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Christlike Living & the College Culture

College is all about freedom and fun and finding yourself. Or so I am told/so I have experienced thus far.

But what is the college culture? Or maybe, more specifically, the Baylor culture?

College is staying up late, going out late, arriving fashionably late, sleeping in late. College is partying with your friends. It is skipping class. It is cramming for a test. It is caffeine on caffeine on caffeine.

College is pretending to be hotshots riding scooters on campus & being judged by literally everyone #scootersquad #noparents
Pretending to be hotshots riding scooters all over campus because #collegenoparents

At Baylor, college is church hopping. It is hammocking in Cameron Park. It is pretending to be hipster at Common Grounds or Dichotomy. It is 2 a.m. Czech Stop runs to satisfy that random kolache craving. It is deep conversations, impulsive decisions, and occasional DTRing because college Christian dating is a new, strange world.

While it is narrow minded to say we are all Christians, a majority of the student population is.

Yet the Baylor Bubble* still parties like nobody’s business. We just celebrated Dia Del Oso, a Baylor tradition that celebrates Baylor, is sponsored by Baylor, that cancels all classes for the day at Baylor. As you can imagine, #collegenoparents comes into play, and students go nuts off campus.

While not all members of the Baylor Bubble do, certainly many partake in dating and dancing {yikes, and we call ourselves Baptists}, and hooking up, and drinking, and law breaking, and poor decision making, and secular music listening.

Some do all of the above. Many do at least one of the above. Or have done at least one of the above.

I don’t hook up and I don’t drink. Not solely because I am a Christian, but also because those are a personal decisions I have made.

I don’t hook up because:

  1. Meaningless handholding, kissing, or more is just that. I certainly desire every thing I do to have some sort of meaning to it.
  2. I want my husband to know he is worth waiting for, this involves saving as much as I see fit for him. And does not involve hooking up.
  3. My body is a temple of God. 1 Corinthians 6 says so. I want my thoughts, actions, and words to glorify Him.

I don’t drink because:

  1. I am not 21 and I obey the law to the best of my ability, disregarding speed limits at times.
  2. I did not grow up around alcohol, so it is foreign to me. The unknown is intriguing, but I first have to learn about it, be exposed to it, and then make a decision to partake in the festivities or not.
  3. Blech. My taste buds hate it.

I do listen to secular music. I do read Nicholas Sparks books. I do watch R-rated movies, because:

  1. Knowing every word to Eminem & Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie” is a life achievement. While I do not endorse abusive relationships in any way, I thoroughly enjoy the beat, get a kick out of surprising my friends, and simply think it is fun.
  2. Nicholas Sparks is a genius. He knows how to lure every girl in. These books are sappy and lovey dovey, and I shamelessly like them. But they also tick me off because they are entirely unrealistic. C’mon, Noah and Allie.
  3. Kristen Wiig cracks me up & Bridesmaids just gets me. The airplane scene is my alltime favorite.

But I have friends who will only listen to Christian artists. Or who accuse Nicholas Sparks of brainwashing minds of females everywhere by raising their expectations impossibly too high. Or who refuse to watch any films featuring cussing or sex scenes or brutal fighting.

And that is okay, to each his own.

We are all made differently. We each have a faith that only we possess, control, and define. I cannot compare my faith to another’s and think mine is weaker or stronger. Mine is mine. Yours is yours.

Faith is between God and the Believer. The convictions Christians face are between God and the Believer. And whoever the Believer chooses to reveal those convictions to.

As a body of Believers, we are called to glorify God. We are called to love Him and to love His people.

But as individuals Believers, we are convicted at different times for different things.

I feel no conviction watching and quoting Bridesmaids. But I felt uneasy watching We Are The Millers. I feel no conviction wearing a bikini at the beach. But I avoid low cut shirts for the sake of my brothers in Christ {and brothers not in Christ, as well}. I feel no conviction belting Katy Perry’s “California Girls.” But I don’t want guys to “talk dirty to me. ” I want them to talk wholesome to me.**

Reflecting Christ is hard. Reflecting Christ in the setting of college is hard.

I do not condemn my peers for their drinking or hooking up or whatever  it may be. We are all sinful. We all make decisions based on experience, knowledge, opportunity, trials, errors, faith.

From my experience, knowledge, opportunities, trials and errors, and tapestry of faith, I have learned a few things to consider when trying to reflect Christ in the college/Baylor culture:

  1. Is this life giving? Is whatever I am partaking in, thinking of, speaking about something worth the words, energy, emotions, or time? Is it a waste, or will it cause me to waste away?
  2. If what comes in goes out holds to be true, will this come in and go out, as well? Will listening to curse words in secular music soon change my vocabulary? Or will watching R-rated movies with adult scenes in them turn my thoughts on waiting until marriage?
  3. Does it feel innately wrong? Will I be begging for forgiveness in the future? From God, from my family, friends, teacher, peers? Do I already know this is not something that I should be apart of?

Friends, it is hard to be a Christian. In Romans 12, we are called to not transform to the patterns from this world. We are asked to do the opposite of our peers and of society. We are to be transformed by the renewals of our minds, from the inside out, by the power from the Holy Spirit, we are set apart.

But do not be close minded and shut out anything and everything that seems controversial.

Instead, know what tempts you and what doesn’t. Know what you will regret and what you will not. Know what brings life and what steals joy. Know what develops your relationship with God and what diminishes it.

Know God and know yourself, know your relationship with Him.

Know how you to apply your walk to your life, know areas you lack such righteousness, and pray, meditate, seek conviction & compulsion from the Spirit, and sharpen your faith to be evident in every aspect of your life.

And do something.

Do the things that bring joy. Do the things that make God smile because you are smiling. Do the things you will be proud of, the things you will boast God has been glorified through, the things that make you more aware of Christ, make you more enthralled by him, and make you look more like him.

To God be the glory. Forever and always. Amen.

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8

*The Baylor Bubble is the community of students, professors, alumni, professors, and fanatics that attend, are employed by, graduated from, or simply love, Baylor. For the sake of this post, when I talk about the Baylor Bubble, I am referring to my peers, the students currently enrolled at Baylor University.

**I realize some of my personal do’s/don’t’s do not seem to line up logically. And that very well may be true, but let’s talk about it. Ask me why I don’t feel convicted about some thing and do feel convicted about others. Ask me about how I live my faith in a college setting with many people of the same faith. Let’s talk about these things. I’d love to hear your input and answer any questions you have.

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