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6 | OPINIONS

NOVEMBER 16, 2012

Encounters in the Gospel; Paying Special Attention to Its Characters

LUKE LAUER

ED LINNECKE

There are innumerable ways in which the Gospel narratives stand as an essential resource in our spiritual journeys, but one aspect that I find myself continually impressed by is the breadth of human experiences than are spoken to throughout the stories. People do many different things in this world, and with each path comes a unique obstacle to goodness, salvation, love, or wherever it is that our religious lives eventually lead. Jesus met a lot of people, most of whom we know nothing about, but I believe some careful planning (probably divine) went into determining exactly which encounters would be included in the retelling of our savior’s life. It seems to me that the special importance of the various people we encounter in the Gospels is found in the fact that their characteristics represent some universal aspect of the human experience with which individuals from all over the globe, and all over the historical spectrum, can relate. A beauty of the Gospels is that we may find our-

selves as characters, represented to some if the lifestyle that fits this culture were to degree in one, or more likely, many of the provide a particular stumbling or temptapeople Jesus interacted with. tion, it would be the same type of temptaResultantly, the way in which we ought tion that encountered those who Jesus so to read the Gospels is in some respect, per- often called “hypocrites.” son relative. What I mean to say is that beLet me explain, the individuals who cause we each have personal spiritual lives Jesus instructs, or reprimands, or simply and struggles, and that some characters in introduces within a parable, are spirituthe gospel will more closely resemble them ally unsound in different ways. Some of than others, we ought to pay particularly them are making all of the wrong lifestyle close attention to those stories that closely choices, such as promiscuity with the parallel our own lives. For example, if I woman at the well, or the various tax colwere attempting to find verses speaking to lectors, or the wealthy man. In fact, most the problems of an impoverished person, people we would identify as the traditional Jesus’ encounter with the wealthy man “sinner” would most likely fit in this catpossession won’t be egory: someone who my first choice. making the wrong The Pharisaic types of islife-style Therefore, I bechoices. lieve that mid-level characters in the gospels Though life-style to upper mid-level, may be related, I bewould be the most protestant Amerilieve some characcan culture (where in the gospel are relevant characters for ters I take it that most spiritually deficient, Houghton commu- the majority of protestant most specifically, nity members and because of incorrect students will fit), culture to be particularly beliefs and I believe should be aware of that the Samaritans aware of. which of Jesus’ enwould fit this catecounters they would gory, as they did not most likely find themselves. Which of observe the Judaistic law, or customs. But those individuals who Jesus instructs, rep- neither of these categories would seem to rimands, or simply teaches, would we find fit the obstacles faced by the prototypical ourselves most like? If someone in Hough- protestant middle-class person, would it? ton-type culture were to be erring, which I mean, the fact is that most of Houghton side would they tend to err towards? students and community members lead a The answer, it seems to me, would be pretty well-behaved life, at least within the the Pharisaic-side of the matter. Now I eyes of mainstream secular culture. Also, must qualify that I certainly do not believe within our Christian context, proper bethat the Houghton community and/or mid- liefs and customs seem to be even less of dle class Protestant middle class culture to a problem. After all, most of the members be Pharisaic in nature--nothing could be of our community were educated from further from the truth. But I do believe that an early age, probably in Sunday school,

Ex Mea Sententia /

LUKE LAUER

ANDRE NELSON

What does it mean to be an American? Just last week, 34 states petitioned to secede from the United States of America, spearheading this movement is Texas, which currently has over a hundred thousand signatures on its petition. Many have been throwing around accusations of a lack of patriotism on behalf of these petitioners in these times of trouble. But are these people un-American? What should patriotism look like in a nation in whose history its citizens have so drastically flip-flopped between both strong support and vehement opposition of the government? Many are quick to quote the founding fathers the minute they become annoyed with happenings in D.C., but America has changed significantly since 1776. When the Declaration of Independence was drafted, being Ameri-

about the Gospels, the prophets, and everything else a good Christian ought to be able to recite. Lastly, religious customs do not seem to be a problem either: these would be things like prayer at the proper times, attending church on Sundays, and the like. This is why I believe that the Pharisaic types of characters in the gospels would be the most relevant characters for the majority of protestant culture to be particularly aware of. The Pharisees (and other Jewish leaders that appear) did not have problems with their external lifestyle, were not promiscuous, drunkards, or the like. They did not have a problem with religious beliefs; in fact, they had all of the right beliefs. The Pharisaic equivalents of today’s Christianized world would be something like our theology and religion professors. And lastly, they certainly did not have a problem with religious customs. They were clean, religious people who most of the public regarded as so, in much the same way that secular culture may regard the typical Houghton community member as a “perfect” person. So why then is it that Jesus seemed to always be getting angry with these people with all of the right answers? Why the anger with someone who in our Protestant Christian context, would have been reciting scripture, refraining from secular sins, and praying regularly? This article is not intended to answer that question, but if their spiritual circumstances most closely match those of mid-level protestant Americans, we ought to pay special attention. Ed is a senior philosophy major

