Here on Trinity’s campus, the WiFi i is an interesting experience. Once you get passed the fact that it feels just as slow as dial-up internet and is only available in certain places, the fun gets started. Our WiFi has several websites being blocked via iboss. Most of these sites are filled with pornographic images and other content that is not healthy to be looking at. On the other hand, it also blocks (or has formerly blocked) websites like LoopCommunity which is a website for purchasing backing tracks for worship songs and has no inappropriate content.
My issue doesn’t come with the sites that are blocked. I mean I’m not thrilled that for the longest time I couldn’t go on Buzzfeed to find out what Disney princess I am, but that wasn’t the end of the world. Sure I was frustrated when Snapchat got temporarily blocked last week, but the real issue is that we are not being given the opportunity to develop our own personal filter so that we can be prepared to leave this bubble and go back out into the real world.
Now please don’t get me wrong, I understand where the thought process comes from. As people living on a Christian campus and being held accountable to uphold certain moral standards, we should not be misusing the internet. Yes, there are a ton of really bad sites out there that no person should ever encounter, but we need to have this opportunity to learn how to be exposed to temptation and make wise decisions about what is and is not appropriate for Christians to do with modern technology. Our future work places and homes may not have any sort of filter in place to remove content that we don’t need, so we need to learn to become our own filter.
While reflecting on the limitation of internet temptation on campus, I thought of when the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted directly by Satan for forty days. In Matthew 4, we are given the dialogue between Jesus and Satan as Satan attempts to get the Son of God to sin. Even Jesus was given the opportunity to sin but overcame it. While we obviously are not perfect like Jesus was, we are in a place that we should be able to make mistakes and learn from them. Yes, if we were to unblock these sites some people would go and do things they shouldn’t. But this community that we keep saying is loving and accepting shouldn’t be looking to judge people but instead come along side them and help them overcome this temptation.
This doesn’t only apply to the WiFi. Trinity has rules in place, referred to as “TIU expectations,” that limit what we can and cannot do as long as we attend school. Different things like premarital sex, drugs, drinking, and co-ed dancing and not permitted under these rules. While I’m not necessarily against having these rules, I do think some of them have been taken to extremes where we are not being challenged to grow up and prepare for the real world where this is “permissible.”
Now I’m not saying we should abolish these rules completely, but it may be time to look at them and see what is encouraging an environment where college students can make mistakes and grow through them, and what is encouraging students to sin in secret and never recognize its destructive nature. Would we rather Trinity (and other Christian campuses) be known as a place where students are isolated from the real world and fall into temptation when consequences are higher? Or be known as a place where students don’t have the facade of being perfect, but are learning how to combat sin in safe environment?