By Dan Huber
As I have been intentionally listening to some of the criticism against chapel, I have heard a common phrase rise from within the comments; “I don’t like _______!” My gut reaction is to call attention to the erroneous thinking behind each of these fill-in-the-blank responses.
But, as I have continued to consider the criticism, I have come to realize that the way people fill the blank is not the issue at all. So what is the issue? Narcissism.
Chapel is not about personal preference
God has created us uniquely, each of us with our own personal preferences. My personal preference is to eat a nice cut of rib-eye steak every day. However, while I prefer steak, I recognize that I need some vegetables to balance out my diet. Similarly, as I plan chapel, I recognize that every person comes with his or her own set of preferences.
I also recognize that while offering someone a preference might make that person happy, it makes no one healthy. Recently, when we offered a time for prayer in chapel, about 20 people walked out as if to say like stubborn children, “We will not eat our vegetables today!” Others have chosen to stop showing up at the table altogether, as if to say, “I’d rather starve than be force fed.”
Whichever the case, this cannot be a healthy decision. Nor would it be a healthy decision for chapel to stop offering vegetables simply because some people refuse to eat them. While personal preference is a significant problem, it seems that something more foundational has taken root.
Chapel is not about you
There is a misconception that chapel is for you, the student. It is not. It is for us, the Corban community. A greater problem than the issue of personal preference addressed above is the individualism that runs rampant in our culture and on our campus.
Why show up to chapel if you can download podcasts of better speakers from across the globe and listen to them in your room? Why show up to chapel when you can Youtube more emotionally impacting musical experiences than you feel you get in chapel? My answer: community, unique community.
There is something about meeting together as a community of believers from diverse Christian backgrounds in the context of Corban’s educational mission that helps each of us realize that life is bigger than ourselves and that our story is only part of a bigger story and that through it all God is to be given all the glory.
It is for this reason and to this end that I continue to offer a chance for this to happen every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10 a.m.