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Whitworth provides a wide array of spiritual opportunities for students. Opportunities range from Hosanna and Awake on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, to chapel services on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There are a multitude of Saturday and Sunday services around the greater Spokane neighborhoods as well as Whitworth Presbyterian next to campus. In addition, there are club programs such as En Christo on Saturday afternoons and small groups that meet all across campus. Being “a Christian university for the non-Christian”, to quote Beck Taylor during orientation, it makes sense to have these options available to students, and yet many students can run into the problem of trying to fulfill their weekly “Christian quota.”
Students who identify as Christian can find it easy to try and fulfill a “Christian quota.” With all of these opportunities for spiritual growth constantly advertising on campus and through social media, as well as the daily word-of-mouth conversations, it makes sense that there would be an unspoken pressure to complete a minimum amount of these opportunities per week/month/semester etc… The issue behind this pressure is that it shifts the intention of participation. Hosanna and Awake should not be a place for you to say that you went and “got it done”. Hosanna and Awake should be places where you go to seek personal growth in your individual faith journey. If you find yourself going to church on Sundays or participating in En Christo because your friends do it and you thus feel compelled to go, rethink if you actually want it for you. Are you going because you want to pursue your faith and grow or solely because the pressure exists from your peers and you are afraid of what others might think of you if you don’t go to any of these events throughout the week? If so, you might just be fulfilling your Christian quota for the week.
Achieving a Christian quota is missing the point of faith. Deciding what you believe and pursuing your faith is a process and not a checklist. In giving faith a checklist, you are saying that your intention behind attending these events is not to seek out your own personal growth and/or expand your knowledge, but rather feel good about “getting it done”. This is not the point of faith and not what these “programs” (Awake, Hosanna, chapel etc…) want you to believe. Be aware of how you will feel if you don’t attend any of these events for a week or two weeks. Are you okay with not attending these spiritual opportunities or is there a fear that others may question your motives or question your faith? Don’t do it for others, do it for you and your relationship with God.
Like I said before, faith is not a checklist. If you are serious about seeking out your faith, then you should attend these events because you want to and not because you have. I encourage and challenge you to question the intention behind your participation in these events: is faith a checklist for you? You should go because you want further growth and not because your friends are going and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is taking hold.
Contact Ein Huie at firstname.lastname@example.org