’tis the season

I’ve used the word “politics” on this blog in exactly one post since October of 2008. While I enjoy the sociology of politics, it’s not something I keep front-and-center.

But every two years (at least), we are presented with a rather stark “lab” for teaching college students about faith in public. Of course, I call it a “lab” because it’s not only a chance to discuss “Jesus & Politics.” It’s a chance to discuss “Jesus and everything,” using a topic that just happens to be ripe for student attention.

Why is this such a “teachable moment”?

  • Campuses are more “political” than a lot of places already
  • Students may actually have been confronted (for the first time) with good reasons to reconsider their families’ political stances
  • It’s controversial
  • Few Christian students have ever taken a hard look at how their faith connects with their political beliefs (beyond the caricatures)
  • Few non-Christian students have heard well-reasoned discussions about faith and politics
  • Rightly or wrongly, students feel like they should care about this politics stuff
  • There are plenty of students who probably care far too much about politics, or they’re far too “sure” of themselves in this arena
  • Regardless of your opinion of President Obama, he caught the attention of a lot of our present collegians 2 years ago
  • Regardless of your opinion of President Obama, lots of those collegians are disillusioned or confused about their feelings toward him now
  • Many of your campuses have political student organizations that are stirring the pot… and may also be very willing to discuss faith’s connection to what they do

So it’s a topic that can get college students’ attention, especially in the next couple of months.

Obviously, don’t just “go political” because it’s a hot topic. But if discussions of this nature actually seem to accomplish your college ministry’s purposes, it’s worth considering!

[The follow-up post looked at how political discussions can springboard our students into all kinds of important topics.]


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