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ISSUE 118 VOL 17 PUBLISHED 4/22/2005

Reclaiming “Christian”

By Melanie Meinzer
Contributing Writer
and Melanie Meinzer
Contributing Writer

Friday, April 22, 2005

Responding to the article “Religious tolerance extends to atheists, agnostics,” I heartily agree: “Yes!” We are not a Christian campus. Not nearly. The Christian Scholars Review Journal lists St. Olaf as a “sponsoring institution.” In my eyes, lumping St. Olaf in with Bethel University and Wheaton College (IL) is blatant false advertising to the parents of prospective students.

The article in the April 8 edition of the Messenger is a series of interviews with students calling themselves agnostics and atheists, and they, of all people, shockingly reveal the stagnancy of our campus’ faith. When asked if he encountered friction for his agnosticism, Tom Loome ’05 said, “[No], students with traditional religious beliefs have some of the most looked-down-upon views at this ‘Christian’ college.”

The article quotes Pastor Benson as saying, “[St. Olaf] is not interested in exchanging its religious affiliation for a secular one” when in reality the students have already sold the college over to spiritual mediocrity.

Average Joe-Ole is religious and comes from a religious tradition, but it seems to stop there. We have become a spiritual campus, spiritually worshiping who knows what.

I’m calling a St. Olaf Christian someone who will ditch a distant, relativistic God and instead risk being one of the few “students with traditional religious beliefs,” students who know and experience God’s joy.

Like feminists reclaiming the word “cunt,” I’m reclaiming the word “Christian” on this campus. I agree with Pastor Benson that we need a “discussion,” but I implore the Christians to know and experience what they are going to talk about before they go to the table. I will claim that Jesus heals emotionally and God’s wisdom works practically – shouldn’t all of us seek this joy?

But for now, postmodern philosopher from Stanford University Richard Rorty hits the nail on the head: “Maybe liberal theologians will eventually produce a version of Christianity so wishy-washy that nobody will be interested in being a Christian anymore.” I’m still interested: how about you?

Grant Randall ‘07

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