By Jimmy Schantz | Contributor
Dear Taylor community, as a fellow paying customer of this university, I realize that going here would be a rather poor investment if I were to gain knowledge (and dare I say experiences) here that were only to be applied to my time in Upland. A comparable investment might be buying huge amounts of stock in the video cassette market. When the Life Together Covenant gives us community goals to disciple believers and foster academic growth, it is silly to think that these things are set forth to simply enrich the community within the confines of our well-trodden Vayhinger Loop. Rather, I think these goals were set forth to help establish a community of Christians well beyond the Loop. The goal is to take what we have learned at Taylor and apply that in whatever new societies God has placed us in.
Now, part of the reason I use the word investment is because Taylor is expensive and, unlike other institutions that simply offer an education, Taylor believes they can offer something different and unique. Yep, you guessed it: a "Christian community." Included in this overly-chewed phrase includes the topic of the semester, chapel. So, is chapel really worth the bang for our buck?
Two weeks ago, Hoback Fisher wrote an article which could be found snuggled in between an article about disregarded turkey vultures and an ad for "Echo writers wanted." Here, he set forth his argument that chapel has run amiss and is, quite frankly, not worth your while. In last week's edition, Malaina Yoder wrote in a response to what Fisher had said the week prior. In her article, Yoder pokes some holes in what she sees as flaws in Fisher's arguments. In this article, I would like to continue this chapel discussion by giving a few reasons I believe that we are not wasting our time and money by supporting and attending our chapel program.
Right off the bat, I would like to acknowledge Fisher's opinion by saying I agree that there are some flaws with our chapel program. I believe our chapel speakers and topics very well could be more diverse than they currently are. However, we happen to be situated in a demographic where diverse opinions are about as common as snipes, so I have personally come to peace with the diversity we actually do reel in. Second, we are limited to only two hours of chapel messages per week. Two!? Yep that's right, just two, which brings me to my first major point. There are only two hours per week of speakers in chapel because the third hour is dedicated to worship, something that, at 33 percent of the chapel agenda, failed to be mentioned in the theses Fisher proverbially nailed to the Rediger door two weeks ago. Even if we had to sit through a talk by Joel Osteen, I still think that the 20 minutes of praising God with the people we eat, work and live with would be worth our while.
Fortunately, I think the chapel program has done an acceptable job at corralling characters much more credible than Osteen. I happen to be one of 70 Taylor students that take a weekly chapel survey (one of the "few means" set forth to discuss the chapel program) and have thought the claim that topics have taken on the "path of least resistance" is a statement which bares an ugly yet strong resemblance to what is now commonly referred to as "fake news." I credit Yoder in pointing out in her response that we have had numerous chapel speakers contradict one another!
I'm thrilled that this is a discussion that is starting to take place. The interest around campus leaves me encouraged that we have not grown complacent to a cornerstone we have at Taylor in our chapel program. I urge everyone to take up this discussion for themselves, but by doing so, I would think that your presence and participation in chapel would be necessary. Problems in the community ought to be resolved by its own people, or else we run the risk of not living in community at all. Thank you, Hoback and Malaina.