I did great and thinks I should be the guest again in the spring. We’ll see…
On Thursday for CSF we decided to do a question and answer night. In the past I would partner with a student, Dillon, but he has graduated and moved to Houston. Therefore, I invited Guy Ridge, a friend and associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church, to help out. We had a good variety of questions, a decent turnout and some fun interchanges. This is always a helpful night for students.
One thing I find interesting is that every time we do one of these for the last couple years, someone asks about the world ending in 2012! I am not sure if they really think it will, I am just surprised that of all things that is the most consistent one. The other one that always comes up is some variation of whether Jesus is the only way.
I think the questions asked on these two nights provide a window into the spiritual beliefs on college campuses. As a Christian pastor, it is easy to say the Westboro Baptist Church does not represent real Christianity. Yet, they get on television and cause people to wonder, is that what Christians really believe? Along the same lines, many Christians speak with a certainty that the end is near…will it be in 2012? Finally, when it comes to basic Christian beliefs, such as the uniqueness of Jesus…is Jesus really the only way?
These questions illustrate some of the challenges for reaching college students specifically and young people in general. It is a challenge and I am honored to be called to work on campus to seek to meet it.