What it Means to Be an American in the 21st Century

can meant being a traitor to the crown in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s antiof England, since most Americans were war protests began all across the nation. fighting for independence from it. During Post-Cold War there seems to have the middle decades of the 19th century, at been a drastic decrease in the questioning the dawn of the Civil War, what it meant of the government, being an American to be an American differed between the seemed to be nothing less than apathetic. Northern and Southern regions. Is being As our military steadily spreads across an American the valuing of big govern- the globe there has been minimal oppoment at the expense of states’ rights, or sition on behalf of Americans. Today the valuing states at United States has the expense of a soldiers deployed Many are quick to unified nation? in approximately Being an Amer150 nations. The quote the founding ican in the years second Gulf War after our indepen- fathers the minute they became the longest dence also meant war in become annoyed with American being fairly isolahistory, going on tionist; the prob- happenings in D.C., but for 11 years, with lems abroad were continued military America has changed presence in Iraq to not ours to solve. While World War day. Yet many significantly since 1776. this I bumped us onto remain completely the world stage, we unaware of our reanevertheless remained skeptical of over- sons for being there. To be an American sea interventions until post-World War now is apparently to support our troops II. In the years following World War II, and oppose whomever the White House prior to the Cold War, Eisenhower left tells us are terrorists. office stating, “We must guard against Most recently, however, the tides are the acquisition of unwarranted influ- changing. Since last week’s presidential ence, whether sought or unsought, by the elections there has been a fast-growing military-industrial complex. The poten- opposition toward established governtial for the disastrous rise of misplaced ment. While to many the request for power exists and will persist.” It seems peaceful secessions may seem like a as though being an American was to re- joke, the movement’s momentum is inmain skeptical of large military presence, creasing. at least until the height of the Cold War. It is important to note that none of Once again, what it meant to be Ameri- these states’ current governments have can differed from person to person, and vocalized their support of these peti-

tions, however, this is a movement that cannot be ignored. They may be, as many have called them, a group of aggravated conservatives, nevertheless, these are hundreds of thousands of them. Complaining about the government is nothing new, and whether or not you see this secession movement as a serious issue or not, our generation is going to be wrestling with redefining what it means to be an American in a world of economic collapse, political disunion, and war. What it means to be an American is continuously changing. What it meant to be an American in 1776 is not what it means to be an American today. Are we going to remain the police force of the world? Will we continue our wars on “terrorism” and “drugs”? Are we going to continue increasing government size? Will we heed the words of so many of our forefathers in regards to our economic situation, militaryindustrial complex, and loss of liberties for the sake of security? Whether or not we’ve changed for the best, I do not know, but what I do know is that our generation is going to be dealing with the question in more significant ways than we can fathom.

Andre is a senior communication major


OPINIONS | 7

NOVEMBER 16, 2012

FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK /

LUKE LAUER

MONICA SANDRECZKI

One lap around the perimeter of chapel; Swipe, no eye contact, sneak out; Scan-in with a five minute sit-down and bounce. The number of scan-n-scram techniques are endless, and we’ve all been guilty at least once (if you haven’t yet, just wait until junior year; your time will come). The definition of scan-n-scram is still, more elastic if we include students who get up between five and 15 minutes before the benediction and walk out. One Wednesday, I took out a pen and started to count the number of people who left chapel early, and ended up counting over 30 people. Far from doing this with a critical eye, I wasn’t shining my breastplate of righteousness brighter and brighter with each tick mark on the page; it was out of sheer curiosity. According to one of the chapel ID scanners, the most he had ever counted was 125 students leaving early, including scrammers. I said we’ve all scanned-nscrammed, but all scrams all the time? Why is everyone leaving early? Oftentimes we hear an argument that this is an issue of integrity and receive a charge for us, as Christians, to do better. In an op-ed by alumnus Josiah Armstrong ’11 from a 2010 issue of the Houghton Star, he claimed within the larger context of issues of integrity at Houghton, “‘Scanning and scramming’

