The Crestiad

Cedar Crest College newspaper since 1923

A Place for Religion in College

Paula Wesson, Lifestyles Editor

I have a confession to make. I do not keep holy the Sabbath. I’d be willing to bet that most of the Jews and Christians on this campus don’t either. Is that so wrong?

I have a complicated relationship with religion. My mother is a Catholic who teaches in the Jewish synagogue across the street from the church. My father is a scientist and does not believe in a higher power.

I willingly went to a Christian college. In fact, it was my first choice school and the only one I wanted to apply to, although I decided to apply to a backup school.

We were required to attend service every Tuesday and Thursday. There were no classes scheduled, and we had to swipe our ID cards to prove we went. On Sundays, buses from local churches lined up in the parking lot. Members of a nearby Catholic church drove us in their cars because there were so few Catholics.

I went willingly to mass every Sunday. I liked the Monsignor, the high-ranking priest, and the sense of community that the mass provided.

As the months progressed, though, I know I could not remain at that college. Most people don’t know why I left. The short answer is that it was not a liberal school. I could tell you stories, like one about the time I was asked to write an article about porn for the school newspaper. I was probably the only student bold enough to write such an article. Suffice to say, you won’t find that article in their online edition.

So, I began looking at colleges without religious affiliations. Granted, Cedar Crest has a chapel, but I frequent the chapel for a different form of spiritual relief. I attend yoga class there.

I’ve been to mass twice, I think, since starting classes at Cedar Crest. I don’t enjoy the Father’s mumbling; I doubt anyone does. It provides quiet time to think, though.

In that same way, I follow my mother to the synagogue when I can. I know the Hebrew Bible better than the Catholic one, and my beliefs might fall more in line with Jewish teachings. (For Christmas, I told my father where to buy Jewish-themed felt pieces. Isn’t that ironic?)

As you can see from my experience, college is a time for finding yourself. If that means taking a break from church, you don’t have to go to church every Sunday. If that means continuing to go to synagogue on Friday nights, then keep going.

Might I suggest, though, that you take time to go to the places of worship for other faiths. We call this “church-hopping,” but it can be to any temple or meetinghouse. There’s even a mosque in Emmaus, if you can find a ride

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This entry was posted on February 6, 2013 by in Opinion and tagged .
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