There are times that a surprise can be a good thing - a surprise check in the mail or a surprise visit from a friend. And then there are times that surprises aren’t so welcome. Like the time my family came back from a two-week vacation only to discover that the outdoor cat had snuck in the house while we were packing to leave. That was a day filled with surprises from our now ex-cat.
The last I heard, Lakeland Christian had several students who were accepted to the University of Florida this year. That is a remarkable feat for both the students and the school, but for many who have grown up at LCS, college can be quite a surprise - the bad kind of surprise...like my cat. The faith that was once nurtured and encouraged is now attacked and often mocked. So, to those one or two graduates who may end up reading this blog, I am giving a few tips in order to lessen the surprise:
The public university is a religious institution.
You will encounter a belief called Secularism. It too has a creation narrative, a salvation message, and a strict moral code. Its adherents can be as dogmatic and intolerant as any fundamentalist from another belief, and the desire to “fit in” with the elites of an academic culture will at times be almost overwhelming. I wish I had room to elaborate, but you will certainly figure it out in four years.
- If a person attacks faith in general, she may have a point; if she attacks a particular faith, she has an agenda.
Similarly, if someone insults a specific race they are rightly labeled as a racist. If a professor only attacks Christianity, you need to ask yourself when was the last time he did the same with Islam, Hinduism, or any other religion? If the answer is never, then you can bet my ex-cat there is an agenda, and you cannot logically debate against someone’s agenda. Just let it pass as an emotional rant.
- Your faith will be proved.
If faith was a ruse just to fit in at a Christian school or to please your parents, you will quickly find something else to fill that emptiness. If you are a Christian, then college can be an excellent time for your faith to grow. Throughout the history of the Church, Christianity has always been most fertile under hostile environments and persecution. You will seek answers to your questions and meet fellow travelers that will strengthen your Christian walk.
For me, college was a much more enjoyable experience than high school. School isn’t lived by a series of 45-minute bells, you will have significantly more freedom, and friendships will have time to develop without the added pressure of popularity or drama. My hope is that, despite the struggles with faith, college will be a place where your spiritual life flourishes and finally becomes your own. Most importantly - enjoy it – the four years move quickly.