College,  Human Tetris,  Worldview Wall

Human Tetris

During the first week of school I wandered onto a college campus. It was recruit a freshman week; the place was a plethora of welcomers, all offering new students a way to get engaged in college life. There were arts groups, religious groups, LGBT groups and just groups, groups of freshmen looking to belong to something, anything, just as long as they did not have to be on their own.

Getting into college might have felt difficult, but getting in to college is often much more difficult. There is little time for discernment; one has to dive in, mix, and hope one doesn’t fall off the social bus rolling through campus.

But to fit in at college one often has to contort oneself to an acceptable shape. There are things to be hidden about oneself. Things that will remain at home. There are also things to add, lingo to learn. The first week of school is like human tetris, like this:

One candidate for keeping hidden in that first week is any kind of conservatism, especially of the Christian kind. It struck me that the wall of worldview a freshman at the college encounters contains no shape that would accommodate a high school graduate who believed the Bible to be the very word of God. Even the Christian groups were saying pretty much the same thing as the LGBT groups.

There are three hopes for the Christian tetris contender. First, the wall is not as fast as it looks. You have time. Four years is long enough to find friends, the right friends. Second, what you learnt in youth group–all that Bible stuff–didn’t suddenly become untrue just because a smart professor says so. In fact what you believe about the world–how the Bible describes the world–is really the only way the world–including science, math, art, law and even computing–makes any sense at all. Finally, the wall, as one can see from the TV show, is really only made of styrofoam  And, while it looks impressive, is really only a hollow shell. If you remain rooted and established in the gospel and stand firm, then, when the wall hits, it is the wall, not you, that collapses.

Four years is a long time to go looking for an alternative to Christianity, trying to fit into a shape not designed for you. And four years can easily be wasted trying to contort oneself into the image of the worldview one sees during freshman week. So remain fixed on Christ, being conformed to his image having your mind renewed by him working for his eternal glory and fame. 

Assistant Professor of Philosophy and History of Ideas at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern.