By Lori Bredemeyer, Managing Editor
The Spiritual Life Core has finalized plans for Thursday Chapels that will tackle tough issues and present various points of view on each topic, said Mark Lewis, director of spiritual life.
Lewis said the meeting will be less formal than regular Chapel and will “present different perspectives about those issues and then invite students to dialogue.”
Students can still attend small-group Chapels, but the Thursday meeting in Moody Coliseum will be an option for students who are not part of a small group.
The Spiritual Life Core has compiled a list of possible topics, which includes sexual purity, same-sex attraction, abortion and euthanasia, among other things. Topics also will be chosen from student-submitted suggestions that coordinators collected in the first community-formation Chapel on Thursday.
The theme, 18:38, will based on John 18:38 in which Pilate asks, “What is truth?” Lewis said the first 15 minutes of Chapel will be reserved for a panel to present various views on the day’s topic, and during the second 15 minutes, students will have a chance to ask follow-up questions or give their opinion on the issue. He added that the community-formation Chapels will allow the speakers to go more in-depth than time usually permits during normal Chapel.
“The hope is that as the audience is listening, they’re hearing their viewpoint or something close to it represented right there on stage,” Lewis said, “which will hopefully give them a sense of ownership in the process.”
Todd Ormsby, member of the Spiritual Life Core and residence director of Adams and Smith halls, said one initiative is to challenge what students think and believe.
“We really started thinking about how we can engage them (students) in a way that really our objective is not to tell them all the answers but to try to let them think for themselves … (and realize) ‘Oh, maybe everybody else on campus doesn’t think this way, and maybe this is the wrong way to address something.'”
Lewis said he wants students to learn something about themselves and their community.
“One of the hopes is that we’re launching students out of here more prepped to engage culture where it is,” he said, “to be able to talk to people about those sensitive issues, not in a harsh and despotic manner, but in a Christ-like manner with some sense of knowledge about what they’re talking about.”
In addition to a different format for Thursday Chapels, the new semester also brings a new theme and curriculum, “Message from the Prophets,” that was written by Dr. John T. Willis, professor of Old Testament. Shane Hughes, coordinator of Chapel, said the program will help students focus on less-studied sections of the Bible.
“We spend all our time in the New Testament on Jesus,” Hughes said, “and that’s good, but that’s not all of scripture. There are a lot of books that we don’t touch, and this gives us the opportunity to kind of look into those lesser-known parts, the parts that aren’t the trodden paths.”
Also, Hughes said three Chapel forums have been planned for the next few weeks. On Feb. 1, Gary Green will speak on “Sharing your faith” and will illustrate how to evangelize in a post-modern world. On Feb. 3, Jeanene Reese will talk about “Forgiving others, and on Feb. 24, special guest Mark Sterner will present “DUI: A powerful lesson.”