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Nathan Gilmour

Nathan P. Gilmour

Nathan Gilmour

Nate Gilmour

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Campus Ministries at UGA

Yoo hoo sports fans,

Since I myself have visited and participated in many campus ministries, I’d like to discuss them since many of you may have preconceived ideas about them without having really been to one.  At UGA, I’ve tried out Christian Campus Fellowship (CCF), Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM), Wesley, Cross Roads, Navigators, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), and Campus Outreach.  I want to say that there’s one or two more that I can’t remember.

While all of them are unique in some way, I would definitely say that all of them are similar in that they promote fellowship, Bible study, and discipleship.  Let me discuss each of these briefly.

All of them promote fellowship in that there will be many activities that are just for social purposes and getting to know other people there.  While this might seem intimidating at first, many of these activities can be pretty fun and sometimes not what you would expect.  Most of the people I have met at these campus ministries have been friendly, and I highly doubt that any of the ones I have not been to would be rude towards outsiders.

All of them promote Bible study or an active learning of life lessons (especially ones that can be learned from the Bible.  I must point out that the Bible will definitely be taught in a much different way at a campus ministry than in a classroom setting, but then again not everyone wants to put enough time and work into taking an academic class on the bible (although I myself would definitely encourage you to do so!).  But anyways, you can certainly take away a lot from these lessons if you’re confused about a certain part of the Bible or want to learn more about what it all means.

Lastly discipleship is certainly promoted in nearly every campus ministry I’ve known.  It usually includes being a part of a smaller group that helps each person with that they’re going through in life.  The whole idea is that you will get more out of this than being in a large group because you will build close relationships and be able to help each other on a deeper level.  Often campus ministries will organize these small groups for people to join.  Let me make one thing clear about discipleship.  Most campus ministries will not pressure you into joining a small group and nor should you feel pressured into joining one.  I’m not gong to lie though, you will probably get a lot out of joining one of these groups just by the close relationships you will build with others in the group, which can be beneficial if you’re trying to make sense of it all (which should be most of us).

Anyways, with all that being said I would like to encourage all of you to try out a campus ministry if you have not already done so.  Take a friend if you would like to.  Just don’t go through all four (or more) years of college seeing ads on the bus for campus ministries and tell yourself that you’ll go sometime and never give it a try.  

Feel free to comment back if you need details on when and where a campus ministry meets.

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October’s Meeting

Because we have a contingent of unknown size joining us this month, we’re still deliberating on the location for our next meeting, but we do know that it’s happening four days from now, Tuesday, Ocbober 21, at 12:30 PM, and we do know that we’ll be discussing chapters two and three of J.P. Moreland’s Love Your God with All Your Mind. Stay tuned for a definite location.

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Tonight, I went to a rather enjoyable lecture by Dr. Schaeffer from the Chemistry Department on the above title. As an English major, I rather questioned going to anything with the word “science” in it, or, to be more specific, given by a prof in quantum mechanics. However, the Lewis aspect convinced me. Regardless, it was really quite interesting, as Schaeffer defined scientism (as far as I understood it) as the proclivity by some (many who are not actually scientists) to take science, and strip it of any traditional/objective values, or the things that many argue are the characteristics that make us uniquely human, and instead take as our supreme point the continued existence of the species, without any moral reason to do so.

I’m describing it badly. Schaeffer discussed that Lewis was concerned what might be done in the name of science if objective values were rejected. Schaeffer pointed to Carl Sagan as an example of this scientism, quoting Sagan: “The cosmos is all there is, or ever was, or ever will be.”

Schaeffer also quoted the illustrious Richard Dawkins defining love as: “…a product of highly complicated…nervous equipment or computing equipment of some sort.”

Pleasant, isn’t it? Schaeffer argued that many scientists have actually rejected scientism, but that it is still functioning in many academic disciplines, including biology, sociology, etc.

There is, for instance, the question of using human embryos for the continuation of the human species without questioning the moral aspect.

