|Saruman and Eddie Munster shown recently debating the existence of Sauron while accusing each other of being evil Sith Lords|
We Are Not Alone
I remember a day when URL stood for University Religious Leader. Outside of that small group who were actually campus ministers, chaplains or other types of religious leaders serving within the university community no one would have any idea what that acronym referred to.
In my later years I actually became a university religious leader and I’ve been an active member of the University Religious Leaders group for several years now. I pay a yearly fee for that privilege and in exchange I get a name tag, free bus rides, and I have to attend at least four URL meetings a year.
Our URL isn't the most diverse group. There are about 40 "Christian" groups represented and only a few attend from other faiths and religious traditions. The speakers present topics and issues that, even if they not particularly interesting, are usually pertinent to anyone who works with college students. And there are always announcements or bulletins that we all need to hear.
Like the rest of our meetings, the announcements are supposed to be pertinent to anyone in the room, even the lone Jew or solitary Wiccan, and we're not supposed to announce or promote activities or events that are specific to our ministry. However, we can (and should) invite the URL to participate in events that are broader than the scope of any one particular group. Every once in a while as one of these “broader” events shows up on the calendar there is a well-intentioned and passionate plea to further broaden that event by appealing to anyone in the room.
One such event is a seasonal clean-up activity that involves going to the homes of elderly and not-so-abled people in our community to help prepare their houses for the change in seasons. The students do things like rake leaves, clean gutters, and wash windows and cars. There is a winter version of this event and a spring version. The winter version happened just last month and over 900 students from nearly every religious and irreligious tradition on campus were involved. Considering that the two campus ministries who sponsor and take on the leadership roles in this project have maybe 60 people between them, this event seemed to be a pretty good demonstration of how serving others can be unifying.
But every once in a while we forget the rules and we forget who else might be in the room and the announcements sound something like this ...
“Hey, I’m Gunner and I'm part of the Doctrinally Insightful Christian Know-it-all group here on campus, and us DICKs, together with the girls of the Submissive Handmaids Awaiting Grooms cooperative house are sponsoring what we hope will be the most ultimately evangelistic evangelizing outreach this campus has ever experienced and we want to invite everyone here to bring their groups to this awesomely awesome show. It will be a three-day, three-way debate between internationally renowned scientifically atheistic atheists, our own national DICK leaders, and I think … ya, it’s the Methodists this year. The SHAGers will be baking cookies and brownies and serving coffee and other yummy edifying snacks and drinks. On behalf of Jesus, we always win this debate in a convincing and convicting style so bring all your unsaved prospects, er, friends. Last time we did this the atheists and the American Baptist debaters converted before the end of the meeting. They were in tears. God is so awesome … So start praying that all those students you and your group have been targeting as friends can come to this. All of us DICKs will be there for advice and counseling and defend the faith because we’ve got all the correct answers to those hard-to-answer questions that might come up during the sessions. There's nothing like proving someone wrong to help prove you're right, plus, it builds up our own faith. And it's a total headrush.
“So, yeah, the DICKs and the SHAGers are really excited about this and it would be great if for once everyone in this room could get together on something. I know we pretty much ignore you non-hipsters, mainlines and “progressives” (Gunner does the “quote” sign with his fingers) but you should really bring your students to this. They’ll learn so much and will grow a lot in their faith and there are always people who are converting or rededicating their lives to Jesus during these events, so your students won't feel all alone. The information at these debates is incredible and our leaders are really good at dominating the debate. The other guys just end up looking dumb when one of our guys brings up something no one's ever heard of. They're just sitting there looking dumb and our guy just keeps talking. Those big DICK guys from National will even blast how they dress. Most of them are so last century. Remember the idiot with the Hawaiian shirt a couple of years ago? We call it “Crazy Radically Aggressive Proselytizing” (and Gunner does the “quote” thing again). It’s revolutionary Jesus stuff and you won’t want to miss the CRAP at this big DICK event.
“So, uhh, anyway, all of us at DICK are really psyched about this and we’re doing this for everyone in the name of the Kingdom of God and Christian unity. We don't want any of the credit because this is all for Jesus. So, here’s my contact info and here’s some flyers that talk about the stuff DICKs do and some brochures about the girls over at the SHAG house. The DICKs just want us all of us to be able to be united in something and we meet every day over at The Union for prayer and Bible study and we've got meetings in every building on campus every night of the week - so just lettin' you know that if you’re new to our group or haven’t become a DICK yet there's nowhere you can go on campus without running into a DICK. We’re the ones who wear the neon “I’m a DICK and I Love Jesus” shirts (Gunner does the “quote” signs once again) and walk to class in groups and always sit together. Oh, and you can get a DICK shirt from me anytime. They’re only $12 but that's a real small price to pay for not hiding your faith. Just wearing the shirt attracts attention and then you can share the gospel. And it works even better when the girls wear their "SHAGers for Jesus" shirts. They’re so cool that even “cool” (and there it is … Gunner’s “quote” sign one last time) doesn’t describe how cool they are.
“So … yeah … 12 bucks. And again, even though this isn't about being a DICK and I know a lot of you believe that size doesn't matter, but DICK is the biggest group on campus and that does matter. Any student who really wants to know Jesus should be at this DICK event and then join our post debate Bible study, debriefing, decontamination and re-purposing series. It's like taking off the blinders and putting on a microscope. It's just amazing how many of the little things we miss. And speaking of the little things, I just want to say again that we just really want to see the groups finally united about something and I hope you'll pray for the DICKs and support the big debate.
"And that’s all I’ve got. God bless you in your ministry, Praise Jesus, and we’ll see you at the debate.”
Uh … thanks, Gunner,
I was sitting with the Jew that day.
He looked like he was blessed.
And I'm sure he noticed that Gunner did this immediately following the "thank you" offered by the winter clean-up leadership team for everyone's support and participation in this year's event.