Monthly Archives: August 2008

A very hard year

This election year is wrapping up to be the hardest ever for Calvin students. To sum up, it is a conflict between shalom and koinonia (hello overused words at Calvin!) versus morals.

Now, hear me out. There is tremendous buzz among Calvin students about Obama, his health care plan is great, he is a minority, he is very against business as usual politics, etc. This makes Calvin kids (especially indie scum) feel very good. Hell, he probably even like Sufjan Stevens!

But there is a specter looming over Obama’s head, two actually; abortion and gay marriage. Obama hasn’t spent a lot of time talking about what an abomination either is (which is disquieting to many), while McCain has been pandering to the religious right so everyone knows he has. But then again, the religious right makes the average Calvin student feel uncomfortable.

To add onto this stress some of us have senior projects, dance guild to prepare for and the senior scramble! Oh the humanity!

As for me, I was really hoping to be abroad this election season to avoid the emotional breakdowns that will occur but I was predestined not to. So stay tuned for my guide on how to survive election season at Calvin!


The Demerit Wall of Shame

Necessary background Info: For being a Christian college Calvin is pretty much an oddball. No dress code, no required chapel attendance, no pledge that we will abstain from such sins as dancing, holding hands or watching movies…heck, we don’t even have a curfew! This causes quite a bit of consternation with our neighbors. Many over at Cornerstone feel that we are all backslidden and such because you can visit a person of the opposite sex in their one-campus apartment all day everyday (we are heathens for expecting some self control, I guess).

How do we define our boundaries in our everyday lives then? In an overused phrase overheard at Calvin: Responsible Freedom. Some take this to mean the responsibility to let someone else dictate how they ought to live (and the usually end up transferring to a stricter college) and others take this to mean the freedom to poke fun at anything they damn well please.

If you don’t know by now (and if you don’t then you can be sure that we have never met in person), I am of the latter group.

The Demerit Wall of Shame’s beginnings: One night I stumbled upon a list of rules from Pensacola Christian College. I found them hilarious and read them to my roommate who thought that they were hilarious also. We found whoever else was up at 2 AM (I told you we were heathens with no curfews) on our floor and read the list to them. We then took bets on how long it would take each of us to get kicked out. My roommate, we figured, would survive the longest: 2 weeks and I would last the shortest amount of time: 10 minutes (though some postulated that it might be quicker if they tried to take away my metal music sooner rather than later).

We then organized a contest.

The rules: None of us (or any of our floormates who were obliviously slumbering away) would radically change our behaviors during the upcoming week and we would post the list of rules I had found in the hallway. Each person could give another a demerit if they saw fit, but only after reading them the rule which they had broken. And we decided that it was rather unfair (and an invasion of personal space) to go into other’s rooms, but narcing on your roommate was fine. The one with the most demerits at the end of the week won.

Printing that list killed my printing quota for that semester.

How it went: We got each other most often for wearing pants in the dorm, breaking lights out, not wearing socks with shoes and going barefoot (with my cussing getting an honorable mention for being the greatest individual sin). Our RA was seriously worried about leaving her room when we were in the hall and many of our floormates were either confused by it or used their responsible freedom to ignore us.

The Winner: I was in the lead (thanks to my navy-ready vocabulary) up until I went to a weekend long horseshow. Jo, I believe, was declared the winner.

How your Calvin roommate is/was/will be chosen

How you are paired up:

Unfortunately us mere mortals cannot tap into God’s mind and know who is predestined to do what or to be where (although we can pretend) and hence matching up students with roommates is a difficult task. But never fear! Calvin has a handy 5-7 question form that will help the college make a match worthy of the kingdom of heaven.

Now, the most important question concerns favorite types of music. No joke. mt freshman year our floor got together informally one night and tried to figure out how each of us had been paired with our roommates. A late-rising, introverted country music fan had been paired with an early bird, social butterfly country music fan, etc, etc ad infinitum. And apparently, MewithoutYou counts as worship music (worship music for the eccentric types with ADHD, I suppose), so be prepared. Nothing else truly matters, especially for dorm situations.

Also, if you do not have a Dutch name and are not from the Grand Rapids area or from one of the many CRC strongholds around the United States you will be paired with a dutchy. Just a word of warning.

This is where everybodys favourite dinosaur lived

This is where everybody's favourite dinosaur lived

What not to put on your housing form:

If you are an occasional smoker who partakes once or twice a semester off-campus, you are branded as a smoker no different from the kid who lives in the smoker’s pit. Honesty isn’t always the best policy kids, if you smoke in rare situations it helps to not be completely honest in your dealings with the housing people if you want a room.

Also, you may be tempted to think that you can live with people who are at various stages of spiritual development, but you are dead wrong. You see, by putting down that it doesn’t matter how strong the Christians are that you live with the college will automatically assume that you are an atheist in need of some converting. Horror stories abound of otherwise decent Christian gals and lads who indicated their lack of preference for Strong Christian roommates that got stuck with mega-uber holy rollers and were pushed to the edge of sanity. The most horrific example is Jesus’ freshman year roommate. If you value your sanity at all, put down at least a mild interest in having roommates who have a strong walk with the Lord.

Cabela’s and hunting video games

The munch man and I took a short trip down to Dundee, Mi. today for business. On the way home we stopped at Cabela’s. It’s basically an outdoor enthusiast’s wet dream, a store for everything hunting related in a building the size of a megachurch. I just got some beef jerky (I am a omnivore) and looked at the awesome display of stuffed animals.

The guy in front of me in the check out line was buying hunting video games. Is setting up a blind in the middle of nowhere in the cold and waiting hours not boring enough for you? Additionally, if you want a video game where you get to shoot stuff you could always play Grand Theft Auto, it’s way better in that department than a hunting video game.

