Erin (Guarneri '13) McGaughey | Contributor
Editor's Note: In The Breakfast Club, Opinions Editor Hanson Reed argued that Taylor is a "confederation of intentional communities," rather than a united, healthy community. McGaughey responds to Reed's post.
I was once a prospective. I was a freshman, too. An alumna now working at Taylor, I helped with Welcome Weekend, saw tons of new students move in, then the upperclassmen, and a depressing thought hit me - I'm no longer going to be able to experience Taylor like I had for the last four years.
Last week, the freshman edition of "The Echo" included Hanson Reed's article titled "The Breakfast Club." As I sat at my table, helping pass out water to new families, giving information to those joining Taylor life, and reading my Echo, an overwhelming sense of sadness and almost embarrassment hit me. Parents dropping their kids off for the first time were reading an article that pretty much said Taylor was "clique-y" and that we "…settle for what Taylor is..."-"… A confederation of intentional communities, and not always a unit of one intentional community…Make it what it should be."
As we come into our first year of college, Hanson was right when he said, "You don't know anyone, and that is your biggest asset." It's your time to get to know people you've never met, to make lasting relationships with those you come into contact with. But this doesn't mean we necessarily try to get to know every person on campus. Believe it or not, our campus, although small, isn't THAT small. It has a good number of students - 1,922 to be exact. How do you create intentional community with almost 2,000 people? That's a pretty steep feat to ask of anyone. Dontcha think?
This is why we have smaller communities within our larger community. The point of intentional community is that we develop relationships with those around us. We get placed on a wing for a purpose. And yes, we do meet other people, and maybe you'll even move wings or residence halls while you're here because you develop a deep relationship with someone. But this doesn't mean you have to sit with someone you don't know at breakfast. Not everyone is comfortable sitting with people they don't know.
The DC and Chapel maps were created for a prospective student publication, not to show "clique-iness," but to show you can always feel you belong somewhere, that you never have to eat or worship alone. Intentional Community is building relationships with those around you - to develop relationship on a deeper level.
Discipleship begins when we are able to be real with people. When we reveal our mess and create accountability, we grow in a deeper relationship with those around us - our community - and our Heavenly Father.
In (Wednesday, Aug. 28's) Chapel, Dr. Habecker quoted John 17:4, "I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do." Jesus chose not to heal or reach everyone in person. He heavily invested himself into 12 men.
The relationships I created with my basketball teammates, my roommates, and now my husband, were some of the best takeaways from my time at Taylor. Of course we had our ups and downs - that's life. But in the end, I know they will always be there for me. If I was trying to make it so there wasn't a strange face to me on campus, would I have ever developed deep and truly meaningful relationships?
Just because you don't venture out to meet new people every week doesn't mean we're "settling" at Taylor. It really could mean the exact opposite; that you are creating intentional community with the people you invest in and who invest in you - the people you will have intentional community with for the rest of your life. I encourage you to go deeper, not just wider, when you start and continue creating your community.