Grace Hooley | Echo
Last Spring, after much thought, conversation and prayer, Jon Cavanagh decided on the Chapel theme for this year: Consider.
Cavanagh sees the word "consider" as a process of remembering. Pausing. Thinking. Reflecting. Remembering. This is the process we subject ourselves to when we consider. We consider Scripture. We consider what God has done for us. We consider God's promises for the future.
"I don't think you can just tell students what to think," Cavanagh said. "I think there needs to be some sort of invitation to examination."
This theme will be used throughout the year as chapel speakers (including Tim Tebow) and Cavanagh help us to understand what it means to consider. It began this fall with a discussion about what considering looks like in our lives and with Scripture.
It will continue into J-term as speakers transition into understanding the idea of commitment in our consideration. Finally, the spring will wrap up the theme with the concept of learning how to make decisions from our consideration.
"What does that mean to thoughtfully examine?" Cavanagh asked.
One of the challenges Cavanagh faced when thinking about a theme was finding something that the students would remember without adding another Christian buzzword. Cavanagh didn't want to create something that would lose meaning with students.
Cavanagh also thought about the Spiral Curriculum (encountering the same topics but engaging with them deeper each time you come back to them) when he decided on Consider as the theme. The idea is that each time students encounter something relating to "consider," they encounter it with deeper engagement and thought than before.
"If people have heard a topic before, will they allow themselves to get past the eye roll and to really engage," Cavanagh said.
Just like considering, Chapel will be a process this year of thoughtfully examining. Cavanagh hopes that this theme will help students stop and listen to one another. He also hopes it will teach students patience in long suffering as they engage with difficult or controversial topics during their time here.
With time, Cavanagh believes we will each stop, take a breath and listen to one another. Considering means taking a pause to thoughtfully examine what is going on around us.
"My hope is that pause would be what the Holy Spirit fills," Cavanagh said. "That we would have thoughts and actions that honor God more and more in everything we do."