Regardless of anything else, I’d say this general outlook is remarkably stunted as it refuses to acknowledge very real aspects of humanity, simply so that a certain type of intellectual can keep the blinders firmly affixed to their mental eyes. As soon as you’ve defined love as a matter of computer mechanics, you’ve begun to sacrifice everything worth having to your fear of the existence of God.

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Religion Classes

I write this post to discuss college classes that address religion, specifically religious texts.  From my point of view, college students that enter college being a member of one religion may find taking a class about religion to be difficult.

Attending a church service, worshipping in a mosque, or meditating in nature are considered by many to be private and sacred experiences.  Many people in the United States grow up going to a public school and are taught that conversations about these things should be avoided and that everyone’s religion is a “personal issue”.  While this may be good advice as far as being politically correct and never offending anyone goes, I don’t think it adequately prepares students for college, when we broaden our horizons much more and hear personal opinions and ideologies in the classroom.

From my experiences in religion classes (and I am including your class Gilmour), I have found it difficult to combine the academic and the sacred.  I’m not saying that it’s an impossible thing to do, but with how many people we see skip class, it seems difficult to take academics as seriously as religion.  When looking at an academic text, what most students are probably concerned with is what the important points are and what the students will most likely be tested on.  While we can also read a religious text looking for important points to note, most people look further into a religious text for lessons to apply to their life or some deeper fulfillment or understanding.  Many could also look for the deeper level in academic texts, but how many students honestly do?  I feel like it’s because academics has a stereotype for being boring.

I think this is the reason why few students have looked at religion academically before college, because they think it will probably be boring.  The academic methods of approaching the Bible or the Koran are shunned because we assume that they will be boring and mundane instead of captivating, like the parables of Jesus or the miracle stories of Moses.

For example, let me post some of David’s farewell speech to Solomon.

1 When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. 2 “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, show yourself a man, 3 and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go, 4 and that the LORD may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’ (1 Kings 2: 1-4)

This is probably something you would see in church.  It captivates many by describing the journey many of us take while following God’s will.  It’s easy to relate to our lives and it’s easy to learn from.

Let me post what comes after this.

5 “Now you yourself know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me—what he did to the two commanders of Israel’s armies, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. He killed them, shedding their blood in peacetime as if in battle, and with that blood stained the belt around his waist and the sandals on his feet. 6 Deal with him according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to the grave [a] in peace.

7 “But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai of Gilead and let them be among those who eat at your table. They stood by me when I fled from your brother Absalom.

8 “And remember, you have with you Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, who called down bitter curses on me the day I went to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the LORD : ‘I will not put you to death by the sword.’ 9 But now, do not consider him innocent. You are a man of wisdom; you will know what to do to him. Bring his gray head down to the grave in blood.” (1 Kings 2:5-9)

This is the part you probably don’t hear in church or Sunday school.  If you read this part, it can seem hard to justify David’s motives here, knowing him to be a “man after God’s heart”.  However, parts like these are often overlooked in church or bible studies and should be discussed.  By discussion and academic analysis, we can more fully understand what David means here.  In order to more fully understand one’s religion, I think it’s important to take an academic approach to believe something not just because it makes you feel good inside, but because you know and understand the truth behind it.

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The True Dawg Religion

Ah, yes, are we about to discuss the possible idolatry that occurs on our campus? I think this whole ticket fury may be grounded in the sense of identity that the majority of students possess. You’re a student, a daughter/son, boyfriend/girlfriend, athlete, scholar, what have you, but you’re also…a DAWG. When I attend games, the number of students/fans who seem to think they are true experts in Dawg strategy is astounding. I think many of these people identify themselves so strongly as belonging to the cult of Dawg football, that any rebuff they receive is a slap in the face to their sense of self. As a senior, I picked up my tickets yesterday, and I heard rumblings of “what is owed me, the senior, the Dawg, the person who belongs…” There was an undercurrent of tepid violence, as the students expressed their superiority. It wasn’t merely consumerism, but a journey to Mecca that dare not be interrupted.

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