Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An Open Letter to young Christians on their way to college

"Be faithful in worship. In American, going to college is one of those heavily mythologized evens that everybody tells you will 'change your life,' which is probably at least half true. So don't be foolish and imagine that you can take a vacation from church.

Be uncompromisingly moral. Undergraduate life on college campuses tends in the direction of neopagan excess. Good kids from good families too often end up using their four years at college to get drunk and throw up on one another. Too often they do so on their way to the condom dispensers. What a waste! Not only because such behavior is self-destructive but also because living this way will prevent you from doing the intellectual work the Christian faith demands.

Be deeply intellectual. We--that is, the Church--need you to do well in school. That may sound strange, because many who represent Christian values seem concerned primarily with how you conduct yourself while you are in college; they relegate the Christian part in being in college to what is done outside the classroom.

The Christian fact is very straightforward: To be a student is a calling. You are priveliged to enter a time--four years!--during which your main job is to listen to lectures, attend seminars, go to labs, and read books.

It is an extraordinary gift. In a world of deep injustice and violence, a people exists that thinks some can be given time to study. We need you to take seriously the calling that is yours by virtue of going to college."

Stanley Hauerwas, excerpted from his essay, "God With God," in First Things, November 2010

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