By Mike “Zehr Bear” Zehr
If you are reading this now, I would like to personally congratulate you for surviving the fall semester. I hope you had a wonderful holiday vacation and bid you a warm and heartfelt welcome back for this spring semester. Indeed, it is a joyous time to be here at good ol’ GC.
Though we’ve had to say goodbye to good friends departing for SST, we can take solace in the fact that those returning from SST last semester will again be with us to enjoy the upcoming festivities of being cold, getting the flu, napping in the library, cruising Java Junction for chicks and best of all, being reminded of Bob Yoder Campus Pastor’s official title in chapel.
But wait, as it turns out, I live off campus and don’t have class until 11 a.m. Monday through Friday. If you understand the implications of this, you are undoubtedly already muttering some choice words under your breath at me, and to that I respond with, “long hair don’t care.”
For those who are not familiar with some of the perks of being a commuter student, what this means is that I am not required to attend chapel or convo, ever. I know gloating is a sin, but shucks if it isn’t fun.
Now, we all know chapel is a fantastic opportunity to take a break from our busy day and come together with friends and faculty from across campus for a time of thoughtful, spiritual unison. However, let me present you with some striking data I’ve collected from interviews on campus using rigorous scientific methods, definitely none of which are made up.
When asked whether they would come to chapel/convo if it were not required, 10 percent of Goshen College students responded yes, 10 percent responded no and a resounding 80 percent just stared at me blankly as if I were crazy for asking, turned around and walked away and now avoid making eye contact with me around campus. This same 80 percent admitted to having committed the act of what they called a “swipe and dash” at least once in their college career.
Of course chapel can be a rewarding experience, and I myself do sincerely enjoy going to listen to what my peers have to say and to blast out hymns as close to in tune as I can, but I think I have to go with majority rules on this one. Goshen College attracts some of the best and brightest, so I think I have to take their advice and listen to what the data are (yes editors, data is plural. Datum is singular) telling me. Data don’t lie, you know.
So, as the title of this article states, this semester will be that of a thought experiment for me to observe what the personal and spiritual effects of a semester without chapel will be. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated along the way and will summarize my results and conclusions at the end of the semester.
Some activities I plan to accomplish with my two hours of added free time each week are: sleeping, eating cookies, watching the entire series of Twilight Zone, learning to play the didgeridoo, reenacting the Muppets “Mahna Mahna” sketch, tape recording myself singing in the shower, becoming a Nicolas Cage aficionado and sleeping.
Be sure to keep me in your thoughts and prayers.