“Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
Such is the declaration when visiting one of ACU’s fellow “Christian” universities. For ACU students, so foreign is the concept of mixed-gender bunking dormitories and Sundays spent sans church. In the opposing corner, so strange is the thought of a school with rulings against shorts and mandatory meal prayers. Standing under the umbrella of a “Christian” title, Christian universities lie all over the religious spectrum, begging the question of our campus, “What is ACU appropriate?”
Since its establishment, ACU has seen the policies of curfew, housing, alcohol, women’s roles, dress codes and dancing altered to be more lenient with the changing generational values.
ACU’s progression in Christian theologies continually breaks the former ACU standard. But while the “ACU appropriate” mold is important to gauge how students should portray the university’s Christian mission, this “standard” must become one of moderation.
Attending Christian universities comes with a code of ethics, both justified and unfair, a baptistery of expectations dictating how said Christian student should act, church, worship, dress, interact and with whom.
The problem with the personalized commandments of various Christian universities is an absolute idea of what is and is not “Christian.”
Banning or objecting to certain activities or behaviors in fear of mingling with the immoral puts students in danger of living their faith in hypocrisy, rather than in grace. Fear of the immoral empowers sin to never have been conquered by the cross to begin with.
It is much simpler to set a “Christian” standard and strict ruling, leaving no room for temptation. It is also simpler to practice faith in the compound snow globe of our own Christian university. But babying our faith is to go against Jesus’ commandment to act as His “hands and feet.”
We must routinely check ourselves with where we derive this “ACU appropriate” standard, where drinking is deemed sinful, where “modesty” extends only knee-length high and where TV channels are blocked for being “offensive.”
As young Christians, we can best witness and exemplify Christian ideals by living a life of moderation. However, moderation should not to be mistaken as a pass to live scruple-free for the sake of “reaching the lost.” If we constrain ourselves to be accustomed to “ACU Appropriate,” how does that prepare us for the less-appropriate real world in which we are preparing to live?
Students attending a private, Christian university must ultimately be conscious to their actions as examples of “Christian” character when crossing over the comfortable Kansas lines.
We can only be the hands and feet of Jesus if we are willing to mingle with the masses. Even if the masses are in need of a bath.
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