And the beef jerky I bought almost had Jeff Foxworthy on the package…and then I realized that I am not a redneck and went with some Jack Links.

I almost wish that I had bought some of this

I almost wish that I had bought some of this

New Christian Buzzword?

I have recently considered going back to some sort of youth/singles group at a large evangelical church just so I can get re-caught up with all the current lingo, as I’ve grown kinda rusty.

But this caught my eye as I was looking to apply to an off-campus program. What exactly is this “Post-Christian” and what does it mean? I think I have an idea.

As a CD I encountered a book entitled Who’s Afraid of Post Modernism? by James K.A. Smith which lead to the predictable slight decrease in the fear of Post Modernism among the more progressive set of Christians who enjoy their philosophy. Post Modernism used to be something of a boogey man in Christian circles, even the ones who don’t know what the hell it is know how to resist it.

As one boogey man falls another must arise in it’s place. Besides, “post- Christian” sounds a hell of a lot scarier. But the ironic thing is that there is no such thing in the U.K. as the seperation of church and state like in the U.S. I like to think that the UK just seems more secular because there are fewer crazies, maybe having something to do with a smaller population. Who knows? But I, your intrepid explorer, do hereby promise that if I go on this trip I shall report back in full (if I remember, as it is scheduled for the spring semester).

Who indeed?

Who indeed?

All About His House Christian Fellowship

What it is: Found on many secular campuses throughout the state, His House was founded in 1969. It started on the campus of Michigan State and spread to Eastern, Central, Ferris, Grand Valley, Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan, the University of Michigan, and Western Michigan University. Nobody can say whether or not the organization has always been as cult-like as it presently is, but the founder eye’s look a little drugged up, if that counts for anything.

How it’s organized: Each campus is a little different, at CMU they have their own church, at Eastern they meet in classrooms, at Ferris they rent two houses (male and females are separate because all good Christians know that if males and females co-habitate they will breed like bunnies) on the same street as all the frat and sorority houses where the leaders will live and conduct services, etc. But all operate under a pastor with a few leaders underneath.

Who joins: Former youth group kids who aren’t willing to invest much time into making friends with different people, especially if they don’t know many people at the beginning of the year. This especially applies to those who feel the need to circle the wagons every time they learn that a gay/atheist/Hindu/Wiccan person may be living down the hall from them. Others may join too, but through extensive experience I feel that I can nail down the typical hardcore His Houser.

What you can expect to do: Firstly, you can forget having much of a social life, as you will be expected to have your life revolve around his house (especially if you didn’t have any friends outside of His House to begin with). This leaves little room for making new friends or keeping up with old ones, as the only purpose for extending the hand of friendship to non-His Housers, the few hours you are not fellowshipping with the group, is to invite them to His House. You will probably have a Wednesday or Thursday service and a Sunday service, in addition to all-girl or all-guy club activities, worship band practice, bible studies, book studies, movie nights and general hang-out times. This means that you can forget about going to a regular church service, who needs those when you are fellowshipping with and encouraging your own peer group? This will also not leave you any time to join any other campus group, club or sport, but who needs to associate with those heathens anyhow (unless you are saving their souls/inviting them to His House)?

Most of the His Housers, for how isolationist they are, should have just gone to Pensacola Christian College, where they rarely let you off campus or interact with outsiders anyway.

4 out of 4 experts agree: His House is a cult. Even other campus ministries at the aforementioned universities consider them a cult. When another group, identical in beliefs with you, sympathetic to your goals and with the same goals labels you a cult, something is seriously wrong.

Tag Surfer is fun

Tag surfer is a fun thing. It takes the tags I put on my blogs and shows me other blog entries with the same tag. The tag for Calvin College gave me a particular blog that I thought rather interesting and so I checked it out further. The second post I looked at told me that I need not look any further, because it was that ridiculous. It is a passage from a book written by that particular kind of chauvinistic Christian chap, the kind that will admit that he holds women to be inferior but in a way which somehow gives womenfolk more dignity and responsibility (which mt fine-tuned honing skills told me was b.s.).

I shall only comment on a few things which I thought peculiar. In the second paragraph an analogy is made between women and fire. But the funny thing was, he was not really talking about fire, but a stove or one of those gas-burning fireplaces that look like real fire. The fire he spoke of was tame, easily malleable, and always benefitted humanity.
Fire is a gift from Prometheus, but like all gifts it exacts a heavy toll from humanity. Fire can warm and fire can be useful. But fire’s only constant is change, it is volatile, it is insane, it jumps and moves irregularly, fire eats up everything in its path, it destroys lives, civilizations and cultures. Now, the boy who makes me food fully agrees with this fellow comparing women to fires, but not for the reasons he gave, but because of what fire really is. Now, would he really want to compare women with fire if his goal was making women feel better for being regulated to tame and domestic roles?

Then he advocates that women ought to be cooped up in the home but because she is a “universalist” must teach her children all manner of things. Now then, a very simple question, how can she do this if she is cooped up? Children ask all manner of sophisticated questions, which demand a thorough knowledge of how the world works and specialized things.

As the boy who makes me food’s brother would say: “DUMB!”

Also, being immersed fully in Christian circles just about everywhere I go, I often hear men going on on and about what women ought to be. Women do this to men but there is a big difference, women are often told that “you can’t expect too much from them, they are just men” while men receive a less stronger rebuke. And if they are ministers, they never receive any refutation of the standard they hold. Double Standard much?

Now, this in no way is meant as a slur against a fellow blogger, do not misunderstand me, but only against the author of this tripe, men who believe such stupid things, and women who cannot discern through this.