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Hungry for a Scan-N-Scram Resolution

is, in a word, deceit. Those of us who are uled hour for chapel has moved around, Christian on this campus cannot look at this landing at different points of the morning issue and regard it with a laugh or a simple on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: shake of the head, because, in all harsh and 10:15, 11:00, and for the past two years, clear reality this is most definitely an ‘in- 11:30-12:10, ending in the middle of the tegrity issue.’ You as an adult Christian, are lunch hour. Then, dozens of students hope committing deceit on a grand scale when to grab a quick bite to eat in the cafeteria you tell the Student Life Office (with your before dashing off to their 12:30 communiID card) that you are present when, in fact, cation course. I think the early-leavers are you are sleeping in, working on a paper, not lacking in integrity, but in energy to apcalling your significant other, etc.” pease their stomachs until the end of class. Is scanning and scramming dishonest? Two years ago, when chapel was at Sure. A sly grin and the twinge of a twisted 10:15, a survey was conducted by the Destomach are enough of a guilt-laden physi- partment of Institutional Research to find cal response for us to know that it’s wrong. out the satisfaction of faculty and students You’re making someone believe you were with the chapel time. One key complaint in chapel when you weren’t. Now, would was that it was impossible to have three I ascribe the same class periods before morality charge chapel. With that I don’t know that the of “deceit” as the and other reasons, writer did? That’s a chapel was moved exits en masse from little strong for me. to 11:30-12:10. Don’t get me wrong, chapel are an “integrity However, the origiI’d encourage every nal intent, accordHoughton student to issue”... as much as it’s a ing to Margery stay in chapel once Avery, Director of matter of timing. they have scanned Academic Records, in. was not for students However, I don’t know that the exits en with a 12:30 class after chapel to eat lunch masse from chapel are an “integrity issue” at 12:10; the lunch line ends up being as the writer purported, as much as it’s a way too long. Instead, the intent was for matter of timing. students to eat later, after the end of their First, let’s crunch the numbers. The 12:30 class, especially now that Sodexo Houghton student body is 1010 strong. provides for a 12-hour open cafeteria. Excluding commuting students and educaAdmittedly, it is perfectly reasonable to tion majors who are student teaching, we suggest that students eat after their classes. have about 900 students who attend cha- However, there is always the human elepel. From there, we are required to attend ment involved. As we all have seen, the only two-thirds of all chapels, so on aver- lunch line after chapel is packed, going age, there should be about 600 students down the stairs and off into the Van Dyke in each chapel service. Factor in all of the lounge; even though the later time is availalternative chapel credit available and the able, 11:30-1:00 is our typical lunchtime, attendance should be lower than that. But, but chapel cuts off the first half, with 12:30 the averages are actually hovering between classes eating up the second half. 600 and 650 at present. And yet, 125 of What’s the solution then? Every sethose people aren’t staying the full 40 min- mester, someone suggests, “just get rid of utes. What’s up? required chapel.” Unfortunately, this point Over the past five years, the sched- is moot. Besides community reasons such

as bringing the campus together three times per week, “the rock bottom foundation is the expectation by our owners, the Wesleyan Church, Inc.” according to Dean Brittain. It is one of the standards of our sponsoring denomination that we have required chapel, so it’s here to stay. But I don’t know that most students want to get rid of chapel; rather, I think students who have class at 12:30 want to eat during the lunch hour. Is there a solution here that can satisfy the growling stomachs of students, but also the desire to have three classes before chapel? Despite the fact that the 10:15 chapel time yielded fewer problems of students ducking out early, according to Brittain, I think the answer lies in afternoon course scheduling. Currently, the last 65 minute class period on MWF starts at 4:15, but ends by 5:20 in order for students to be able to make it to their 5:30-6:20 class. Except, there are no courses scheduled during the 5:30-6:20 block during this semester or next, meaning that once classes are over at 5:20, students are free to do as they please. In that case, it seems like one solution could be to move all of the 65-min. MWF afternoon courses back by 15 minutes. 3:00 classes would start at 3:15; 1:45 classes would start at 2:00; but most importantly, 12:30 classes would start at 12:45, giving 35 minutes for students to eat lunch instead of the awkward 20 minute gap between chapel and your 12:30 class. I’m not the first person to suggest this; Avery and I discussed how this idea has been tossed around in previous years, but never got off the ground. Perhaps it’s time to go back for seconds?

The mission of the Houghton Star is to preserve and promote the values of dialogue, transparency and integrity that have characterized Houghton College since its inception. This will be done by serving as a medium for the expression of student thought and as a quality publication of significant campus news, Houghton area news, and events.

Star Staff

Letters to the editor should be 350 words or less and submitted to: editor@houghtonstar.com

Monica is a senior intercultural studies and French major

Emma Hughes Editor-in-Chief Monica Sandreczki News Editor Katherine Baker Sports and Culture Editor André Nelson Opinions Editor Steve McCord Digital Media & Web Editor Luke Lauer Graphics & Photo Editor Lauren Daugherty Business Manager Prof. Susan Bruxvoort Lipscomb Faculty Adviser


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Issue 9  

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