Finding A Christian Community In College

Finding A Christian Community In College

They may even become some of your best friends.
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I was lucky enough to be able to attend a Christian retreat over the first weekend of October. One of the things that they kept emphasizing was the need for community in your life. I had never thought about it from that perspective before. Yeah, everybody wants to have friends. What's new? Having friends and having Christian community in your life are two totally different things. Fortunately, my Christian community and my friends are the same people!

The first verse I thought of while I was writing this article was this, "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them" Matthew 18:20. What is so exciting about that is whenever we are Bible studying, praying, or jamming out to Christian music, God is present with us.

I never truly recognized how important Christian community was until I came to TCU and realized I didn't have any here yet. I know what you're thinking, I'm at a Christian university. It literally has the word "Christian" in the title. I am here to tell you that doesn't mean a thing. There are still so many people that don't follow Christ passionately here yet, which makes it a breeding ground for your faith to plummet. That's why I was so excited when I finally found community within Phi Mu. I have made some of my best friends through this organization and have found Christian community with them.

My favorite part about having fellowship with these amazing people is the accountability that it puts on me. It's this constant push to be pursuing Christ in every aspect of my life. You have to be at church, at Bible study, and at prayer because you have people that will call you out when you aren't. It's exciting to have people that push you to grow closer to God because they genuinely care about your well-being.

Another thing that they really emphasized at the retreat was the need to get plugged in at a local church. I am so happy that I was able to find my church home within my first few weeks on campus. The community that I have found within Encounter/McKinney has been fantastic for my faith. If you aren't plugged in yet, do it! I promise, you will not regret it.

I think the reason that God put it on my heart to write this article was to inspire people to look for Christian community around them. It will hold you accountable in your faith and it may even give you some of your best friends.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay.com

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I'm The Christian Girl Who Lost Her Virginity And It Isn't The End Of The World

The society of the church has its blinders on. It is making us believe that the only way to be a great Christian is by “treating our body like a temple,” and that means not letting a guy go too far.
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For girls who grew up in the church, it is taught that one of the biggest sins that a young woman could partake in is having sex. We are told to “wait until marriage” and that “true love waits.” We wear purity rings and make the commitment that we are married to God, and that if a man truly loves you he will wait to have sex with you until your wedding night.

We grow up thinking that if we stray from this path than we have let down our pastor, church, parents, and God. However, is losing your virginity something that should weigh you down with shame?

In college, it seems like the majority of our peers are no longer virgins. While some people have numerous partners, there are also those who have had just one or a few. I know a number of people who have had sex and still have a strong relationship with God. Why? Because they understand that with God, there is a love so great that it outweighs the mistakes of the flesh.

Being a young woman is hard. You think your first love is going to be your last because that is what the fairytales portray it as. You think that sex is just sex, and meaningless. No matter your level of sexual activity, it seems to always have a reason.

You can love God and have had sex. Just because you did it does not mean that His love is insufficient and cannot reach your heart. His love is there if you want it and He is just waiting for you to accept it.

In no way should sex be something that is taboo to talk about. The way the church portrays sex is in a disgusting and unrealistic matter. We are not meant to fear it, and talking about it is OKAY. There is a reason why so many people partake in sex: because it is enjoyable. It is human nature, and not everyone waits.

Just because you didn’t wait until your wedding night to have sex does not mean that night will be any less special. Just because your church friends have waited thus far and you didn’t, does not make you less of a Christian. Just because you thought he was the one and shared that intimate moment with him does not make you a whore.

The society of the church has its blinders on. It is making us believe that the only way to be a great Christian is by “treating our body like a temple” and that means not letting a guy go too far. However, just because one has had sex does not mean she does not have respect for herself; it means society views her as not having respect for herself, and that is a huge difference.

If you know the reasoning behind your decision and are okay with it, that is on you. Things happen. We are not called or expected to be perfect, and Jesus would not want us faking it anyway.

You are not less than your friend who’s a virgin. You are not a slut because you had sex. You are not defined by what society says of you. You are a woman who is loved by God, no matter what is said by others. One of the best things that can happen to a person is finding things out on her own.

We are in no way expected or required to be perfect, and knowing that God loves us through whatever we are currently going through or have gone through should be reassurance enough that we are more than what labels say about us. So if you are feeling the weight of what society says about you on your shoulders, take a step back and remember that God made you.

You. Are. Loved.

Cover Image Credit: Larm Rmah

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My Faith Is What Sparked My Interested In Socialist Politics

Jesus abhorred the greedy and had an unprecedented amount of compassion, and that's why I'm a socialist.
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If you couldn’t tell by my name, I’m Irish, which also probably implies that I was raised Catholic. And indeed, I was. I was baptized, received the Eucharist and reconciliation, confirmed, and able to recite nearly every part of a typical Mass. Plus, I go to the largest Catholic university in the United States, DePaul University here in Chicago, a city with a rich history of Catholic Irishmen.

So, yeah, I guess you can say I’m the quasi-stereotype of the typical Catholic Irishman from Chicago, but one fact about me that isn’t that much of a stereotype, aside from that I’m more Chinese than Irish, is that I credit Catholicism for making me a socialist.

Before I go on, let me just say that if you don’t really know me, then that sentence seems shocking for the “socialist” part. But if you know my admiration for Bernie Sanders and his ability to bring socialism into mainstream politics, then you might be as equally as surprised, except more at the “Catholic” part.

The whole idea of Christ’s teachings ultimately reflects the meaning of socialism.

Socialism is the liberation of all oppressed peoples and the mass organizing of people to rightfully decide affairs that affect the population as a whole. It’s seen in many of the Ten Commandments. Thou shalt not kill, not bear false witness against thy neighbor, and so on. It’s seen in the Beatitudes. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled.” “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

It’s even seen in Jesus’s words. In Matthew 19:21, Jesus said: “If you will be perfect, go and sell that you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me.”

Matthew 15:32 recalls Jesus as having “compassion on the multitude, because they continue with [him] now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.”

Though this is not to say that Jesus was a socialist, it is to say that for me, faith is important in my life because without it, I would not be as exposed to the damning inequalities of the world than I have been before.

We are seeing racism, classism, sexism, and all other forms of oppression bleeding into normalcy once again, all thanks to capitalists that abuse their power and exploit the working class for their own personal benefit.

Christ reflects on this evil in Mark 10:25: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

It is often the case where socialism, and even more left ideologies and religion do not get along. In fact, it is a religion that most people in socialist causes see as an evil in itself, for it gives opponents on the right a scapegoat for their evils.

I personally disagree that religion is the root of that evil. I believe that even though religion has caused many atrocities against humankind throughout history, it goes without saying that the words of Christ offer good incentives to support socialist politics and views of the like.

This is not me trying to convince you to convert to Christianity, but it is me pointing out that faith can be utilized for the good in a world in which it has been used for the bad.

Christ’s compassion, empathy, and call for others to stand up to injustice is something that all people should see as valuable advice. There is no logic in using the rhetoric of Christ to excuse behavior that has caused far too many people to be obliterated from the Earth. For as the Golden Rule states, “do unto others as you want to be treated.”

Cover Image Credit: Nina Stehl

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